The 36-card Petit Lenormand cards have taken the divinatory world by storm.
Two years ago only two classically-based Lenormand decks were available in the U.S. Since then there’s been a deluge of over 50 new decks (most with creative designs and self-published). Interest is supported by dozens of Facebook and forum study groups and websites in English, plus many more in other languages. Until this year, only two English-language books were available (compared to sixty or more in German, Dutch, French, Russian and Portuguese). By early next year there’ll be at least five or six new English-language books.
Two things are essential to a Lenormand reading: 1) a set of cards containing the Lenormand numbers, names and/or pictures, and 2) learning the traditional Lenormand system. Certainly, a person can use Lenormand cards as oracles: making up their own meanings, projecting stories onto them, and reading the images as symbols, but that is not what is meant by a Lenormand reading. One can use any object or image for an oracle reading; Lenormand includes specific meanings and methods.
14 Reasons Why the Lenormand Deck and Traditional System Are So Special:
- The images or ‘emblems’ on each card are simple, everyday, iconic items: Dog, Fish, House, Path, Clover.
- The deck was first published in 1846 for fortune-telling and came with card meanings and reading instructions that were directly based on 18th century ‘emblem cards’ and coffee-ground meanings. For over 220 years decks have been published with nearly identical images, instructions and meanings.
- Since the late 20th century original meanings have been expanded and adapted to reflect modern life. Even though variations exist, they are minor, such that a traditional reader can understand the interpretation of someone else, even from another country.
- Lenormand readings are extremely precise, mundane, concrete, blunt and accurate.
- The pictures are not read symbolically! The narrow range of meanings, which are functional rather than symbolic, ensure there is little ambiguity about their significance.
- Intuition plays a major role in reading the cards, enhanced by knowledge and experience.
- While a few cards are similar to Tarot (Moon, Stars, Tower, etc.), they have very different meanings.
- All the cards are used in a standard layout, the Grand Tableau (“Big Picture”). Modern layouts provide shorter snapshots or portraits of a particular issue.
- In a reading, significance arises from card combinations: House+Book can be a school or library (a house of knowledge or secrets). Cards are not read individually but in pairs or larger groups.
- Lenormand cards work well for answering yes-or-no questions, describing past and present life situations, making short-term predictions, finding lost objects, and describing people and their condition. They can also address timing.
- The cards are easily adapted to modern situations as long as the integrity of the whole is not broken. For instance, Stars (like the nodes in a web) is the internet and, along with Garden (the public), they represent social networking.
- One has to learn the basic meanings and to practice combining cards and other interpretive techniques in order to develop one’s skill with Lenormand.
- There are many layers involved in learning the cards, such that one can learn enough to get started after only a workshop or presentation, yet it will take several years to gain proficiency and handle all the layers of significance.
- You can combine Lenormand with Tarot and other modalities, calling on each for its area of strength. For instance, Lenormand is great for describing the plot of a story or movie, whereas Tarot is generally better at describing theme, character conflict and motivations. See examples HERE (Virginia Woolf) and HERE (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
Bonus: Lenormand is fun!