Wednesday, 15 April 2015

FAQ: Health Questions (Part 1)

Recently, someone said to me that they wanted to be able to answer health questions.  Whether or not you feel it is appropriate to look at health questions for other people will probably depend on who you are reading for, and whether you have training in any other healing modalities. 

That being said, let's look at what aspects of health and the body each Lenormand card can represent.  In this list, a few cards have some overlap.  For example, different writers attribute the lungs to either the Tree (the world’s lungs) or to the Clouds (wind/breath).  If a meaning makes sense to you for one card rather than another, I'd stick with it.

Body - foot and knee joints, the legs more generally.
Health - a new treatment, on your way to healing, someone who brings messages about your health.

Body - overall good health, possible wind/flatulence.
Health - a 24 hour bug, a lucky choice of doctor or medicine, a small miracle.

Body - liver, bladder, gall bladder, spleen, any organs that hold water.
Health - Water balance, possible psychosomatic causes (nostalgia).

Body - the whole body, the body seen holistically.
Health - being/putting yourself in the hands of the chief specialist.

Body -  the air you breathe, the lungs, the chest.
Health - health per se, natural healing, walking in nature, inherited diseases (family tree).

Body - the brain/mind, the lungs, the chest.
Health - hypochondria.  Taking a turn for the worse.

Body - small and large intestines, umbilical cord.
Health - not recognising the cause of an illness.

Body - spinal column.
Health - disease, burnout, psychic trauma, a disease that ends badly leaving traces.

Body - ulcers, growths, tumours.
Health - hayfever, flower remedies, homeopathy, a female healer.

Body - teeth, jaw
Health - pain, operations, injuries, a clean break.

Body - tendons, sinews, tongue, musculature, nerves, sacrum
Health - self-harm, overconfidence leads to injury, abuse, addiction.

Body - nerves, veins, legs, arms, thyroid, throat/voice.
Health -  sleep disturbances, lack of sleep, diabetes, organ instability, understanding the psychosomatic aspect of a disease.

Body - growing pains, childhood illnesses.
Health - growth, need for patience

Body - sinuses, nose, throat, ears,
Health - possibly false treatment program.

Body - hair, fingernails, stomach.
Health - strong, sluggish, heavy, overweight.

Body - skin, immune system, rashes
Health - nighttime cures.

Body - legs
Health - a cure progresses well, prevention is better than cure, lying in/childbirth, pregnancy.

Body - mouth, tongue, vocal cords, voice, throat
Health - a successful treatment, carers.

Body - spine, intervertebral discs, throat
Health - hidden illness.

Body - ailments, handicaps, disablement.
Health - recuperation, healing environment, spa.

Body - Head, bones, skull.
Health - hardening of the arteries, needing patience to overcome a disease.

Body - veins, arteries, neural pathways, lymphatic system, ligaments, tendons, sinews.
Health - the path to healing, alternative healing modalities, choosing a new doctor.

Body - stomach, digestive tract.
Health - digestion, excretion, passing urine, having your body reduced (eg. liposuction).

Body - heart, blood,
Health - blood circulation, the healing power of love.

Body - circulation, blood.
Health - committing to a new health regime, chronic (repetitive) diseases.

Body - the unconscious, the appendix.
Health - diseases with no apparent cause.

Body - hands, short-lived fever, temporary irritation (skin), temporary nerve strain.
Health - a prescription.

Body - male sex organs, right side of the body.
Health - yang energy, masculine energy.

Body - female reproductive organs, left side of the body.
Health - yin energy, feminine energy.

Body - sexual and reproductive organs, lower body, hormones.
Health - the healing power of meditation.

Body - eyes, eyesight, immune system.
Health - healing power of sunshine, vitamin D, healing, energy. 
Body - brain, nerves.
Health - memory, soul, psychosomatic, female cycles, phantom illnesses.

Body - collarbone, sphincters.
Health - trace minerals, vitamins, iron constitution.

Body - kidneys, liver, bladder, glands.
Health - drink more water, soul, water balance

Body - hips, pelvis, coccyx.
Health - grounding exercises.

Body - intervertebral discs, lower back, back, arms,
Health - relapse.

Of course, many more nuances and subtleties can be found when you start combining the cards, and we'll look at some examples of that next week...

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

FAQ: Which Card Is...

Another question I've had posed is which card to use for certain things, when two or more are possible or used by different people.  For example, some people see sex in the Whips, others in the Lily.  And while some people use the Anchor for work, others use the Moon or the Fox. 

The first answer to this is that you could just pick whichever makes most sense to you.  For instance, most German authors treat the Anchor as a card of work, while the French more often use the Moon card.

Another answer is that you could see different aspects of these things in each card.  The Anchor is traditionally about the hope of salvation through work (for the German protestants with their work ethic).  It could also be seen as something that weighs you down, but where you have a choice to lift anchor and move on if you so choose.  The Moon could be your reputation, which is certainly relevant to most people's job.  And the Fox can be about skills you need for work, or about someone at work with independent skills, such as a contractor or entrepreneur.

However, in this instance someone raised the objection that they could see the sense in several options.  They had decided to see how it came out in readings, but were finding it confusing, as it seemed to vary.

My personal take is that the cards are always multivalent: they can potentially indicate several things, and may be read differently when combined with different cards, or using a different technique within the same spread, such as knighting compared to reading diagonals.

While in tarot this multivalency is often connected with what you actually "see" in the image, a little detail perhaps jumping out at you, in Lenormand cards this is more about the spectrum of keywords associated with a card.

There are different levels of interpretation that can be applied to any card.  Thus, the Lily can be an older man (connected to the King of Clubs playing card association), or it can signify harmony and peace, or elders, or sexuality and even purity (lilies used to be given at weddings), or some might say death (another situation where lilies are used).

While this may seem confusing, it's also true that life is rarely simple and clear-cut.  For instance, a relationship could be quite tumultous, with lots of arguments (Whips/Birch Rods), yet also with lots of make-up sex (also Whips/Birch Rods).

Letter, Birch Rods, Lord
If, though, you want a clearer answer, what about asking the cards themselves?  One problem with this is, of course, how to ask.

If you want to try for a simple answer, just look for one card either side of the card you're asking about, as I did here with the Birch Rods.  A simple interpretation would be to journal (Letter) about the card and find the logical (Lord) pattern.

Other interpretations are possible, though.  While journalling about the card (Letter) is one interpretation, another is that you can simply take the card at face value (Letter can be associated with superficiality), or look for tangible evidence one way or another, which would take you back to journalling your readings. 

Looking to the Lord, he could say "Make a decision and stick to it, no matter what!"  Another interpretation, though, might be to "look to the man".  Both the Birch Rods and the Lily are associated with male playing cards: the Jack of Clubs and the King of Clubs.  I would see the Jack as more youthful, sexual energy, and I tend to prefer interpreting Birch Rods for sex.  However, if it was an affair with an older man...

As with the Anchor, Moon and Fox, some people see different aspects of sexuality in the Birch Rods and the Lily.  Lily tends to be treated as more "vanilla", if that is relevant to your querent.  And as I say, I'd see Birch Rods as "break-up" or "make-up" sex, while I'd associate the Lily with sacred sexuality.

The bottom line, for me, is that life is complex.  So, while you can certainly choose an association and stick to it, you may well miss a lot of subtleties that way.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

FAQ: Yes-No Questions

There are a couple of different ways to use Lenormand cards to answer yes-no questions.  Both involve drawing an odd number of cards, say three or five.

The first way requires you to have a set of associations to which cards you consider positive, negative or neutral.  This isn't necessarily how all schools approach the Lenormand cards, and my own way of seeing them suggests there can be an upside to any card, just as each can have a downside.  For instance, a weakness can present a great opportunity, and a high point might suggest we have nowhere to go but down.  Nevertheless, if you have clear associations, then three positives, or two positives and a neutral would be pretty much a yes, and so on.  Of course, if you get three neutrals, or one of each type, then that would be a maybe or perhaps an 'ask again later'.

Somewhat clearer and simpler is an approach that uses the playing card associations.  In this case, reds are taken as a yes, and blacks as a no.  This system requires no memorising, as most decks include the playing card associations in some form.  It also lends itself to clear answers, as whatever colour has the majority of cards in the throw gives you your answer.

Then, of course, there is the question of whether or not to interpret the cards beyond that yes or no answer.  Personally, I would always interpret them.  After all, more information is always useful!

For example, I asked: will it benefit me to perform task X this week?  I drew Songbirds (Seven of Diamonds), Ring (Ace of Clubs), Paths (Queen of Diamonds).  Overall, then, two red cards say yes.  Further, the cards talk about committing to speaking about choices.  Task X actually involves speaking about choices, and is something I've wanted to do for a while.  Looks like this week is the perfect time for it!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

FAQ: How to phrase questions

Today, I wanted to address another question people often ask: how best to phrase a question to get a useful answer from a Lenormand reading.

Part of the answer is, it depends on what spread you plan to use.  If you are asking about a complex situation involving a lot of people, it may be best to use a Grand Tableau.  In that case, the exact phrasing of your question matters a bit less, and simply thinking about the situation is sufficient, as the cards will be able to look at lots of different aspects and people involved.

If you are looking for something quicker and simpler, though, phrasing becomes more relevant. 

Personally, I prefer to avoid questions that focus more on other people, or which imply that I have no agency in a matter.  While some things are unavoidable, and while we cannot control everything (or everyone), I choose to focus on what I can change or influence.  So, a general rule of thumb for me is to avoid "shoulds" and third-party focused questions. 

With that in mind, I tend to stick to empowering and clear questions, such as: what do I most need to know about this situation, what action will most help me?

Another thing to avoid is questions that are too convoluted or unclear.  As the saying goes, Keep It Simple, Sista'! 

For example, if you draw just one set of cards asking should I date person A or person B, how will you tell for sure which one is being indicated?  There might be a clear answer (if one card specifically calls to mind one person), but there might not.  Better to avoid the possibility of confusion before you start!

My suggestion would be to either use a spread specifically designed to help you choose (like the Choices spread in the Celtic Lenormand companion book, shown here), or else draw cards for each option.  With the choices spread, you can draw as many cards for each option as you like, though I wouldn't go above five.  I also find it helpful to draw cards for the wisdom you could use in making this decision, and also for a deciding factor, if two options both look good. 

Another route is to simply draw cards for each option, in whichever format you feel comfortable with (a line or a nine square, for instance).  Whatever you choose, make sure you have your question and your options clear before you start drawing cards.

Next week, I'll look at the topic of yes-no questions...

Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring Fling Ring-A-Ding-Ding

Previous blog/ Master list/ Next blog

The question for this round of the blog hop was how we would overhaul old oracle systems, if we could, or whether we'd leave them as is.  My answer may well surprise people, given how many changes I apparently made to the Lenormand system with the Celtic Lenormand and its nine extra cards.

As I was thinking about how the Lenormand oracle could be brought into the modern era, the first idea that came to mind was to put a telephone in place of the Birds.  Then I thought some more about that.  Why in place of the Birds?  While many readers see the Birds suggesting a phone conversation, the problem here lies not with the idea of a phone call, but with everything else that a phone can do, these days.

Will the real mobile phone please step forward?
Most of the news I get is online, be it from online papers, emails from friends, or comments on Facebook, all of which I read on my phone.  That's the Rider.  Even if you take his messages as being more personal and delivered, Messenger and email still fit the bill. 

And what of the Letter, a very old-fashioned form of communication?  Once again, email is on my phone, and I also get plenty of invoices, bills and receipts sent electronically.

Moving further afield, I read Books on my phone, as well as googling and otherwise searching for information.  I do much of my work on my phone, voice calls, emails, I even wrote this blog post on my phone.  That'd be the Anchor covered.

Thinking about buying, selling or renting a place to live?  At least 17 apps available for my phone to do that in London!  The House is covered, too.

And yes, I use an app for banking and shopping, so the Fish have splashed their way onto my phone.

An app for anything!
I often do a preliminary internet search on any health concern before ringing my doctor, two Tree activities.  Though admittedly googling symptoms can net you some pretty worrying and unclear results.  Clouds, anyone?

And how often have you had your phone die on you, Coffin-like?  And which fashionista wouldn't coordinate her phone and her clothes (Bouquet), while a city executive wouldn't be seen dead with anything less than a Blackberry, as it would ruin his reputation (Moon).

Of course, I'm being more than a little facetious yet the point stands.  Our phones do so much that they could represent almost anything in an oracle.

My choice, then, is to stick to the traditional Lenormand subjects.  They are sufficiently archetypal to cover modern situations, yet also not overburdened with our own assumptions.  Even when the Lenormand oracle originated, it would not have been an everyday occurence to see a Bear, and many people had few books, most did not even know how to write a letter.  These objects which seem so mundane were not overused in a way that would overload them with meaning, making them meaningless.  And while how we see them now may be somewhat different, they still speak to us in ways that are useful.

That's my take on the question of overhauling our divination systems, now let's go see what creative ideas other people have on the subject...

Previous blog/ Master list/ Next blog

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Following A Thread

Starting top right with one card, then carrying on around
When writing about throwing a Grand Tableau a few weeks back, I wanted to demonstrate an interesting extra reading technique.  The idea is that you follow the thread of cards from the House of a theme that particularly interests you, to gain more insight into it.

As the demonstration didn't work very clearly that time, I thought to try again with a different variation on this idea.  Here, instead of throwing the whole GT from the start, you use a cloth or piece of paper marked with the names or numbers of the Houses.  Then you pull a card to place on the House that interests you.  In this case I chose the Letter.

Having drawn Flowers, the next card goes on the House of Flowers, and for that I pulled Meadow.  Card number three then went on the House of Meadow, and it was the Letter.  So, that completed this rather short thread.

As for reading the thread: the gift of writing (Flowers/Letter) in a creative group (Meadow/Flowers) makes tangible the sense of community (Letter/Meadow).  Which reminds me to say that next week's post will be on Friday instead of Wednesday, as it forms part of the Tarot Blog Hop Spring Fling.  I love being part of the community of bloggers writing about divination, and there's still time to sign up for this hop, if you'd like to be a part of it, too...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Using Affirmations

Last week's post on using the deity attributions in the Celtic Lenormand leads on nicely to using affirmations.  Affirmations help adapt your mindset to achieve what you want.  Repeating a positive affirmation over the course of the day, or over a longer period, can influence your thought patterns.

There are some suggested affirmations for each card in the deck.  It's also great to come up with your own.  These will be better tailored to your specific situation and the way you think about the world.

One way of working with affirmations and these cards is to simply pick a card and use an affirmation that fits it.  For example, the Tree might lend itself to something like: "I feel healthy and well."  Or you might say "I communicate effectively and harmoniously," if you draw the Songbirds.

Another way of using this aspect of the deck is to throw a reading, and pick one or two cards that feel most relevant.  Here, I threw a line of five:

Clover, Key, Hill Fort/Tower, Meadow/Garden, House.
These might be read as follows: problem-solving opportunities (Clover/Key) require the insight of isolation (Key/Tower).  Community hierarchy (Tower/Meadow) can make for a secure group (Meadow/House).

I see this saying that although the comfort of being in a group with clear structures can be appealing, sometimes we need isolation if we're going to have an 'aha' moment of inspiration.  With the Tower at the centre, and this reading, I might use the affirmation: "I gain perspective through time alone."

You can also create one or two affirmations from the reading itself.  For instance, here I might say: "I take the opportunity to solve problems by myself." (Clover/Key/Tower)  And: "I use these insights to feel more comfortable within group structures." (Key/Tower/Meadow/House)

You can stick to a simple one card draw and using an affirmation from the book, or create more personal affirmations for yourself from a reading.  Either way, this practice can help strengthen your resolve and bring you greater clarity.