Friday, 31 October 2014

Tea With Mademoiselle

For this round of the Blog Hop, Louise of Priestess Tarot asked us to commune with someone from across the veils, which are said to be at their thinnest this time of year.  While she suggested coming up with cards that would describe them, I decided to try doing a reading to hear what they had to say.  And as this is a Lenormand blog, who better than Mademoiselle Lenormand herself?
Grand Tableau for Mademoiselle Lenormand
The first thing I notice is that the Lady stands in the bottom left corner, facing away from the rest of the cards.  Although some would throw a GT again if it came out like this, it seems appropriate.  For it is certainly true that Mlle Lenormand herself has no future, though the cards that carry her name may be a very different story.

The main theme of the throw is Snake, Anchor, Lady, Flowers.  Mademoiselle worked both intelligently and creatively.  Not only did she push her limits outward, using her gift for connecting with people socially, she also quickly grew her working reputation.  She was dedicated to building her own image, and didn't allow her gifts to be boxed in by religion or politics, even when imprisoned.

As for the heart of the reading: Tower, Bear, Dog, Storks.  Strong people in positions of authority called her friend and helped her progress.  She certainly had a talent for getting in with the cream of society, and they all wanted to know about what would help them move onward and upward, too.  So, a strong affinity in life focus helped her get where she went.
I wanted to look at her reputation, as it was what led to these cards being named after her, despite her never actually using them.  So, I started with the House of the Moon and followed the cards around til the Moon card: Anchor in Moon, Letter in Anchor, Lily in Letter, Cross in Lily, Fish in Cross, Moon in Fish.  Two readings of this sprang to mind.

Firstly, Mademoiselle worked on her reputation through her written works.  She found peace through writing, yet that sense of harmony was burdened by the need to make money, for which she had a reputation.  Secondly, her reputation worked to bring about the publishing of Lenormand cards, using also the work of an older man (Johann Hechtel, who created the Game of Hope, the direct precursor of the modern Petit Lenormand deck).  The ethics of this were ignored in favour of making money from her reputation by the publishers who combined his deck and her name after both their deaths.

What did she love?  I look to the cards around the Heart and find: being socially connected and secure, in the thick of what was going on (Rider in House); in the know about gossip and seeing both sides of some situations (Birds in Clouds).  She also loved having insight into what was being done on the sly (Stars in Fox), constantly finding new mentors/supporters (Bear in Child) though her emotions were also impacted by worries around institutions (Tower in Birds).  Well, as someone who was imprisoned several times over the course of her life, being wary of Towers sounds pretty common-sensical!

Asking what was she committed to, I look to the House of the Ring and find the Lady: she was first and foremost committed to herself.  The trail from there involves her own public persona, being the bearer of messages, deception and secrecy, creativity and painful endings, and a love for her adopted home (Paris),

Looking to the final line, the destiny four as some people call them: Book in Key, Moon in Fish, Letter in Anchor, Fish in Cross.  What it says to me is that her reputation for being able to navigate the emotional waters of esoteric secrets gave her a solid grounding for her authorhood.  It directed her to her destiny, to write copiously and make money from it.  It is doing the same for the cards that hold her name, and I think she would like that!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Lenormand Leaps

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

For this season's blog hop (follow the links to discover other blogs from around the world), our wrangler decided to go with a non-seasonal topic.  What, he asked, has helped us make a quantum leap in our readings?

In terms of Lenormand readings, my answer is clear: creating the Celtic Lenormand!  In Mary K. Greer's book 21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card (Llewellyn, 2006), she suggests drawing cards, even if simply reproducing RWS imagery in sketch form, as a way to explore a card and its meanings.  While I did that with my Kindergarten Lenormand (2nd Edition, 2014), it was the actual designing, without drawing, of the Celtic Lenormand that made the biggest difference to me as a reader.

In the process, I really thought about how I read each image: which keywords I associate with each card; and how those keywords relate to the animal, object or person involved.  For instance, I connect the Dog with friendship and reliability.  By putting a stick at his feet, ready to play fetch, I subtly pointed towards those two aspects: you play with a friend, and a dog can be relied on to fetch a stick when thrown.

Or consider the Moon: two keywords for it are emotion and reputation.  Placing the Moon above dark waters suggests the aspect of emotion, while the Moon's reflection in the water hints at the idea of how we are seen by others, through their emotional perspective.  Of course, the Moon only shines because it reflects the sun's light, but that is an extra layer that remains implicit. 

While in reading Lenormand cards, these kinds of visual cues are not important, as the cards act more like pictographs pointing to keywords, I still felt it would be handy to have clues towards those keywords subtly in the images.  Also, in Lenormand readings the biggest factor is how the cards combine.  Even so, connecting with each card more profoundly makes such connections easier, too.  When Dog and Moon combine, for instance, we might have an emotional friend, be aware of a friend's reputation, or see a need for emotional reliability.  And when Moon and Dog combine, we may be able to rely on our reputation, have a reputation for friendliness, or be loyal in our emotions.

As for what a Lenormand leap would look like, perhaps the joy and enlightenment of the Sun coming after the delays and obstacles of the Mountain, or finding the Key to those mysteries held in the Book...

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

All I Want For Christmas...

About ten days ago, U.S. Games sent me through the final proofs for the Celtic Lenormand companion book, as well as the box and cardbacks.  They've changed the cardbacks in a way which I think looks gorgeous: intricate, yet soft and glowing.  As for the companion book, they picked out my very favourite image from the whole deck to illustrate it, which made me dance with delight!

The best news, though, is that after working through a few minor corrections, the final proofs are now with the printers.  They'll take about three months to produce everything, and then there's the time to put it all together.  Still, it means the decks should be ready in time for Christmas!  Definitely the best Yule gift I will be getting...

Friday, 1 August 2014

Lammas Blog Hop - Who is the Queen of Pentacles?

Meadow (Garden), Fish, House, Ring, Woman, Anchor, Clover, Dog, Bear
Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

For this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, Joanna Ash, the divine Sun Goddess, asked us to write about the Queen of Pentacles.  Which is a lovely topic, but this is a Lenormand blog...  Worry not, I decided to look at how Lenormand cards might describe a Queen of Pentacles woman!

One way of reading a 3x3 (nine square) in Lenormand is to read each card in the round as related to the centre card.  So, placing the Woman card at the centre, we build a description of the Queen of Pentacles.

The choices made here are based on the keywords I use for cards.  For instance, I see in the Bear the wise use of resources (it's the "manager" card), and I also relate it to mothers.  Although the Queen of Pentacles likes to spend money (Fish), she does know how to make the most of what she buys, and is very motherly.  Likewise, the Garden (Meadow in the Celtic Lenormand) is related to social events, and so to hospitality, a definite trait of this tarot Queen.  The Queen of Pentacles is also loyal (Dog), focused on her home and family (House) and doesn't shirk her commitments (Ring).  She is hard-working (Anchor), and makes the most of the opportunities (Clover) that present themselves. 

Some people are sure to choose different keywords for these cards.  So, which cards would you choose to describe the Queen of Pentacles?

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

P.S. If you enjoy these blog hops, you can join the Blog Hop Community page to be informed when they take place and have your say in future topics etc.  And if you want to join the hop yourself, just ask!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Joy in Life and in the Cards

Child, Bear, Dog, Storks, Sun, Birds, Garden, Anchor, Stars
Previous Blog / Master List / Next Blog

Last year, for the Litha blog hop I looked at the making of the Sun card, which I associate with this time of year, and which in Lenormand terms represents joy, energy and success.  So, while that would have been very appropriate for the topic of this hop "joy", I knew I'd have to do something different.

What, I wondered, can the Celtic Lenormand tell us about joy?  Well, the cards can be used to look at life, and many people like using them in a very practical, everyday way.  What, then, are everyday expressions of joy?  Here are some combinations that might represent different kinds of joy:

Joy in expressing creativity: Flowers + Sun
A joyful date: Garden + Sun + Wo/Man
Enjoying a conversation with a friend: Birds + Dog + Sun
Joy at your child winning a prize at the science fair: Child + Flowers + Sun + Stars + Garden
Celebrating the completion of a work project: Anchor + Coffin + Sun + Garden + Flowers
Happiness that the baby is eating well: Child + Bear + Sun
Gladness at receiving a job promotion: Anchor + Sun + Storks
Seeking joy! - Stars + Sun

What joys are you experiencing, and how would you express them in Lenormand cards?

Previous Blog / Master List / Next Blog

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Card Design Complete

On Monday, I heard from US Games.  They sent me through card images to okay, as they have now finished designing the card layout and elements.  There were a few tweaks needed, which should be fairly quick to do.  And while they have completed editing the companion book, they still have to finalise the packaging and card backs (will update here when I hear about those).  Overall, things are definitely getting closer, though there is still no official publication date. 

One great bit of news is that the cards will be borderless!  I think their designers have done a wonderful job translating my idea of golden torques to hold the Lenormand numbering.  What do you think?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Uniting Opposites: The Making of the Flowers

Previous Blog / Master List / Next Blog

For this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, we were invited to write about the union of opposites.  The first thing I thought of was how the very urban, eighteenth century divination system of Lenormand cards is combined in the Celtic Lenormand with both a rural aesthetic and a modern pagan perspective.  Some may find this a strange union, while others will hopefully feel it brings something new to each.

Certainly, as Ronald Hutton indicates in his book Triumph of the Moon, historically these elements are strongly interlinked.  Modern paganism grew from the urbanisation of Europe, and Britain in particular.  And a large part of its draw is precisely because of the way that urban life distances us from, and allows us to romanticise, nature and the countryside.  In a similar way, we also romanticise the past, for example the glamour of eighteenth century France!

This combining of urban and rural was also a factor in the creation of the Flowers, the card that in this deck represents Beltane, this spoke on the Wheel of the Year.   I am a thorough urbanite, and when designing the card chose spring flowers based on colours I thought would work well together (inspired by the photo above).  I wanted to represent the idea of the gift of spring blooming, and an invitation to enjoy the budding wonder of nature, notions that play into the Lenormand meanings of this card - beauty, creativity, a gift, an invitation.

Fortunately, though, Will Worthington acted as more than simply an artist in the creation of this deck, instead being a true partner.  Will is a keen gardener, living far closer to nature than I do, and having created a garden that visitors flock to admire every year.  He queried my flower choices, telling me that they wouldn't all be in bloom at the same time.  And when I told him that these should be flowers blooming at Beltane, he came up with suggestions of more appropriate choices, and then brought them beautifully to life!

In these Flowers, then, is a union of pagan and traditional meanings for the Lenormand Bouquet.  And also a combination of the rural understanding of real flowers with the divinatory understanding of the Lenormand system.  I hope that it is the better for bringing these different aspects together.

Previous Blog / Master List / Next Blog