Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Songbirds

©Chloe McCracken & Will Worthington
In the Lenormand tradition, the Birds card is one where there is some discrepancy in imagery.  Often, we see songbirds like those here.  Other times, though, the birds are owls, which for me have a very different feel to them, despite the keywords being the same.  In the Celtic Lenormand, I take this a step further, and there is a third Birds card, can you guess which bird it might be?

So, how to interpret this card?  The connection to the element of air is clear, and seems to affect how the card is seen.  Some people associate it with things that are exciting or which make us nervous - getting us all aflutter, so to speak.  Many people connect the Birds with verbal communication and chatter or gossip.  They can also be seen as thoughts, those strange things which flit here and there unless we calm them by finding our own inner wisdom. 

That wisdom is something I associate more with owls than with these colourful songbirds.  Still, each interpretation is possible, depending on which keywords you choose for the card.  And if you want a broader spread of options, you can include all three bird cards, for different perspectives on thought and communication.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Birch

This card is sometimes called Whip or Whips, occasionally Broom, and other times Rod or Birch.  I decided to go with Birch, as it has the connotations of Whip - in England you can still use birch as a verb - but with a bit more openness to its meaning. 

When I was researching this deck, I could find no evidence of early Celts using whips.  There are Roman depictions of men with whips aplenty, but nothing of the sort on Celtic pottery or other art.  There are plenty of spears, tools of war, but not whips, which are more about punishment.  Of course, this isn't enough evidence in itself that the Celts didn't beat their own people, but it was enough for me not to want to limit this card.

Birch twigs can also be used as a broom, which fits nicely with pagan ideas about making a clean sweep.  And fitting in with possible interpretations of the Lenormand Birch card, we often need that cleansing precisely because of arguments and strife.  Both as a broom and a whip, the symbol suggests repetitive actions, another interpretation of the card.  The wheel in the background reminds us of the Wheel of the Year, and the fact that time moves on and life changes.  While there may be unpleasantness now, that too will change.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Under The Knife

©McCracken & Worthington
Skipping ahead a few cards, at number ten in the Lenormand system we find the Scythe.  This is often taken to mean something painful, cutting, or shocking, though a few people do ask what harvest will come from this.

And that question is certainly relevant for the more spiritual and pagan side of this deck.  In terms of timing, this card would indicate Lammas - the first harvest at the start of August in the Northern Hemisphere.  There is also the notion of the Summer King, in the form of corn and other vegetation that is harvested and stored, being sacrificed for people to live through the winter.  So, a reminder to think of the spiritual lessons to be learned from painful situations, and of the long-term effects of short-term unpleasantness.

I said that in this deck, the Scythe represents August Eve and the time around it.  Obviously, some people already have a particular system for calculating timings.  Personally, my favourite is Treppner's (general link, the info is in her German books and in her course, which is also available in English).  I find her system logical and clear, however it is a little complex and not very intuitive.


Given that most readers agree the fundamental factor in reading Lenormand is to choose a system before undertaking a reading and then stick with that intent in the reading, the two systems are not in conflict.  They can be used at different times, for different readings.  If you are performing a more spiritual reading, or one based around the year to come, the sabbat cards and timings may prove useful.  The eight sabbats of modern Pagan culture will each have a card which can also be taken as the key card (like a significator) in a reading for the appropriate sabbat.

Once again, this is an aspect of the deck which you can take or leave.  I hope to offer an intuitive timing aspect based around the pagan calendar, but there's nothing on the cards that says they have to be read that way :)
 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Snakes


Originally, I was thinking of having two snake cards for people to choose between.  However, since then I've had what I think is a better idea.  So, now I have two possible snake cards and a tough choice to make, as both are pretty powerful.  I'd love to hear what others think - which would you prefer to see in this deck?

For me, I would go for the snake shedding its skin.  It still has the aspect of winding, and a creature that sheds its skin could, in some ways, be seen as deceptive.  Yet, it also allows a more positive take on this reptile which is often associated with healing and with the Goddess...

Update: both cards will go in, as well as another extra, taking the deck up to 45 cards.  The first snake is more traditional, but then, this isn't meant to be an entirely traditional deck, even if it can be used as such :)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Clouds

©McCracken & Worthington
The sixth card in the Lenormand deck is sometimes seen as negative - Clouds.  It warns of foggy thinking, confusion, ambiguity, or even bad weather ;)  It's one of the few cards where many readers are influenced by the actual imagery - which side of the Clouds is dark and which is light...

This deck is set in Celtic Brittany, and so we have clouds over the sea and a rocky shore.  The image is still hopefully clear for those who choose to read this according to traditional Lenormand notions.  And for those who want to add in pagan ideas, we have here a combination of water, earth and air.  Our thoughts obscure our emotions, sometimes even from ourselves.  And how practical are our thoughts?  Should they even be, if the question is one of love?

With this, I don't mean to change the basic meaning of the card, simply to add nuances to a reading if wanted.  As with all things, you can take or leave it :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Great Oak

©McCracken & Worthington

I adore trees: they give me such a sense of connection with the land, and with the past.  A big, old oak like this one would be hundreds of years old!  And yet, it still connects with the future, too, through its acorns.  So, for me, the association of this card with duration and growth (following Treppner) rings true.  Other associations are with health, and with feeling a sense of connection with place - having put down your roots, so to speak.  At a more spiritual level, the tree is a way to connect with other dimensions, as recognised in many traditions.  Some writers also associate it with karma, though I don't see that myself.

What do you associate with the Tree?


Friday, 2 November 2012

Home Sweet Home

©McCracken & Worthington

Being based in Iron Age Brittany among the La Tène Celts, this may not be what most of us today would consider a luxurious home.  Still, I hope the feeling of this House is still clear - a place of family, shelter, and a nice bit of real estate :)

The shields outside suggest protection, and perhaps also the willingness of many to defend each other - an aspect of security and family.  I was going to say "brotherhood", but of course the celtic women were well known warriors, too!

The trough shows that, to the degree possible, they are making this a comfortable as well as safe place to live.  Not exactly all mod cons, but having water without needing to leave the safety of the village was worth something!

So, welcome to the Celtic Lenormand House...