Friday, 8 February 2013

The Spiritual Tradition in Lenormand Readings

©Fiechter & Trösch
While many people value the simplicity and directness, the practicality even, of Lenormand readings, this in no way conflicts with the possibility of reading the cards for more spiritual purposes.  In fact, there is a well-established tradition of doing so in Continental Europe and elsewhere.  

Probably the most famous such writer is Regula Elizabeth Fiechter, author of the Mystical Lenormand deck (Königsfurt-Urania, 2004), which incorporates power animals and astrological symbolism into the cards.  You can see a video review I did of this deck here.  She has also written "Mediales Kartenlegen" (Trans: Mediumistic Card-laying) (Königsfurt-Urania, 2012), giving in-depth suggestions on how to use the Mystical Lenormand to connect with spirit guides, and gives details about the power animals that appear in it.  In addition, Fiechter has designed a system for deepening Lenormand readings using a pendulum and special cards: "Mystisches Pendeln" (Trans: Mystical Pendulum Use) (Königsfurt-Urania, 2010).  She has been involved in two other Lenormand decks, the White Owl and the Quintessence Lenormand Set, as well as having written a beginner's Lenormand book: "Lenormand Ganz Einfach" (Trans: Lenormand Made Easy), which has been in print at least since 2003, with the most recent edition by Königsfurt-Urania, 2011.

Halina Kamm - Spiritual Card-laying
Other examples of writers incorporating spiritual readings of Lenormand cards include Halina Kamm, who in her “Lenormand Lehrbuch” (Trans: Lenormand Textbook) (Corona, 2005), gives simple emotional, spiritual, psychological and magical/karmic interpretations for all the cards.  This was an abbreviated overview of several of her previous books, including "Spirituelles Kartenlegen nach Mlle Lenormand" (Trans:Spiritual Card-laying following Mlle Lenormand) (Corona, 2001) and “Mystisches Kartenlegen nach Mlle Lenormand” (Trans: Mystical Card-laying following Mlle Lenormand) (Corona, 2005).  Examples of some of her spiritual meanings include soul fragmentation for the Clouds, a false prophet for the Fox, and karmic losses for the Mice.  She also offers spiritual combinations, such as Letter + Key: not just a financial success, but also something that brings growth at a soul level.

Card-laying Like a Professional
At a less detailed level, many other writers have included spiritual interpretations or readings in their work.  For instance, Anne L. Biwer, in her book “Die Lenormand-Karten: Kartenlegen wie ein Profi” (Trans: Lenormand Cards: Card-laying Like a Professional) (Shirner, 2000), keeps things mainly on a practical level, but offers a “karmic mirror” reading, including timings from 100,000 B.C.E onward for all the cards to cover when a previous incarnation took place!

Elisabeth Drabeck, who published a now out-of-print work titled “Mystisches Kartenlegen nach Mlle Lenormand” (Corona, 2000) (Trans: Mystical Card-laying following Mlle Lenormand) has more recently published a three volume work on “Die Magischen Karten nach Mlle Lenormand” (Trans: The Magical Cards following Mlle Lenormand) (Drabeck, 2006+2007).  The third volume is entirely dedicated to “the practical and helpful consultation of the cards including magic, metaphysics and psychology”.  This includes elements such as numerology, colour associations, meditation themes, essential oils and flower essences, amulets and talismans, runic and tarot associations, mantras, crystals, and astrology.

Bernd A. Mertz, while not specifically giving spiritual interpretations for the cards, still takes a more psychological and spiritual approach in his book “Wahrsagen mit Karten der Madame Lenormand” (Trans: Fortune-telling with Madame Lenormand’s Cards) )
(first published 1996 by Valken-Verlag, this edition republished by Südwest, 2004).  As an example, he talks about how the Coffin card can be more to do with our thoughts about death, our existential worries, than about an actual physical death.  In describing the Birds card, he mentions the Egyptian Goddess BA, and the shamanic belief in many cultures that our souls take on the form of birds after our physical death.  He therefore associates the Birds with hidden wisdom...

Harald Jösten offers a more personal developmental approach to the spiritual in his book “Die Symbolwelt der Lenormand-Karten: Traditionelles Kartenlegen und Moderne Symboldeutung” (Trans: The Symbolic World of the Lenormand Cards: Traditional Card-laying and Modern Symbolic Interpretation) (Königsfurt-Urania, 2008).  For example, at the end of the description of each card, which includes looking at symbolic/archetypal understandings of the main card element, he goes on to ask questions related to the card.  The Tree, for instance, offers the questions: “What can I do for the health of my body and soul?  Where are my roots?  What do I need in order to grow?”

Iris Treppner, too, whose e-course is already available in English, and some of whose many books are now also being published in English, also looks at the spiritual in the cards.  In her book “Die Sibylle der Salons” (The Sibyl of the Salons) (Heyne, 2004, to be released in English in 2013), offers flower essences for all the cards, as well as aphorisms or mottos.  She also has a large section (44 pages) on astrological associations including zodiac signs, planets and houses.  Some of her keywords include: spirituality for the Stars, sensitivity for the Moon, and destiny for the Cross.

Elsewhere on the Continent, we also find a more spiritual approach.  In France there is Colette Silvestre and her “Le Petit Lenormand” (Gange, 2003), which includes an interpretation of the spiritual domain for all the cards.  And looking further afield, Mario dos Ventos, in his “The Game of Destiny: Fortune Telling with Lenormand Cards” (Lulu, 2007) not only has a specific section on the mystical and spiritual meanings of the cards, but also describes working with gypsy spirits and using Macumba (a Brazilian spiritual path) to clean up the client’s destiny.

Taking a spiritual approach to these cards is nothing new, though the Celtic Lenormand is the first specifically pagan-themed deck to be created, as far as I am aware.  Doing spiritual readings does not mean that we leave practicality at the door, it is simply another aspect of life that we may want the direct clarity of the Lenormand cards to help us explore!

11 comments:

  1. Fabulous, Chloe! Thank you so much for sharing! If only we could have English translations of all these books :) Still... Your Celtic Lenormand will be in English and I'm sure it'll be completely AWESOME!

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    1. Hi Lisa, glad you found this useful :) It's kind of funny, as so often it seems like all the good books are in English, but that's certainly not the case in Lenormand so far. Still, I also have high hopes for Caitlín Matthews' book - she's both very knowledgeable and wise. And that should be out this year *fingers crossed*

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    2. Chloe, why don't you look into commissioning yourself to translate some of these? You can do it!

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    3. I'll not go telling publishing houses their business, nor adding to my workload :o Thanks for the confidence, though :)

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  2. wow ! thank your for sharing more than one review. I will be on the lookout for these books.

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    1. You're welcome, Rosk! As I mentioned, I'm a bit of a bookworm ;)

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  3. Very interesting, although the history of spiritual use doesn't seem to go back beyond the 21st century from your references here; still seems to be part of the later revival of the system.

    It is useful though. My philosophy in reading Tarot and also Lenormand is to respect the intent and worldview of the deck and its creators. Therefore I will be open to expanding from the original tradition to accommodate the deck philosophy, but there will still be a distinct difference in approach between Tarot and Lenormand for me, primarily in the use of combinations for Lenormand--single cards just don't carry enough of a message, even if it's a spiritual one. I would not want to lose the essential linguistic pattern in the Lenormand. A single Tarot card, with its greater depth of imagery, can carry more of a story.

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  4. Hi Joanne,
    I'd agree these are all from a later revival of the system, though several are from the 1990's, at least in draft form. There may be earlier books, too, however it can be hard to find copies from small print runs and old books. Still, I think that it's important for readings to be relevant to our current lives, and part of that includes traditions growing and adapting over time.

    I'm sorry, too, if I wasn't sufficiently clear. These writers all understand and respect the linguistic pattern of the Lenormand! I gave sample meanings of single cards, because any lexicon is built up one word or phrase at a time. All Lenormand books, whether spiritual or not, give meanings for each card individually, before building to sentences and tableaux.

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  5. I started working with the Lenormand just recently, after years of practice with the Tarot. I'm enjoying it very much.
    I could easily see spiritual content in the cards as soon as I started handling them. Its not difficult.
    I feel that any type of divination system carries spiritual "vibes". Its the nature of the beast within a spiritual world.
    Thanks for the article.

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    1. Hi Raven, glad you found your way to the Lenormand, and here to the Celtic Lenormand blog :)

      How great that you are in touch with spirit that way. As you say, any type of divination has that capacity to communicate with spirit. And I'd say that spirituality is inherent in the real world, as well as the spiritual - we are all spirits living an embodied (material) existence, after all ;)
      Hope you have a great time tapping into that aspect of the cards!

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