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!

Friday, 1 February 2013

One Songbird Does Not Make It Spring

©McCracken & Worthington
It's February 1st, time for another Tarot Blog Hop.  Whether you've hopped in from Arwen's wonderful wisdom, or found your way here elsewise, welcome!

Not having a pretty new image to show for this Imbolc hop, I wasn’t going to take part.  However, what Aisling wrote to inspire us did just that.  She spoke of Imbolc as being dedicated to Brighid, and representing the Hag of Winter giving way to the Maiden of Spring.  And that’s exactly the inspiration behind the card I chose to represent Imbolc in the Celtic Lenormand deck.

I mentioned before that there are cards to represent each of the eight Pagan sabbats on the Wheel of the Year.  For this time, the card is the Songbirds, which I’ve posted here before.  It is also one of three "Goddess cards", representing the maiden aspect.

What you can’t really tell from this black-and-white sketch is that the ground is frosty, as the birds sit on a branch above a cold field in the early morning of an early February day - today!  They are the companions of a Goddess called Cliodna, a fair-haired maiden Goddess in Celtic lore.  What you also can't see here is that the birds are colourful: 1 blue with a crimson head, 1 crimson with a green head, and 1 speckled with a gold head.  The birds eat magical golden apples from a silver blossomed tree, and heal with their song.

One way in which these cards can also be used, as well as for traditional Lenormand readings, is for meditation.  Sinking into this card, I felt the cold of the frosty morning on my feathers, and my companions beside me.  My journey to this cold field from warmer climes echoed in my memory, but also my hopes for the coming season in this more temperate location.  I opened my beak, and began to trill.  The other two birds joined in my song, their notes weaving in and around mine.  I felt my individuality, but also my belonging.

That is something I believe we all need - to feel valued for ourselves, and still to be accepted by others, part of something greater than ourselves.  This is also why I see talk as healing: talking with others is one way in which we can express ourselves, and also be heard.  And likewise, we experience and validate others when they share with us. 

While one bird does not make a Spring, and one idea does not mean we will succeed in a new project, now is the time to at least make a start on gestating hopes and dreams for the year to come.  We can nourish them with water and warmth, and get support from those around us, whether just to clarify our thoughts, or in more practical ways.

©C. McCracken
You could try drawing a simple Lenormand line of three to look at what is gestating for you now.  My answer was Fish + Child + Book - a new investment in esoteric knowledge.  Ha, okay, I'll get back to work on this beautiful Celtic Lenormand project! ;)

Now, I hope you'll hop on over to Alison at This Game of Thrones, always plenty of inspiring material there!