Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Expanding Your Readings Beyond the Nine Square

While the Nine Square may be both traditional and extremely versatile, it can be exciting to start spreading your net a little wider, without going all the way to a Grand Tableau.  Most of the reading techniques that work with the Nine Square, and those that work with the Grand Tableau, will also work with a 5 by 3 pattern.

For example, you can read the central card as the heart of the question, and the corners as the theme.  You can read each of the three rows as a line of five, giving some positionality to the top, centre and bottom rows.  The columns can be treated as distant past, past, present, near future, more distant future.  And you could also bring in diagonals, mirroring, and knighting, as well as Houses and following a thread, if you wanted.

Let's take a look at an example reading.  This throw was done for a woman who is struggling with marketing her business.


At the centre is the Chickens: social communication.  The corners (Heart, Holly Tree, Mountain, Letter) speak of emotional endurance of written obstacles.  This fits with an issue that she has had in the past with social media.  However, as a theme this suggests that the lesson here is to overcome these issues, because networking, social media, and just getting her message out there really is fundamental to marketing her business.


In support of this, the central line (Key, Book, Chickens <Birds>, Ring, Stars) suggests that the key to this project is committing to social communication, particularly online.  Mirroring tells us that although this is about business, if she maintains her commitment to following her spirit, she will find far deeper insights: it's not just about the money, which doesn't show up anywhere in this spread!

At a more head-based level (top row: Heart, Flowers, Rider, Man, Letter), she needs to find a balance between emotion and logic in the creative messages she sends out, using writing as the way to express these.  Mirroring here says that while her writing needs to be emotional in its content if it is to move anyone, she also needs to temper her creativity with strategy if she's to make her messages as powerful as they can be.  While this may be more of a stretch for her, it is vital to moving forward, with this "male" energy apparent in both the Male Rider and the Man in present and near future positions.

Yet, what lies under her control (bottom row: Mountain, Cross, Storks, Anchor, Holly Tree) is the ability to create progress and change through dealing with life lessons that have blocked her in the past.  She has the capacity to find a way to work that will be growthful for her business and leave those past issues behind.  This may take work over time (Anchor, Holly), which supports the message of the Ring just above them.

In the present column (Rider, Chickens, Storks), social messages really are the way to create change and progress.  In the two future columns we have (Man, Ring, Anchor) committing to a rational way of proceeding with work and (Letter, Stars, Holly) taking a long view guided by writing down her plans. This is something she has shied away from in the past, working intuitively, rather than strategically.  The last column also suggests online writing, such as blogging, as a way to draw together all aspects of herself and her business.

Overall, the message here is that she may need some support to deal with the emotional side of things which has been stopping her from moving forward.  She has all the capacities she needs to overcome these now.  To do so, she needs to put social communication at the centre of her focus, take a strategic perspective, and get writing!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Skeptic's Traditional Nine Square Reading

Corners - Theme
This week's technique was the way I first learned to read a nine square.  At the time, I was told this was the "traditional" (only) way to read it.  I'm glad that my evergrowing Lenormand library put paid to that idea!  Still, it is a good and interesting method. 

The four corners are read together as the theme of the reading, then the central cross is read as what brings movement to the reading.  The reading here was done at a Christmas party, with a skeptic who asked for a reading after I mentioned what I do. 

The theme of the reading is Hill Fort (Tower), Letter, Storks, Heart: an institutional prescription for a change of heart.  I wasn't sure where I was going with this when I said those words, but she looked a little shocked.  Turns out she's been working in war zones, and has been put on official leave while she has therapy for the trauma she suffered.  

Complete Reading
Looking to the central cross, we have Fish, Key, Dog, Birch Rods, and Meadow (Garden).  Staying faithful to the flow of insight around social cleansing.  At this, she got very still, and just nodded. 

I then looked at the cards in the top row: what's on her mind.  Tower, Fish, Heart: funding for an emotional institution.  She disagreed with this, she isn't concerned about how her therapy is funded. 

Reading the middle line, where she is now: Key, Dog, Birch Rods.  The key to clearing her own emotions lies with a friend.  A nod again, here, and a little smile.  She says the best thing in her life is her partner, who is very grounded and supportive.

The bottom row, what she can control: Storks, Meadow, Letter.  Changing social views through writing.  Another nod: she wants to write about her experiences.  I think that might be very healing, too...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Happy Holly Days!

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For this blog hop our wrangler, Arwen Lynch Poe, invited us to a Tarot Holiday Office Party.  Like the office Secret Santa practice, she asked us to create a Winter gift for the blog hop readers, and suggested it could be talking about the card that most reminds us of Winter (amongst other options).

In the Celtic Lenormand, I chose the Moon card to represent Yule, as it is the longest night.  However, I've posted about the Moon card before (notably here, here, and here).  The other card in the deck that is very appropriate for this time of year is the Holly card.  This represents the Tree in Winter, and the Holly King.

In pagan mythos, the Holly King is the consort to the Goddess in the dark months of the year.  He is at his most powerful at Yule, fighting with his counterpart the Oak King at the equinoxes (some pagans see the swap over at the solstices, but that doesn't make sense to me, nor in terms of agriculture/nature, which is one of the prime foundations of paganism).  The Holly represents Winter because it is evergreen, staying verdant throughout the year.  This is, of course, most noticeable at the height of winter when most other trees are brown, bare and dead-looking!

Not only is the Holly green when many trees are not, it also bears bright red fruit that helps many birds and small mammals to survive over the winter.  Its thick, waxy leaves provide protection from the snow and rain, too, for creatures huddling under its boughs, and the cast off leaves of the previous year create a warm bed.  And the spikes on its leaves provide protection of a different sort, persuading many animals not to munch on this oasis of green in the winter landscape. 

So, the Holly is a beacon of life in the depths of Winter.  It protects itself, but also nourishes and protects small creatures that will help disperse its seeds.  A fine tree to choose as the King of Winter.

As well as sharing the image and inspiration for this card in the Celtic Lenormand deck, I also want to share a spread.  Of course, you could also do this drawing three tarot cards, but my intention is for it to offer an alternative way to read a Nine Square. 

The top row (or first card) represents the spiky leaves: how can you best protect yourself?

The centre row (or middle card) represents the green aliveness of the Holly: how can you best express your aliveness?

The bottom row (or last card) represents the red berries: how can you best share with others?


Top row: Bardess (Rider), Shedding Snake, Bard (Rider)

I can best protect myself by maintaining clear boundaries that I express to others.  I don't need to listen to other people's messages, staying with my own process of transformation.

Centre row: Lady, Clouds, Woman

I can best express my aliveness by acknowledging and accepting my dual nature: having a spiritual and a mundane side, a home life and business projects.  While I may sometimes feel ambivalent about one or the other, this duality exists, and being able to sit with the ambiguity will allow me to be more truly alive, more whole: both, rather than this-or-that.

Bottom row: Clover, Anchor, Mountain

In terms of sharing with others, perhaps I can provide a little stability in the face of life's challenges.  Firstly, through being reliable and upbeat, come what may.  Secondly, perhaps my work will come at a serendipitous time for someone, be that in the form of a spread or reading that helps them with a particular issue, or the offer of support in facing and overcoming obstacles through Magical Life Coaching...

You could also then read the spread more traditionally, to give insight into your situation at this time.  For instance, the corners suggest that messages which were blocked now become opportune: appearing in synchronicities and messages from all directions.  The central cross highlights that the temptation to focus on my spiritual life obscures the practical work I also need to do.  Moving forward (last row as future), intuitive messages can help overcome obstacles.

Now, let's see what other gifts await in this holiday party hop!

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Reading On A New Love Relationship

My thanks to M for permission to publish this reading.  She asked about a new man who has recently come into her life, and I share here the reading, which demonstrates applying a Past-Present-Future framework to a Nine Square.


Past: Book, Clover, Girl

M has a teenage girl, who has been slacking at her studies (small studies - Book, Clover).  However, true as this may be, the reading was asking about M's new love relationship, not her daughter.  This triplet can also be read as happiness around secrets opening up.  The relationship is still very new, and M observed that they have been having those deep, into-the-small hours conversations, opening up about their lives.

Present: Bardess (Rider), Anchor, Home

There are two sides here.  On the one hand, M not only works from home, she also works with family (both Anchor, House).  However, her new love has just had news from his work (Rider, Anchor) asking him to move (Rider can be movement as well as news).  If he moved job, though, he might be able to stay.

Future: Owls, Stars, Letter

Advice here suggests M and this person having a conversation about their direction (Owls, Stars), and perhaps writing a list of pros and cons that will help them achieve some clarity (Stars, Letter).  A secondary message here is to get some wise counsel, possibly in writing or in some tangible way (Owls, Stars, Letter).  For M, this could be about consulting with some of her family, who are in the business of providing guidance. 

The advice for the future felt practical and helpful to M, focusing on what she and her love can do, as well as on what she can do individually.

This way of reading the Nine Square is good for taking a broad overview of a situation.  It may be especially appropriate in a face-to-face reading where you want to include the client in the process, even if they don't have a lot of knowledge of the Lenormand system.  Creating a brief sentence from the keywords and asking the client what those words trigger for them can work well, and it keeps things simple enough not to overwhelm them.

What do you think of this way of reading the Nine Square, and where or how might you use it?

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Erna von Drösbecke's Nine Square Method

Droesbecke's 9 Square Layout
Erna Droesbecke von Enge is a Dutch writer and artist, and the first person to have a book published in English about reading using the Lenormand cards (though admittedly a translation - Sylvie Steinbach's book was the first actually written in English).  While Droesbecke espouses the near and far method of reading with Lenormand cards, she also gives examples of smaller throws with positional meanings, such as a past-present-future three card draw.

Following on from the last two posts, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at Droesbecke's method for reading the Nine Square.  I've shown here the numbering she assigns the cards, and the positional interpretations are as follows:
Nine Square Reading using Droesbeckes' Layout

1) Past - Book
2) Present not under you control - Clover
3) Future - Letter
4) Present you can control - Mice
5) What you can influence from the past - Dog
6) Past karma - Mountain
7) Future karma - Meadow (Park)
8) How you can influence the future - Moon
9) Final result - Flowers


So, let's take a look at how to interpret this.

The Book in the past indicates a project.  With the Mountain above and the Dog below, it's one that weighed on my mind and required a lot of dedication - yep, I know what that is!  The Clover as the present not under my control emphasises that luck and synchronicity are not mine to command: I can only try to be ready to grab any opportunity that presents itself.  Here, the Mountain and the Meadow are to either side: this is a social opportunity that will help me overcome past obstacles.

The Letter as the future suggests a lot of writing needs to be done.  The Meadow and the Moon suggest that the writing is published to gain recognition, or is to do with public visibility: blogging and social media spring to mind!  The present I control is the Mice: what can I choose to reduce?  The Dog and the Moon suggest I can reduce the emotional and cyclical nature of my dedication to projects: greater consistency sounds like a good idea!

What I control from the past is my faithfulness to projects, even when they feel like they are draining me (Dog, Book, Mice).  My past karma is a bundle of obstacles around those projects, which may have all been small, but added up (Mountain, Book, Clover).  My future karma is to have some opportunities to publish my writing within my community (Meadow, Clover, Letter): I have just been looking at a number of guest blogging opportunities :)

How I can influence the future is by writing about emotional undermining (Moon, Mice, Letter): things like doubt, lack of self-worth, and guilt.  And the outcome of it all?  Creative writing projects (Flowers, Book, Letter) that I can gift to my community to help them overcome obstacles and emotions through staying faithful to their own creativity (Flowers, Mountain, Meadow, Dog, Moon, Flowers).  Yep, I have a couple of those in mind!

So, what do you think of this way of reading the Nine Square?  I think it adds a slightly different flavour to the interpretation... :)

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Nine Square In The Round

The Nine Square, as well as being a very common and traditional medium sized Lenormand spread, is also incredibly versatile.  Last week's reading took an approach looking at the columns and rows.  This week, I'll be reading the spread 'in the round'. 

For reasons that have disappeared in history (or that I'm just not aware of), this way of reading starts at the middle left hand card and goes around anti-clockwise.  The centre card is either placed beforehand as a significator, or read as such, giving the theme of the reading.


In this case, I allowed the cards to choose the theme: the Lilies.  A reading around establishing harmony...

And straight away I see the story here: an emotional (Heart) discussion (Birch Rods) about health (Tree) requires a commitment (Ring) to listening to each other's instincts (Fox) and being open (Child) to each other.  Making a list (Letter) will help ensure a happy outcome (Sun).

My partner and I disagree about how to deal with a health issue our son is having.  However, if we're to make a decision, we'll have to find a way to open to each other's perspective.  The Heart at the outset reminds me that although this discussion may feel "heated", that's only because we both truly care, even if we have different perspectives. 

Following the advice of the Letter, I will try writing out my reasoning, to get it clear in my own mind and so I don't forget something when we talk it through.  Not that I think my way is the one that must win out, but at least if I'm clear about what bits are most important to me, we can find some kind of compromise.  As the centre line suggests: harmonising our emotions will take some skillful footwork (Heart, Lily, Fox).

Reading the diagonals reinforces the message that harmony and happiness require us to work together, to commit to our partnership in this matter (Sun, Lily, Ring).  And that we can have a discussion about our son without it becoming an argument (Birch Rods, Lily, Boy)!

I'm glad to have a focus on how to deal with this, and the reminder to consider my partner's feelings in all of this.  We are partners, united in the love for our child (knighting Heart, Ring, Boy).

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Basic Nine Square Reading

This week, I thought I'd take a look at a basic nine square reading.  These cards were drawn for a young man who has recently left home, and who is looking for general advice from the cards.


The move from the family home certainly seems to be on his mind, judging by the House, Sun, and Anchor combination at the top - home stability is at the forefront of his consciousness.  As for what he has control over, the Bardess (Female Rider), Chickens (Birds), and Paths suggests that incoming information and social chatter have led to him having decisions to make, which he feels he can do.  In fact, he says he is glad to have his own choices now, rather than having things being decided for him.

The centre row suggests where he is right now: Owls, Letter, Mice.  Written communication is causing a feeling of things having been spoilt.  When I say this his face falls.  He just received a letter that caused him a lot of distress, telling him that his student fees are being put up. 

Looking at the columns, House, Owls, Rider: information about his home situation being talked about.  The client confirms that he had a discussion with his landlady the day before.  The centre column is Sun, Letter, Chickens.  Happy written social talk sounds like the texts his friends have been sending him as they try to bolster his morale.  Finally, we have Anchor, Mice, Paths: stability being undermined by choices made.  The client confirms that several recent choices have left him feeling rather uncertain about things.

So much for the reading, and showing what is already known.  This is something that many people complain about with Lenormand readings: they show what is, what the client knows.  How about advice to draw from it?

The top row (House, Sun, Anchor) suggests putting energy into his home in order to create a greater sense of stability.  That could be in the form of feng shui, or simply by claiming the place he is now living more, through decorating it in some way.  The client admits that he has done little or nothing to make his new flat feel homely, and thinks that getting a desk and chair to work at would be a good first step, as he currently just goes out to the library all the time.  The bottom row (Rider, Chickens, Paths) as what he controls asks him to gather some more information around his choices, including asking people in his social group for their ideas.  This makes him think about a friend whose parents have been complaining about all the junk in their "spare room".  They might have some furniture they'd be happy for him to take off their hands. 

The centre row (Owls, Letter, Mice) suggests that talking about the letter he received will help reduce the impact of it - perhaps through useful suggestions friends might come up with, and the feeling of not being alone in decisions.  He has been keeping these issues from his friends, feeling embarassed about his current situation.  However, he recognises that if it were one of his friends, he'd be happy to help them out.  Taking this on board, he considers who he might feel most comfortable discussing this with.

As for the first column (House, Owls, Rider), once again talking about the information he has received from his landlady looks like it will help.  Sun, Letter, and Chickens also suggests he get involved in the text/facebook conversations with his friends, as they are trying to be supportive.  Finally, Anchor, Mice, and Paths asks if he could reduce his workload while he comes to terms with these decisions that have left him feeling uncertain.  He acknowledges that he has been burying himself in work, and that this may not be the most productive way of dealing with the situation.

My thanks to Y for allowing me to use this reading on the blog.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Highest Expression

Highest Expressions Spread
Following on with the theme of life coaching tools adapted to be used with Lenormand cards, this week I threw a Nine Square.  However, it is based on the mBraining concept of exploring the highest expression of each of your three brains, the head, heart and gut.  These highest expressions are Creativity (Head), Compassion (Heart) and Courage (Gut).

Taking the top line as the head, the middle line as the heart and the bottom line as the gut also fits with traditional ideas of how to interpret Lenormand spreads.  The cards above the person card (or the top row in a nine square), traditionally represents the person's thoughts.  The centre is the heart of the issue, and the bottom row is what the person can control, where they can take action.

Let's see how this works in a real example:

Highest Expressions Reading
Head

Creativity and the head are represented by the Lord, the Scythe and the Man.  A lot of rational, logical energy there, combining feelings of responsibility with practicality.  At the centre, the Scythe is associated with the act of sorting.  This looks like advice to brainstorm creative ideas from a logical perspective, and then be willing to sort them according to how practical they are.  Also taking into consideration your responsibilities, and how these new ideas would fit with them.

Heart

Compassion in this reading is seen in the Meadow (Garden/Park), the Burial Mound (Coffin) and the Letter.  In light of the events in Paris recently, I see the need for the compassionate public writings about death.  An eye for an eye is not the way to bring peace to the world and prevent further pain, suffering and death.  Yet, we must also honour those deaths.

Gut

Courage to act is shown through the Shedding Snake, the Chickens (Birds) and the Dog. What I see here is the need for boundaries around social chatter, and the suggestion to stay faithful to those boundaries.  Practically, it tells me to be very aware of my own boundaries when confronted with other people's talk, and to stick to my own beliefs.

This takes me back to the head section - I need to do clear sorting for myself at a rational level in order to know what I want those boundaries to look like.  And I need to check with my heart to make sure that those boundaries are compassionate, to both myself and others.

Confronted with so many highly emotional views on social media, it is important for me to assess how these things lie with my own heart, and to sort through my responses rationally, too.  With that clarity at an emotional and logical level, I can then put in place the boundaries that will help me move through this time with a greater sense of wholeness.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

What's the Lenormand Score?

Once again this week, I decided to try out a life coaching spread, Lenormand style.  This time it's a line of five, based on the acronym SCORE: Symptom, Cause, Outcome, Resources, Ecology.  The spread is designed to look at an issue or problem and what you can do about it to reach a favorable outcome.  It's nice that the centre card acts as the fulcrum of the spread, which fits well with a Lenormand reading style...  

 

Symptom: the Woman

My first thought was 'working like a drudge'. I know that's not a traditional reading of the Woman card, but sometimes you have to trust your intuition.  There's something about it being the Woman rather than the Lady, added to the positional meaning.

Cause: the Letter

Ha, yes, I have been writing a lot, and also worrying about how much I need to write.  I have a business trip next week to prepare for, and which will take time away from my other pursuits.

Outcome: the Book

Exactly, I have some project deadlines that I need to reach, at least one on an esoteric subject 😊

Resources: the Child

If I can find a sense of playfulness, that will combat the feeling of drudgery.  I need to be open to the joy of these projects, rather than focusing on the time constraints.  After all, worrying won't get them done any faster.

Ecology: the Sun

How does this situation fit in my life (is it ecological)?  I read this as having the required energy for this, I just need to tap into it by focusing on the fun side. 

Reading the line more traditionally gives me: written intuition (Woman, Letter - this blog) around a project involving study/ing materials (Letter, Book) allows me to open up the project (Book, Child) by bringing new energy to it (Child, Sun).  This woman has energy (mirroring Woman, Sun), if she writes playfully (mirroring Letter, Child) to put into the projects at the heart of this reading (Book).

I really like how this reading worked!  The positional meanings added to the interpretation, though just reading the line traditionally brought most of the same ideas.  Hope you'll let me know if you give it a go 😉

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Three Brain Reading

This week, I decided to try something a little different.  On Monday I posted a tarot reading using a Three Brain Spread based on ideas from neuroscience and life coaching, and I thought it would be interesting to do a version with the Celtic Lenormand.  Drawing three cards, I interpret them as what our head, heart and gut are saying.  Then, reading them all together is the overall message.

Head - The Lord

Unsurprisingly, the Head card is all about rationality, logic and thinking you're in charge: the things our head-based ego normally talks to us about! 

Heart - The Rider

The Heart tells us to listen to the messages around us, to be open to hearing what others have to say and what the Universe wants us to hear.

Image courtesy of enneagram.co.uk
Gut - The Man

The Man is more practical and down-to-earth than the Lord, more focused on how to get things done than on being in control.  He is more about doing than thinking.  This fits beautifully with an image I found, shown here courtesy of enneagram.co.uk,  regarding the realm of each brain!

Overall Message

Moving forward rationally is aided by listening to the more practical messages of heart and gut.

The cards absolutely agree - we mustn't think just with our head, but bring in our heart and gut, too, to have a well-balanced understanding of the world, ourselves and others.  I like the imagery, as well.  The head and gut cards look in different directions, it is only the Rider as messenger that links them together.  And it's fascinating to have received both the "Male" cards - to emphasise both how this "thinking" by our gut and head is different and the same.  

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Communing with Johann

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For last year's Samhain Blog Hop, I spoke with Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand through the cards, using a Grand Tableau.  This year, our blog hop wrangler, Arwen, asked us to commune/communicate with, and commemorate someone from the past.  My thoughts were drawn to the other main person involved in the creation of these 36 cards we know as the Petit Lenormand deck: Johann Kaspar Hechtel (1771-1799).

It was Johann Kaspar Hechtel who expanded on the Coffee Grounds cards, adding extra cards to make the deck up to 36 cards.  He chose some different emblems - for example excluding the Lion and Worms found in the Coffee Grounds cards and adding in the Bear.  And he added in playing card inserts - originally both the French suits (the suits used in most playing cards today) and the less well-known German suits (Hearts, Bells, Acorns and Leaves).

Some writers suggest that he added in the playing card inserts so that the deck could be used for a large number of different games, as well as the board game he originally intended (similar to snakes and ladders, with a gaming pot of cash as the prize).  Certainly, he doesn't seem to have paid any attention to their divinatory meanings, as they do not match the Lenormand emblem interpretations.  Of course, that would have been a big ask, in any case, as different countries, different towns, and different readers, interpreted playing cards differently.

Johann Kaspar Hechtel was a man of science (writing articles on physics), and a business man who enjoyed creating parlour games.  For this communication, I decided to use a more conversational approach, asking questions and drawing three cards as an answer.  For yes-no questions, I'm using the method of looking at the colours of the playing card suits - red for yes and black for no - and then interpreting the cards further.

My first question was: Did you include the playing cards just to make your deck multi-purpose, the only deck anyone would ever need for gaming?

Storks, Burial Mound (Coffin), Holly (Tree)
Based on the playing cards, that's a big fat yes (2 hearts and a diamond) :D  Looking deeper, this brought progress (Storks) to completion (Burial Mound), in a lasting way (Holly).  Okay, he's not shy about thinking he did a good job!  Though the two different card inserts are hardly ever included today.  Then again, it's only the Germans who ever read with the German system, and they use the French system equally these days...  And the deck/system he created has held true for over 215 years now!

Second question: Given your original intent to create a gaming deck, how do you feel about these cards being used specifically (and almost exclusively) for divination?

Clouds, Oak (Tree), Sun
Seems to me that he was a little uncertain about this at the outset (Clouds), but has come to see it for the area of growth and energy it is (Oak, Sun).  If this is what it takes to be an enduring success (Oak, Sun), he's all for it :)

Third question: Do you wish the deck carried your original name?

Girl (Child), House, Meadow (Garden/Park)
Two spades and a heart suggest the answer is no, not really.  As to why, the deck has achieved a new, comfortable position (Girl, House) in the public eye (Meadow), which it probably would not have reached without Mademoiselle Lenormand's name.

Lastly, then: What is your hope for the deck's future?

Boy (Child), Mountain, Moon
Seems to me that Herr Hechtel would like the deck to reach new (Boy) peaks (Mountain) of renown (Moon)!  And you could say that playing/gaming (Boy) was an obstacle (Mountain) to that fame (Moon).  Hence why he's happy with how it has developed :)

It's interesting to think about how Johann would have responded to this deck, given he died before his first version was even printed (1800), and long before the deck was rebranded in 1849.  Perhaps if he had lived, none of this would have been possible.  In any case, I like to think that he is glad his game has become such an enduring success.

Now, let's hop on round and see who else is joining the conversation this Samhain!

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Lenormand Schools?

There's lots of talk in various places about different 'schools' of Lenormand reading.  There are also those who say no schools exist, that the real distinction is whether you read using the near and far method or with combinations.  Personally, I feel neither statement is an absolute, nor are they mutually exclusive.

In terms of schools, it's certainly fair to say that every teacher, and even every reader, develops their own style.  Yet, it's also true that there are tendencies among different language groups.  For example, most German readers use the Anchor as a card for work, while the French are more likely to use the Moon card.  Likewise, German readers tend to see exercise in the Rider, while French readers more often attribute it to the Whips. 

Moving further afield, many readers will tell you that 'Lenormand cards are never read reversed.'  However, it is traditional to read with reversals in Russia, where they even have a number of decks designed specifically for this.  And looking across the Pond to Brazil, traditionally the Cross card was seen as being positive (well, what do you expect in a country with a 38m high Jesus the Redeemer statue above one of their biggest cities?), while the Clover is replaced at number 2 with the Logs, representing small obstacles along your path.

As for the near and far versus combinations debate, there are definite differences.  Reading using the near and far method is the oldest known method of using Lenormand cards.  It originated from the cards' history in tasseomancy: reading the images in coffee grounds.  There, near and far referred to the distance of the image from the rim of the cup!  In addition, you find here a very traditional approach to interpretation that is generally about fortune telling.

Combinations are a more modern approach, which developed as the cards were used more as an oracle in their own right.  While the Dutch-Belgian school maintains the near and far system, most other schools focus more on combinations.  However, the two aren't totally separate.  For instance, you generally combine cards that are close together (near).  And cards that are distant (far) may still be read as influencing one another (combining in different ways) depending on whether they connect to the person or topic via mirroring, diagonals, knighting, or houses. 

What about the Celtic Lenormand?  While I chose to locate the images in Celtic Brittany as a homage to the French ancestry of Mademoiselle Lenormand, the interpretations and reading styles expressed in the companion book are far closer to the German school.  Not surprising, as the majority of books I read at the start of my love affair with this system were by German writers :) 

Overall, many readers draw from different teachers, and every reader develops their own meanings and interpretations as they go along, based on their own experience and interests.  And that's as it should be - we are all unique, and we each read the cards in the way that makes most sense to us.  We read according to our clients and ourselves.  For instance, CaitlĂ­n Matthews reads for a lot of actors, and so has developed combination meanings based on stage fright, voice projection, acting agencies etc.  Others read in different milieux, and that affects their reading style.  My advice, learn what makes sense to you, wherever it comes from!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

What Time Is Love?

Okay, borrowing shamelessly from musical lyrics for the title, but today's post is all about timing.  And just as KLF's What Time Is Love? may now seem very dated, I find the most traditional Lenormand timing systems to be pretty irrelevant to how I read.

Here is an image of a traditional approach to finding the timing of a reading.  The idea with the Lenormand timing board is that after you have completed a Grand Tableau reading, you scoop up and re-shuffle the cards, and then lay them out in this pattern (basically the GT again, but with a timing focus).  Where a particular card falls that was most relevant to your reading (for example the Heart for finding love), tells you the timing of that event foreseen in the Grand Tableau.

Imagine, then, that you've just read a GT, and it suggested that the person's perfect partner is out there, a studious, red-haired man (framed by the Book and the Fox).  You then deal the timing board, and find the Heart on the House of the Snake - 7 years until this event is set to take place!  Now, I don't know about you, but if I received a reading and was told that I'd think, what was the point of that whole reading?!  Worse yet, it could land on the House of the Bear: not destined to happen for 10 to 20 years!!!

On top of that, there's the question of memorising these mostly random seeming timings.  The Rider and Clover being fast, and the Scythe being sudden, make sense, as does the night for Stars and the Sun for summer.  But why should the Heart be August and the Key November, with the Whips being two years and the Fish being four years?

In designing the Celtic Lenormand, I thought about timings that would make sense within a time frame of a maximum of a year (the most I would consider it useful to read ahead).  I've written many times before about the cards associated with the Wheel of the Year sabats - shown in order from Imbolc here.

Another aspect I included in these images was the idea of the time of day - relevant for when to perform a ritual or spell, for instance.  So, the Songbirds can represent Imbolc (February Eve), and also the pre-dawn twilight.  The Lily represents Ostara (Easter, Spring Equinox) and also early morning, while Beltane (May Eve) and mid-morning are shown in the Flowers.  Litha and noon are indicated by the Sun, and early afternoon and Lughnasadh (August Eve) are the Scythe.  The Autumn Equinox and late afternoon are found in the Meadow (Garden), and nightfall and Samhain are found in the Burial Mound (Coffin).  Finally, Yule is represented by the Moon and midnight.

Alternately, a system which makes sense to me both in terms of time frame and in terms of practicality, is to see the cards 1-31 as potentially representing the day of the month when something is to happen.  Likewise, the cards 1-12 can represent the months of the year.  A little trickier is the fact that readers also associate the cards with hours, days, and weeks.  So, the Tree represents something that is quite long-lasting (in terms of its main interpretation).  Yet, it could also indicate 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, or the fifth month (May).  How do you decide which of those is indicated?

One possibility is that the answer will seem intuitively right.  Another answer may be in how you frame the question at the outset. That is probably the simplest way to get clarity: defining how long you intend to read for before you begin.  And of course you can combine both of these, setting your intended time frame and also accepting the message if something jumps out at you intuitively.

How about you, what timing system/s do you use?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Working Your Intuitive Lenormand Muscles

Step 1 - basic keywords
Last week, I posted a video about the difference between using your intuition in Tarot readings compared to Lenormand readings.  It included an exercise to build your Lenormand vocabulary and practice tuning into your Lenormand intuition.  Not everyone responds well to videos, though, so I decided to break the exercise down in writing.  And it also means you get to see a second example :)

The first step is to write down keywords for each of the cards that you've drawn.  It's good to brainstorm these, to practise/remember them.  It can also be useful to look in a book or two - it's easy as a reader to get stuck using the same keywords all the time.  While it can be good to develop your own Lenormand vocabulary in that way - knowing what the card most often means to you - it is also good to stretch yourself sometimes.  After all, the world is a wide and wonderful place, and may present you with people or situations you don't know or expect.

Step 2 - basic interpretations
Step two is to create some basic sentences using these keywords.  These are simple, off-the-cuff interpretations, and it is often at this stage that one of them will "ping" for you.  Then, you know what the most important message of the reading is.

Step three is to write out combinations for the cards in the reading.  Taking this three card reading - Book, Owls, and Lily - that means combining Books and Owls, combining Owls and Lily, and also mirroring to combine Book and Lily.  You may also come up with some blends of all three cards.  For instance, with these cards a three-way blend might give you a talkative mature student.

Step 3 - blended keywords for each pairing

Step four is to create some more complex sentences and variations, taking these blended meanings into account, and using several different variants to add texture to your reading.

Step 4 - more complex sentences

The final step is kind of a combination of steps two and four - you find the interpretation that your intuition tells you is most relevant, and then you dig deeper into it.  You can ask a number of questions around the basic interpretation.  For example, here I asked why and how...
Step 5 - digging deeper
What other blends or keywords would you have come up with?  And if you give this exercise a go, I'd love to hear how you find it!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Differences Between Tarot and Lenormand

DruidCraft Tarot (a big deck), Wildwood Tarot (regular Tarot size deck) and Celtic Lenormand (regular Lenormand size)
Recently, I've seen quite a few people asking what the differences are between Tarot and Lenormand, so this post looks at exactly that.

At a basic level, Tarot has 78 cards organised into four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles or some variation thereof) with fourteen cards each (Ace through Ten and four Court cards), plus 22 Major Arcana or Trumps. 

Lenormand has 36 cards, divided into four suits (Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, Clubs) with nine cards each (Aces plus Six through Ten and three Court cards). 

While the Tarot Majors have names (such as the Chariot and the Hermit), every Lenormand card has a title and key object: the Rider, the Clover, the Ship, the House, the Tree, the Clouds, the Snake, and so on. 

Straight away, you notice that the Lenormand objects are rather everyday, things like the Letter and the Book, the Child and the Mice.  There are a lot of natural objects and animals, as well as some people.  And although you can use the playing card associations to add to your readings, you can just read the cards based on these key objects. 

Many Tarot decks have cards showing situations, such as the Five of Cups with a cloaked figure looking sadly at three spilled cups, ignoring two full cups behind him.  They often have detailed landscapes, a bridge and a town in the distance in the Five of Cups, for example.

Lenormand cards tend to be much simpler: a Book lying on a table, a Ship on the sea, some Mice eating something. This simplicity is connected to how Lenormand cards are read.  They are pictographs rather than images, hieroglyphs/words rather than stories told through visuals. 

For instance, the Five of Cups is associated with situations where someone is feeling melancholy or not seeing the potential/future because they are focused on what is wrong or past.  A single Tarot card can be a whole answer: you've been looking to the past, what positives might you have been ignoring?

Meanwhile, the House has keywords such as real estate, house, family, patriarch, and comfortable; and the Child has keywords such as new, naive, small, child and innocent.  Lenormand cards are normally read together, combined or blended to make composite words or sentences.  The House and the Child together could represent a new house, a naive father-figure or a small property.

With Tarot cards, some readers look at how they interact.  Is the Queen of Swords looking at the Five of Cups? This could mean showing some empathy to someone who is sad and stuck in the past.  Other readers pay attention to which details of a card jump out at them in a given reading.  Do you notice the tassel on the Queen of Swords' arm?  That might mean tempering your actions with kindness.  

This interaction between cards is far more pronounced within the  Lenormand system.  Not in terms of the actual images, though there are some that have a directional element, and some readers will consider which way the people cards or the Court cards (if they have illustrated inserts) are facing.  More often, it is about how near cards are to one another, or how far apart.  Even if you read more with combinations than with the near and far approach, the distance determines which cards you combine together.

Another way of deepening your Tarot readings is through using associations to numerology, Kabbalah, astrology, mythology, etc.  None of these is traditionally used with Lenormand cards, which are not seen as part of any esoteric tradition, but as something far simpler and more everyday.

On the other hand, Lenormand cards do still have different levels of interpretation.  They can be interpreted at a symbolic level: the House standing for comfort or family.  They have a literal level: the house as an actual house, or real estate more generally.  They have a cartomantic level: the House is the King of Hearts, a kindly older man.  They have a person aspect: the Rider is a lover, a young/er man, a visitor, the Ship suggests someone foreign.  They have a timing aspect: the Rider is fast - the next three days.  They have health associations: the Fox points to an issue with ear, nose, throat or sinuses.  And if you are reading with the Celtic Lenormand, then you know they can also have a spiritual dimension...

As for reading intuitively, some people claim this is a difference between Tarot cards (read intuitively) and Lenormand cards (not).  However, as I've written about before, this is a false dichotomy.  If a reader is to be anything other than a computer, they will always bring their intuition into what they do. 

In reading Lenormand cards, your intuition guides you to choose the correct level of interpretation for each card, and to find the combinations that are meaningful based on the question and the context around the reading and the client.  Although this isn't connected with the actual visual on the card you are looking at, it is still a sorting process that goes on in your subconscious, which can examine and choose the most relevant meaning or image to you and serve it up in a way that your rational mind takes far longer to understand.  Those "aha" moments of intuition happen just the same in a Lenormand reading, it's simply that what your subconscious is processing is the keywords, rather than the visual cues.

I hope this post has been useful and please do ask if you have any specific questions.  And check out my most recent video, which looks at these differences in "intuitive reading" and offers an exercise to build your Lenormand intuition!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Harvest Festival Cards

Previous Blog/ Master List/ Next Blog

Our wrangler for this blog hop is Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose.  She asked us to get creative and draw the card we'd choose for the harvest festival of Mabon.  Now, I've already posted about the card I created to represent this in the Celtic Lenormand: the Meadow (Garden).  And as this is the Celtic Lenormand blog, I didn't feel I could just draw another card, especially as my artistic skills are limited, hence enrolling the fabulous Will Worthington to paint the deck in the first place!

Instead, I thought I could get creative by collaging this card with others I would consider related to it, especially in terms of this turn of the Wheel of the Year.

When I was at school, I remember us bringing in tins and packages of dried food for this season, as part of the Harvest Festival.  These were then donated to those in need - a lovely, modern take on sharing the fruits of the harvest.  This festival, then, is not just about the harvest itself, but about the sharing of it, the sense of community.  That is represented in the Meadow card, where food is laid out on blankets in a meadow, ready for the entire village to share, perhaps also with people from the neighbouring lands.  That element of gifting would be represented by the Flowers (Bouquet) card. Often, it is charitable institutions that oversee delivering the harvest fruits to those in need: Flowers, Meadow and Hill Fort (Tower).  


Another aspect of this festival is the need to be organised about it: there's no point to gathering the fruits of the harvest if they then go to waste - either rotting where we store them, or never reaching the people who need them.  So, we might pair the Meadow and the Flowers with the Anchor for doing the work necessary to preserve and store them, and/or with the Bear for the kind of person who would be good at that kind of organisational work.

And we definitely wouldn't want the Mice getting into our stores!  Perhaps, if this were a spell, we might specify an end to the Mice - adding the Coffin to box them in, or cutting them away with the Scythe...  Thieves will be sliced up and buried!

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Health Spells

As the kids head back to school and cold season approaches, my mind turns to health spells.  Lenormand cards are great for these, as they all have health associations, as I discussed a few months back here and here.

At a very basic level, you could use the cards to ask for radiant health during this season: Meadow (Garden) (associated in this system with this turn of the Wheel), Oak (Tree), Sun.


Getting a bit more specific, I chose these cards to represent children's runny (flowing) noses clearing up quickly :) 

Boy, Fish, Fox, Birch Rods, Clover

You could also keep it tighter and just have these cards to represent children's ear/nose/throat infections being small or soon over...

Boy, Fox, Clover

Of course, a spell is not the only thing I'd do.  As the saying goes, heaven helps those who help themselves.  So, adding some eucalyptus or olbas oil to an oil burner to accompany the spell would be no bad idea.  Or teaching your kids to use a neti pot (if they're old enough - can't wait for that discussion in our house!)  Giving them probiotics and herbal remedies to boost their immune system, too: such as Cat's Claw (we give them this as a tea),  Goldenseal, Echinacea, Schisandra.  And have some yourself, while you're at it.  After all, the thing kids love to share most is their infections!

Wishing you all a healthy autumn, and just to say that next week's post will go live on Sunday 20th September, as part of the Mabon Tarot Blog Hop.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Which Way Is Which?

After last week's post, I wanted to explore the idea of directionality in the cards a little more.  Not trusting that the exact cards I wanted would pop out in a shorter reading, a Grand Tableau seemed like the best idea.  I chose to stick to 36 cards, for clarity's sake :)

Grand Tableau for a woman
As I mentioned in the previous post, the cards most often assigned a sense of directionality (though not all of these might be used in this way by all readers who use directions) are: Rider, Clouds, Coffin, Scythe, Mice, Book, Lord, Lady, Cross.

The Clouds are the very first card of the GT, with the light side in towards the other cards, and next to the Dog.  A little uncertainty around friendship, or what to be loyal to, which quickly clears. After all, there is a journey of discovery to be embarked upon, a financial venture (Ship/Fish), which may have its challenges (Cross).

The Cross is a card which some people interpret with a lot of directionality. It is a burden if it is 'in front' of you, but something to lean on if behind you. Uplifting if below you, but crushing what is beneath it.  In this GT, it is at the very top of a column, and beneath it is the Lord, the Lady, and the Storks.  Taking it as a card of life lessons, these weigh heavy on the mind of our Lady. Logic (the Lord) is no help at all.  Yet, with the Lady on top of the Storks, she still feels she has some control over her ability to make progress.

The Rider can show messages, but are they coming to us, or missing us?  Taking this reading as one for a woman, the Rider is next to the Lady, riding away from her.  The message either comes from her, or has missed her.

The Book is also next to the Lady, with the pages facing her: secrets she can uncover, given time.  (I recently discovered that some readers see the spine/pages the other way around - the spine holds the title, it gives up its information; the pages must be opened and read in detail, so their secrets are more closed).

The Scythe is cutting into the Letter, writing that needs to make the cut - an exam! It could also be something written that causes a shock. 

In traditional Coffin cards, some readers interpret the side of the Coffin draped with a black cloth as the darker, more permanent ending side, while the other side is more about illness or less permanent endings.  To honour this, in the Celtic Lenormand card I asked Will Worthington to paint a black raven flying to the left (the most traditional side for the black cloth).  Here, the raven flies towards the Rider, who rides away from the Lady, and the Tree (health) is on the 'better' side of the Burial Mound (Coffin), followed by the Fox. The Lady has not finished delivering a message about ill health as an independent contractor.

The Mice card can be seen as nibbling away at what the majority of the mice face, and pooping on the card to their other side.  My original intention was for the mice to nibble towards the left (most traditional).  However, due to the design chosen for the numbering and playing card associations, this card ended up flipped around the other way.  Still, I choose to read it as nibbling left, pooping right, which has the Mice eating away at the Paths, the Lady's choices, and tainting the Storks, her chances for progress and change.

As for the Lord, he faces the Flowers (Bouquet).  This is a card which is often associated with a charming, attractive woman, with its playing card association to the Queen of Spades.  Some traditional readers might interpret this as the main man in the client's life having his eyes on someone else, or at least the Lady worrying that this is so (the cards are directly above her - on her mind).  I prefer a more internal interpretation: a woman who is trying to take a rational approach to creativity, or logically understand a gift she is being offered.

I wanted to show how directionality might affect interpretations of these cards and those around them, so I won't do a detailed breakdown of this GT, the post is long enough as it is.  However, it was useful to me this week, when I (the Lady) am facing some confusing obstacles (Clouds/Mountain), that I hope clear communication will help me get through (Owls/Key).  I have an exam to take (Scythe/Letter), and have been studying hard (Book/Lady).  There's a life lesson, too, about staying loyal to a financial venture despite its uncertainties and how I can find a new feeling of peace and clarity (top line).  Whle I might need to make my wending way towards progress, it is difficult to make choices around work, but I need to follow my heart to find success despite the obstacles (bottom line).  Thinking logically about creative messages and an opportunity to study these are at the heart of it all (Flowers, Lord, Clover, Book, Lady, Rider), so I'd better focus there - I have an exam today!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Line Length and Directionality

My Lenormand book collection - 52, not counting LWB's
It's amazing how many Lenormand books in different languages focus on odd number lines (3, 5, 7, 9).  And I should know, as I have quite a collection of Lenormand books, in English, German (the majority), French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish!   

A beginner couldn't be blamed for thinking that lines should always have an odd number of cards.  Yet, how true is that?

The only time a line really needs to have an uneven number of cards is if you have chosen a significator.  That card goes in the middle of your line either by choice (putting it there and dealing cards around it) or by finding the significator in a shuffled deck and taking one or more cards to either side of it for your reading.

That's it.  Otherwise, there is no reason why a line cannot use an even number of cards.

What about reading past-present-future, I hear you ask?


If you have four cards and you blend them, then cards 1+2 can be seen as the past, cards 2+3 are the present, and cards 3+4 are the future :) 

All this to say, this week I decided to draw a line of four cards...

Another subject that sometimes confuses people is the notion of directionality in Lenormand readings.  Most Lenormand cards aren't intended to be read with a sense of direction.  One obvious exception to this is the Man and Woman cards.  There are plenty of readers who take the way these cards face to either show where the person's interest lies, or to determine which side of the reading should be the past and which the future.

There are some other cards which tend to be read with direction.  The Clouds and the Scythe are two frequent cases, though some others are the Rider, the Coffin, the Mice, the Book and the Cross.  I mention this, as three of those came up in my readings today...

Yesterday, I made a decision about pricing for my Magical Life Coaching service, and sent off an email to that effect to someone who'd made an enquiry.  Then, I started worrying and second guessing myself - should I charge less?  Does it depend on whether I know the person?  Who is my ideal client anyway?

So, I decided to ask whether I'd made the right choice in sending the email with those prices.

Man, Clouds, Lady, Girl
The Clouds card has a dark and a light side.  In this reading, the dark side is next to the Man, who represents logic and rationality.  Added to that, he's actually looking into those dark clouds.  The light side is next to the woman, representative of intuition and nurturing.  And she is looking at the Child, sign of being open, honest, and willing to try new things. 

If we apply last week's yes-no formula, we have three black cards and one red, so no, I didn't make the right choice.  Seems the problem is that I was too focused on being rational, which made my actions confused.  Instead, I should take a more nurturing, intuitive approach, in order to clear away those doubts and worries.  Looks like I need to take a new approach, and perhaps be honest with the person about why I'm making a change.

And how can I find a more nurturing way to price my Magical Life Coaching?

Meadow (Garden), Book, Anchor, Scythe

Meadow +  Book - research the community I'm interested in
Book + Anchor - consider work confidentiality, work at uncovering things
Anchor + Scythe - make a clean break with the work I did before, no quick harvest

Here, we have the Book, with its spine (the side that cannot be opened) to the Meadow.  Some readers take this as representing secrets that cannot or should not be disclosed.  So, while I may need to do research, this is made harder by the fact that a lot of coaches don't advertise their prices.  You have to actually talk with them to get to that nub. 

In terms of my potential clients, like that Book, they may open up with a little work.  That work of understanding them may also help me decide how to price things on a case-by-case basis.  How much do I want to work with someone, and how much can they afford?  

A face-to-face approach would be better than trying to do these things via email.  The Scythe's blade faces away from the other cards.  While I need to make a clean start, that doesn't mean doing anything too sudden or drastic.  It may be that this is a lesson in how best to work with people, rather than something I can fix with this particular person.

Back to the nub of the question: each person in the tribe I would most like as my clients is a book that may take some time and work to understand.   There is no point rushing into things, that's no way to reap a harvest that is worthwhile.   That's fine by me, I'm in no particular hurry.  I would rather have clients I really want to help, than just taking on any client who comes along :)





Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Yes-No Questions

Following on from last week's post about using the playing card associations for the cards to calculate the quintessence of a reading, this week we look at another possible method for using the playing card associations on the Lenormand cards.

As anyone who has followed this blog, or who has the Celtic Lenormand, knows, I don't favour seeing any cards as either positive or negative.  However, even without ascribing positive or negative to the Lenormand cards, it is possible to use the playing card associations to answer yes-no questions.  For this, basically red suits are seen as positive and black suits are seen as negative.  If you want to add a little more subtlety to this, you can take diamonds as a strong yes, hearts as a weak yes, spades as a weak no, and clubs as a strong no.

One thing I like about this system is that it gives you more information than just a straight yes or no.  After you have read the playing cards, you can still interpret the Lenormand images for a deeper answer.

Being a bit of a skeptic, to demonstrate this system I decided to do two draws.  The first asked should I give up on X, while the second was should I carry on with X.  As you can see the cards played along.

Should I give up on X?
Both the Chickens and the Paths cards are diamonds, strong yeses, with a weak Spade no. Give up - yes.
Should I carry on with X?
The Tower (six of Spades) is a weak no, the Scythe (Jack of Diamonds) a strong yes, but the Ring (Ace of Clubs) a strong no.  Carry on - no.

Overall, the draw answered yes to 'should I give up' and no to 'should I carry on': nicely consistent. 

Looking deeper, the first draw for giving up (Chickens, Paths, Lily) suggests I have a choice to make here between what people will say, and a sense of peace.  This fits. The question is whether to carry on with something that I have told others I will do, but which has been going extremely slowly and weighing me down with the burden of something unfinished.  Add to that the fact that some new things are really taking off, and also have a deadline, and I have been questioning whether it's worth continuing.

The second draw has the Tower, Scythe and Ring.  The Scythe is a card that is often read with an element of directionality: what is the blade pointing to?  Here, the Scythe's blade cuts at the commitment of the Ring.  And the Tower speaks of institutions: an institutional requirement (that deadline imposed from without) recommends I break the promise I made to myself and told others of.

However, whether because I have authority issues and don't like being told what to do, or whether I'm just not ready to be a quitter, for the moment I'm going to ignore the card's advice.  I shall carry on and try to keep the promise I made, despite other commitments.  My next question, I guess, would have to be: what can I best do to fulfil all my commitments... :)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Quintessential Blessings

Some people ask what the playing card inserts in the Lenormand cards are used for.  One answer is that you can use them to calculate the quintessence for the reading. Obviously, this is something you would only do with a smaller reading: a Grand Tableau always uses all the cards, so the number would be the same.  Plus, adding up all those numbers would be rather time consuming!  I would only use this for readings up to nine cards.

The next question is how to calculate the quintessence.  In fact there are several ways of doing this.


Let's take an example to make things clearer.  The first option is to add up the numbers of the playing cards. Here, for instance, we have the Ace (1) of Hearts, the King (13) of Spades and the Nine (9) of Spades. This adds up to twenty three, or the Mice.  This could also be reduced down to five, the Tree.

If your deck doesn't give the playing card associations or if you just prefer to try something different you can also use the Lenormand numbering in this way.  In that case you add twenty eight (28), thirty (30) and thirty five (35) to give ninety three (93), which breaks down to twelve, the Birds. Reducing it further adds up to three, the Ship.

Whichever way you choose to calculate the quintessence, what do you do with it?

One option is to consider it as you would the base card in a tarot reading or a jumper card.  It could be seen as the underlying message, a message from spirit, or as the overarching theme of the reading.  Another lovely variation suggested by CaitlĂ­n Matthews in her Complete Lenormand Handbook (Healing Arts Press, 2014), is to create a blessing based on this card.

So, what would this look like in terms of the example given here?

The basic reading might be that calm action (Man/Lily) brings harmony to a work situation (Lily/Anchor). Taking the playing card quintessence as the Mice and the Tree, we could say that not finding a peaceful resolution will undermine our health: too much stress!  Or it could be that the undermining of our health is the reason why we need to take calm action to create a more peaceful workplace.

Thinking about CaitlĂ­n's blessing, this could be: I release attachment (Mice) to this situation in order to honour and support my well-being (Tree).