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

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Sun is the Sun

The Sun
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Welcome to another blog hop, where writers from around the world come together to create a circle of posts all on the same topic, yet each from our own perspective.  For this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, our wrangler, Joanne Sprott of Cosmic Whispers Tarot, challenged us to write about the Sun and/or Mercury's presence in the cards.

The first thing that came to my mind was the Sun card itself, and the interesting fact that the Lenormand interpretations are pretty much the same as the Tarot meanings.  This isn't the case for any of the other cards which have the same symbols/title!  In fact, these could almost be described as mercurial in their differences between the two systems :D

The Moon
The meanings of the Moon vary from mystery and confusion (tarot), to fame and emotions (Lenormand), as Ethony explored last blog hop.  Likewise, the Tower in the Tarot is a card that strikes terror into many, with its threat of sudden, shattering events that upset our fixed ideas and sense of self.  Meanwhile, in the Lenormand system, it indicates authority and institutions, the top echelons of power, and the aloofness and loneliness these can all entail.

While there is no Rider in the Tarot, some people have tried to compare this card to the Tarot Knights.  However, it is more often Pages that are connected with messages.  And while the Rider is energetic and denotes movement, he doesn't have any of the subtleties of the Knights, such as variations between where his attention is focused, or how reliable he is.

Riders and Children
And the Tarot Pages, while sometimes connected to the idea of children or a child-like energy, are also mostly unrelated to the Lenormand Child.  The Child has no connection to messages, nor to learning.  It is far more about innocence, openness, naivety, honesty (not something you'd connect with the Page of Swords, for instance), and new beginnings.  Although some of these characteristics might be attributed to the Pages, once again there is the lack of focus on where these are applied, so important to understanding the Tarot Pages. 

Coming back to the Sun, in both systems this is a card of joy, success, energy, and enlightenment.  You might say that this is because the Sun is so simple and clear in its effect on our lives, so how could it be seen differently.  However, looking around the world, that isn't so.

For example, in countries where droughts are an issue, the sun is not seen just as a happy harbinger of good harvests.  Instead, it is a fierce challenger, sucking the life out of both land and people.  Even the energetic, dynamic aspect of the Sun is not as clear cut as you might think.  While in the English language, there is a tendency to see these characteristics as male, and while that is echoed in the Roman languages - le soleil (French), il sole (Italian), el sol (Spanish) - in German the sun is female (die Sonne).  In Japan, the Sun is associated with the Goddess Amaterasu, linked to beauty, royalty and creativity.

Hope you've enjoyed this little exploration of the Sun, and the mercurial variations between Tarot and Lenormand symbolism :)

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