Wednesday, 21 October 2015
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, Caitlín 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!