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

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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!