Seeing the Signs

August 1st, 2017

Thoughts While Reading The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook

 

 

 

One of the books on my summer reading list is The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards, by Caitlín Matthews. I don’t have a set of Lenormand Cards – but I’m not letting that stop me from learning as much as I can about them. As with all divinatory cards, I am fascinated by the variety and beauty of the many sets of Lenormand cards available in occult shops, online or from private seller.

I think what appeals to me about the Lenormand is the combination of pictures, numbers and playing card symbolism. In divinatory terms, there’s a lot to work with. Since I don’t have a set of cards yet and have therefore never used a set of Lenormand cards, I can’t say anything about them but I have gazed on their images online and they are incredibly intriguing! I have seen enough sets to know which one – or ones – I would buy if I were in the position to do so. But being the witch that I am, I have learned that these kind of divination tools tend to come to you, rather than you seek them out. When I see the set I want, I’ll know it.

But while I am enjoying Caitlín Matthew’s informative and well-written book, this article is not about Lenormand cards per se. It about her assertion about reading Tarot cards versus Lenormand Cards. Having never read Lenormand Cards, I can’t say anything about that. I have no reason to doubt what she says. However, about reading the Tarot, she writes,

In tarot, cards are laid out in predecided or named positions. Take a spread like the ten-card Celtic Cross. Every position has a different meaning, as introduced by diviners as they lay cards down … Each position is an essential part of the reading and helps define or frame how the card laid upon each place is to be read.” (10)

She goes on to say, “Lenormand cards work by proximity to each other, creating meaning through juxtaposition. This is a more linguistic method. Just as we use different combinations of the alphabet to create words, so, too, do Lenormand cards work together to create different meanings, as we will see …” (10)

Of course, I don’t yet have a set of Lenormand cards, so I can’t say if using them is a “more linguistic” method or not. But I have been reading Tarot cards and studying the Tarot for over thirty years now and while some spreads are just as she describes – putting a card on a certain position and reading it against what that position is supposed to mean – other spreads do require the cards to be read together, as card combinations. So in that sense, the Tarot can be also be a linguistic method – quite honestly, I never thought of it as anything else.

On the subject of card combinations, I did learn quite a bit from her explanation of how to read the placement of cards – the first card as the subject and the second card as modifier. When there are more cards, the way the modifiers are worked out – left or right of a middle subject card – changes, but this is basically it. Now – maybe I’m just being cantankerous but I don’t see why this method can’t be used with a set of Tarot cards. Or a deck of playing cards, for that matter. When you’re a skilled reader, I would think you would be able to read most anything. I do not even pretend to play the part of a skilled reader – I am merely an interested amateur – a kitchen witch who has an interest in all the arts.

Once I did visit a skilled reader. It was many years ago in Topanga Canyon, California. She used an ordinary deck of Rider-Waite cards but she laid them out three in a row, read those three as a combination, then laid out three more, read those three, and so on. She laid the cards out very fast and read them very fast. She used maybe half the deck. One of the things I remember her telling me was that I was not with “the man I was supposed to be with” – I was with the father of my son – and my “soulmate” would be coming to me soon. Whoever that soulmate was, he has come and gone, because, as I said – that was many years ago. But my point is, the way she read the cards was more like setting out a Grand Tableau –she probably used around than 36 cards. Of course, at that time I had neither heard of the Lenormand Oracle or the Grand Tableau. But now – reading about it and thinking back – I wonder if she was blending the two systems for a better reading. Who knows?

In my Tarot notebook, I have notes about card combinations, some from books I have read and some printed off the internet. I have quite a lot from a now-defunct website called bigtarot.net – I searched for it the other day and it was gone – but websites come and websites go. It seems that most of the information I have saved refers to the court cards – I suppose that would make sense, since it’s easier to modify concepts concerning people. And most questions people ask concern other people! For instance, a queen with the seven of swords – it could be a light-handed woman or a woman who is a victim of theft, depending on the placement of the cards.

Someday I will have a set of Lenormand cards and I will continue my education with this divinatory system. Until then, I will practice my skills using Tarot cards, playing cards, and whatever else I have. As I was told as a child, “Practice makes perfect.” I don’t know if I’ll ever be perfect, but I know I will never stop practicing.

You can find out more about The Complete Lenormand Oracle by clicking HERE.

To read more on the author of the book, Caitlin Matthews, click HERE.

Brightest Blessings!

 


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