always

Learning Lenormand

November, 2018

A Portrait of the Morning

My sun is in Taurus and I most definitely a creature of habit. My morning routine is a good example of this. I generally wake around 4 a.m. I stay in bed for a half-hour or so, cuddling with a kitty – usually Radar, who sleeps with his head on my pillow – and praying. Then I get up, put on my flannels and go into the kitchen, where I start the coffee. I feed the cats. I have my oatmeal and coffee while reading and replying to emails and then it’s in the shower. I’m in and out of the shower by 6 a.m., generally. After I’m all clean and dressed, I make my bed and straighten up my room. While I do this, I listen to classical music on the radio. I like peace and quiet in the mornings.

This is when I meditate. My son James is still sleeping and the cats are fed and back to sleep so it’s a nice serene environment.

I used to do Tarot readings after meditation. When I got my Lenormand cards, I started doing both – but with James living here, I usually don’t have time to sit and read cards for over an hour anymore. Honestly, I barely have enough time to do anything I want to do anymore but that’s a whole ’nother issue!

I don’t have to read the Tarot everyday to learn it – my life is immersed in the Tarot whether I am reading the cards or not. My poetry and my artwork are both mostly about the Tarot and uses Tarot themes. I am not so arrogant to suggest that I don’t need to learn anymore about the Tarot – there’s always more to learn! I’m just saying that my Tarot journal is now essentially a Lenormand journal.

I decided to stop doing daily readings of any cards except the Lenormand because – like learning a new language – I just wasn’t getting it. That’s the honest truth. If you are only using the cards once in a while – or if you are only using them after you have already done a reading with your favorite Tarot deck – how are you supposed to actually learn anything? I had to get in a schedule where I was sitting and only using the Lenormand. I also had to use the same format everyday – like I had with the Tarot thirty years ago, when I was using the Celtic Cross predominantly. So – after working with several different Lenormand spreads I found in Caitlín Matthew’s The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards – I decided upon Spread 6 “The Portrait”, which you can find on page 132, if you own this fundamental book – and I highly recommend the purchasing of this text! – I cannot stress that enough!

The Portrait Spread is a 9-card spread that is the basis for many of the spreads that follow in subsequent chapters. Therefore, it’s perfect for a daily spread – it’s a quick and easy look on what is going on in your life. Nine is such a great number on so many levels – as the saying goes, “Three times three, so mote it be”. Matthew writes that, “Nine is a powerful number in that it replicates itself in all its multiples.” (Matthews, 131). There’s ten cards in a Celtic Cross but when you consider that the first two cards are “crossed” over the same position, it can be argued that there are actually only nine positions in the spread, which gives it a different dynamic.

The Portrait Spread is laid out with three cards along the top, three in the middle, and three along the bottom.

(Matthews, 132)

Card 5 – the middle card – is the focus of the reading. I can’t tell you how many times that card is absolutely dead on. Sometimes I can’t get heads or tails out of the cards around it – especially when I try to blend meanings of cards – but usually that one card tells me everything I need to know.

Cards 1+4+7 = the past.

Cards 2+5+8 = the present.

Cards 3+6+9 = the future.

Card 1 tells me what “provoked or instigated the issue” (Matthews, 133). On a daily basis, there might not be an ongoing “issue” but then again, there might be stuff going on that you are not yet aware! The corners 1+9+3+7 shows what that basic issue is. The diamond cards of 2+4+6+8 (who do we appreciate, sorry couldn’t help it) show the inner aspects of the issue.

After this, read the rows 1+2+3, 4+5+6, 7+8+9 as well as 1+8+3 and 7+2+9 to get all the aspects of the portrait. If this seems like a lot – well, it is! But like learning any new language, doing your daily homework is the key and that’s the only way to learn. And I’ll be honest with you – quite often, I lay out the cards and start writing my analysis in my journal and have to stop because life intrudes. So now I have started setting aside time after lunch to finish up any unfinished Lenormand “homework”. Since it is my habit to take a nap after lunch, it’s nice to drift off to sleep with Lenormand images and concepts floating through my head.

Here’s today’s portrait:

I usually shuffle the cards as part of my morning meditation. I don’t focus on a question or anything at all. I just let the cards slide through my fingers and back through between my hands as I drift through consciousness. I’ve found that I get better readings when I don’t have a specific question then when I try to get the cards to “tell me something” – I just let them talk to me.

32 Moon 8 Hearts is Card 5 – the middle card – the focus of the reading. After months of being artistically blocked, I am once again working at my poetry and my artwork and other writing projects – I am getting up before dawn to work. I am also baking bread and thinking of other creative things to cook. My life seems to be bursting with creativity and I am working harder than ever. And I am loving my work!

30 Lily + 11 Whip + 28 Man is my past – I always read this as resent past, within the last twenty-four to forty-eight hours. At first glance, I really can’t make any sense of these cards together but I will take a guess – I’m always guessing! – and say that these three cards refer to the maturing man in the house – my son, James – and how he is increasingly in charge of things.

20 Garden + 32 Moon + 23 Mice is my future – I read this as “what’s happening today” – and this tell me that having to go out into the world (running errands) will cut into my ability to work today, since getting around Buffalo on public transportation takes up so much time.

16 Stars + 5 Tree + 4 House is my future – which I take to mean as the near future, tomorrow or the next day – I will be focusing on my health and well-being and doing things at home.

That seems really straight-forward and to the point, doesn’t it? When I first started reading Lenormand cards, I was obsessed with getting the perfect reading, the correct reading of the cards and the most precise reading but now I realize that I could read these cards today and get a certain reading and then read these same cards tomorrow and see something different. There is no true correct reading. There’s only the reading that resonates for you.

After I read all aspects of the Portrait Spread and make notations in my Lenormand Journal, I put the cards and the journal away for the day. Later in the evening, I get the journal out and see how closely the cards predicted the day and remind myself of tomorrow’s prediction.

When you have been doing a spread like this for say – two or three weeks – a month, tops – look through your readings and see what cards have been showing up most often. This past month, I have been seeing 32 Moon 8 Hearts, 26 Book 10 Diamonds, 5 Tree 7 Hearts, 6 Clouds King Clubs, and 33 Key 8 Diamonds more than any of the other cards. Given that my focus has been on creativity and writing and just how to get going on my novel again, I think these cards really show my struggles with those issues.

I really like this spread. It takes a bit of time to do but the more I do it, the easier it gets to read the cards. For me, I think the trick is to read the cards quickly
“First thought, best thought,” as Allen Ginsburg famously said – put the concepts together into a coherent thought and go with that. The more I ponder the “meaning” of the cards, the less meaning they actually have. I get lost in layers of implication and nuance and end up confused and frustrated. So I have found that the first thought that pops into my head when I am looking at a group of cards is generally the one that I should listen to.

And like I said before, there is no true correct reading. I haven’t been keeping a Lenormand journal long enough to see this in action, but I can tell you that when I look through Tarot journals from ten, twenty, thirty years ago, I can see where I made rookie mistakes but also where I was spot on – even as a beginner! Your journals are a great learning resource, even years after the reading. And it’s fun to relive whatever drama was going on at the time! And be grateful for the happy serenity I enjoy right now.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

References

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards on Amazon

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.