lessons

MagickalArts

January, 2019

The Wiccan Path

Happy New Year Everyone! This year, 2019 is a number “3” year (add 2+0+1+9=12/ 1+2 =3); a year of change and creation. Three is the number of trinity’s harmony. From the relationship and collaboration of two a third is created; the totality of its sum of parts. This may take the form of fulfilling and creating what you desire most, creating a new passion fueled by a latent wish, putting into action what you’ve been yearning to do as you create the product of those efforts.

In keeping with this creative approach I am revisiting and sharing the online course I wrote in 2014, to serve as the stimulus for those interested in Wicca and earth-centered practices and creating a path of their own. Please enjoy this excerpt and many blessings for a fabulous New “creational” Year!!

Excerpted from “A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path”…..

The Wiccan Path is one of initiatory experience. Each step taken upon this path leads towards greater understanding of your own Divine nature, which in turn brings a greater understanding of the natural world and the Divinity that exists around you. By definition, initiation is an act that sets in motion some course of events. In the case of a spiritual pursuit, initiation opens the seeker to embracing their spiritual nature as a support and foundation to their mundane nature. The spiritual path of a Wiccan (Witch) is one filled with the beauty of the natural world and the mystery of the world within each of us. The path leads to the subtle realms of the astral – the far reaches of the cosmos – and the shadows that lay hidden and buried within each of us. We practice the Craft of the Wise, which in ancient times was the gifts of the healers and the seers whose ability to see far and wide and enter so completely into alliance with the physical natural world was depended upon to ensure viable crops, healthy livestock, fertility and a sustainable life for those in whom the wise lived. In ancient times the knowledge was carefully passed in the style of oral tradition, the mysteries given ear to ear hand to hand. Although many of those traditions, rituals and wise ways are lost to the modern practitioner of Wicca, many of the core principles remain, having evolved just as we as a people have evolved, become modernized and have at our fingertips ways of communicating large volumes of information. The information provided in this course of study barely scratches the surface of what is a uniquely complex and diverse spiritual path and that to a large degree can only superficially claim its heritage in the ancient practices of which we truly know so little. Wicca is rooted in the experiential, and is a way of life that is not limited by lack of sacred space, tools or financial resources. From the Wiccan perspective, all of the natural world is sacred space and the greatest tool of working is our physical nature holding the pure essence of each individual’s Divine spirit that is priceless in

Ritual and Celebration

Wiccans use ancient and modern ceremonies, rituals and shamanic practices to attune themselves to the natural rhythms of nature, the world, and the universe as a way to commune with this divine force. In particular, the lives and daily activities of the ancient peoples were very much dependent upon and intertwined with the position of the sun and the agricultural cycles that were dependent upon movement throughout the year. The Witch’s Wheel of the Year is a reflection of those needs. The calling forth of the Light of the newly birthed Sun at the time of the Winter Solstice ensured that there would be a new cycle of planting, sowing and reaping the much needed harvest for continued life.

The Sabbats (Solar Celebrations) of the Wiccan year are eight in number. Four correspond to the astronomical transitions of the equinoxes and the solstices. These are the Vernal (Ostara) and Autumnal Equinoxes (Mabon) and the Winter (Yule) and Summer (Litha) Solstices. The other Four, or cross quarter days are those that mark the time between the equinoxes and solstices. These were the dates of celebration of the progression through the changing of the seasons and the preparations for the times of transit from one season to the next. These are Samhain (the Witch’s New Year) – Imbolc (February 1) – Beltaine (May 1st) and Lammas (August 1st).

There are many overlays that are associated with these Sabbats, the most prominent being the cycle of the God and Goddess as they move through the stages of birth- fertility- harvest and death. In this way, the physical world and the Divine world were mirror reflections and the offering of devotion and celebration of one ensured the continuation of the other.

Deity

The God, Lugh and The Goddess, Brighid

Depending upon one’s point of view, Wicca can be considered a monotheistic, duotheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic religion.

Wicca is monotheistic (belief in a single deity): Some Wiccans recognize a single supreme being, sometimes called “The All” or “The One.” The Goddess and God are viewed as the female and male aspects of this single deity.
• Wicca is duotheistic (belief in two deities; a.k.a. rarely as bitheistic): Wiccans often worship a female Goddess and a male God, often called the Lady and Lord.
• Wicca is polytheistic (belief in many deities): Many Wiccans recognize the existence of many ancient Gods and Goddesses, including but certainly not limited to: Aphrodite, emis, Briget, Diana, Dionysius, Fergus, Hecate, Isis, Pan, Thor, etc.
• Wicca is henotheistic (belief in a single main deity among many): Many Wiccans view the many ancient deities as being aspects of the Lady and Lord, and view the latter as the male and female aspects of “The One.”

(excerpted from: http://www.religioustolerance.org)

There is no right or wrong to any of the beliefs above. The underlying principle is that of polarity and the belief that there is both the masculine and feminine Divine principle within all living beings. This approach to deity supports the belief in the immanence of the Divine. That the qualities of Deity exist within all of life, and that through acknowledgement and embracing of this inherent birthright, that Divinity may become transcendent in nature.

The Natural World

WICCA is considered a nature-based religion. The environment and those things that comprise the manifest world including animals, plants, minerals are considered sacred and part of the Divine web of interconnectedness. Many Wiccans are involved in environmental activities and feel it a natural part of their spiritual practice to recycle and live lightly on Mother Earth. The use and knowledge of herbs and their medicinal properties is often undertaken gladly as a study of practice and it is not unusual to find many Wiccans attracted to professions where healing modalities can be performed. Animals are considered companions and treated with the same care, love and respect

that would be afforded another human. Human and animal rights, environmental issues and preservation of our natural resources are all a focus of those following a Wiccan Path of spirituality.

The Cosmos

The ancients were limited to what could be seen with the naked eye or what mystical inferences could be gathered from what was overtly presented and the myths that were created as result. Structures were built in accord with the movement of the sun (Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid) that aligned with specific seasonal events and astrology had its beginnings in predicting certain outcomes and points of focus based on what could be observed in the heavens.

The scientific breakthroughs showing the similarities in or own physical constitution and that of the geology of our planet, as well as the stars and planets links us to our own stellar nature and the desire for access to weaving that universal magick of that starseed into all of our endeavors. According to scientist, Carl Sagan, the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago.

One of the things that has not changed is that of the celebration and worship of the Moon and her energies and attributions within a Wiccan practice. The lunar tides are seen as the domain of the Goddess and the feminine energies. The planets and the magick woven with their energies extend the reach of practical magick into the realms of space and time continuum. And, the increasing awareness of our place within the vastness of the Cosmos provides a richly layered perspective for those of the Craft.

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

November, 2018

October is quickly coming to an end, and I have never been more thankful. October brought sickness and trials. It was a difficult month to say the least.

But with October coming to a close, Samhain is fast approaching.

Samhain (or Halloween as Little Bear calls it) has always been one of my favorite holidays. Even when it was banned from my childhood home life.

The veil is thinning, the days grow darker, and the nights become almost black.

Living in the Midwest means the weather is unpredictable at the end of October. It could be sunny and hot, or rainy and wet. As a child, “Halloween” meant snow. I can remember more snowy Halloweens than not.

Little Bear and I will make the best of it regardless of the weather. He has his costume picked out. He is going as a zombie SWAT guy. He’s talked me into being a zombie also. He’s a bit obsessed with The Walking Dead right now.

This year, I let Little Bear go wild and decorate the whole house. We put up window clings, black garland, laid out fake spiders, decorated foam pumpkins, and hung up door covers.

Yesterday, we visited the local pumpkin field/corn maze. They have so many activities and it’s a must every year. They have goats, chickens, rabbits, long horn cattle, corn boxes, corn mazes, pumpkin guns, tug a war ropes, inflatables, wooden trains, etc. It is a full day.

Tonight, is pumpkin carving time. I’m sure that my excitement is at a way higher level than Little Bear’s because of the pumpkin seeds. I have dug out some recipes from Pinterest and plan on trying at least three. I have to do normal salt pumpkin seeds. But I’m going to try a sweet version with cinnamon and brown sugar. The other one I haven’t decided on because there is so many variations that can be done. However, I’m leaning towards a savory that uses sea salt and white vinegar. Not sure how it’ll turn out, but we shall see!

One of my favorite traditions for Samhain is the dinner. Eating dinner at the table is something that rarely happens in our home because of scheduling. But when Samhain rolls around, I take the day off. I plan a meal as if it were Thanksgiving and I set the table. I always set a spot for my sister who we lost back in 2015. It helps to bring her close. Little Bear gets excited and will start talking to her spot as if she never left.

Little Bear started asking questions again about “God” last week. This is a conversation that we have quite frequently as he has a hard time understanding something that he cannot see. So, I go into the explanation again. We have talked about the many different religions of the world. Although I am raising him in a Pagan home, I understand that the Pagan path may not be for him.

I found a wonderful series that touches on the spiritual side without focusing on one certain religion. It’s the The Giggles and Joy series. A three-part series that focuses on positive poems. It’s a neat series that I recommend. You can check out my review on them in this same issue!

The Road to Runes

November, 2018

The Road to Runes: What Questions to Ask?

 

One of the hardest parts of divination is asking the right questions. A question that’s too closed may get an answer that makes no sense if you’re expecting a definitive “yes” or “no”. Most runes have plenty of meanings, and aren’t always obviously negative or positive.

Conversely, questions that are too vague or broad leave the answer widely open to interpretation. This can lead you to find an answer that you were hoping for, rather than an accurate one. I covered these “false positives” in last month’s article.

So what are the best questions to ask? What questions lead to the best answers? Experimentation has led me to narrow it down to a few I come back to again and again. Let’s have a look at those that I regularly use with good results.

 

  • In regards to situation “x”, what is the outcome if I make decision “y”?

This type of question is good, as it puts a clear framework around your question. You aren’t asking for a yes/no answer. You’re also not asking for general guidance around the whole situation. You’re specifically asking what the potential outcomes are in relation to one action within the situation. This could be, “While deciding where to move house, what will happen if I take my brother’s advice?”, or “I’m leaving my job. What will happen if I decide to become a homemaker?”, or “Someone is causing trouble for my family. What are the repercussions of hexing them?”

These are all made up situations, but you get the idea. Your own question may be about something very mundane, or completely metaphysical. Narrowing your question down to one aspect of a complex situation makes it a little simpler to analyze and interpret the answers the runes give you.

 

  • Can you give me clarity on this situation?

This is for when you are struggling to get your thoughts or emotions in order. Stressful or complicated situations may leave you feeling confused or unclear, but the chances are that the answers are buried deep within your subconscious. The runes are a magical way to unlock those hidden answers. Asking this type of question and doing at least a three rune spread allows you to parse out your own musings on your situation and become a bit more logical or move forward with confidence.

 

  • What’s my next step?

This is a more risky question, as it’s more direct than the pleas for clarity. This is out and out “tell me what to do” which is fine as long as you are prepared for either some blunt or potentially confusing answers. The runes do seem to swing between “Do this right now” and “Sort it out yourself” so don’t be surprised if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for. But divination is sometimes about hard truths, not false hope. The reason this is a good question is because there’s no room for misinterpretation. Visualize your current situation, focus on where you are right now and ask what you should do next.

These are just a very few of the questions you can ask the runes. I’ve used all these with interesting and informative results! What questions do you ask your runes? Let us know in the comments or tweet me @Mabherick.

 

Image credit: Stentoftastenen, today exhibited in Sankt Nicolai church, Sölvesborg by Henrik Sendelbach 2005 via Wikimedia Commons.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Book Review: The Giggles and Joy Children’s Series

November, 2018

Book Review

The Giggles and Joy Children’s Series

 

The Giggles and Joy Children’s books are a series of three books that focus on spiritual life lessons for kids. Each book consists of 8 poems that cover a variety of different topics. The books are written by Ariane de Bonvoisin with Carlie Sutcliffe. They are beautifully and creatively illustrated by Ellie Cross.

These books are amazing and now a personal favorite in my home. They teach kids that positivity, joy and happiness are something to experience every day.

 

 

Giggles and Joy

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the first book in the Giggles and Joy series. It features 8 poems on topics of “kindness, gratitude, having a bad day, home, prayer, planet Earth, self-belief and the physical body”.

One of my favorite features is that even though Giggles and Joy talks about prayer, it is in a universal way, that does not align prayer with a certain religion. For a home like mine, where I’m Pagan, my mother is Christian, and my son is undecided, this is a perfect fit.

Planet Earth is one of my son’s favorites. He loves saying “thank you” to our planet Earth. He also enjoys the illustrations that accompany not only planet Earth but all of the poems in Giggles and Joy.

 

You Are Loved

You are Loved: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the second book in the Giggles and Joy series. It also features 8 poems. These poems cover “love, navigating change, this beautiful life, courage, grown-ups, self-confidence, and adventure”.

Picking a favorite from this series is difficult. The poems are beautifully written in terms that are easy for children of all ages to understand. I will say that “The Moon Loves You” and “Change” are two of our most read poems. My son has always had a special attachment to the moon so this one gets read almost nightly.

Change quickly became one of our other most read poems when we had a situation shake up the home. It was nice to have a poem that could be read to my son to help him. It taught him that change can be scary, but change can also be fun and exciting.

 

Being You

Being You: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the final book in the Giggles and Joy series. The topics for these last 8 poems are “what many kids are facing in the world today, what is true self-worth and how to nurture it, the importance of telling the truth, how to feel safe inside oneself, the magical effect of deep breathing and the adventure of being free to really be yourself”.

Take a Deep Breath” is one of my son’s favorite poems from Being You. It incorporated the deep breathing technique that he learned in school. It also has illustrations of dragons, which is his favorite beast.

 

All in all, I give the Giggles and Joy series a double thumbs up. By far, one of my favorite poem series for children. If you are looking for a positive series full of lessons, look no further. These poems are fun to read and listen to no matter the age.

 

Amazon Links to :

The Giggles and Joy Gift Set on Amazon

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

You are Loved: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

Being You: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

 

 

 

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

July, 2018

As a child, I led such a weird childhood. I was known for seeing things that weren’t there and knowing things before they happened. I felt like a sin in my parent’s household as I was being raised in a Christian church. As I aged, I found solace in Wicca. Life and the things going on finally made sense.

When I was pregnant with my son (Little Bear), I made the decision to raise him in a Pagan household and support him, no matter what religion he decided on. Little Bear is now 4 years old and this has proven to be the best decision. He has shown signs of experiencing the same things that I went through as a child. Little Bear is a natural born healer, empath, and animal lover. He has to sleep with a light on because the dark brings weird things with it. While I cannot confirm it yet, it sounds like he is seeing people that have crossed over.

One of the major things that Little Bear and I have started doing is celebrating the Sabbats. Any reason to celebrate, right?

June 21st was Litha or the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and Little Bear and I took full advantage.

Every Sabbat, we discuss the Wheel of the Year. This helps remind us where we are on the Wheel and where we are headed. Because this follows the seasons, it is easy for Little Bear to understand. We discussed how Litha falls in the summer and some of our favorite summer activities. Little Bear loves grilling out, riding his bike and playing in the water.

The day started before sunrise. I poured out orange juice and we headed to the porch to watch the sun. It was a warm, quiet morning. I explained to Little Bear that we should be grateful for everything we have. I asked him what he was happy to have. “My bike, my mom, my bed, my dog” and the list went on and on. I smiled at his innocence and gave my own thanks internally. As the sun rose above the horizon, the world started coming alive. The birds started singing, the neighborhood stray cat came to visit, and we watched a herd of deer in the field across the street. We ended the morning with a barefoot walk around the property. We stopped at the outside altar and poured orange juice into the fairy dish as an offering. This is one of Little Bear’s favorite parts. We actually had to make a fairy altar closer to the house so he could easily access it without supervision.

After work, I had Little Bear help with dinner. We were preparing Grilled Chicken Salads. As we pulled the vegetables out, we talked about each one. Where they came from, how they grow, what the health benefits are, and what kind of super powers the vegetables might give us (This was Little Bears idea). I feel that knowing the health benefits of each vegetable will help Little Bear develop his Kitchen Witch side as he grows.

While making the salad, I noticed Little Bear had made a pile that contained a piece of each vegetable that went into the salad. It was his offering for the fairies.

We ended the night with a bonfire and watching the sunset. The longest day of the year had officially ended.

It may seem like I do a LOT of talking with Little Bear and I do. Little Bear is at the age where he is like a little sponge. He is asking tons of questions and curious about everything.

The next Sabbat is Lammas and I’m excited about it. This has always been a personal favorite because I love to bake bread. Lammas is the start of the harvest season. So breads, wheats, grains, grapes, apples, corn and wild berries are great foods. While I don’t have recipes pulled together yet, corn dollies and bonfires are part of the ritual for sure!

Some ideas to do with children are:

-Corn Dollies

-Magical Picnics (Make sure to leave an offering!)

-Collect berries for jams or jellies

-Time to harvest the garden

-Create a Witches Bottle (smaller children will need help with this since you will be working with sharp objects!)

-Time to redecorate the altar

-Visit an apple orchard (bring some home if the apples are ready!)

-Collect rain or storm water

-Bake bread, cakes, or muffins (cookies could be substituted so the little ones can decorate)

The biggest thing to remember, “It’s not about the action you are doing but the intent you are putting into it”.

What are some fun ways you are celebrating the Sabbats with your child/ren?

Blessed Be!

Learning Lenormand

April, 2018

Lenormand and the “Monday’s Child” Rhyme

I am going to talk about something a little different today. I was checking out some of the websites that Caitlín Matthews lists in the “Resources” section of her fabulous The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards, and several of the ones I was most curious about were no longer active sites. Of course, given the transitory nature of the internet, this was not surprising at all. Websites come and websites go – which is why I like books. It’s also why – when I find something that I really like on a website – I print it out. Because I don’t know that it’s going to be there the next time I go to look for it. With the uncertainty surrounding Net Neutrality, this is more important today than ever.

However, I decided to look around on my own and see what I could find. And I did find something really interesting! We all know that rhyme:

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday child is full of woe,

Thursday child has far to go.

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living.

And the child that is born on the Sabbath day

Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

(Even as a child, I argued that not all religions had their “Sabbath” on Sundays but I was always an argumentative sort).

There is a long history to this rhyme but I’m not writing about the rhyme per se. The story of the rhyme is fascinating in itself but like the story of the Lenormand and the Tarot and most divinatory systems, it is shrouded in mystery and myth. But most oral traditions are. It is natural to want absolute knowledge – in our twentieth-first century pursuit of truth while mucking around in so much fake news and alternative facts – but some things can’t be verified beyond a shadow of a doubt. Which is ok. The thing is – don’t make up your facts! Accept that you don’t know everything and go from there. There’s a lot to be said for not knowing.

Anyway – after looking through the websites on the “Resources Page” were still active, I decided to look for other Lenormand websites. Like many of us, I am tired of using Google – it just takes me to places I have already been – so I have been using www.duckduckgo.com in hopes that I get different results. I found a website – http://lenormanddictionary.blogspot.co.uk – which occupied me for hours. Its main site is called “Helen’s Lenormand Dictionary”, which had a discussion about the history of Lenormand – linking it to a late eighteenth-century Southern German “race” game called “The Game of Hope”, in which the cards are all laid out in a “Grand Tableau” – what is now used for divination – and the players worked their way around the tableau. I am not sure how this game worked and Helen does not say how – did they use dice? or some other method? – but whoever reached the Anchor card – the Hope card – was the winner. Hence, the name of the game.

The website itself has interpretations for the cards and they are quite informative. If you don’t have your own Lenormand text book, this page would be worth printing out and keeping for your own notes. I have several decent Lenormand books – including the Matthews text, which as far as I’m concerned is the only one anyone needs – and lots of notes in my Tarot/Lenormand notebook but I am going to print this page out and put it in my Tarot-Lenormand notebook. You can’t have too many notes. Even if they contradict each other! Sometimes within those contradictions, there are powerful insights.

But what really grabbed me was the connection to the Birth Rhyme. I love connections! Go to the bottom of the page and there it is.

“Monday’s child is fair of face (Bouquet, Moon),
Tuesday’s child is full of grace
(Rider, Whip),
Wednesday’s child is full of woe
(Coffin, Cross),
Thursday’s child has far to go
(Ship, Storks),
Friday’s child is loving and giving
(Dog, Heart),
Saturday’s child works hard for a living
(Scythe, Fox),
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good, and gay
(Clover, Sun).” (Riding, 1)

I was born on a Thursday, so I got out the Ship and Stork cards and looked at them.

What do these cards have to do with my life overall? Certainly I have moved a lot – some fifty-four times in fifty-seven years. And I love to travel. Any kind of road trip! The stork also has the Queen of Hearts, which also fits into my personality – warm, inviting, nurturing – I may be on the move, but I can make a home out of any hovel.

What is interesting – to me personally – is that my son was also born on a Thursday. And his father – also born on a Thursday! Of course, when you are dealing with only seven options, the odds of three of us having the same day of the week for our birth is pretty good – to say the least – but still – I found that to be wicked cool! Ya know? We have all moved numerous times and traveled extensively. I was attracted to my son’s father because of his worldliness and all the stories he had. I wanted that life! Boy, did I ever get it!

So – whether you actually have a set of Lenormand cards or you are simply interested in the history of divination, check out Lenormand Dictionary Blogspot. There’s a LOT here. Much more than what I’ve reported on in this little essay!

Until next month – Brightest Blessings!

References

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

Riding, Helen. Lenormand Dictionary: A personal study of Lenormand cartomancy and its origins http://lenormanddictionary.blogspot.co.uk

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

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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.

Learning Lenormand

February, 2018

The Lenormand Oracle Cards and Booklet


A few months ago, I received my first set of Lenormand cards. I wrote about them here: http://paganpages.org/content/tag/lenormand-cards/ . If you remember, at the end of that article, I posted pics of the set of cards that I wanted to get and for Yule, I bought them for myself. They arrived in the mail on the third day of Christmas, if I remember correctly. I was so happy to get them!

They are exactly what I wanted. They have the “antique” looking pictures of the original cards but also the playing card inserts that to me, are the essence of the Lenormand. I was quite amazed at their large size but I considered that a plus – it makes the imagery of the cards easy to see. And since I usually lay out any divinatory method on the rug on my living room floor, then the issue of needing an “enormous table when it come to laying out all 36 of them in a Grand Tableau” (Matthews, 8) as Caitlín Matthews cautions in the Introduction of her superb The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook – the oriental rug in my living is more than large enough to handle all thirty-six cards.

These new cards are, in fact, quite bigger than the Lenormand Fortune Telling Cards.

As you can see, the little verse that is in the insert in the upper middle of the Lenormand Fortune-Telling Cards has been replaced with a playing card. Other than this, the cards are virtually the same, except for size and the pattern on the back of the card. In my limited study of the Lenormand, I have come to understand that the card on the right is the German version of the Lenormand and the card on the right is the French version. However, I do fear that this is a very simplistic way of looking at the cards and I am probably quite wrong in my assessment. While the Lenormand was most popular in Germany and France, there were also decks in Belgium, Dutch, Russian, Brazilian and even American – all similar and different at the same time. (Matthews, 7). So while I would like to make a definitive statement about these cards – like, it was the French who added the pips – I just can’t. I don’t have the proof to back up my statement.

The little booklet that came with The Lenormand Oracle cards was written by Laura Tuan, an European author who writes in Italian and French for a variety of publishers, including LoScarabeo, the publishers of these cards. This booklet was written in Italian and translated by Julie Bradshaw. After having read through over half of Caitlín Matthew’s book, I found Laura Tuan’s booklet mystifying! For openers, she uses reversed cards! On page 9 of The Complete Lenormand Oracle, it states plainly, “Cards always read upright” (Matthews, 9). But this is not so in Tuan’s book. Upright cards are marked with a “C” and reversed cards are marked with a “D”. I have no idea why this is so. I called a friend of mine who is fluent in Italian and he could not give me a clue as to the meaning of “C” and “D”. We both wondered if the letters were arbitrarily assigned by either the author or the translator. But it doesn’t really matter – I am going by what Matthews says and reading the cards upright only.

The other thing I found curious is that, unlike the booklet that came with The Lenormand Fortune-Telling Cards, there was no “dictionary” of meaning for the cards. Instead, there are two “guided” spreads – the Horoscope spread and the Gypsy spread – and the meanings of the cards are given in relation to those spreads. In the back of the books, she has several “unguided” spreads, with “positions” for each card to set upon and what they mean at that position. Again – I have to refer back to Matthews – “In Tarot, cards are laid out in redecided or named positions…Each position is an essential part of the reading and helps define or frame how the card laid upon the place is to be read…Conversely, Lenormand cards work by proximity to each other, creating meaning through juxtaposition. This is a more linguistic method…Lenormand cards work together to create different meanings…” (Matthews, 10).

This is not the first booklet for a deck of Tarot or Oracle cards that I read through and decided that it was better off left in the box it came in. I have quite a collection of them. The way I see it, if you have a really good text on the subject, that’s what you use. Right now, The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook is my basic text for learning the Lenormand – it’s my Norton Shakespeare, so to speak. Of course you can’t read too much on any subject or have too many books – heaven forbid! – but it’s always good to have a good basic text on any subject – something you can refer back to again and again.

I did consecrate the deck as Tuan suggests on page 8 of the booklet. I had to tweak the ritual a little bit, as I didn’t have a red table cloth or any incense, but I made do. A red napkin worked just fine for a cloth and some crushed basil burning in a small censor was a fine insence. This, of course, is par for the course in my little witchy world! If you can’t improvise, then you can’t make magic!

In the upcoming months, I will be working with Caitlín Matthew’s excellent book and whatever other books on the Lenormand I may find. But as I said previously, The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook is going to be my basic text for this subject. I do hope you find it as fascinating as I do!

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References

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

Tuan, Laura. Lenormand Oracle. Torino: LoScarabeo, 2013. Translated by Julie Bradshaw.

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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.

PaganDad

January, 2009

The Lessons of Winter

Winter is really here. In most parts of the United States the cold weather and snow has set in. But what does this season mean to us Pagans? We know about Yule and the rebirth of the Sun, but what about that period between Yule and Imbolc? I believe that every season and every Sabbat can teach us lessons if we only have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

This season is traditionally a time of rest and recovery for the world. A time, when in the natural world, most trees shed their leaves and many animals turn in to hibernate for the long winter. It was also a time of rest for mankind. When the toils of the the year were finished and in many villages the people gathered around the hearth to share stories and count together the blessings of the previous year.

But what place does any of this have in our modern world? A world that never seems to sleep much less take a breath. The answer for many is ‘I’ll rest when I am dead.’

For me this answer is far from being the correct one. The modern world’s way of doing things teaches impatience and greed. And it forces us to run at breakneck pace, only to get us to the grave quicker and with far more regrets.

And this is not the message that I wish to pass on to my children. As a Pagan parent one of my responsibilities is to instill the values taught by the Goddess and God. Those values that are inherent and visible in the world around us.

The lessons I have learned from winter and that I in turn pass on to my children are many. And if you join me in looking at the world around us then I can show you a few examples.

I teach my children to be as still and quiet as a winter pond. For if we are always busy then how can we hear the Gods when They whisper to us?

They learn to be patient as well. For as we look around at the Earth and the plants upon it, and watch them seem to die and wither away, hope could be easily lost. But we know that if we wait long enough then the Earth and the plants will bloom again. This is important because sometimes the Will of the Gods are as equally mysterious and take as a long time to make sense.

But the most important lesson is for them to remember the importance of Family. For in the loving embrace of Family they can truly feel the arms of the Gods around them as well. As I said earlier, Winter was a time that friends and family gathered together around the hearth to share stories. I believe that this was important for the cohesiveness of the family and the community. And it is something that, today, is missed and is desperately needed.

This month is also marks the passage from one calendar year to another, a traditional time to make resolutions. What will our resolutions be? Will you join me and resolve to pass on the lessons the world shows us, the Lessons of Winter?