As Above, So Below
Learning any kind of divinatory method takes a lot of practice. Yes, some people have a natural skill. But even those people practice, practice, practice. I cannot stress it any stronger. You have to get out your cards, shuffle them really well, and lay them out. Not just once, but twice, three times, four times or more. And not just once a day. Several times a day.
It is often said that you can’t read your own cards. It is also said that you can’t read your cards everyday or more than once a day. This is pure hogwash. When you are learning a skill, repetition is the key to proficiency. There is literally no other way to do it. You would never say to a student learning the piano to only practice once a week. No! You tell them to practice at least half an hour a day. You tell them to learn their scales and their arpeggios and learn them well. And not only that, you tell them to learn to play the piano for the sheer pleasure of playing it. This is the way it has to be with divinatory skills. Practice, practice, practice! But also take pleasure in what you are doing! If you’re not having fun, then you should really think about developing another skill.
The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards by Caitlín Matthews has exercises for learning how to read Lenormand cards in every chapter. Each exercise builds on the one before it, so you are always working with concepts that reinforce what you have already learned. Appendixes I and II have keys to the exercises for quick references and to check your own progress. This book rocks!
I have been working with Spread 1/Practice 7 in Chapter Three, which is called “As Above, So Below”. You shuffle the cards, and lay out three cards on top and three cards on the bottom. You read the three cards on the top as one concept (Card 1 + Card 2 + Card 3) and then the three cards on the bottom in the same way. And then, you read the three cards on the bottom. Then you read the vertical pairs – remember, as a single concept. So you have two 3-pair concepts and three 2-pair concepts to consider. Matthews presents several readings with questions to answer and how she used this spread to answer the questions. In my practice, I just laid the cards out over and over again to get proficiency in putting the concepts together – at first, I shuffled the deck but I was getting the same cards over and over again – which makes sense in a divinatory way – so I started just laying the cards down and reading them. I did this over and over again one night. Mixing the cards up in all kinds of combinations and reading them in all kinds of ways. I spent several hours at this!
One thing I noticed – especially with the 3-card combinations, which can be very tricky to put together, conceptually – is that some cards just go together better than other cards. Sometimes you look at the cards and the concept just jumps into your brain and you wonder how that happened. Sometime you look at them and you can put two together two of them but that third card is from left field and messing up the whole idea. When I read some of Matthew’s take-aways of the 3-card combinations, I think, “How did she get that?” It’s almost like taking calculus again and having to take it on faith. You know the answer is correct – you just don’t know how the teacher got there. But you know if you keep working at it, you’ll “get it” someday.
But I figured I should ask the cards a decent question and see what kind of answer I would get. It took me a while to come up with a question. Lately I have been feeling rather depressed and honestly, quite stuck in my current life. So I asked: What can I do to become “unstuck”? I know as questions go, it’s really quite lame, but it was the best I could do.
Maybe I made the question too general. After shuffling and cutting the deck three times, I drew these cards:
OK: so the top row is 25 Ring + 19 Tower + 2 Clover. Unless the meaning just pops into my brain, I take it slowly, like a math equation. Ring is commitment and Tower is institutions and 2 Clover is luck. A lucky merge with some institution? That’s what I’m reading. Now the bottom row. 3 Ship + 22 Path + 27 Letter. I long to travel to the many places I have read about.
Now the vertical pairs. 25 Ring + 3 Ship could signify some kind of long-distance commitment. 19 Tower + 22 Path could mean working with an alternative institution – not the ones I have worked with in the past. 2 Clover + 27 Letter obviously is any kind of good communication – I have to hang in there and be patient – it’ll come!
Obviously, there’s a lot going on here and as usual, it brings up more questions than it answers. But – it gives me something to work with. The business with the Tower – I can’t just sit in my apartment and feel depressed anymore – I have to get out and do something about it. And not the usual things, either – some alternative method – as indicated by the 22 Path card. Things will look up – the 2 Clover card is there to attest to that. But it isn’t going to happen today. My ship is still out at sea.
I must say that this is fabulous spread and opens up all kinds of ideas for divination. I like it for Tarot cards, too. Being able to read the cards in various ways is an important skill for any reader, whether they are using Lenormand cards, Tarot cards, Oracle cards, or ordinary playing cards. So get those cards out and practice reading them!
Until next month, Brightest Blessings!
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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.