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Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards, and several of the ones I was most curious about were no longer active sites.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!
Matthew, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 2014.
Riding, Helen. Lenormand Dictionary: A personal study of Lenormand cartomancy and its origins http://lenormanddictionary.blogspot.co.uk
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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.