Happy full spring for most folks in the northern hemisphere! The snow should be gone except in the highest latitudes. May Day is our day to dance in the warming sun and gather to light the fires of Beltane.
Here in Oregon, the sun has finally come out to stay, I think. The rainy season normally ends in April, but has gone on longer than usual this season. Only in the last several days have we seen days with mostly sun in them. Feels good.
Our wrangler for this hop, Arwen Lynch Poe, has asked us to talk about how we use different divination systems together. Sort of a gathering around the Divine fires and stirring the coals with different tools.
Although I’ve learned a little bit about Kabbalah and astrology in relation to Tarot, and I’ve used the odd Oracle card with a Tarot reading, the main integration I’ve enjoyed is applying traditional Lenormand methods to Tarot readings.
I have this feeling that Tarot cards were originally read much more like the linguistic method for Lenormand before the Rider-Waite-Smith illustrated Minor Arcana cards and the Golden Dawn’s focus on visual/mythological interpretations of the Tarot images. The Major Arcana have always stood out on their own as individual messages, but the Minors were originally just symbols and numbers (like playing cards) with traditional meanings unrelated to any “picture.”
Lenormand images are pictorial, but also much simpler and down-to-earth than Tarot imagery (no mythological or astrological associations here). The meanings associated with them are simpler and more complex at the same time. Simpler because they have one central object, and the meaning is assigned to the object, with some variation due to context of question, but mostly the variation lies in their position in relationship to other cards. Doing a single card reading with Lenormand is almost impossible, like having the subject of a sentence, but no adjectives, verbs, or objects to complete it. More complex because you are dealing with the relationships among multiple cards with no “story” built in to the imagery. You have to construct it like a sentence and remember the meanings and relationships through practice.
I find the system quite linear and analytical compared to the visual-intuitive approach to Tarot.
Some folks have tried to make the Lenormand system work the way Tarot cards are usually read these days, but I don’t think they lend themselves well to a visual-intuitive interpretation, mainly because they are too simple in their symbolism. And I don’t really want the Lenormand cards to turn into just a small-scale set of Tarot cards for mundane questions. Then we lose the traditional method that makes them interesting and effective in readings.
Instead, I’ve taken some of the methods I’ve learned for different draws/spreads in the Lenormand system and applied them to Tarot readings. Most of what I’ve learned about analyzing groups of cards has come from Andy Boroveshengra. In addition to working with some of his earlier course material, I also use his more recent book as a reference for step-by-step building of readings from multiple cards.
With the basic approach to Lenormand, cards to the right of the first card act as adjectives, modifying the cards to the left, with distance eventually minimizing their impact on cards further away.
So, let’s apply this method (subject-adjective-adjective) to three Tarot cards for a reading on how to deal with a potential job loss.
We begin with the subject card (Five of Cups), the first drawn, and see that a job loss is quite likely, or at least things will likely not go the way the querent wants them to. The second card modifies the first, like an adjective does with a subject in a sentence. What does it tell the querent? That his loss is likely temporary, since, in spite of opposition, he should be able to recover. The third card indicates that his opposition (note this card is primarily modifying the one that falls to its left) comes from a King of Swords-type, maybe someone who has trouble dealing with any kind of mistake or one who is jealous of the querent’s talents.
Advice in this case would be to use these insights to decide whether to fight back or accept the loss and move on knowing that the opposition comes from, say, the owner of the company. The final decision of the querent will depend on the actual circumstances, but this information gives the querent some clues as to what to expect.
Positioning is almost everything, though. If the last two cards change positions, then the King of Swords may act as a support for the querent (sitting right next to the upright cups in the first card). The Seven of Wands would then indicate that the K of S would fight for the querent.
This is just a taste for how the Lenormand method can enhance your Tarot readings. You can also use a mirroring technique with longer draws, like the five-card draw I use in my weekly forecasts.
I’m not sure I’d do the equivalent of a Grand Tableau with Tarot cards (78! instead of only 36). That would make for a really long reading analysis. But I do use one of Andy’s techniques to analyze all the possibilities in a 3 x 3 square, where you can look at distance factors as well as vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, and even diamond patterns to get more card relationship information. You can look at a full treatment of a 3 x 3 Tarot draw here.
I definitely recommend Andy’s book if you’d like to learn more about Lenormand, whether you apply it to Tarot or not. I’m also developing a workshop for a summer conference in the UK (Tarot Association of the British Isles) and a follow-up online course on how I’m applying Lenormand to Tarot. If you follow my blog posts by email or through Feedly, etc., I’ll let you know when the course material is ready.
So, that’s my idea for this May Day. Please do visit my neighbors in the hop for their takes on using divination systems in concert. Both Joy Vernon (to the left) and Jay Cassels (to the right) are well worth your time, along with all the other contributors to the hop. Happy hopping!