Welcome to the first hint that winter won’t last forever, the Imbolc festival and Tarot Blog Hop. I know it can be hard to believe that we are on our way to summer, but even here in the depths of South Texas, where the length of day and night don’t change all that much by season, the days are discernible longer. So, have hope, my friends in more northern climes, as the snow howls all around, summer is still coming, thanks to the inevitability of orbital mechanics and the Earth’s axis tilt. 🙂
When Karen Sealey of the Pure and Blessed Tarot came up with her theme for this blog hop—Oracular Anomalies—I had a bit of at time thinking about which Tarot cards in which decks really “threw me off” and got me to shift my thinking about symbolism, meaning, and reading the cards.
I thought about how the Thoth tarot (Hanged Man on the left) had opened my mind to the complexities of adding Kabbalah and astrology, as well as Egyptian symbolism, to the Tarot, but it wasn’t so much of a stretch from the Rider-Waite-Smith esoteric interpretations I was already used to. And my study of the earlier Marseilles (Hanged Man on the right) and other pre-Golden Dawn decks gave me basic context for the Tarot, but they didn’t really turn me upside down and all around. Nope.
And then I remembered the Lenormand. First it challenges by saying it’s a system for reading and not dependent upon a certain set of cards, although the 36-card decks currently used are really just another modification of playing cards, but in a different direction than Tarot (smaller rather than larger deck, like taking out all the Majors and some of the Minors as well).
Then it says, this really is about the real world and practical problems, and sometimes life trajectories, but here, on planet Earth, not in some woo-woo spiritual universe and not necessarily about your psychological well-being (although you can address psycho-spiritual questions with the system). Wow. Some folks use the Tarot this way as well, but since sometime in the 20th century (often debatable as to exactly when), the Tarot went to a psycho-spiritual place for a lot of readers, and became a counseling tool rather than a fortune-telling tool. Lenormand takes us back to the idea of the cards as messages about what’s coming up next on the querent’s timeline. So, below, in a daily draw (specific questions are better), the message might be that money’s (Fish) flowing into your work, (Moon) for sure (Key) ( I would expect the possibility of a new check for my work).
So, the Moon isn’t about emotions? For some readers it is; depends on what set of traditional meanings you choose to use. Totally different from Tarot, which has lost a lot of its contact with traditional fortune-telling meanings (take a look at Arthur Waite’s little white book to get an idea of some of the arbitrary ones), largely I think because it was harder to memorize than to just go with the archetypal meanings in the symbolism (but I still don’t get the Seven of Swords—it’s always complicated).
Although some folks have seen the Lenormand cards as smaller and simpler Tarot cards and have used their normal intuitive card-by-card method to read them, I think they are missing the gift in this system. Because the Lenormand system is made to be linguistic (image = keyword(s)), and read like a phrase or sentence, the usefulness I think is in reading multiple cards together. This method harkens back to the way pre-Golden Dawn historical Tarot decks were read as well, with relationships developed on the visuals of color and position of figures among the cards.
So, I thought to myself: This is neat, this is so different from the image/visual intuitive method currently used in most tarot readings. Once I learned a bit more and got into larger spreads, I thought that this Lenormand method could benefit my tarot reading and bring back to me a focus on relating the cards in a narrative story. Cool!
So here’s my favorite part about this new “anomaly” in my Tarot learning: the 3X3 spread. This is a common monthly or longer forecast used with the Lenormand method, and I’ve been having fun using it to expand my Tarot skills. Here’s what it looks like with tarot cards (Ciro Marchetti’s Gilded Tarot Royale):
The fun and time come in using the actual Lenormand method to combine cards top to bottom, diagonally, and skipping around in diamond formations to create a really deep story for the month ahead. I’ll leave it to you if you want to see the detailed pattern analysis from my original post on this spread, located here. If you’d like to see how it works with actual Lenormand cards, you can check out my post using Ciro Marchetti’s Gilded Reverie Lenormand, here. I also recommend Andy Boroveshengra’s book on Lenormand, available over at Amazon.com, here.
New Year blessings and hope for spring!
To continue on the hop, just follow the signposts below, depending on which direction you came from, to the lovely Louise Underhill’s Priestess Tarot (to the left) or to the equally lovely Arwen Lynch’s Tarot by Arwen (to the right). And if you get lost, you can always regain your bearings by consulting the master list.