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Let's Talk Lenormand

Updated on September 4, 2017
Gingery profile image

Fred, also known as Gingery, is a practiced cartomancer who has been studying Tarot and other cartomancy methods for nearly twenty years.

Nearly everyone knows that Tarot is my thing. It’s also one of the most well known forms of cartomancy, but did you know there are others?

Today I want to talk about another form of cartomancy called Lenormand. This form of divination is named after Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand, a famous French cartomancer who lived in the 1800s. It is unlikely that she ever used Lenormand cards as they were introduced after her death. The name is more for marketing purposes than an anything else. In addition to this there are actually two forms of Lenormand. There’s the Petit Lenormand which I’ll cover here, and the Grand Jeu Lenormand which isn’t as well known. I won’t be covering Grand Jeu as I don’t actually know it nor have I ever had any way to access the cards at a reasonable cost.

The simplest reading of Lenormand. Two cards are always required for a reading. Deck used: Gilded Reverie
The simplest reading of Lenormand. Two cards are always required for a reading. Deck used: Gilded Reverie

In the image above we see The Heart and The Clover. This is basically a very simple message of a healthy relationship that will bring luck and good fortune to both members of it.

In addition to this, Lenormand spreads are much simpler than the more complex Tarot spreads and are always read in sentence form with each card being a piece of the sentence, their pairings rather than just their position, informing the meaning.

Today I did a simple spread asking if there was anything to know about today. This was the spread:

In this the combination shown above of The Lady and The Bouquet suggests that a trustworthy woman will be sending or giving a gift of some type. The combination of The Bouquet and The Dog suggests the gift will be a sort of reliable or trustworthy companion. Come to find out, my dear cousin, who is a woman, is gifting me the Hermetic Tarot today for my birthday. So, a trusted woman is gifting me a reliable and trustworthy companion. At its simplest, that’s how Lenormand works.

At its most complex is the Grand Tableaux. This is a massive Lenormand spread using the entire deck. It’s a beast and is rather in intimidating. It can be seen below.

the Gran Tableux.
the Gran Tableux.

This spread is actually a very difficult spread to master. It's the original spread of the Petit Lenormand. The cards are interpreted entirely in their relationship to the indicator card: the Man or the Woman depending on the querant. Cards are read in pairs, rows, columns, diagonals. This spread is very difficult to master, in my opinion, but can offer a wealth of information!


Differences in Lenormand and Tarot

The biggest difference in Lenormand and Tarot is the level of literalism in the interpretation of the cards. In Tarot every card has a complete story in and of itself. The story it tells is dependent upon the reader, the querant, the question asked, and the deck used. In Lenromand, the Whip is the Whip. It means absolutely nothing alone and must be paired with another card to give both cards context much like words in a sentence. Certainly different readers can have different interpretations, but unlike Tarot there are only a few options for interpretation of any given combination.

Another difference in the two is that Lenormand is typically very literal and direct in its messaging as well. For me personally, as a reader, I use Tarot for the big sweeping questions. I use Lenormand when I need direct clear information about a subject or a clear direction I need to go.

Wrapping up

So, that's a quick introduction to Lenormand. Like so much else there is much further down this rabbit hole we can go. So, I'll ask you: is this something you would like to read more about? Sound off in the comments below!

© 2017 Fred-Allen Self

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