Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Lenormand suit by suit: Hearts

www.phrases.org.uk
You may be aware that the suits we in the English-speaking world are familiar with are French: Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds. You also may be aware that our beloved tarot suits are actually Italian playing card suits, and that you can go into any news agents in Italy, apparently, and get a playing card deck that uses these emblems. Thus you may associate Clover with Swords, and consider that to be the suit of thoughts, Spades as Batons and see that as a suit of action, Hearts as Cups and view that as emotions, and Diamonds as Coins, concerned with finances and security. That's a natural reaction for a tarot reader learning Lenormand, but guess what? Though the Lenormand deck uses French emblems, they are not interpreted as either French or Italian -- they are in the Alemannic, or 'German-Swiss', tradition. So a Club is an Acorn, a Spade is a Leaf, a Heart is a Flower or Rose, and a Diamond is a Bell.

What the heck, we tarot reader students may ask, does that mean?

I am only just learning this and my blog is serving as my 'learning journal', so do set me straight if I go wrong, but I'm going to take a look at each suit in turn this week, gleaning information from the books of Caitlin Matthews and Andy Boroveshengra, and adding any flashes of insight of my own as I go (a dangerous proposition.)

Today's suit is Hearts. I've chosen to examine Hearts first because Andy's book, Lenormand: 36 Cards, teaches that Hearts are associated with spring, and I thought it would be nice to look at the suits in season order and consider how this information may colour meaning. Plus, I just like things to be in some kind of order. (The seasons are Hearts - Spring, Diamonds - Summer, Spades - Autumn, Clubs - Winter).

According to Andy's book, the Hearts suit deals with 'domestic affairs, daily life and immediate surroundings'.  Caitlin's book says that Hearts deal with 'home and friendship; emotion, love, trust, encouragement.' So, Hearts are about the home and and the day to day. One could say that Hearts are about the essence of life, or the basics of life.

It may come as a surprise that the suit of Hearts is associated with masculinity. As Andy only hints at but I will dare to expand upon, this no doubt hearkens back to ideas that males are more fully developed human beings spiritually, mentally and emotionally, whereas women are mere slaves to their reproductive systems and thus have much a narrower, underdeveloped and erratic experience of life. How Victorian. (The feminine suit is Spades -- which sounds doubly bad, but it turns out the 'Big Bad' suit in the Alemannic system is not the Spades but the Clubs. More on that later.)

I had all nine of these cards laid out in a line in front of me and it occurred to me that this arrangement reminds me of Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory (aka Motivation-Hygiene Theory). In a nutshell, what motivates us are higher level needs; the basic fundamentals are not motivational, we only notice them when they are absent. It's a workplace theory, but it seems to me to be a truth about life, and I noticed it in this line of nine.

projectmanagementtraining.net.au/

If you look at the line, which consists of the cards put in order by suit and number, we have Man - Stars - Tree - Moon - Rider - Dog - Heart - Stork - House. The line starts with Man, and if you consider both the near/far reading method and the number of suits, you can see that the things with the higher numeric value (companionship, love, variety, housing) are things that we tend to take for granted until they're missing; they are far from the Man, because he pays less attention to them, but have a higher number value, because they are more essential to life. That's what reminded me of Herzberg's Theory. The things closest to the man (a sense of a mission in life, of guidance, longevity, recognition and being valued, especially at work) are the things that he finds rewarding and motivational, but which are not 'hygiene factors' (ie, physical life necessities) and thus have a lower number.

French Cartomancy, LoScarabeo
Whether you see the Ace as the source of or the pinnacle of the suit, it comes as no surprise that the Man is the Ace of Hearts. Following through with the sexist bent of the suits, Man is the source from which life springs. (Woman is the Ace of Spades, or the source/pinnacle of growth and cultivation. The man starts the life, the woman incubates and harvests it, so to speak.)

French Cartomancy, LoScarabeo
So carrying on the line, above we have recognition and praise, especially at work (Moon), vigorous activity promoting health (Rider), loyal companions (Dog)...

French Cartomancy, LoScarabeo
...and finishing the line, love (Heart), change/growth especially in domestic matters (Stork), and of course the home itself (House).

Well, this certainly helps me get my head around the Hearts suit, and if nothing else, provides a framework for remembering what playing card goes with which Lenormand emblem. I wonder what will spring to mind when I examine the rest of the suits. :)

Thoughts?

9 comments:

  1. This is an exercise that I like to get students to do. Obviously on Saturday, there just wasn't time. In the first draft of the book, I wanted to teach the cards' meanings suit by suit not 1-36. It was not a popular idea, when I discussed it with readership, and Lenormand groups. But it does help, doesn't it?

    If you shuffle the cards, just using hearts, and then do the same with how they fall randomly, it's amazing how quickly you pick up the meanings and themes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I like the idea a lot. If you do another book, maybe try it that way. I'm not in any Lenormand group, and I like it. There may be lots like me out there. :D

      Delete
    2. The feeling seemed to be that it would prove cumbersome to newer readers.

      Marie Marco did, however, order her book by the pips. Even though it is the mother of French and francophilic Lenormand, it has always been criticized for that. None of her followers (Silvestre, Steinbach, George) repeated this innovation.

      Delete
    3. And yet, if Lenormand is truly not a deck but a method of reading playing cards, then surely one should look at the playing cards? I for one have always ignored the insets, but when you said that at the workshop, I became determined to examine them.

      Delete
  2. Brilliant Carla! Really. I think of myself as quite smart, but the playing cards have always puzzled me up until now. Thanks for lighting that light bulb for me. My "aha moment" flashed before my eyes. LOL, Can't wait to read your next post now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it is a bit tidy and I have no idea what the other suits will say to me. I've been staring at the Diamonds this evening, waiting for something to spring to mind. Might not! :) I certainly don't think the Herzberg theory will fit it...no significator in the line. It's got some tough cards in it, too. Birds, Coffin.

      Delete
    2. Ha, and here I am days later reading through the diamonds. You pulled it off brilliantly. :)

      Delete
  3. This take on the things close to the Man being what motivates him is interesting. However, the same argument could certainly be made about the woman, though I guess this comes back to the sexist bit. Also, if you're going to go with the "traditional", old-fashioned approach, then shouldn't the Rider be about messages - the Man wanting to be in the centre of things with people letting him know what's going on? :D

    Will be interested to see the other suits, as you say. What is seen as motivational for the woman? And what about the signs where there is no significator?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was looking only at this line of suit cards. Each one will be examined and whatever pops into my head will be what I write. I'm not looking for a consistent pattern to apply across all suits. Just playing around.

      Delete