Sunday, 26 July 2015

Stretching the old brain cells with M. Lenormand

Eagle-eyed folk may notice I've accidentally got two cards switched around. This has been rectified.
Can you see it (without looking it up)?

This is what the Lenormand houses look like with just playing cards. The Lenormand, I learned from Andy Boroshevengra yesterday at the TABI conference, is not a deck or an oracle, but a system of reading playing cards. It uses 36 of the cards. To use the Lenormand system, you remove the 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s from a standard playing card pack and there you have it. But you'll never figure out the order they go in without memorizing it. There is no discernable logic or reason behind the order. Andy says there is no way of knowing what the thinking was behind this order, because we don't have the notes of the creator. The cards were originally published as The Game of Hope sometime between 1798 and 1801, by a man called Johann Kaspar Hechtel, as part of his board game. It could also be used as a playing card deck (for games that did not require a full deck, I assume) or to tell fortunes. This pack was later published with the Lenormand name and is the basis for all subsequent Lenormand decks. It also doesn't help if you know how to do traditional playing card readings, because the Lenormand system is very different.  How (and why) did Johann Kaspar Hechtel come up with this? It's a mystery!

For a Grand Tableau, I have always laid out a larger Lennie in order and then dealt a smaller one on top. Never learned the order of the cards. I've decided to remedy that.  I've been reciting and quizzing myself with the order of Lenormand and card numbers over the last few weeks. My goal is to be able to call out the number when told the emblem, call out the emblem when told the number, and be able to name the cards above, below, and to the left and right of any card called to me by name or number. I am now adding to my goals reading Lenormand style using only playing cards, no Lennie deck.

I've made this old playing card deck into a kind of concentration game by writing the Lenormand house name on the back of the card, so I can look at the playing card and guess the name, flip it over to see if I'm right, or lay them out face down and read the house name, have guess at the playing card, and flip it over to see if I'm right. Keep playing until I get them all right. (I noticed the switched cards when I was writing on the backs. Have you spotted them yet?)

Hey, it's a hobby and keeps me off the streets.

I did similar memory exercises with tarot when I first started out and I know those babies upside down backward forward inside and out. I want to get to the same familiarity with the Lenormand structure. At least I already have a feel for the Lennie card meanings, but that appears to be only half the battle. I'm up to the challenge!

6 comments:

  1. thanks for the little history lesson. The rigidity is what kept me from being caught up by the lenormand wave this past few years.

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    1. Not everyone is rigid, but I like tradition. I guess I just think a musician needs to learn to play scales before he or she jumps into jazz improv.

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  2. LOL! "....it keeps me off the streets." Looking at just the inserts looks intimidating to me. I admire you for jumping in with both feet and doing this. It's heck on my eyeballs. ;)

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    1. I figure maybe this kind of memory exercise will increase the likelihood that I remember to turn off the water before the bathtub overflows. Or that I don't wander out of the kitchen when I'm in the middle of making a stir fry.

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  3. I memorized the Lenormand numbers a few years back, and it definitely helps with the GT etc. I've not memorized the playing card associations, except the Aces and Courts (I do use the Courts as such). Will be interested to hear what difference it makes to your readings... :)

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    1. I am already beginning to see how it may colour my readings. The suits do affect the card meaning. I'll be posting on this because effectively this blog is my 'tarot journal'. I don't keep notebooks full of scribbling anymore. :)

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