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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Lenormand Study: Card Effects

Traditionally, Lenormand cards are not read in isolation, but by their proximity to one another, and in combinations. Therefore, it is important to learn the effect that certain cards will have on those around them. Andy Boroveshengra and Caitlin Matthews, whose books I am working with at the moment, both address this. Today I'm making some notes (as this blog is my Lenormand journal) on how the cards affect one another, as described by Andy and Caitlin.

In Lenormand: 36 Cards, Andy places all the Lenormand cards on a single scale that runs from positive to negative like this:

 As you can see, most cards in the pack are 'neutral' (though some are on the positive or negative ends of neutral), and 16 cards are more extreme. Laid out, they run thus, from most positive in upper left corner to most negative in lower right, with Clover apparently the most positive, and Cross the most negative:

Piatnik Lenormand

In Andy's method, no two cards occupy different subsets at the same time. For example, he doesn't show a negative card as being also in the positive or neutral subsets. That is why he has created the Positive-Neutral and Neutral-Negative runs, presumably. Also, take note that while there is a mixture of red and black in the progression, the majority of the Clubs suit is in the Negative run. 

Caitlin Matthews also presents the concept of card effects in her book, The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook. She divides the pack into three segments: Fortunate, Challenging and Neutral. The cards are not listed in a progressive order in any of these groupings, but rather remain in Lenormand order. I gather from this that she does not consider any one card better or worse than any other within its own subset. Also, she has a few cards that occupy spaces in two subsets at the same time:

Postmark Lenormand, Melissa Hill 2011
As with Andy's system, Caitlin presents the majority of the deck as neutral, though she includes nine Fortunate (or positive) cards and nine Challenging (or negative) cards. It's also interesting to note that Caitlin's negative cards are mostly from the Clubs suit as well.

Let's compare them: 
Boroveshengra, Andy. Lenormand: Thirty-Six Cards. 2014, pages 116-117.
Matthews, Caitlin. The Complete Lenormand Handbook. Rochester: Destiny Books, 2014, page 106.

I'll be looking at how to apply this knowledge through proximity and attendance over the coming week. :)


  1. At one point, I tried something like this exercise, looking through all my books for positive-negative-neutral type assessments. It was interesting that, even though the largest part of my library is in German, there was only one German author, and a very modern one at that, who used this kind of classification. Another interesting thing was that no two authors had exactly the same definition of which cards go in any of the categories (I looked at five different classifications/authors).

    Overall, I prefer Caitlin's terminology of cards being challenging or fortunate, to positive and negative. At least some peope will be "up for a challenge", while no one wants something "negative" in their life. There is plenty of evidence, from a psychological perspective, that these kinds of judgemental terms lend themselves to catastrophising thought patterns of the sort that CBT etc then try to help us out of. It also leads to a sort of fight-or-flight response, tight and nervous, which does not lend itself to creative problem-solving.

    This is not to deny the challenges inherent in certain cards, but rather suggests approaching them with "non-judgemental awareness", from which we can respond creatively to whatever is thrown in our path.

    1. It's all very interesting to explore in any case. And you know I'm not one to hesitate to discard something completely if and when I decide it's not for me. :)

    2. Very true. In the meantime, it is interesting to see where this is all taking you :)

  2. ha! Keep doing these little diagrams. I am too lazy and this is wonderful. :) The only thing I noticed is that you put the number 8 next to snake. I kept looking for it, and couldn't find it. LOL It feels like we are studying the cards together, even though you are across the pond, as we are both going through the books at the same time. Cheers!