Lenormand is what is known as a static deck, this means it isn’t open to interpretation if you still want to call it Lenormand. Mlle Lenormand was a famous tarot reader in the 1800’s who drew the attention of the rich and famous (including Napolean it is said). She became a millionaire in her own lifetime which attests to her skills. Her readings were conducted using her own picture cards and a playing card deck, which brings the reading potential up to a whopping 88 cards.
She would lay out all 36 of her picture cards and then as she felt a need, add playing cards over other cards to refine the interpretation. Any reading with her would take hours which is (even today) the best way to get a full and accurate reading that doesn’t need to be validated or refreshed in a week. These were readings that would provide information over the next year or two so her clients got to go away holding and acting upon key points. Eliphas Levi upon seeing her reading cards was to comment on her lack of scholastic training in spirituality and her surprising accuracy. Like Many of the authors of spirituality in the day, considered themselves intellectuals who studied the beliefs and history of spiritual understanding. they were all well traveled and versed in the secrets of most religious practices and what they represented. A few of them, Levi, Arthur Waite and the copyist Aleister Crowley, tried to present these huge concepts in Tarot cards as a psychological self help tool.
Well before the tarot as we know it was created and published, Mlle Lenormand was an established taroist reading her own cards, and long before her playing cards were used in drawing rooms and carnivals for divination. The first playing cards date back to 1000 AD and were created by the Chinese although there is scant record as to how they were used.
Because Lenormand is named for the woman who created them, there is no room for personal interpretation of the pictorials beyond how you present the original image which was simple to say the least. The meanings of the cards are also fairly static. No matter what deck you have they should all have the same 36 cards and have the basis of her original card meanings. These can be built upon of course, but not totally changed if the deck is to be true to it’s name.
Where these cards come into their own, is in the interpretation of the card relationships. These have a definite guideline, but it is here that you can find your own references but I do like to include the scarier aspects of 1800 style readings. These were intended to inform, inspire, appease and slightly frighten the client because our Victorian ancestors didn’t just want information, they wanted an experience! I like that about these cards and do play up to that a bit in any reading. If you remove the need to simply make someone feel good as in an angel card reading, you can give incredibly accurate information. One of my favourite comparisons is to a roller coaster, people pay good money to be excited and scared, Lenormand readings should be the same, so that you get great information and have an unforgettable experience to boot. Channeling Lenormand gives you the basic card meanings, love card combinations, and every single possible two card relationship and some layouts that work well with this type of deck including how to lay out a full 36 card spread.
As a reader these cards give you a unique style that others may not be able to replicate. It is particularly noticeable in professional areas and psychic fairs. There are less and less Taroists actually reading cards and not reciting interpretations, making this a worthwhile field to embark on, there are more oracle card readers and, outside of myself, I am yet to see anyone reading Lenormand at shows.