I'll be the first to admit that the lenormand system can seem really daunting at first - it is so totally different then tarot. With only 36 cards you would think it would be a cake walk, right? Sometimes I think that if you are a tarot reader transitioning into lenormand that it is a little harder then the other way around. If you are interested in learning more about this system here are 10 tips to get you started.
1. Read Books
This one seems like a no brainer, right? You'd be surprised how many people ignore this part when learning new decks and systems. There are a vast number of people out there who rely on the LWB or the book that comes with the deck. While this is not entirely wrong, you are better off to pick up a couple good books. The reason for this is that different people offer different tips and tricks that can help you better learn or comprehend the system as a whole. Here are a couple of my all time favorites (click on pic to go to Amazon.com to purchase)
2. Study the history
It isn't enough to know a little bit about the lenormand. If you study the history of the system, it's origins and what prompted each of the card images it will add a whole new level of depth to your reading and understanding. The books above are a great start to learning the history. The Tarot Association has a fantastic class on Lenormand. It isn't free but it IS worth every penny! You can find it HERE
Practice makes perfect - there is a reason why this phrase continues to be a popular one. Sure, you can sit and practice over and over again, but there is a much better way to practice. I highly suggest joining some of the Facebook groups that are available. A lot of them allow for you to post a spread and get feedback on the interpretation. Some of these groups as well offer guidance from people like Marcus Katz and Ciro Marchetti - some of the best names in the business! Here are some of the best ones in my opinion:
* Learning Lenormand
* Lenormand and Cartomancy
* Lenormand Study Group
4. What do experienced readers say?
An experienced reader is that way for a reason. They have spent a lot of time (often YEARS) learning and refining the art of reading the lenormand. Absorb their wisdom like you were a sponge. You don't have to copy the way they do things, but if they offer tips file them away in a little corner of your mind. You never know what may really click for you and make your readings all the more potent.
5. Don't buy a ton of decks to start off
Like tarot, each deck of lenormand cards has it's own flavor, it's own unique aspects. Until you learn the basics of the system it is best to pick one deck that speaks to you and master that one. Once you have a grasp then by all means branch out and collect to your heart's content. Here are some great starter decks icluding our own Sights of the Southwest deck and the Fairytale Lenormand by my good friend Arwen Lynch!
6. Take Classes
There are classes all over the place, so explore them. There are free classes and paid classes - generally speaking you can expect any class that you have to pay for to be much more professional, in depth and engaging. Be sure to check and see what people say about a class before you pay for it though, or check to see what the refund policy is for the class. Every once in a while you will stumble across someone who will just throw together a mish mash of stuff and try to charge for it. Do your homework!
7. Ignore the chatter about tradition
There are people who will tell you that the only right way to read is in the French Tradition, others will say that the only right way is the German Tradition. These people are the same type of people who say things like "you can only read tarot if you were gifted a deck" or "voodoo can only be performed by a black haitian priest". These are their OPINIONS - and opinions are like as*holes - everyone has one, but that doesn't mean they don't stink. Develop YOUR way of doing things. Don't go completely off the reservation and come up with a never before heard of method, but don't pigeonhole yourself into just one tradition either.
8. Stick to a set of meanings or rules
If you start something keep it consistant. For example if you learn to read from right to left, then you should always read from right to left. If you read the fish card as money and prosperity, then you should always read it as money and prosperity. If you switch methods or meanings you will only confuse yourself and make it much more difficult for you.
9. You might learn better with more cards
Some people learn the system best with just 3 or 4 cards at a time, but if you are struggling a little then you might find it easier to read with the mini tableau or grand tableau. More cards sometimes makes it easier to create a narrative. Experiment with what works best for you.
10. Have fun and be yourself
Again, seems pretty self explanatory, right? It is importnat for you to develop your style and voice when reading, but make sure that you maintain a sense of who you are - and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself once in a while!
So here are some great steps to get you started - what things would you add to this list?
24 years of tarot experience, 20 years experience as a mom, and a lifetime of knowledge is just rattling around in here!