You’ve heard of Tarot cards… But have you heard of Lenormand?
In Episode 109 of the Biddy Tarot Podcast, I invited Emily Rose, a diviner from Portland, Oregon, to talk about the differences between Tarot and its “sassy older sister” Lenormand. She reads the cards for me during our conversation to demonstrate, and we even discuss how Tarot readers can get started with learning Lenormand!
If you’ve been curious about jumping into using this kind of card reading, or if you’ve never heard of Lenormand before today, you won’t want to miss this conversation with Emily!
Follow Emily Rose on Facebook at Two Ladies Tarot NW
Visit Emily (and learn more about Lenormand) at EmilyRoseDivination.com
Order “Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand” deck here!
You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 109: Lenormand for Tarot Readers with Emily Rose.
Welcome to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, where you’ll learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.
Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence. And now, here’s your host, Brigit Esselmont.
BRIGIT: Hello, and welcome back to the Biddy Tarot Podcast. As always, it’s such a joy to be talking Tarot with you today. Now, I have a very special guest today, and her name is Emily Rose.
Emily is a diviner from Portland, specialising in both Lenormand and Tarot card readings. She really focuses on helping her clients reconnect to their authentic selves and align with their soul purpose.
Emily comes from a rich history of diviners and healers in her family, and her mum, Ailynn, also runs a Facebook page with Emily called Two Ladies Tarot NW, where they both offer readings, classes and aromatherapy potions.
Now, you might remember Emily and Ailynn from episode 101, when they were talking about how they work together as a mum and daughter with Tarot and also how Ailynn makes Tarot potions and aromatherapy sprays and all that good juju.
Well, anyway, I thought I needed to have Emily back on the show because she knows a little something-something about Lenormand cards, which I know nothing about, and I really wanted to hear more about:
- Firstly, what are Lenormand cards?
- How can we start using them?
- And particularly from a Tarot reader’s perspective, how could we make a transition from reading Tarot cards to also reading Lenormand cards?
Now, even if you’re not intending on reading Lenormand ever, that’s OK. Listen to this episode because it will just open up your mind around what is possible.
In this interview, Emily talks about what Lenormand cards are, how she uses them, how to get started learning about them, and perhaps most exciting is that she actually does a reading for me so that we can see how these cards come into play. I think you’ll really enjoy today’s interview, so without further ado, let me hand over to Emily.
LENORMAND FOR TAROT READERS WITH EMILY ROSE
BRIGIT: Welcome, Emily. How are you doing tonight?
EMILY: I’m doing really well! Thank you so much for having me back on the podcast.
BRIGIT: Oh, it’s a pleasure! It was so nice talking with you and your mum and then, of course, because you know so much about Lenormand, I thought, “I’ve got to have you back to talk about Lenormand,” because it’s something that I hear a lot about, but I know very little, so it’s great to have you with a foot in both camps, really—Tarot and Lenormand.
Can you tell me a little bit about how you got to this place? I know you shared in our previous episode 101 when you were here with your mum, but I’d love to hear a bit more about your story again, about how you got to Tarot and Lenormand reading.
EMILY: Yeah! My mother, if you’ve listened before, was a Tarot reader when I was young, and I grew up around Tarot and this really fun, magical belly dancing community. I really wanted to read as well, so my mom took me to a bookstore and said, “Go ahead and pick out your first Tarot deck.” Being a 12-year-old girl, I went for this beautiful gold, shiny deck that just said “Fortune Cards” on them.
So, I get home, and my mom and I are unpacking it, and she’s excited to teach me, and she looks at them and says, “I have no idea what these are—good luck!”
I spent the next 15 years learning these cards, which I found out a few years later were called Lenormand, and I just feel completely in love with them, so I grew up learning Tarot in addition to Lenormand.
BRIGIT: Wonderful! And now you're teaching Lenormand cards as well, which is pretty awesome.
EMILY: Yeah, it’s such a fun type of card to teach, and it’s one of those types of cards that you immediately start seeing how it relates to your life. The cards are so immediate and so literal in a lot of ways. People get a kick out of reading them, especially for Tarot readers. It’s really fun to pair it with Tarot to enhance the readings.
BRIGIT: Yeah, so tell me a little bit more about Lenormand. I am an open book, a clean slate! Tell me what you know about Lenormand and how people are using them.
EMILY: Yeah, sure. Lenormand is a much smaller deck than Tarot. There are only 36 cards, and they typically have a single image on each card. For instance, there’s a Woman card. There’s a Man. There’s a Dog. There’s a Bouquet. Things like that.
With these cards, they each do have some meaning on their own, but where you really glean the meaning is from the interactions between the cards. I know with Tarot you can pair cards together to get meaning, but you can also spend so much time diving into just each individual card and discussing that. With Lenormand, it’s a lot different because it’s all about the card combinations. People tend to have a lot of fun with that because there are endless possibilities for card combinations. There are websites dedicated to coming up with new meanings for each combination.
It became popularised during the Napolean era, and Marie Anne Lenormand was a fortune teller to Josephine Bonaparte, so that’s kind of how it got the name Lenormand. That’s a little bit of the history. It’s definitely not a full history in Lenormand, but that’s where it became popularised, and it’s been popular in Europe for a long time, and it’s just kind of now making its way over to the States.
BRIGIT: Yeah. With the Lenormand, is it that you need to learn what the cards mean? Is it a little bit more structured than, say, Tarot, where you can be quite intuitive in reading into the card and the story and so on. How does that work?
EMILY: Yeah, the cards are a lot more literal. It is about learning what each cards means, and then the placement of the card becomes really important. For instance, if you have the Coffin card, and then you have the Bouquet, that’s “happiness after loss,” but then if you have the Bouquet before the Coffin, then that is “end of happiness.” The cards are a lot more literal, and it is important to learn the classical meanings of the cards.
A lot of the Lenormand community is not a fan of using too much intuition in a reading. I am a little bit different in the sense that I tend to use intuition in my readings, but I found that the meanings of the cards are so embedded in me, and I’ve taken so much time to learn them that my intuitive readings are in line with what the literal reading of the card would be. It’s almost like learning another language and becoming fluent in another language since you can read the cards when they’re in a spread almost like a sentence.
BRIGIT: Yeah. What I was also interested about was whether a Lenormand reading would be very short, like a [inaudible 00:08:15], whereas with Tarot, you could talk for an hour on one card if you really wanted to.
EMILY: Yeah, yeah. They can be really short. It depends on the question. You tend to want to ask more specific questions with Lenormand because the cards respond so directly to the question. The phrasing that you use is really important.
If you want to know “Is my debt going to grow in the next year?” and you get the Tree… A lot of people see the Tree as a very positive card, usually meaning abundance, wealth, roots and things like that. But when you get it in response to “Is my debt growing?” then you know it’s going to grow larger because it’s a Tree growing upward. Yes, your debt will grow.
So, it comes down to the phrasing of the question, and if you’re really good at phrasing questions, then your readings can go pretty quickly, but what I like to do is layer Lenormand with Tarot in my readings. A lot of times, I use Lenormand to get a lay of the land. I think it’s really good for getting a sense of:
- Who are your players?
- What is the situation?
If you’re at work, having a work issue, you can get a sense of:
- Who is causing the problem?
- Who is not cooperating in this project?
OK, now we know that…
- What is this project about?
- What is the undercurrent?
- What’s going on?
I like to use that to get a sense of who, what, when and where, basically, and then I like to use Tarot to get to that why part:
- What are the motivations?
- What can you do to improve the situation?
I really like using Lenormand to get the basics, and then I tend to use Tarot to dive a little bit deeper and see what’s going on under the surface.
BRIGIT: Hmm, that’s interesting. I like it. Have you ever tried it the other way around, where you do a Tarot reading to begin with, and then you use Lenormand to get more specific in areas?
EMILY: Oh, definitely. Yeah, every reading is so different. It depends on the question that comes in. In most cases, they want to get a sense of “What’s going on, and what can I do to make that better?”
But sometimes definitely starting with Tarot, saying, “I’m feeling this way—what can I do to feel better?” It’s like, “OK, well, let’s start there, since that’s where the querent is, and then let’s start large and then kind of funnel down with Lenormand, so we can really see what in your day-to-day life we can fine tune and make so it’s more in alignment with the person that you want to be.”
BRIGIT: Hmm, interesting. Then with Tarot… I mean, we need to be very careful in how we phrase our questions and that we’re looking more for open-ended questions. Do those rules then not apply to Lenormand? Are you actually doing the [inaudible 00:11:06] all of that?
EMILY: So, I think it’s very important to phrase your questions. I really still don’t like yes-or-no questions for Lenormand. I tend to try to gear it in a more open way, so we allow the cards some room to describe the situation.
But with Lenormand, unlike Tarot, where we can kind of flip some of the Tarot cards that are perceived as negative or look negative at first glance, like the Tower or something like that. But then when you look at Lenormand, there are “good cards” and “bad cards”. Those lines are a little bit more delineated with Lenormand, so you get a much more blunt reading a lot of times.
When I’m reading a line, I always look for how many negative cards we have (or perceived negative cards), and then, of course, you want to read the interactions between them. But if you're using a decision spread, and you see the Scythe and the Coffin, things like that, it kind of helps you make your decision a little bit quicker.
So, I think it’s important with Lenormand to have more focused questions that are kind of pinpointed because you want to anticipate what the cards may say and give them some room to breathe, so you're able to make sure that you're asking a question in a language that the cards will understand. It’s the same, I think. It’s just a little bit… You can fine tune it a little bit more, I think, to get those close to yes-or-no if you would like to do that.
BRIGIT: Yeah, absolutely. I’m hearing that you're using spreads as well. Are they similar kinds of spreads as using Tarot? Or is there a different way that you're using a spread with Lenormand cards?
EMILY: So, there’s a lot of different ways to make spreads. Some of the most basic ones to do are to read three cards at a time, and that’s a simple three-card spread. I use that a lot of times to start my day.
I’ll say, “What may I encounter today?”
Or “What can I do to have the best day today?”
Having those three cards is a really great place to start, and then you can build out from there. If you have a more detailed question, like “What does my month have in store for me?” or something like that, you can expand to five or seven or even a nine-card spread, which is where you lay three cards by three cards. You can progress from there to getting even more complex.
The mother of all Lenormand spreads is call the Grand Tableau, and it’s actually where you lay out all of the cards, and you charge certain cards to represent different pieces of you in your life. For instance, the Woman card could represent you if you’re a female querent. You could charge the Fox as the work card, so you know when the Fox card surfaces, all the cards surrounding it are going to involve work. You can charge the Child to represent your child, so the things that are surrounding that are representing that.
I like to do the Grand Tableau for myself and my clients usually about once a year to kind of get a sense of the energies that are coming their way, so if they see something that they don’t like in their path, they can go ahead and alter it. We can pull some Tarot cards or some additional Lenormand cards to see what we can do to build a more conscious future for them.
BRIGIT: Yeah, brilliant! Hmm, I’m learning so much! I love this. Now, I’m probably going to put you on the spot here because I didn’t prepare you for this, but would you be able to do a Lenormand reading, just so we can see how it works?
EMILY: Oh, sure! Let me grab my cards here. Perfect. So, let’s think of a question here that we may have. Do you have something you're wondering about, Brigit?
BRIGIT: Yes, I do. I always have many things I’m wondering about.
BRIGIT: Well, I can’t give away too much detail about it, but I can say that I’m working on a very big project at the moment that’s taking up a lot of my time and energy. I guess I just want to know how to manage this and make it really successful.
EMILY: OK, OK. Yeah, so I think for Lenormand… Because that is a very good Tarot question!
BRIGIT: This is the thing, right? I’m so trained in Tarot questions, so tell me how to rephrase for Lenormand.
EMILY: Yeah, and you can totally ask that. You can say, “What can I do to make that?” but I could ask, “What may you experience as you continue this project?” That’s something I may use for Lenormand. That’s probably what I would rephrase it to, and then maybe pull a Tarot card for how to manage it. Rana George is someone I adore and love, and she says, “With your question, just make sure you're not trying to eat spaghetti with a spoon!” I just love that.
BRIGIT: Well, maybe I do you have something a little bit more specific within the topic, and that’s “Do I need to put my business on hold to focus purely on this project, or can I do them together?”
EMILY: Yeah, so this is great for a decision spread. What I do there is, typically, pull three or five cards in one row for if you put your business on hold, and then three or five cards if you decided to keep your business going and pursue this. I think that we could do a decision spread for that if that sounds good to you.
BRIGIT: All right, yeah, let’s play with that. Sounds good.
EMILY: OK, cool. I’m pulling some cards here.
BRIGIT: And maybe what we can do is take a photo of it, so we can post that on the website as well.
EMILY: Yes, definitely. OK, so I went ahead and pulled some cards here. In general, looking at the two rows that I pulled out here…
The first one is if you decided to put a hold on your business. You decide that you are not going to continue with that. You have the Child, the Whip and the Road.
What that’s saying is that if you're putting your business on hold, you are definitely going to face some difficulties with this new road that you're on. It’s something that you could overcome, but it’s almost like… It’ll kind of annoy you that you're not continuing to work on your business. You’ll feel almost like it’s that FOMO—that “fear of missing out”—or something like that. The Road is saying that you’ll have difficulty. It’s a Crossroad. If you look at the card, it’s two roads splitting, and it seems like you really have trouble with that decision if you were to hold your business, so it may be a decision that would be difficult to overcome for you, and it may be something that is more mental in that capacity for you.
Then looking at if you decided to keep your business going, you have the Birds, the Letters, and then you have the Clover. Just looking at these two rows here, you have the Whip in the previous spread, which is slightly negative, and then in this spread, if you kept your business going, you have a very positive card here, and you don’t have any negative cards.
So, what I’m getting from if you decided to keep your business going is that if you communicate and perhaps delegate to people more, especially if you're documenting the communication flow that you would like to have, having that planned out and delegating that to others is going to be your path to success. And with the Clover, I always like to see that down there because it kind of means to me that you're a little bit blessed in that endeavour. You're going to find a way to make that work if you were to keep your business going, so it looks to me that that’s the brighter path, if I were to offer a recommendation based on this reading.
BRIGIT: Yeah, that’s awesome. I love it! OK, yes, because I get frustrated by the idea of having to put things on hold, especially business stuff because I love what we’re doing inside of Biddy, and if we do continue doing our normal launches and so on while I’m working on this project, yeah, it will happen if I have the team doing it, and I know that I can get a team in place to do that, so that’s really interesting.
BRIGIT: I love it. It’s interesting the Letters came up because this project does have a lot to do with letters and writing.
EMILY: Oh, really? Yeah, it’s quite literally writing and communication. I mean, you have a lot a communication in that one, but when the Clover shows up in there, you're going to find a way to make it work. You have luck on your side a little bit. Things just kind of work out. So, it seems to me that’s definitely the brighter path, so that’s funny!
BRIGIT: Yeah, wonderful! So, then you could even layer this up now with the Tarot to say how to make that work, how to make that successful, as well as the project successful.
BRIGIT: Yeah, OK, neat.
BRIGIT: Yeah, good. Thank you for doing that because it’s great just to see how these different techniques and tools come into play, how we can actually start using them, and what kinds of messages they give. The neat thing that I observed with that is that it’s quite a specific reading, and it’s a short and sharp reading—would that be fair?
EMILY: Yes, definitely. I kind of think of it as a sassy best friend or older sister that kind of knows the truth for you, like what you feel deep down, but you haven’t… It’s on the tip of your tongue, and it hasn’t come out yet, and I think that Lenormand kind of just pinpoints that for you in kind of a sharp but loving way still, I think.
BRIGIT: Yeah, and I can imagine having your Lenormand cards in your handbag, out with your girlfriends, pull them out for a quickie, and you would get a lot of good fun and value as well out that experience, whereas I think Tarot… I’ve been out to dinner, say with a friend, and they’ve said, “Oh, could we have a look at the Tarot cards?” We pull them out, and then we’re getting into a big story about them, and it’s not quite as punchy as maybe this might be. Yeah, it’s neat.
EMILY: Yeah, and these cards tend to be more literal, like how the Letter showed up for a project regarding writing and things like that, but then they can get more complicated. Especially once you start getting into questions with other people involved, it can get kind of complicated there, so I always like to keep it focused on the querent themselves, but yeah, it is so quick and punchy, and it’s so fun to do!
BRIGIT: Yeah. With Tarot, I think a lot of people get quite overwhelmed at the beginning, thinking they’ve got to learn all 78 cards. Is it an easier learning process with Lenormand, do you think?
EMILY: Well, I think it is in terms of just learning the basic meanings of the cards. I think where the complications can come in, or some of the hurdles to overcome, especially for Tarot readers, is first separating the meanings of the cards.
There are some cards that look very similar to Tarot cards in terms of the imagery—the Tower card, for instance. We have that in Tarot, and we have that in Lenormand. The Tower card in Lenormand means structure, bureaucracy, stability, perhaps even being alone in a tower, which is very different from the Tower card in Tarot. At the beginning of a lot of my classes, I have everyone repeating a mantra: “Lenormand is not Tarot!” I try to kind of shake that out.
Then the other part, I think, that’s trickier is the combinations. There are so many different meanings for card combinations, and some of them can get very specific. I mean, you can ask questions like, “Where are my keys?” and you can ask that, and you’ll get, “OK, it’s in the freezer!”—which, that’s a real story.
Some people go, “Well, how did you get that from the Tower and the Bear?” It’s like, “Well, a cold, tall place,” you know?
Some people say, “Well, but Bear can also mean a mother figure, so how do I know that that’s relating to that?”
I think that that’s one of the other trickier parts, learning to relate the context to the card combination. Does is the context of your question, and how can you relate it those to the cards? I think that that is probably the trickiest part for people, is remembering the context of their questions when they start diving into the cards. In a lot of my classes, people will, in our workshops, start working on it, and they go, “Oh, my gosh—I forgot the context!” as they’re talking, so I’m always trying to remind people of that.
So, I think it’s simpler at the beginning to just learn the 36 cards, but then the trickier part comes when you're practising, and you're trying to remember the context of your question as you're reading the combinations.
BRIGIT: Yep, beautiful. It sounds like the best way for someone to get started with Lenormand is just start with those 36 meanings, and then you can start to layer it up and get a little bit more complex from there. Would that be right?
EMILY: Exactly, and I think a great way to start is just to do three cards a day. Before you leave the house in the morning, you can say, “What may I encounter today?” and you can have your three Lenormand cards, and maybe you make a note of them, and then at the end of the day, you can see how that related to your day.
I think that that’s probably the best tool to just get started, and that way it’s not overwhelming. Then as you get more confident with your combinations—I think it’s good to keep a journal of that—you can start building out to five-card spreads and then seven-card spreads. Once you really start understanding the relationship between the cards and the language that the cards speak, you can branch out pretty quickly and see some pretty accurate stuff come your way.
BRIGIT: Yep, beautiful. You’ve got some free resources on your site to help people do just that—is that right?
EMILY: Yes, I do. I have a free Lenormand cheat sheet on my website. You could head there: EmilyRoseDivination.com. You can get a free Lenormand cheat sheet there to kind of help get you started, and I also have some blog posts that will be highlighted on my website about how to get started reading with that three-card spread.
BRIGIT: Fabulous. And, of course, we’ll make sure that we post those links on the show notes as well, which you’ll find at BiddyTarot.com/109. Is there an online course in the works?
EMILY: There is! Yes, I am working on an online class for beginning Lenormand students. I’m really excited about that. I’m hoping to have this course in early 2018. I know that’s when this episode will likely air, so hopefully, there will be one coming up soon, and if you grab your free Lenormand cheat sheet, you’ll get more details about the class.
BRIGIT: Fabulous. Well, I’m really intrigued, and today’s introduction to the Lenormand has been incredibly helpful, so thank you so much, Emily, for sharing your wisdom and your advice with how to work with these cards, especially from being a Tarot reader and then potentially making a transition into starting to learn Lenormand. I appreciate that very, very much.
EMILY: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
BRIGIT: My pleasure. Now, just before we wrap it up, is there anything that you wanted to add so that we can call this interview complete?
EMILY: I would just say the #1 thing when working with Lenormand is to have fun with it. If you don’t know what the cards mean the first time you get a combination that is really tripping you up, just write it down in your journal, reshuffle and draw again. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I think that as you begin to build a relationship with the cards, you’ll just find that being playful is so helpful when you're starting to practice, so just have fun.
BRIGIT: Fabulous. Excellent. And where can people find out more about you? I know that you’ve just mentioned your site, but mention it again.
BRIGIT: Fabulous. Awesome! Well, thank you again. I really appreciate your being able to share today. Yeah, it’s been great. Hopefully, there might be a few more Lenormand readers out there who are inspired to start the journey.
EMILY: Yay! That would be so awesome!
BRIGIT: All right, thanks, Emily.
EMILY: Thanks, Brigit.
BRIGIT: So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Emily Rose and me. Now, remember to check out Emily’s free cheat sheet of the 36 Lenormand card meanings, which you can get over at her website at EmilyRoseDivination.com. We’ll also post links to Emily’s site on our show notes page, which you’ll find at BiddyTarot.com/109, and you can get access to the transcript for today’s call and all that good stuff. Actually, you can probably even see a photo of the reading that we did together.
All right, well, I hope you enjoyed today. I certainly did, and maybe you're already busy looking up how you can get your first deck of Lenormand cards as well. Until next time…
In fact, next time, we’re going to be talking about how to get some more support as a Tarot reader and how to find your tribe, even if you feel like there’s no one around you who really loves Tarot as much as you do. So, I think that’s going to be a really interesting conversation. All right, have a great week and bye for now!