Learning to read

Lenormand Cards


What is a Lenormand

Since cre­at­ing the Melissa Lenor­mand I’ve had the oppor­tu­nity to talk to many peo­ple about the cards. One of the most dis­cour­ag­ing things I’ve heard in these con­ver­sa­tions is, “The cards are beau­ti­ful, but I don’t know how to read Lenormand.”

And when we talk a lit­tle more about the sub­ject, inevitably the con­ver­sa­tion leads toward the Lenor­mand lit­er­a­ture out there that give spe­cific mean­ings for spe­cific cards in spe­cific com­bi­na­tions in spe­cific spreads. While the idea of learn­ing 36-cards isn’t ter­ri­bly intim­i­dat­ing to any­one who has spent a lot of time with a 78-card tarot deck, the idea of learn­ing so many com­bi­na­tions and mem­o­riz­ing and access­ing those mean­ings on the fly dur­ing a read­ing can be really daunting.

It’s often said that the Lenor­mand is more pre­scrip­tive than descrip­tive in its read­ings. Typ­i­cally, it is said that one doesn’t “intuit” an answer based on a spe­cific image in the card — rather, one sim­ply inter­nal­izes what the card means — so any of the many var­ied Lenor­mand decks out there should give the same kind of reading.

This is really only half true — and I stand by that for all readers. The mood of the Melissa Lenor­mand is so dif­fer­ent than the mood of one of the his­tor­i­cal repro­duc­tion decks. Besides that, one shouldn’t have to inter­nal­ize the mean­ings of sym­bols used in the Lenor­mand. They are already part of the dic­tio­nary of our sym­bolic language.

When I was cre­at­ing my deck, I was struck by a few things that pro­foundly shaped my Lenor­mand philosophy.

The deck is mod­ern. The orig­i­nals were first pub­lished in the 1840s. We have a Rider in this deck — not a Knight or Page. There’s no reli­gios­ity except for the Cross card — which is more like the “sec­u­lar cross” we talk about in Amer­ica today. There is no color sym­bol­ism. There were no astro­log­i­cal cor­re­spon­dences drawn in the originals.

The images are imme­di­ate. I feel like the cre­ators must have picked these 36 sym­bols because they were imme­di­ately acces­si­ble to peo­ple at the time. If the orig­i­nal read­ing sys­tems were as arbi­trary as some schools of thought suggest — why use such obvi­ous symbols?

The beauty is in the sim­plic­ity. I feel really lib­er­ated when I do a Lenor­mand read­ing. The fla­vor is dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent and I read with a dif­fer­ent style. Many peo­ple feel like the ora­cle is more direct — which is exactly why it has the rep­u­ta­tion of being a fortune-teller-type deck. But even that is mis­lead­ing. A deck of cards is what you make of them. If you use your Lenor­mand to pre­dict what you’ll have for din­ner tonight, that’s awe­some and totally apt. If you use your Lenor­mand to exam­ine the nature of the soul, that’s also a per­fect use of the cards, you just may need to phrase it differently than you would a Tarot reading.

Don’t mis­un­der­stand what I’m say­ing though. I’m a firm believer that any sys­tem that you read with should have some kind of inter­nal logic. Ded­i­cated Lenor­mand stu­dents should truly con­sider my Lenor­mand 101 course and my advanced Grand Tableau class, which includes video tuto­ri­als that break down every step and offer exam­ples of how an actual read­ing goes.

But if you're itching to get started, I invite you to LEARN LENORMAND IN FIVE MINUTES. A quick and dirty fortune telling workshop designed to get you reading your pack right now.

If you're wanting more systematic instruction, I'd recommend you jump right to the section on taking a class.


Subscribe to my low-volume newsletter and get a free PDF worksheet: LEARN LENORMAND IN FIVE MINUTES. It's the same worksheet I used when I taught at The Reader's Studio in NYC!

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Other Learning Resources

Six Years ago I was a guest on Beyond Worlds Tarot Tribe, where I talked about Lenormand cards — one of the first podcasts to be devoted to to the topic. Listen to the interveiew here:

The Melissa Lenormand LWB

I've been working to get the entire Little White Book of the Melissa Lenormand online (Postmark Lenormand and Wicked Sibyl, you're next!). You can see my entire work-in-progress on that here.

The Rider

The rider represents news, messages, ideas and thoughts. Can also represent your intuition and invention. Considered a positive card. This was the first card I designed for the deck. I used a lovely vintage woman

Read the full card meaning...

Lenormand Keywords

These are the same Lenormand keywords I've used as the basis of every Little White Book I've written and every class I've taught. It includes the significant cards I use to denote certain universal life experiences (when a querent asks a question about a specific thing). You'll find a link to download a PDF of these keywords, which you can use to kick-start your own set of personalized Lenormand keywords.

Lenormand Cheat Sheet

Once you've got your basic keywords down, it's useful to come up with a glossary of words and phrases that pertain to each card. You can see my basic "Lenormand Dictionary" here, and download a PDF copy to use as the basis of your own.

Take a class

Lenormand Classes by Melissa

If you're ready to start taking your Lenormand reading seriously, I would recommend you begin on my Lenormand Essentials track and then graduate to The Grand Tableau course. Over the years, I've taught hundreds of intuitives to read the Lenormand, often facilitating the "ah ha" or breakthrough moment where all the cards on the table suddenly make sense.

My signature courses are Lenormand Essentials and The Grand Tableau. I offer the two courses, although I do believe that the Essentials course is foundational for success with the Grand Tableau. Here's a basic breakdown of the course material:

Lenormand Essentials will guide absolute-card-reading-beginners (or Lenor­mand new­bies) to read­ing blocks of nine cards. The course is bro­ken into 12 easy to digest lessons and 18 videos, with links to private resources for my students only.

The material is entirely self-paced, however most students take 6 weeks to fully complete and digest the material, as well as create their personal Lenormand lexicon.

I originally taught this as part of my two hour Lenormand introduction (!!) and now, the course spans 20 lessons.

The course begins with blocks of 9 as a foundation of the Grand Tableau. The material ends with trouble shooting, and several examples of full Grand Tableau readings. You can expect it to take 6-8 weeks to go through, digest, and feel comfortable with. That said, at the end of this course, you will be a competent and confident Grand Tableau reader

Frequently Asked Questions

Student Testimonials

Thank you soooo much! I have learnt so much from your course. I love the videos which explain things so well. I LOVE the price of your course, I would have paid more for your expertise and experience (from a professional point of view) ... another course I started was hugely more expensive and did nothing but provide sheets to print off with no coaching (needless to say I'm no longer doing it after finding yours). I think you are awesome sharing your knowledge so freely. Thank you. May the Karma police bless you 🙂


I truly enjoyed this course! Thank you so much! There were a few things that had confused me greatly as I tried to learn on my own that you illustrated wonderfully, and I can now understand. I look forward to taking the Grand Tableau course!


Actually, your GT class got me into the habit of doing GTs without dreading information overload. I loved how you broke it all down. And now I have made peace with the big bad GT of 36 cards. And it's actually fun - and not the overwhelming thing I thought it had to be before I started this amazing six week journey in your class.

Sharon Brown