Learning to read
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!
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.
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
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.