Let's Look at Lenormand
While tarot seems to have somehow seeped into pop culture (maybe the way Ouija boards have), a lot of people remain unfamiliar with Lenormand. This divination system has less cards (36 instead of 78) and takes a more straightforward, less psychological approach to "telling your future."
Lenormand cards aren't meant to be read singularly—instead, they achieve meaning when they're strung together, much like words in a sentence. A word on its own doesn't really tell you much, but when you surround it with adjectives and verbs, you're able to make sense of it. Lenormand operates in the same way. I think the system appeals to my writer's brain—it gets me to tell stories, finding the present consequences of past actions and trying to figure out what might happen next in response to what's going on now.
The only reason I even got into Lenormand was because of this Fairy Tale Fortune Cards deck. I had spotted it in our neighborhood Fully Booked. I loved the artwork and the mid-century modern theme (I love anything Eames!) so I decided to pick it up and give it a try.
This deck comes with a book that assigns a short fairy tale for every card—something you can use to help you acquaint yourself with the meanings and eventually know each card by heart. It's been four years since I bought this deck and I still haven't read all the stories! Which is okay because the cards do have descriptions incorporated in the artwork, giving you a quick and dirty summary (perfect for impatient folks like me).
The book explains the history of the Lenormand and offers a lot of spreads, from a simple cross system (which was my go-to for the most part) all the way to the complex Grand Tableau system. I toted these cards with me everywhere I went, even going so far as to bring them with me to Australia! Needless to say, the cards were pretty accurate in the stories they told—and without this Fairy Tale Fortune deck, I wouldn't have picked up the confidence to start learning tarot again.
One thing though—Lenormand cards are traditionally smaller than your average playing cards and that's because the Grand Tableau utilizes all 36 cards on one surface. These cards are HUGE, and to use all of them, you would have to lay them out on the floor or overlap them one on top of the other. I personally don't mind, because I do love the artwork so much that I'm willing to overlook that little hang-up… but if you're nitpicky about size, then that's something to watch out for in this deck.
Over time, I've found that Lenormand can be a lot more straightforward than tarot. It can read what's on the surface pretty clearly, while tarot can pick up on subtleties that this system usually glosses over. When I've got a lot of time in my hands, I like to work with both to give myself a really well-rounded picture of what's going on.
Interested in getting a Lenormand reading? Check out the shop—I'll be offering them soon. :)