The first thing I recommend the reader do is to get a deck of Lenormand cards; you will need a deck of cards handy in order to sort out the meanings and the exercises provided by the text. The Lenormand and the Tarot are completely different divination systems. The cards have different meanings and you can’t pinch tarot cards from your 78 card deck to substitute for the 36 cards the Lenormand has. I know, I tried. 

The Lenormand deck is like driving a stick shift, and the Tarot is like driving a automatic. The spreads are different as well, and I am still befuddled as to why the Grand Tableau, the most complex reading the book provides, is presented first, in Chapter 8, whereas the smaller, more practical everyday readings are found in the back of the book.

Learning Lenormand provides a fascinating account on the history of the Lenormand, where the cards were first produced and of course, history on the famous Mlle. Lenormand  herself. The authors take the reader through the contemporary meanings of the cards as well as the traditional meanings as well.

There are exercises scattered throughout the book, that uses games that play with the keywords and the readers imagination to tell stories based on the cards laid out.

Chapter Eight, which features the Grand Tableau, was the most difficult.  I have to admit, I got lost trying to decipher the instructions, and I still don’t understand what knighting and diagonalling are and the section does not make how knighting works remotely clear. (pg182)

The authors use keywords to help sort the meaning of the individual cards, but I personally found the keywords uninspiring and confusing, especially since there is a divination list starting on page 54. I found a lot of  Learning Lenormand confusing, especially where the keywords and the exercises utilizing them were concerned. The thing that confused me most was the section on the Clover card, starting on page 50.

This page is  overloaded with symbolism,  old references to tarot cards and playing cards that sound impressive on the surface, but in fact, have little meaning, like the odd reference to the  6 of diamonds. The section then meanders off into the symbolism of celibacy and being alone to shamrocks and Ireland and daffodils.  After the reader has trudged through a laundry list of meanings, the final line on page 52, the authors state: “So this card is in its essence about one’s relationship to oneself and the world.; Think of me. In it’s most spiritual sense. The simplest keyword for this is ‘identity.’ ”
Why the long trip through a slough of meaningless words and phrases to simply say this card is about identity?

Not all of the book is bad. It has a lot of good information, but I do get the sense that this book was phoned in. I understand the authors have tremendous amount of experience in tarot and I respect them and their knowledge. But I think that if someone was serious in perusing the Lenormand, it would be advisable to take an online course or have someone knowledgeable walk you through the process and keep this book as a reference.

~review by Patricia  Snodgrass

Authors: Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin
Llewellyn Publications, 2013
pp. 284 pgs, $16.99

RocketTheme Joomla Templates