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In my last post I talked about combining Lenormand cards and the fact that those ready-made lists of all the Lenormand card pairings are meant mainly as examples. An option I gave was to not explicitly combine cards; just read what I call a timeline, and my friend calls a flow of action. You can “blend” cards together this way as you determine how one card leads to the next.

Even if you don’t want to explicitly combine cards, you can look to the neighbor on the right for more information. This is similar to dignities in tarot. I don’t know if dignity fits with the flavor of the Lenormand, but it’s an apt term. The way I define it, a card that provides a dignity is one that influences another card positively or negatively according to its nature; but it does not provide any meaning of its own.  That is, a card brings out positive or negative traits in another without adding meaning.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

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Newbies to the Lenormand are at some point inundated with long lists of card combinations. These are lengthy but non-exhaustive lists of how each card might be read when paired with another. This is understandably daunting to the newcomer, who often thinks that these all have to be memorized in order to do a good Lenormand reading.

I have good news: these lists are meant to be samples of how cards work together, and don’t need to be memorized. They illustrate how their author thinks about the cards and how they might work for that author in a reading. It’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking that they are rules for card interactions. They are examples, no more.

So it’s important to go beyond these lists and develop your own way of determining how Lenormand cards interact.

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The Quick Cut is similar to how it sounds: a cut of the deck that can be quickly read, to show a quick answer and perhaps lead into a deeper reading session. It is not unlike a two-card draw, although the nature of cutting the deck makes it feel different to me. This method I credit to Chita St. Lawerence and you can read my summary in this post.

It feels very natural to me with a Lenormand deck, and compatible with those cards. The Quick Cut also seems like a good way to get used to reading Lenormand cards in pairs. Here is a sample I did yesterday with the Mystical Lenormand.

Dog + Key

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Winter weather has arrived where I live. It’s the time of year when the roads get coated with snow and ice, and people seemingly forget everything they know about driving.

So with a recent albeit mild snowfall, I thought I’d do a draw about what to expect on my drive into work this past Monday morning.

Mice + Mountain + Fox

My thought was anxiety or stress, and delays, on the way to work.

Surprisingly, it turned out to be the most timely drive I’d had in months. I believe a lot of people are on vacation due to Christmas this week.

The only unexpected delay was after the freeway, when the transit bus in front of me suddenly stopped to allow a paramedic to pass by. It was sudden and stressful, but is it what these cards warned of? I wouldn’t think so.

The drive home, on the other hand, was rather slow that day. Perhaps that’s what the cards chose to hone in on.

The above example, delays in getting to work, is one way to interpret this. Another style of interpretation is to treat the Mouse as “eating away” their adjacent cards, which in effect cancels out the Mountain and means no delays on the way to work. This property of the Mouse canceling neighboring cards is used in some of the German tradition.

The reason I posted about this is because it gives me a chance to reiterate the importance of consistency in reading cards. Depending on how one interprets the Mice card above, two entirely different interpretations are possible: either getting to work will be stressful and slow, or it will have no delays at all. Opposites! A reader who doesn’t have a consistent and standard way of reading the Mice card will have to choose which meaning to use in every reading, and I personally believe this can lead to confused readings.

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The Lenormand Heart card speaks of love, feelings and emotions. The Whip for me is about strife, conflict and discord.

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Heart + Whip: Fight with a loved one.

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Whip + Heart: An emotional argument.

As anyone who’s been reading my blog knows, I’ve been searching for a home to buy, and doing readings related to the hunt for a house. Not all of them have been posted here.

I did finally fall in love with a house. The only downside I could see was its location on a busier street. I did some readings regarding this house and its suitability, and none of them were ever really positive. Cross had shown up to describe this house, even when next to Heart, making me think of “the burden of ownership.”

Garden had popped up a couple of times, and the best I could figure was to relate it to the busy location. The reality turned out to be quite different. The house is settling too much, indicating a likely problem with the foundation. In retrospect, Garden seems a good representative of the foundation itself. In this light, here are two card combinations that came up.

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Garden + Mice: something “eating away” at, or eroding, the foundation.

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Garden + Bear: the foundation needs to be strengthened; needs a lot of work.

Sometimes readings do make more sense after the fact, and this is one of those cases. The upside of this is that particular pairings will have more meaning for the reader in future. I’ve certainly expanded my repertoire for the Garden card!

This seems like a generally straightforward combination pair today. Ring is the card about relationships and partnerships, whether romantic or otherwise. Thus it can talk about a marriage, a partner, a business deal or the negotiation to purchase a home. Key is typically the Lenormand card that says, “Yes!” If this appears, it’s usually a good omen regarding any question under consideration.

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Ring + Key

A relationship will be successful. If there are any questions or concerns regarding this relationship, I’d expect them to be worked out.

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Key + Ring

Success in some area will lead to a relationship being formed.

This is a potentially tricky pair that I recently saw in a relationship reading. Tree is most often read as health when following Lenormand traditional readings, but if reading about a relationship, it’s likely appropriate to put a different spin on the card.

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Tree + Bear

Tree, besides health, speaks of something that is long-standing; it has “roots.” This longevity can mean a meaningful or karmic connection; and on the flip-side it could show boredom, and perhaps inertia. The Bear is often an authority figure, and can indicate strength, fortitude, courage or conviction. It may also be jealousy, or being indistrious.

For this pair, cast in terms of relationships, I’d say there is a long-standing and strong relationship.

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Bear + Tree

In general terms, I’d be thinking about the health of a person — perhaps an authority or boss — who is represented by the Bear. More generally it could mean that someone or something has been strong for a long time. For a relationship question, this could mean that someone has been strong and faithful; similar to the first pair, but more emphasis is on a person (or the people) rather than the relationship itself. I would also be more inclined to see the boredom meaning from Tree sneak into this one.

What do you think?

Today I am pairing the Snake with the Ship.

Snake is one of those tricky cards, because it means different thing to different people, and varies by tradition. Harking back to “traditional” (German and Spanish from my studies), this card is read primarily as a woman, or an indicator of intelligence. However, the French-based sources (including the English language works by John Dee and Sylvie Steinbach) see this card in a more negative sense: lies, backstabbing and treachery. This makes sense as the Lenormand cards with club suit inset tend to be negative. I believe the cards with poems inset warn of the person depicted by this card.

For me, Snake is a blend of these. In a Grand Tableau (the 36-card layout) I will first regard the Snake as a “generic” woman with no special attributes or traits. Her relationship to the questioner as well as her character would be indicated by surrounding cards and location in the spread. In a relationship reading, she could be “the other woman.” When I do a smaller reading such as the no-layout, then I consider the Snake as a detour of some sort — a winding road, literal or figurative — or perhaps a backstabber, if appropriate.

Without further ado:

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Snake + Ship

Snake is a woman or a detour. Ship is a journey, trip or movement. This combination could be a detour in travel plans; or could represent escape from a certain woman. It could also represent a foreign woman, due to the Ship’s connotations of distance and “from afar.”

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Ship + Snake

This could be traveling to meet a woman, or taking the long way around — which could be literal with physical travel, or it could be a figure of speech applied to an action where a person does things methodically and maybe redundantly, not taking any shortcuts.

At the risk of making things confusing, I think both pairs could be interpreted to mean a detour on a journey. The first pair emphasizes the detour, which would in this case occur during travel. I would see this as the unexpected detour caused by an accident blocking the road, for example; or if a cruise ship needed to re-route for unexpected repairs. The second example would be more of choosing to take a detour, and again, this is reminiscent of going the “long way around.” For example, taking a road trip and deciding that a side trip to stay overnight in an area known for wineries would be fun.

Normally I wouldn’t read the same meaning in both pairs of cards, but I think it fits in this case, keeping in mind the emphasis (or theme card) for the pairs. Again, context in a reading is going to be the ultimate arbiter.

Agree? Disagree? Want to share your own take on this combination? Please post a comment if so.

Today’s combination would be a very pleasant one to receive in a reading, I think! Sun and Clover are both very good cards, and combined it’s hard for me to separate them with distinguished meanings according to card order. Let me see what I come up with.

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Sun + Clover

The Sun speaks of warmth, energy, success and vitality. The Clover is happiness and good luck, usually quick and short-lived. Combined, this speaks to me of happiness in some activity or venture.

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Clover + Sun

Clover is a bit of good luck. The Sun is success and happiness. Together, Clover + Sun could be a sudden lucky streak, for something big. It will bring happiness and success.

Again, these combinations are very similar for me, because I find that these two cards echo each other. The main difference is that the Clover has more of an aspect of luck, whereas the Sun is a more lasting success, and yet combined either way they seem to reinforce each other.

Here’s a good way to summarize this pair. If it’s a big windfall, Clover + Sun is the better combination. Joy in life would come out of Sun + Clover.

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