The inner eye does not see upon command.
– J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
There has been a lot of attention of late directed at the Lenormand oracle cards. For those who might not already know of the deck, it is traditionally made up of 36 cards (the Petit Lenormand) purportedly modeled from one used by the lady known as the Sybille des Salons – Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand.
It is thought by some, however, that Madame Lenormand actually used a full 52-card deck. Some consider her the most celebrated cartomancer of all time having been a professional fortune teller during the Napoleonic era. Following her death, assorted Lenormand decks sprung up claiming to be duplicates of the cards that Madame Lenormand actually used. Although different in design than Tarot cards, the Lenormand deck features a symbol for each card.
For those of you who use The Deck of Shadows, I am excited to bring to light a lesser known secret of the deck; there is a Lenormand aspect to the cards waiting for you to put to spectacular use! In fact, at the bottom of each card of The Deck of Shadows is an icon/image and there are 54 of them (rather than being limited to the smaller 36-card set in the Petit Lenormand).
Fun stuff? You bet! So, let’s start wandering and wondering with The Deck of Shadows and see how to expand its use.
FIRST CONCEPT: Look through the icons at the bottom of each Deck of Shadows card. As you contemplate them, keep musing over the physical attributes, the emotions, and the purpose of the images that you see.
The Deck of Shadows provides you with the following Petit Lenormand-like icons:
DECK OF SHADOWS = LENORMAND
1. Horse = Horseman
2. Gargoyle = Whip
3. Crown = Bear
4. Gauntlet = Fox
5. Broken Wheel = Mouse
6. Candle = Letter
7. Sun = Sun
8. Lightning = Man
9. Knot = Dog
10. Rose = Bouquet
11. Heart = Heart
12. Tower = Tower
13. Cave = Cross
14. Clouds = Clouds
15. Cadeuceus = Stork
16. Door = Book
17. Angel’s Wing = Clover
18. Star = Star
19. Moon = Moon
20. Circle = Ring
21. Apple = Woman
22. Anchor = Anchor
23. Snake = Snake
24. Key = Key
25. Sword = Mountain
26. Butterfly = Child
27. Owl = Crossroad
28. Cauldron = Garden
29. Scythe = Scythe
30. Castle = House
31. Ship = Ship
32. Beacon = Birds
33. Labyrinth = Lily
34. Fishhook = Fish
35. Bone = Coffin
36. Tree = Tree
All 36 Lenormand concepts/divinatory meanings are present in the cards. The images have, of course, been adapted/updated.
In addition to these 36 symbols, you have the following additional 18 symbols at your disposal:
11. Devil’s Wing
17. Crossed Arms
The fact that there are 54 cards (rather than the standard Petit Lenormand 36 count) provides you with a deck more akin to what Madame Lenormand actually used and contributes more nuances because . . . there are more cards. The images were arrived at by exploring the combination of chronicled Tarot/Playing Card meanings with contemplation on how these would translate to one iconic image.
SECOND IDEA: When viewing the icons at the bottom of each card, you can certainly use Enrique Enriquez’ concept of imagining what would have to happen physically, emotionally, and spiritually for one image to turn into the next one, and so on. This can lead to some very detailed and emotionally deep readings.
THIRD IDEA: Each icon on the card can be thought to have the following attributes: object/action/item. So, for example, the ladder has : OBJECT: ladder, ACTION: ascend/descend, and ITEM: rungs. You can take the cards in your spread and break them down into 3-card groups (using the 9-card Vitruvian Square layout, by the way, you can bring this concept into play in every direction) using the first card as the Querent’s object, the second card as their action, and the third card as the item that is being used. This can be as metaphorical or direct as your intuition leads you.
FOURTH IDEA: There is also a Deck of Shadows Grand Tableau spread – as with the 36 Lenormand cards (which break down into 4 Squares of 9), the 54 Deck of Shadows cards easily break down into 6 Vitruvian Squares (6 Squares of 9 each). This allows you to create one tableau spread for an event or series of consecutive readings and simply read from this one spread. Think of it . . . one spread with different portions read for different people. And don’t forget the Square of 9 (and the Grand Tableau) are actually cyclic or circular in nature. They actually don’t stop at the edges or corners (there is no flat world to fall off of).
This brief discussion should provide you with enough inspiration to begin an exploration of your own with The Deck of Shadows; an exploit of which Madame Lenormand. herself, would be proud!
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© 2012 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved. thinkingmagically.com
I am always looking for unconventional, yet elegant, ways to use The Deck of Shadows, Tarot cards, and other divination tools. In light of the upcoming holidays and their theme of gratitude, I wanted to share with you a spread I developed which is based on L. Frank Baum’s beloved 1900’s tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Naturally, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is powerfully and imaginatively built around the words, There’s no place like home . . .
In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is disconnected with her home, her family, and herself. She lives at her home, but she is not grounded with her home. Dorothy must take a daring, inward journey in order to reach the self-realization that the home she thought she left has more meaning for her than she originally recognized. In other words, home – particularly in this spread – stands for the concept of self-acceptance.
Mr. Baum’s story readily contains many charming metaphors and life lessons – some likely intended by the author, others eventually found by the personal observations of the various fans of the stories. Irrespective of your approach, the fable is what is known as a circular journey; a voyage or passage in which the final destination is exactly the same as the place of departure. This type of story is like Nature’s cycle of the seasons and plainly represents the psychological or hidden wheel that turns one’s life. It is not just about a homecoming. Rather, it is about an internal change in someone – while their external world remarkably remains the same.
Circular stories also provide a ready example of cause and effect; one thing or decision leads to another thing or decision. You know how the story starts and how it will end; it is the journey between the two points that holds the most significance.
Further, circular stories are, by definition, predictable. How appropriate, then, to use this construct for a reading.
The Wizard of Oz Spread helps us to quickly explore someone’s connection to the world around them and the changes they are going through internally in relation to that world. It is built around the six archetypes of Dorothy Gale, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, The Good Witch of the North, and The Wicked Witch of the West. The layout looks like this:
Take your Deck of Shadows or other divination device and select six cards, runes, gem stones, etc. for each of the following locations – North, East, South, West, Far North, and Far West. These locations represent the following patterns in a person’s life:
NORTH – Dorothy Gale (There’s no place like home) – MEANING: What is wanted (the external world) or needed (the internal world) in order to achieve personal power or confidence
EAST -The Scarecrow (If I only had a brain) – MEANING: What the person must learn to laugh at and thus discover wisdom
SOUTH -The Cowardly Lion (If I only had courage) – MEANING: What the person must learn to confront in order to find bravery
WEST – The Tin Man (If I only had a heart) – MEANING: What ritual the person must learn to give up in order to find their heart
FAR NORTH- The Good Witch of the North (It’s always best to start at the beginning) – The aid a person will receive in order to go back home
FAR WEST – The Wicked Witch of the West (I’ll get you, my pretty)- The obstacle that must be overcome before the person can get back home
Use The Wizard of Oz Spread to look within to find your or someone else’s power.
Just some thoughts. Enjoy.
Oh, and one more thing – never give up your silver (ruby) slippers!
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