Shortly after starting my Lenormand journey, I realized how different this system is from Tarot. The differences are vast, and I am not going to bore you with all of them. But one of the things that struck me early on is the methodological significance behind the amount of cards chosen for a reading.
After 20 years of card reading experience I could give a profound and lengthy reading based on a single tarot card. On the other hand, I had many readings where I continued pulling cards from the deck, letting Spirit weave its stories of prophesy along many pages of colorful archetypes. Though I had my go-to spreads, like the Zodiac spread, many times I followed my intuition without limiting myself to a set number of cards.
Not so with the Lenormand. Traditionally this system isn’t used with a single card — there must be at least two cards in a sequence — which means that the lowest number of cards in a spread will always be two. One of these cards is the noun, representing the matter at hand, so to speak; while the second card is the adjective that describes the first card. The way I read is the card on the left is described by the cards following it on the right.
Being a chronic immigrant and a triple Gemini, the linguistic nature of Lenormand makes a lot of sense to me. I relate the necessity of at least two cards per reading to the basic requirements of a sentence structure in English. For instance, we cannot have a sentence by just using the word “I” or the word “am” — however together they are a complete, though very basic, sentence — I am.
Although I have practiced extensively with the two cards spread in the past, today I use it mainly when in need of a super focused snapshot of a situation, or when I am really out of time. Sometimes I use this layout for Yes / No readings too.
My most used type of draw is the 3-card spread, however. Not only that I use it for clients, I also religiously pull three cards for myself and three cards for my husband every morning, on our way to work. I keep a notepad in the car where I record our daily draws and my predictions. On our way back from work we get to discuss the main events of our work day, comparing it to the cards we drew in the morning. This turned out to be an uber beneficial practice learning the way the Lenormand system communicates in general, and the intricacies of my personal processing of the cards’ dialect in particular. A 3-card spread seems to be the perfect amount of cards for my personal daily draw. It captures just enough information without giving me more than I can handle, especially so early in the morning.
Another of my regular cartomancy practices are the weekly overview draws. These are usually performed on Sunday nights in my altar room. I pull five cards from one of my Lenormands, alongside cards from various tarot and other oracle decks. I often end up topping this card “salad” with some bone and curio sprinkles.
A 5-card Lenormand draw is a bit more advanced form of fortune-telling because it not only uses more card, hence more meaning permutations; but also because more complicated techniques — like mirroring — are used with this spread.
Following the timeline trail, the next logical prediction stop is the monthly draw: which brings us to the 9-card spread, or the 3X3 as it is often called. This is a lovely layout that is easily replicated with tarot or other oracles that can potentially be combined with the Lenormand. The 9-card draw not only clarifies the main issue at hand, but it also gives us solid root and background causes. In addition, the 3X3 allows for a Past+Present+Future perspective.
The 9-card draw is indeed an advanced kind of spread. But when you know your way around this block of information, it brings you so much closer to mastering the mother of all Lenormand layouts — the Grand Tableau!
The Grand Tableau (GT) uses all the 36 cards in the deck. Some people arrange the deck in four equal rows of 9 cards; while others place the cards in four rows of 8, with an extra bottom raw of only four cards. No matter which way you choose to lay out the cards, the amount of information in this spread is quite overwhelming.
All major areas in one’s life are outlined in the GT, giving us not only a current and accurate snapshot of what is, but also shares profound information of the past and the future. I use this complicated spread to look into several upcoming months at a time — usually six months to a year. It is a fascinating and multilayered layout, and it takes several hours to complete.