When Hitting a Lenormand Plateau

A puzzled Madame Nadia

A puzzled Madame Nadia

I love Lenormand! So you can imagine how terrible I felt when I hit a “reader’s block”.

My interest in this system of divination started just before the massive Lenormand conversion has begun in the United States. I was attracted to the seemingly simplistic look and reading approach, and the very direct and practical responses the cards gave.

Since I couldn’t find any real Lenormand readers in my area I sought after virtual mentorship, receiving a lot of valuable information, guidance, and support from Andy, Fennario, and Mama Whodun. Andy’s blog became my Lenormand mecca, and I subscribed to the Dutch-Belgian school of meanings as I eagerly joined Andy’s free course.

I did my homework with a zeal, produced multiple blog posts, and practiced reading the cards daily myself and, after feeling more comfortable with the system, for clients. I joined a Facebook study group, through which I met many acolytes and even a couple new mentors, while observing how Lenormand is taking the US market by storm and, too often, becoming something slightly different (but this post isn’t about that). And as I attempted to stay purist in my approach to interpreting the cards, I became completely consumed by consumerism; buying hot, new decks and powdery, vintage pecks that suddenly showed up everywhere around me like hot beignets. Everything was la di da sweet…. And then I hit a plateau.

It really hit me when I begun working with the Grand Tableau lesson in Andy’s course. Suddenly what used to be fun and inspiring, now raised anxiety. There was so much details, tricks, and just SO MUCH information yet to be learned and memorized. “Damn,” I thought to myself, “It really will take time to learn!” The Lenormand wasn’t that simplistic in my eyes anymore, and I realized that I have to take a break from jamming more and more technical information into my head if I REALLY wanted to get it.

Sadly, it became clear to me that what I was really doing was racing to an imaginary finish line. Instead of taking the time to learn how to read these amazing cards, now I was lost in competing with a virtual band of readers. And this wasn’t working. I knew that I had to slow down, take a break from the course, and reconfigure my priority list.

All great films have multiple story lines. Sure, the Alpha storyline is what’s most important. However, it is because of secondary story lines that we are able gage the colors and measure the depths of our characters. Without these parallel prisms of information, every film is a rigid composition of only primary “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” sort of colors.

LiliesMy film metaphor is quite a detour. But it makes this post more flavorful. And so is the Lenormand experience I’m striving for. After exiting a self-imposed, mental competition, I’ve searched for new ways to look at the cards without pressure. I figure that there must be other layers and prisms through which each card, and consequently combinations of cards, would reveal information greater than just key words and right-to-left reading technique. I yearn to know how much dust, in a given read, is accomulated on the Rider’s boots; and how sharp is Scythe’s blade, and how sexy is the Lily? I crave those B and C story lines. And so do my clients.

Recently I’ve been feeling a shift in the way that I read. I am walking away from rigid ideas about cards, as I am building a personal library of notions and experiences. I’ve also found a few helpful sources. Taking Caitlin Matthews’ informative webinar, Petit Lenoirmand Method — Past and Future, has been really helpful with building new, and more personalized layers of interpretation. And even more recently, being exposed to the writings of a heavy weight Lenormand champion, Chanah, of Confessions of a Freaky Fortune Teller, who has returned to the cartomancy scene just in time to lift my reader’s block, has been awesome. So there’s light in the end of the tunnel.

IMG_7706I guess that Mama Woudun and Fennario were right after all, saying it takes years before you really start digging the Lenormand. Following their wise advice, I took my relationship with the cards to the next phase. Maybe we’re not living together yet, but we’re definitely going out steady. I feel like I am ready to “meet the family”; that I do care to know what makes big sister Bouquet tick, when is uncle Whip planning to get out of the closet, and what kind of mental illness grandpa Clouds gifted my sitter with. I’m not so obsessed parading my “red, hot” reader’s skills to others anymore. What I am focused on is getting to know the cards’ personalities intimately — and how these play out when we’re together. That’s all.


Madame Nadia

7 thoughts on “When Hitting a Lenormand Plateau

  1. Transformative Tarot Counseling™ says:

    So aptly expressed, Madame Nadia!

    Unfortunately, the very thing that attracts so many newbies to Lenormand, it’s apparent simplicity, is the very thing that may cause them to miss the deeper understanding that takes time to develop in any art.

    It is like looking for the magic pill that solves all your problems. It just doesn’t exist. Problems deserve attention and time to work through in the most harmonious way, at least as seen from my professional perspective.

    We are all learning together, so I truly appreciate your sincere reveal about a challenging process that may be felt by others as well.

    In Spirit,

  2. Saturness says:

    I find that we really know an oracle when we can use it with the utmost simplicity – and still get great wisdom from it.

    I see this with the Playing Card Oracles and the Witches Runes, which are two oracles I love. When I began learning both, I quickly became very ambitious with my practice. I wanted to try big, complex spreads. I wanted to use every possible detail to get more and more information from my spread – elements, numbers, position, geomancy, everything. Nothing escaped my hawk eye!

    And… the fun went down the drain. My self-criticism skyrocketed, and I basically drove myself into a quagmire.

    So I abandoned the cards for a while, as well as blogging about them, and suddenly… I became lighter with my readings. I read what jumps at me. Sometimes I miss an info – but I’m still learning. Oh, the numbers called my attention? Then I’ll focus on ’em. Oh, it was the colors? Or the position?

    Instead of sucking the information from the cards and trying to exhaust their potential, I’m trying to let them show me the way. I take it easy, I try to keep it simple, when possible. Simplicity is not lack of knowledge – is knowing when said knowledge is useful in a situation. Is focusing on the essential.

    Certainly, reading card became a pleasant activity again. And finally I feel like I’m moving forwards in it. 🙂

  3. Lisa Frideborg Lloyd says:

    Great post, Nadia. Thanks for sharing. I started with the Lenormand myself about 5-6 years ago but got detoured by other stuff, and like you had just started up with it again when WHAM! the big Lenormand flurry started over in the States and everybody and their uncle was getting on the bandwagon 😀 To me, that proved to be a big turn off as I don’t like to feel like I’m being pulled along. What turned the tide for me was a very well-timed workshop by Chloe over at Inner Whispers (great blog!). I really REALLY didn’t want to do my learning online. Chloe created the perfect learning atmosphere and we had so much FUN together – which is what it is all about… and yes, I agree completely about it taking YEARS to really become fluent in Lenormand speak. The reason I’m taking the dive now and blogging regularly (daily draw) is that the cards are calling me again and when I lay them out they sing and whisper… And no, I won’t be joining any forums or online communities… but I will visit good quality blogs for inspiration. I’m sure I’ll be back here again 🙂 Many blessings, Lisa

  4. auntvalerie says:

    Hi! I love your blog, and I just want to say that I bet if you look back at another system you’ve studied and remember plateauing like this, you’ll also remember that after a period of what you may have thought of as rest or even loss of interest, you suddenly came out of it with a new level of insight. I’ve come to recognize this as a learning pattern with “intuitive sciences” (I’m just making that term up for learning systems that involve your intuition). Secret societies and mystery schools make use of this pattern, prescribing certain lengths of time in what seem to apprentices like a waste, or menial work, and yet those periods of time are crucial to the learning pattern. It’s like “sleeping on it.” It also helps to wean out the students who aren’t meant to take that particular route. As I get older, I’ve learned to take the nap, so to speak – or do something altogether different for a while, and often, this other thing I thought was unrelated will turn out to be almost an alchemical ingredient in the system I thought I was letting rest. And then when info you needed starts dropping into your lap from the outside world, you’re back on track again.

  5. fennario says:

    Hi Nadia, and thanks for the shoutout. 🙂
    I think auntvalerie is on to something, the plateau effect is well-documented and apparently natural. Sometimes the mind probably just needs time to digest things. We never really stop studying, but the breaks and venue changes are important in order to avoid burnout, I think. Sometimes a big party where you flit around and talk to everybody is fun, but sometimes we just need to sit someplace alone and think.

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