HOW NOT TO MEMORIZE THE CARDS
The first thing most of us do when we set out to learn on our mom is to understand the card meanings. This normally means that we try to memorize the cards. But I want to tell you why you don't need to memorize the card meanings and what you can do instead to learn them easily and with confidence.
Divination methods are very diverse in terms of how the oracle is drawn, but all of them have one thing in common and that is vocabulary.
Vocabulary is what we need to make insights and meanings out of whatever tool we are reading.
In astrology, vocabulary is around the planets and the zodiac and the meaning of all of these things and the interaction between them.
When reading tea leaves, vocabulary is around the symbols and the shapes that we find at the bottom of the teacup and what these mean.
In cartomancy, like the Tarot and Lenormand, meaning comes down to what the individual cards mean and the cards are the building blocks of our vocabulary.
In Lenormand, there is an added level of what the cards mean when they come together in combinations.
We cannot choose an oracle unless we have a good foundation with its vocabulary. So the vocabulary of an oracle is an important first step to spend time with so that we can actually do readings.
But memorizing card meanings is a bit of a pain. No one really wants to sit down and memorize the cards one by one. And not only that, but just memorizing the cards can actually be pretty limiting.
So I want to tell you about why it's not really worth your time to sit down and memorize Lenormand's card meanings. And after that, I want to tell you what you can do to learn them in an effective way.
1. A SMALL DECK
The first reason why you don't want to take too much trouble memorizing the Lenormand card meanings is because there aren't that many cards to start with. This is an advantage that Lenormand has over other decks, including the tarot. It just might not be worth your time to sit there and memorize the card meanings through too many books or too many card lists.
And that's because the card meanings and the card symbols are pretty obvious and you're probably going to be able to make a connection with them right from the get go.
You just need a few references and you'll quickly get your head around what the cards mean. On this note, I want to remind you not to overwhelm yourself too much with too many books and too many card meaning lists when you're starting out, it's really not necessary and you're probably going to get yourself confused.
What you want is to get the gist of the cards. And after that, through your own practice, you're going to build on the card meanings.
2. CONTEXT MATTERS
The second reason why you don't need to memorize Lenormand's card meanings is that you are going to have to interpret them for different contexts and different questions anyway.
Lenormand's cards are very flexible and you're going to have to stretch their meanings for the different questions and the different contexts that you read for.
In fact, if you don't stretch their meanings, you're probably not going to get deep readings and you're not going to get much insight from them.
I call these different meanings for different contexts card correspondences, and we can get into correspondences in more detail another day.
But just to give you a few examples, the Fish is about money. It's typically about wealth and prosperity. But how do you make sense of the Fish when it comes to relationships ?
The Bear is about strength. So how do you read it in the context of where to live or what your home base should be ? A card's general meaning doesn't always apply to the context or the question at hand.
We often have to stretch its meaning and refine it to make sense of it in an insightful way for the question that we're reading.
So spending too much time and effort trying to memorize the card meanings is probably going to be a waste of time. You're better off practicing readings over and over to stretch your interpretation skills.
3. CARD COMBINATIONS MATTER
And the third reason why you don't need to memorize an enormous card meanings is that most cards are not read individually most of the time.
In fact, they are read in combinations most of the time. And this is different from many other card reading oracles. Lenormand's cards are very general and that's why it's so easy to make sense of them.
But the limitation here is that we don't get much insight from reading just one card. Instead, we read them in lines, several cards at a time to make sense of them in combinations.
So, if you're going to spend your time on anything, spend it on card combinations more than on individual card meanings. But again, we have to read the cards in the context of the question or the context that we're reading for.
And it just doesn't make sense to memorize 600 plus card combinations. Again, the key to the Lenormand is to be able to read the cards in any context, for any question.
And that's why so many of us get hooked to Lenormand, because our interpretation skills just go up to a whole new level.
So now that I've given you a few reasons why memorizing the card meanings is probably a waste of your time. Let me give you a few tips so that you learn the cards in an effective way. But before I do, I just have a quick question for you:
Tell me how you've been going about learning Lenormand's cards. What were your struggles ? And if you're starting out, what do you think you're going to do to learn the most cards ?
4. TAKE EACH CARD IN TURN
So what's the best way to learn the cards?
First, take each card and jot down some keywords that you associate with each of these cards, you can take out pen and paper, and you don't really need to look at too many books at this point. Just take out the cards and write down the key words that you associate with them.
And I want to tell you not to underestimate these keywords that you come up with just because you are starting out. Often the first impression is going to unlock your intuition. So honor these keywords and hang onto them.
Now, I'm not saying you don't go back to them and improve on them later on or expand on them. But I want you to start to connect with the cards and resonate with what they mean to you.
5. FOCUS ON THE CARDS YOU DON'T CONNECT WITH
The second suggestion that I have for you is to identify those cards that you don't really understand or that you don't really resonate with, and take them aside. These are cards you want to spend a bit more time on.
So you want to take each one in turn and research it more. At this point, you can pull out a few more references to get more deeply into the card.
Chances are you won't have a resonance with these cards in the way that you do with the other cards that you understand almost immediately. And even if you research these cards and develop their meaning and even with time often enough, you don't really develop that 'aha' feeling that you have with them.
Now that is totally fine and I don't want you to worry about it. That 'aha' feeling is probably associated with an archetypal energy, and we don't have to have an archetypal resonance with every single symbol under the sun. This is totally fine.
There are going to be a few Lenormand cards that feel dry and impersonal and that is nothing to worry about, to go through these different cards and try to develop a set of keywords for them so that you can use them in your readings.
Like I mentioned in a previous video, for me it was the Lily and the tower that didn't really have much meaning and also the Bear. I sort of had to go through it a bit more deeply before I could connect with it. And also the Cross was a bit tricky.
So I've had to spend a bit more time on these cards and develop them in a way that they make sense to me in readings.
After doing some research about the Lily, for example, I decided this card was going to be about our life path in general, often in relation to our career. What we do, what we give in life, life path milestones, the passing of time, aging and maturing, are all Lily associations as far as I'm concerned.
And with the Tower, I decided that this was going to be mainly about time, a bit of a mysterious guidance, as well as the past and possibly the future over the long term.
So as you can see, these cards are a little bit dry, they're a bit technical in terms of the keywords that I've associated with them.
But after my practice and my research, I've decided these are the keywords that I want for them, and they work for me and my readings.
I want you to do the same with those cards you find a little bit tricky or dry and you're not having a personal connection with. Again, this is totally fine.
In time, you're going to refine their meaning so that it is helpful for you in your readings. But remember to remain flexible. You're going to have to be flexible because you're going to need to interpret the cards for a number of different contexts and questions.
6. PRACTICE READINGS
And so this leads me to my last tip: The best way to learn the cards is to do readings.
You want to go ahead and ask a whole bunch of questions and just do one reading after the other so that you can flex your interpretation skills and interpret the cards for all of these different questions and contexts.
There isn't a complete list of the current meanings for all the different contexts and all the different questions you're going to come across, and much less for the meaning of the different card combinations across all of these contexts. This isn't just true for Lenormand, it is true for any divination practice.
And in fact, you do not want a list. What you do want is to train your interpretation skills so that you can read spontaneously in a way that makes sense and is insightful for the question at hand. The best way to do this is to just do readings.
In my video Getting Started With Lenormand, I made a suggestion that you take out pen and paper and draw some mind maps around card meanings.
Of course you can do this for card combinations, but the idea here is to really just allow your mind to go into these different realms as you interpret a card. And this is what happens when you read for different questions in different contexts.
You're probably not going to be very agile and creative when you first start out, but that is totally normal. Interpretation is a bit like a muscle that you train.
So just do these readings and keep on practicing. And in time you are going to be a spontaneous reader who is able to deliver wonderful insights out of her cards.
So now that you have my thoughts for how to learn Lenormand's cards, I don't think you should sit down and memorize the cards, take out your deck and start doing readings. Interpret one, two, and three cards for all the different questions that you're going to ask.