HOW TO COMBINE LENORMAND'S CARDS
Card combinations are the cornerstone of the Lenormand practice. They’re what make a Lenormand reading so special and engaging.
But we often get stuck at combinations and don’t know how to read them. So in this video, I want to give you tips for combining Lenormand’s cards.
Lenormand’s card combinations are just about everything for the practice. Everything begins and ends with combinations in Lenormand.
Combinations are the basis for getting meaning and insights out of the cards. And they are the basis for reading cards in sentences and for doing Tableau-style readings like the Portrait and the masterful Grand Tableau.
But if anything blocks us from moving forward in our Lenormand practice, it’s usually combinations. It’s the main reason why we can’t go beyond three-card readings, and why we can’t go deep with the cards.
So let’s go through some tips to help you build your card combinations muscles.
1. COMBINING KEYWORDS
The one thing to clarify before getting into the details of card combining is the technique that underlies all combinations. This is simply the technique of combining keywords.
When you draw two cards you first think about what each card means on its own. In this first step, you assign a keyword to each card.
Next, you simply combine these two keywords, and voila! You have your card combination meaning. Now, I appreciate it is not that simple, but this is what basically happens when you combine cards.
It’s important to be flexible so you can come up with a combined meaning that makes sense for the reading.
One reason card combinations seem difficult is because we’d be going through many possible meanings for each card and try to combine them. It all happens very quickly in our head, and we’re often not aware of our thinking process.
That’s why, when starting out, it’s best to slow down and break things down.
I realize it might feel slow and even unnecessary, but if you take the time to break things down, then you will build your interpretation skills from the ground up more consistently.
So I suggest you externalize this interpretation process out of your head, and articulate the keywords for each card and then come up with the combined meaning of the keywords. And by externalizing, I mean writing things down.
Let's take the the Anchor and House as an example. Keywords for the Anchor include staying put, staying in place. And the obvious keyword for the House is home. So together, the Anchor and House suggest staying home.
Easy peasy. This is an easy combination, so let’s try another one that’s a bit more challenging. Let’s try Letter + Lily.
The Letter is associated with news and documents. The Lily is about career and life path. So together, the pair can refer to a work offer, or possibly some administrative or legal paperwork.
When we have several possibilities for a combination meaning - which we often do - we must consider the question and context to decide what meaning fits best. In fact, the context always guides the interpretation of the cards.
Now that we’ve clarified the basic technique for combining the cards, let’s talk about the different ways the cards can make sense together.
2. ONE CARD QUALIFIES THE OTHER
The simplest way to combine the cards is to have one card qualify another card. In other words, one card tells us more about the other.
Our previous example is good to illustrate this: The Letter + Lily.
The Lily tells us what the news could be about. It can be about work and career, and it can be about administration or legal matters. And there are other possibilities as well depending on your vocabulary.
Another way cards qualify another card is with the Man and Woman. These two cards are called the significators of the deck and they are totally neutral. They just represent the person the cards are being read for, and they take their qualities entirely from surrounding cards.
For example, the Man and Child can mean a man with children, or someone immature.
The Woman and Bear can mean a wealthy woman. Or she can be someone overbearing if there are additional negative cards. And the Bear often represents the mother (whereas the House represents the father), so the pair can refer to mom if it makes sense for the context.
3. USE CARD EFFECTS
Another great tip for combining the cards is to use the positive, negative, and neutral effects of the cards.
I have a video about the positive, negative, and neutral effects of Lenormand’s cards so you might like to check it out.
Often, a positive card will make a neutral card positive. For example, the Letter with the Sun suggests good news, and probably news that answers a wish.
Similarly, a negative card will make a neutral card negative. For example, the Letter and Whip suggests bad news.
Positive with positive and negative with negative are easy: They just reinforce each other.
For example, the Flowers and Sun are each very bright cards, and together they reinforce each other. It’s a lovely pair that can mean double happiness
The Key and Clover is also a lovely combination for luck and success.
Two negative cards also reinforce each other, emphasizing the challenge. For example, the Whip and Scythe are both challenging and usually refer to danger. Though the Scythe can sometimes be neutral, with a challenging card like the Whip, its challenging aspects are well brought out. The Whip and Scythe are probably the most challenging pair we can get in Lenormand.
The Fox and Snake also reinforce each other. Of course, they’re not aggressive like the Whip and Scythe, but the idea of a deception is really well brought out, if not confirmed, when the Fox and Snake appear together. That’s because each one of them warns against deception, so together this idea is reinforced.
A positive and negative card together can be a little tricky, but oftentimes the positive card helps tone down the negative card. For example, the Moon and Whip can mean that the Whip is not as challenging. And similarly, the Moon softens the sharpness of the Scythe.
But whether a positive card helps tone down a positive card depends on the strength of each card. For example, the Snake and Flowers can mean that someone is being false to our face.
So the positive, negative, and neutral effects of the cards are very helpful to combine the cards.
The key is to go beyond generalities into a deeper interpretation of the cards so that they add value to the reading - not just tell us how great or how challenging things are.
Before I wrap up with my last tip for combining the cards, I want to ask you: How do you combine the cards? And how do you practice reading combinations? Do you have suggestions for other Lenormand Readers? I would love your thoughts on this very important topic.
4. A SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
The next way to combine the cards is to weave them in a sequence of events.
The Anchor and House combination that we talked about at the beginning of the video can count as weaving the cards in a sequence.
What happens here is that the individual card meanings are not really affected by the other cards nearby. Instead, they flow in a sequence.
Let’s look at a couple of other examples. The Ship and Coffin can mean reaching the end of the journey. The Ship is about travel and movement, and the Coffin is about endings, so we see that the moving energy of the Ship is brought to an end by the Coffin.
The Road and Coffin suggest something similar because the Road and Ship are pretty much interchangeable in this context.
With longer lines, we almost always end up stringing the cards in a sequence. That’s because we can’t combine that many cards into a single meaning, so at some point, sequencing them into a story has to kick in - which adds value to the reading.
So now that you have a number of practical ways to combine the cards, I want you to take out your deck and pull out pairs to interpret them.
Start slow, and write down keywords.
Once you’re comfortable with putting keywords together, take your interpretation skills to the next level and come up with a card combination meaning that’s more specific for the question or context you’re reading about.
And when you’re ready, see if you can speed up and try coming up with a card combination meaning in a minute or less.
Remember that your goal is to be able to spontaneously interpret the cards for the question at hand. So these layers of practice will help you build your skills. It just takes practice.
Have fun doing it!