HOW TO READ THREE CARDS
Reading three cards is the beginning of stringing Lenormand’s cards into sentences.
Mastering the short three-card line is often a turning point in our practice, because from there, we easily tip over into reading much longer lines like the ones we find in the Grand Tableau.
So in this video I want to give you some valuable tips for reading three cards with ease and confidence.
When practicing Lenormand, we’re usually on a roll until we hit three-card readings.
We wiz through one-card readings, and do pretty well with 2 cards, but then come three cards and we’ll often hit a roadblock.
Though this can be a little frustrating - believe me I know, I’ve been there - it’s actually a pretty valuable time in your practice, because once you can read three cards with ease, you can pretty much do a Grand Tableau.
Why? Because at that point, interpreting more cards is just an application of the same interpretation principles that we use to read three cards.
So in this video, I want to give you some tips for reading three-card lines, but I want to start off by addressing one- and two-card readings so we build coherently up to 3 cards.
1. ONE-CARD READINGS
Let’s talk about reading one card.
Obviously, if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to spend a bit of time on one card.
First you’ll go over the cards one by one to get to know their meanings. And then you’ll answer questions with one card.
This is an important step and you will probably want to spend time on it.
If you’re just starting out with Lenormand, then you might like to check out my video on Getting Started With Lenormand.
You’ll probably find one-card readings pretty limiting, especially when they’re neutral cards, because they’ll probably not tell you how well something goes.
So although doing one-card readings is a necessary step, you’ll probably quickly get bored with them and feel like you need more information from your readings.
This is totally normal, and it’s actually a good sign.
2. TWO-CARD READINGS
So let’s move on to two cards.
Reading two cards is awesome because it’s when the magic starts to happen.
Card pairs are the basis for reading cards in combinations. If you’re good at interpreting two cards, you’re going to have to be good with reading three cards and beyond.
So it’s really worth your while to spend quite a bit of time reading two cards.
This isn’t only about figuring out paired meanings, but it’s also about deepening your understanding about each card, because in the process of combining a card with another, you’ll think more deeply about the individual cards meanings.
All this is wonderful to take your practice and interpretation skills to the next level.
So just like you did with your one-card reading practice, start by practicing two-card meanings in general, and then ask a whole lot of questions and answer them with two cards.
This way, you won’t only practice reading pairs, but you’ll also practice doing readings and refining your interpretation for the question at hand.
3. THREE-CARD READINGS
And now three-card readings.
The key to reading them is to string two pairs together.
You’ll start by reading cards 1+2, and then 2+3, and then you’ll combine the two paired meanings into a whole story.
You can really break this down if you’re stuck and you’re not able to express the idea you’re seeing in your head.
So try this: Write down a keyword for each card. Choose keywords that you think work best with this particular - or try a few.
Then, combine keywords 1+2 and keywords 2+3.
In the same way that you look for the best keywords for each card in the context of this line, you would look for the best keyword to apply to each of these two pairs.
And if you’re stuck with this - as in you’re not able to come up with that many keywords - don’t worry, and just experiment with what you can.
Then combine the keywords of each pair together.
It really helps to write it down on paper if you’re stuck. Writing almost always helps get your thoughts out of your head and clarify your ideas in the process.
Let’s try an example.
Suppose we get the Lily, Man, and Tree. These are not the easiest cards, but I drew them out randomly for the sake of this example, so we’ll go with them.
A keyword for the Lily is career. A keyword for the Man is just well a man. And a keyword for the Tree is growth.
Let’s combine the cards.
Lily+Man: Putting our keywords side by side gives us "career man". But this is better said as a professional man or a professional connection.
Man+Tree: Our keywords side by side are "man growth". Of course, this doesn’t make much sense, so we can change the words a little to come up with something like, Man supports growth.
Notice that our ‘keywords’ are not necessarily a single word, but rather a single idea.
Putting both ideas together, we get : professional connection supports growth. This can be adjusted to suggest that a man supports our professional growth.
It’s pretty straightforward and that’s all there is to it.
It’s worth mentioning here, that the cards don’t have to tell us something out of this world, they can just give us practical ideas.
In fact, this is an aspect of Lenormand that people immediately pick up: It is a very practical deck that gives us tangible insights.
Another way to string three cards together is by reading them as a sequence of events.
Here, the cards - or not all 3 of them - have to combine in the way they did in the previous example. Instead, they’re just read in a sequence.
I find that the cards that best illustrate a sequence of events are movement cards.
So for example, the Road, Ship, and Anchor can mean arriving after a long journey.
The Road and Ship are both journey cards, and together we get a clear feel for the distance traveled. And then the Anchor on the right of the line is a clear indication of arrival.
So, in this example, we’re not combining the cards in a way that a new concept or keyword is produced from combining cards 1+2 or 2+3. But we’re reading them in order, and this order produces a story.
At this point, I’d like you to note that you can’t always choose whether to read the cards by combining them into new keywords, or by stringing them into a sequence. Often, the cards themselves tell you how to read them.
Tell me if this is your experience. And tell me if there are other tricks that you use to combine the cards.
4. THE CENTRAL CARD
Another tip that is really helpful to read three cards is to focus on the middle card.
The middle card can often be taken to represent the theme of the reading.
For example, the Bird or Letter might bring communication. And so the cards on the left and right then suggest what happens here or what to do about it.
The central card can also be taken as offering us the main advice.
Of course, every card in a reading gives us advice, but if we’re going to focus on just one area to act on, then the central card would give us the clues.
The central card might also represent the outcome of the reading, but this wouldn’t be the case if you read the cards as a past-present-future reading, which is my last suggestion for reading three cards.
5. PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
The past-present-future reading is popular in many divination methods including the Tarot.
Normally, the left card represents the past, the middle the present, and the right the future.
In this case, you would read each card independently of the others and wouldn’t combine them.
In fact, the past-present-future reading is a way to read the cards in sequence, except here the demarcation between the past, present, and future time periods is a lot sharper than in other readings.
Because a single card is not very telling in Lenormand, I like to do past-present-future readings a little bit differently. But I think we’re best keeping this for another video.
And of course, I talk about past-present-future in depth in the master course. There are many techniques we can use for it, not just a three-card line or my personal way of reading it.
So we’ve gone through quite a few tips to get you going with a three-card reading. I sure hope they help you get unstuck if you’d been struggling with it.
In all cases, please let me your thoughts and leave me some comments.