RANA GEORGE LENORMAND
NOTE. In this post, “Guidebook” refers to the booklet accompanying the Rana George Lenormand deck, and “Book” refers to The Essential Lenormand by Rana George.
Rana George is one of the more popular Lenormand Readers and authors today.
Her deck, the Rana George Lenormand, and book, The Essential Lenormand, are often referred to in Lenormand circles, and I feel her contribution and approach are very valuable in making Lenormand accessible.
Her understanding of the cards and the way she interprets them is one that I resonate with more than other authors.
In my opinion, she has one of the best ways of knowing when to apply a literal vs. a metaphorical interpretation of the cards given the context of a question.
I feel her way with Lenormand is practical, tangible, and grounded in wisdom. She tells it as it is, which is what makes Lenormand special. Her Guidebook to the cards offers plenty of insightful examples of this 'in-your-face' approach.
Let’s dive into the Rana George Lenormand.
DECK DESIGN & UNIQUE FEATURES
Rana George’s Lenormand deck stands out with its cultural, historical, and geographical associations with Lebanon, which I presume she has some substantial connections with.
The illustrations are deeply researched and beautifully selected to reflect the spirit of Lenormand’s cards.
Her collaboration with Callie L. French has clearly produced a successful expression of a soul on a journey to Source.
Handling the deck is comfortable - for my big hands. They are a little ‘papery’ or ‘cartony’ but they are solid and will last a long time.
They are produced by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. which is one of the most reputable printers of Tarot and divination decks in North America.
The back of the card is a lovely Hand of Fatima within an islamic eight-pointed star.
So you can tell from the back whether a card is upright or reversed. This is my personal preference because Lenormand’s cards are not read in reverse like the Tarot - though some authors experiment with the possibilities.
The gold that borders the cards on the front and back is a very attractive feature indeed.
The front of each card has the card number, pip, and main symbol.
The card number is in both Roman and Arabic numerals, on the top left and right of each card. And the pip sits in the top center, bordered with gold.
George’s pips are some of the best I’ve seen. They have the right size relative to the rest of the card, and they do not ‘interfere’ or ‘mix’ with the main symbol while still on the card for reference. Neither too big nor too small, they are visually comfortable and aesthetically appealing.
The main symbol is within an arch typical of Lebanese architecture that borders the card. I love this design idea because it is as though it offers a gateway into the wisdom of the card symbol.
When it comes to the main illustrations, I feel George’s deck strikes an excellent balance between how well the card symbol stands out against a colorful background.
Most cards have their emblems clearly standing out. The only ones that I would have liked to see stick out more are the Fish, Mice, and Letter. The House stands but it is located in the background of the card.
As for my favorite designs, they are the Key, Moon, Stars, and Tree.
Many of us appear to be attracted to the Key as it’s a powerful symbol that immediately resonates. The golden hexafoils on George’s Key and the indigo tassel make it one of the most unique designs I’ve seen for this card.
For the Moon, it must be the deep blue color of the sky that makes this beautiful crescent stand out. Notice its reflection in the water below.
The Stars is an illustration from a powerful Christian pilgrimage sight: Our Lady of Lebanon, in Harissa-Daroun. It is a 15-ton, 62 meter high bronze statue painted white. The bird’s eye view in the card helps connect with the essence of the Stars. Standing at the top of it all and seeing the big picture helps us have faith in the journey.
And the Tree is the almighty cedar. If you saw these awesome trees in Mount Lebanon, you would understand why Lebanese people call them “the Cedars of God”. They are ancient, said to be aged some 2,500 years.
George offers two sets of significators, which has become a common practice with modern decks to account for diversity. One pair is a modern-dressed man and woman, and the other are a pair out of an Arabian night.
“I wanted my deck to feel, speak, and breathe Rana, while at the same time, keeping the integrity of the old culture and the traditional form of Lenormand. I wanted it to be sensual with a pinch of Lebanese folklore, a dash of 1001 Nights, and a sprinkle of the Andalusian lore.” (Guidebook, p. 3)
Like Ryan Edwards with the Maybe Lenormand, George adds a few cards to the deck - but only four: Card 37: Spirit, 38: Incense Burner, 39: Bed, and 40: Market.
Her purpose in adding these cards is to “enhance the reading and add an extra dimension.” (Guidebook, p. 5)
If you’re familiar with my purist Lenormand heart, you might expect that I’m skeptical.
Card 37 Spirit, is about the unseen, intuition, and synchronicity. George also suggests that the card can point to entities like ghosts. I feel this card can be represented by the Cross, and the Moon can suggest intuition and the unseen as well.
Something like a ghost is pretty specific, so it can be appropriately indicated by a combination instead of a single card. I suggest the Bird and Cross, with the Bird pointing to that entity.
Card 38 Incense Burner, is about “cleaning, clearing, dispersing, saging and banishing negative or unwanted energies.” (Guidebook, p. 111)
This too I feel is rather specific for a single card and be indicated by some combinations, like the Coffin and Flowers or the House and Sun, but it might be relevant to George’s practice to the extent that she requires a dedicated card.
Looking at some examples of this card in readings, George doesn’t always use it literally. It can mean clearing someone out of one’s life, in which case the Man/Woman/Dog and Coffin work well.
Card 39 Bed, is pretty interesting. It is “the sex card, the getting involved with, sleeping with and lying in bed with. It can also be about sleep, take a break […] It is your intimate self, the things you keep private or your intimate relations. The Bed can also be about getting something in your hand, securing a position, a person or a situation depending on cards around it and the context.” (Guidebook, p. 115)
Again, I do not feel an additional card for sex is needed in the Lenormand deck. Many authors I’ve come across suggest the Lily is the card for sex and sexuality. And there are also plenty of combinations that can illustrate the different nuances of sex. The Snake is one of them. The Tower and Ring is rather obvious. And the Rider is commonly used in same sex relationships.
As for sleep and resting the Coffin and/or Tree do a pretty good job of describing this, and nighttime can be suggested by the Bird (especially if it’s an owl illustration), the Moon, or Star.
Privacy is certainly supported by the Book, especially when it is illustrated as a closed book instead of an open one (this is the kind of thing to keep in mind when choosing one or more decks to integrate into your practice).
And securing a position or getting something in hand I feel is well captured by the Key.
Card 40 Market, is clear in its meaning. George associates it with the Arabian concept of Souk. I’m imagining a busy, bustling marketplace like in Cairo today.
George explains it as representing “all labor, trade, commerce and service, as well as bankers, sales clerks, manufacturers, traders, consultants [etc.] This card is your job, place of employment, office, business, occupation, profession, craft or career.” (Guidebook, pp. 118-119)
Clearly, this card is matched by the Garden. I appreciate that it is not as specific as George's Market, but if the reading is in the context of work, then the Garden fits the bill, and if the reading is open-ended, then cards nearby the Garden can specify what this “marketplace” is about.
With the Fish, for example, it may well refer to the souk, a retail location, or one’s business, whatever form it takes. With the Fox, it can refer to the job - or to a tricky crowd. And with the Dog, it can suggest groups of people and networking.
The essence of the Garden is the idea of community and the public at large - as opposed to the House, which is more intimate.
Like other authors who add cards to Lenormand’s Petit Jeu, George suggests it is optional to have them in.
CARD MEANINGS AND CARD COMBINATIONS
George’s interpretation of the cards is one I resonate with more than most other authors.
I feel she has that down-to-earth approach with making sense of each symbol, and she strikes an excellent balance between their literal and metaphorical meaning.
The generous number of examples she offers in the Guidebook accompanying the deck illustrate how well she adapts the meaning of the cards and combinations to the context and question at hand.
The in-your-face answers that are typically associated with Lenormand’s cards (and which is what draws most of us to this amazing deck) come through really well in these examples.
There is no need to beat around the bush. You asked, and Lenormand’s cards answered!
I encourage you to examine these examples so you get a good sense of how you do not need to complicate your interpretation of the cards.
On this note, I feel it is possible that one of the struggles aspiring Lenormand Readers face when starting their Lenormand journey is often a process of decomplication - yes, it is possible that cards speak this clearly and answer your question simply!
An original contribution by George to Lenormand (that is described in her book The Essential Lenormand) is that she draws ‘nuances’ out of the cards that lead her to categorize them into four groups: Action, portrait, mood, and time.
“Granted every card in the deck expresses these four categories at some level, but I have found that some cards lean heavily in one direction or another […] Nuance can be incredibly potent in a reading. For example, the Rider is all about movement and urgency, but although the card can be descriptive, over the years of practice I’ve found that it falls mostly in two categories: action and time.” (Book, pp. 29-30)
Some of the cards she categorizes as action cards are the Rider, Stork, and Key. Portrait cards include the Snake, Mountain, and Book. Mood cards include the House, Bouquet, and Mice. And time cards include the Rider, Mice, and Anchor.
Notice that some cards figure in more than one category. You might like to further explore her concept of nuance cards.
You might also like to try your hand at categorizing the cards into George’s four groups, or better yet, you can create your own ‘nuance’ groups based on how you resonate with the cards.
George also has a concept of correspondences with the cards, as do many Lenormand authors including myself.
By correspondences, I mean the different meanings a card takes on for different contexts. For example, what does the Bear mean for love, money, work, etc.
In her Book, George offers ten correspondences for each card: (1) Future, (2) Woman or Man, (3) work, (4), love, (5) health, body, and spirit, (6) money, (7) time and timing, (8) advice or action, (9) orientation, and (10) objects and areas.
For the Woman or Man, these are characteristics of a person. And by orientation, she means whether a card is positive, negative, or neutral - what I call card effects.
To illustrate some of her correspondences, let’s take the Mice. She describes this card as “the stress and worry that gnaw at your core slowly and constantly [...] It is the card of erosion and slow degradation [...] Mice work in groups and as a team, so sometimes this card will be about teamwork or the laborers in the industrial workforce because of the tedious and repetitive work. When positive cards follow the Mice (depending on the context), this card could signify excitement, eagerness, and agitated anticipation.” (Book, pp. 174-175)
With this in mind, let’s turn to some of George’s suggestions across some of her correspondences.
For the future, some suggestions include deterioration, expenditures, and worry.
To characterize the Man or Woman, the Mice indicate a worrier, someone unstable, restless, and stingy. George also suggests physical features like a receding hairline and stretch marks for Mice people.
For work, the Mice indicates odd jobs, stressful work, detailed work, but also possibly job loss.
In love, the Mice points to unstable relationships, loss of love or affection, and manipulation.
The orientation of the Mice is negative.
And as an object, the Mice might point to “every nook and cranny” (Book, p. 177) and represent mice, squirrels, rodents, or any type of pest.
You can see through this example how the essence of the Mice is manifested across the different areas of correspondences.
The correspondence exercise is, in my opinion, very important to stretch your interpretive imagination, so you can make sense of the cards in different contexts and for the variety of questions that you and / or your clients will ask.
With combinations, George’s Book is not a complete pairwise dictionary. She offers some combinations for each card.
Although it is fun to exercise one’s interpretation skills and produce a meaning for every card pair, I certainly understand why some authors and Readers might find this exercise a little futile: You will need to interpret the cards for the question at hand anyway, and this will probably produce a different meaning than the combination meaning you came up with… so why bother?
To illustrate with the Mice, George has interesting interpretations. For example, the Mice and Stars suggest “cancer, anxiety about a broadcast, stressing over an Internet project, the stress will soon disperse, something lost will be discovered, losing direction…” (Book, p. 179)
Notice that she does not shy away from mentioning a serious illness. The kinds of topics you might or might not venture into as a Reader is an important area to address in your practice. It is a key topic and frequent point of discussion in Lenormand Reader's Certification Program.
In her Guidebook, George offers plenty of simple one-line readings to illustrate how we might combine the cards.
Let’s look at a couple of examples across different cards.
For someone who lost their job and is asking “What am I in for?” George draws 6 cards:
Cross + Mountain + Stars + Dog + Moon + Anchor
She interprets the line as “Keep your spirits up. There will be a down time when you feel things are not moving (Cross + Mountain), but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Things will open up (Stars) and someone is going to help you get what you want (Dog + Moon + Anchor).” (Guidebook, p. 48)
Notice how easy and straightforward this was to interpret. The cards and the order they show up help you string them as a sequence of events or group them into a combined meaning.
Another example is for someone who is having legal issues with his ex. He asks “What is the best way to move forward on this?” George pulls 4 cards:
Whip + Coffin + Crossroads + Dog
She suggests to “End the fighting, mediate the problem and agree to finish it amicably.” (Guidebook, p. 64)
Again, a very clear and straightforward answer that is totally faithful to the cards and to the order they show up in.
Her many examples throughout the Guidebook offer practical answers to almost any question. Such is the power of Lenormand!
Stringing cards in a line is the most common and natural way of reading Lenormand. You might like to explore Caitlin Matthews's approach to stringing cards in a line.
LAYOUTS AND INTERPRETATION TECHNIQUES
George does not expressly cover any specific layouts in either her Book or Guidebook.
In her Guidebook, however, she uses single-line layouts ranging from 2 to 10 cards. George is the only author I’ve come across, as far as I can recall, who uses even-numbered lines. Most authors, including myself, typically use odd numbers of varying lengths.
In her Book, George addresses the Houses spread briefly, by explaining what each card does as a House.
The Houses are Lenormand’s cards laid out in their order (following their card number 1-36), and in the shape of a Grand Tableau. These houses can be physical or imaginary. I personally keep a diagram handy.
The spread is then the actual deck shuffled and dealt out over these Houses. Every card laid out interacts with its House. Interpreting this interaction is the goal of the Houses spread.
A unique layout approach that George addresses in her Book, is using the Tarot in conjunction with Lenormand. She offers three techniques for this.
1. One line of Lenormand cards and one line of Tarot cards
The first technique with both decks involves laying out the cards in lines - one line for Lenormand’s cards and one for the Tarot’s.
In the example in her Book, she draws 5 cards from Lenormand and 3 from the Tarot. She appears to suggest that we use the Tarot cards to refine our understanding of what showed up in Lenormand’s cards.
I would think it's also possible to start with Tarot cards and clarify them with Lenormand's cards.
2. Augmenting a Tarot layout with Lenormand cards
The second Tarot-Lenormand technique involving both decks is a Celtic Cross. George lays out the Celtic Cross cards using the Tarot, and then augments each Tarot card with 3 Lenormand cards. In fact, she suggests this technique can be used with any Tarot spread.
I think this is ingenious.
For my part, the way I adapt Tarot spreads to Lenormand is to replace each Tarot card with 3 Lenormand cards.
For example, the Horseshoe spread is a popular Tarot spread. I adapt it to Lenormand by replacing each of the seven Tarot cards with three Lenormand cards.
But I don’t think all Tarot spreads are practically amenable to Lenormand as some of them are quite large and the Reader’s table can end up looking messy.
If we want a large, detailed spread with Lenormand, we can simply do a Grand Tableau or Titania’s Extended Cross, both of which are detailed in Lenormand Reader’s Handbook of Layouts.
3. Combining Tarot and Lenormand card meanings
And George’s third technique with the two decks involves straight up combining the meaning of a Tarot card with a Lenormand card.
The example she uses to illustrate this technique involves pulling out 3 cards of each deck and matching them one-on-one in the order drawn. I believe this technique can be used with more cards.
Her Rana George Lenormand deck captures sights out of Lebanon and other locales with an eastern character that appear to be an very important part of her archetypal landscape and interpretative imagination. Her lineage is also a major contributor to her practice.
“This book examines my personal journey with the Lenormand deck [...] Reading, divining, and working with clairvoyance and other forms of esoteric study have been in my family for generations [...] The paranormal is normal in my family.” (Book, p.1)
Speaking in sentences is the way Lenormand flows, and George explains this simply and clearly:
“Every card resembles a word. String those cards together with other cards and it becomes a sentence. That sentence turns into a story with every additional card added. The combinations are endless.” (Book, p. 6)
Her take on the Tarot makes perfect sense - at least to me. When it comes to combining the two decks, she explains that,
“This technique showcases how Lenormand and Tarot can augment, complement, and focus each other when reading for a querent. When the Lenormand is added to a Tarot card, it brings it down to earth and gives it a tangible direction and meaning; at the same time, when a Tarot card is added to the Lenormand card, it focuses the card on a specific interpretation, value, and context. Together they are like the bow and its arrow. A good reader can hit the bull’s-eye easily!” (Book, pp. 373-374)
But even though she works with the Tarot, I feel George is a Lenormand purist, meaning someone whom I feel is attuned to the authentic features of Lenormand and who does not try to impose on it the ways of the Tarot or other decks and methods.
NOTE ABOUT THIS POST This blog post and/or video are produced in good faith to promote the author’s work and bring together the Lenormand community. If the author(s) or his/her representative(s) has any concern with the information presented, kindly write to Layla, the Lenormand Reader, at [email protected]. Layla, the Lenormand Reader, reserves all rights.
Want To Become A Lenormand Reader?
Lenormand Reader’s Certification Program is the only one of its kind, in size and in depth, to help you master the amazing Lenormand deck. This Program is filled with knowledge and practice accumulated through 20+ years of study and practice. It is organized into a real body of knowledge and delivered with best in class, online, on-demand video. Join the waitlist so you secure your spot when registration opens.
Join Lenormand Reader’s Certification Program