Running The Learning Gauntlet: The Lennies

Soldier running the gauntlet, 1695

Soldier running the gauntlet, 1695

This is the best of times, this is the worst of times. There’s more english language material available than ever. The problem with this is, most of it’s bogus.

There are courses and blogs recommended in the sidebar, and there’s some excellent starter info here at Andy’s blog:

But the purpose of this post is to let you know what to avoid, so here’s a list of red flags. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything and these are the five pillars of what to run like hell from. If you think of anything else, leave me a comment!

1. The person “teaching” hasn’t got the necessary experience.
Lenormand is a language, and it’s been mentioned elsewhere that it takes AT LEAST five years to become fluent. People who haven’t been reading Lenormand professionally for at least this long shouldn’t be offering courses. It’s the blind leading the blind.

2. Anything called “New School”.
“New School” is not a school. It’s an advertising hook used by people who haven’t learned the system and they’re filling in the gaps with anything they can think of or scavenge.
Lenormand just IS old fashioned continental European fortune telling. When you take that away, it’s not Lenormand anymore. It’s just some noob playing with cards. They might come up with something fun now and then, but it’s not authentic. It certainly isn’t worth shelling out your hard-earned cash for.

3. “Psychological” Lenormand
I actually saw this quote on a blog: “Cartomancy without a deep understanding of the human psyche is not only ‘fluff’ but could potentially do harm.”
Let me say firstly that the term “fluff” is a term used by Wiccans to discredit other Wiccans. It says a lot more about the person using the term than it does about what they’re attempting to address. Secondly, it should go without saying that a card reader is obviously not a substitute for a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist with the proper degrees and certifications. Thirdly, if the reader IS in one of these professions, it’s illegal for them to use fortune telling in their practice. Fourthly, Lenormand has always been a predictive system, it’s not DESIGNED for psychology. And lastly, choosing your words carefully when a client seems a little unstable is common sense – which these psychological “readers” seem to lack.

4. General lack of knowledge
Just this morning I’ve been told that someone is peddling an idea that in German Lenormand they don’t use or advocate combinations – that they’re using mostly single card/placement methods à la Celtic Cross. If someone advocates this idea, reading off the pictures, or creating your own meanings, if they’re dragging in Tarot meanings for either the cards (“deception” for the Moon, for instance) or the insets (RWS Swords for Spades – the trouble suit in Lenormand is CLUBS), if they’re trying to “make their mark”, start a “new” school rather than learning the system and passing it on – they’re frauds. The definition is a perfect fit:

fraud /frôd/ noun
1.Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
2.A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

This is not to say that everyone who comes up with something novel is a fraud. However, they do need to be clear that it’s just a fun thing they made up, and not offer it as “Lenormand” for financial gain.

5. The person has created a wonky deck, and is promoting it with “teaching”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for extra Man and Woman cards. They’re not necessary (The Rider is traditionally a male lover, the Snake female) but they’re a nice gesture. Including a few extra cards (Sibyl, Happy Squirrel, Clock, Dice, etc.) doesn’t hurt and you might have fun experimenting with them for yourself.
The Lenormand system, however, is capable of saying just about anything without these. If it’s something that happens, there’s a card or combo for it. Reliance on extra cards is a sign of inexperience.

The same goes for themes: they can totally alter the cards. When the Birchrods/Whips become simply a broom because it’s more pagan, or celtic, or whatever, you’ve gone from lashing to cleaning. It’s not Lenormand anymore. People who don’t grasp this don’t know the system well enough to teach it.


7 responses »

  1. Pingback: Open Letter: So You Want to Learn Lenormand |

  2. A well timed piece of advice, it seems that almost everyone has a special spread or new way of reading the cards. Sometimes the old ways are the best way.

  3. Somehow your blog found it’s way into my email. It was here this morning. I do not care how it found it’s way in…I am just glad it did. 🙂
    And I believe what you have said is something that was needed to be said, especially with the current, so called ‘new’ lenormand craze where there are now decks flooding the marketplace with that much symbology on them… I need to look for the number to see which card it actually is (in truth I have no interest in these types of decks for my own reasons).
    If I am showing someone an open E Chord on a guitar, well that is how the finger placement has always been, same with various scales etc etc, to me it’s not the old way or the new way, it is just ‘the’ way.
    Without a firm grasp of these rudiments to begin with, then to me, any further advancement to utilising the foundation in any type of setting is well.. (wasting their money on the teacher(s) they are relying on… that’s the first analogy I came up with, it’s early in the morning here 🙂

    • I so agree. Back when i first started learning the Lenormand I had a coool idea for a deck. When say “back” I meant April 2012 … not so “bacK” really, but back to my point; as i was creating it i felt more and more a fraud as i watched and read input on decks and they the scythe or coffin drape faced in the cards etc. The cart was definitely being put before the horse. I still am fooling with creation however i feel and have stated I feel am honoring rather than disrespecting an age old traditional fortune telling system by actually knowing the cards and their relating at a much more experienced level before I can finalize any deck.
      And to comment on Fenario’s input, Thank you! I was waiting for someone to speak up as I have not the experience to. I just know whats been being shared ‘out there” just rubs me the wrong way.. and has for quite some time.

  4. Hey, what about people who say things like ” I come from a long line of Freemasons, or Rosicrucians, etc.”? Seems like another red flag to me. :-O

    • You raise an excellent point, Carolina, I’ve actually seen someone doing this, LOL.
      While some can legitimately claim to have learned from a family member, Rosicrucians and Freemasons aren’t known for Lenormand reading. It’s just something to hook gullible people. 😉

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