In learning the lenormand system how one begins affects the entire journey. Lenormand is a system where regular usage leads to different levels of interpretation. One of these levels is that of function. Card 33, The Key represents in my experience facility with function.
At fully engaged levels of lenormand the 36 cards function as “deck specific” notations, which is why as a teacher of beginning lenormand method, I recommend a single traditional deck when learning the system. One’s first deck has to be examined very closely. The Dondorf user will have a different set of codes than the reader of the Blue Owl as the visual prompts on the double cards vary with each deck.
Double cards? Yes. As a newbie I thought cards 11, 22 and 33 were the doubles of the deck. However, in lenormand method a double is not numeric rank but a card which has two sides to it – each casting distinctly different interpretations on flanking cards. Again lenormand code is deck specific, but in general as an example one can think of the Scythe’s handle and blade or the Clouds light and dark sides as examples of double cards. At the intermediate level double cards are often referred to as “directional cards”.
As shown in the Dondorf and the Blue Owl decks images above, the Key’s bit and shaft are situated in the same way, but this is not so in the Piatnik version shown below. Please refer to a previous post on this blog, where the anatomy of the Key card was discussed, if the terms bit and shaft are unfamiliar.
The difference between the Piatnik imagery and that of the Dondorf and Blue Owl shows why image details are of primary importance! The subconscious (Freudian term) or unconscious (Jungian term) works with pictures, not words. Thus the true language of lenormand has nothing to do with grammar or the structure of verbal communication but has more in common with notation systems such as is found in Japanese Kanji or in the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt where each image carries and triggers by a visual gate concepts which open to deeper archetypal rivers of meaning.
In lenormand notation images are non- transferable from deck to deck. Each lenormand deck being a distinct map of an internal terrain with its own “key”or legend. The symbology works only for the deck one is viewing. Any list of pairs must be deck specific and should be self-generated.
A reader can work with more than one deck but they will have only one “master deck”. For the dedicated lenormand reader, their master deck is simply the one they have mastered. For a casual reader or dabbler, the makings of their master deck is found in their first exposure to the cards which leaves an indelible imprint. Choose wisely. It takes hard work with one traditional deck exclusively over an extended period of time to offset or override an artistic interpretation or untutored rendition of a trendy lenormand.
The Dondorf deck was my first deck but it is not my master deck. Thankfully it was a traditional lenormand and is graphically close to the standard Blue Owl which became my master deck during the practicum. i.e. the first three years or 36 months of study in the lenormand system- one card each month.
The next post will examine the Key card in a few patterns.