Building your intuition is a huge part of learning Lenormand or any other cartomancy system. What IS intuition?
For me, it’s a coming together, a feeling of ‘knowing’. Much like gut instinct in general, it’s the coming together of lots of tiny bits of information and perceptions, sometimes unconscious ones, into one feeling or sense, one complete picture.
The whole of Lenormand for me is intuitive: how I understand card meanings, card combinations, choose which layout or meaning to use, pull a reading into a story that makes sense and is useful in the context of the question asked. The other part of how my brain works, the logical, almost mathematical, step by step part of my brain, is what I use to step back, to analyse and be objective, to make sure I’ve covered everything. (It’s not entirely different as I explain in the last point below, but I’ve dealt with the How To Stay Objective side of things in other posts elsewhere)
So how might YOU build intuition in relation to your Lenormand reading?
Intuition is like a muscle, in a way. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more you learn to recognise it for what it is. So here are seven ways that you can strengthen yours:
1. Choose A Deck That Speaks To You
Although the meanings across ALL Lenormand decks, no matter what the design, will be the same, most people find that they seem to get on with some decks better than others. The reasons why are entirely personal. You might get on better with a deck because you made it yourself (see How To Make Your Own Lenormand Deck); alternatively, you might find you get on best with one of the more popular decks (10 of the Best Lenormand Decks) because it ‘feels like’ the more proper one, or you like the design, or whatever.
It’s entirely up to you, but the key to what you’re looking for is that it “feels right” to YOU. You feel confident in it, it matches you somehow, and so on. You don’t want to be distracted by worrying if a deck is the right one or not or “should you?” this and that. A completely personal thing, but hugely important. Intuition requires that you’re relaxed and comfortable with your deck.
2. Get To Know Each Card Individually
Up to a point, when you’re first learning Lenormand, you can get away with reading Lenormand spreads by using card combination lists. You’ll miss out on most of the more nuanced and detailed readings, but those can come later, as you develop as a reader. What you can’t really do, though, is get away with not knowing the meanings of each and every Lenormand card. When you get in depth with each card, you’re setting the path to make your whole Lenormand learning experience WAY, way easier in the long run.
Try this: Pick a card a day. DON’T look up its meaning. Instead, think about what that particular object, animal, person or place says to you. What does it do in real, day-to-day life? What function does it have, what sort of behaviour is it characterised by? What message might it bring? What feeling does that particular card give you? It’s this ‘feel’ of it that will help build your intuition with regard to that card and what it conveys.
Once you’ve really thought about your card, NOW go and look up the details of its meaning on one of the Lenormand Card Meaning lists. Can you see now why the meanings for that card might be listed as they are?
3. Practice Lenormand Readings WITHOUT Lists
I know Lenormand readers like myself can keep on saying this til the cows come home and many, if not most, of our readers will ignore it completely, but here’s the thing:
You will NEVER really get to grips with Lenormand intuitively or develop as a reader if you just stick to the lists provided here and elsewhere. Never.
Sorry, but there it is.
There comes a point where, just like when you’re learning to walk and need to hold someone’s hand, or where you’re first learning to ride a bike and it’s time for the stabilisers to come off, you just need to LET GO if you’re going to learn the skills you need. And if you have a good intuitive understanding of each card meaning to start with, this should start becoming easier and easier for you.
Try this: Pick three cards. Using one of the Quick 3- card reading methods, interpret the cards WITHOUT looking at the card combination lists at all. Consider how you can make your interpretation read into a proper sentence. Write your sentence down. NOW and only now, go and look at the Card Combination lists for the combinations of each pair in your three cards. Were yours actually better? Did the lists give you any extra ideas?
Remember: The lists should be a tool and back-up for you, not a Bible. Start treating them that way and teach yourself to rely more on your own instincts about the cards BEFORE going immediately to look them up on a list or in a book.
4. Keep a Journal, Read Regularly and Look Back At Your Readings
You will only know how the cards work best for you personally if you both practice AND reflect on them.
A journal is a great place to do this, but even if you don’t keep one, having somewhere where you record your readings and interpretations, so you can then go back and take a look at them later, is vital.
Look at things like how accurate – or not – they were, and in which ways, and think what you can learn from that. Notice if certain cards appear to work in certain ways but not others for you, how dialled up or down the meanings seemed to be, how the reading conditions, context, or your state of mind might have affected the reading. Think what you learn from that, about yourself, about the cards and your specific relationship to them
Over time, YOUR connection with your cards and the system, and how they work for you, will become more and more personal. This is good; this personalisation of your experience is exactly what you’re aiming for. The more you do this, the stronger your intuition will be.
5. Align Your Lenormand Readings With Your Belief System, What YOU Know To Be True
We all, as card readers, are likely to have spiritual belief systems of one kind or another. Although Lenormand is a cartomancy system (so as such considered completely unacceptable by some religions, for instance, especially when used for fortune telling) it doesn’t in itself actually align to one belief tradition or another, and far less so than the Tarot, for example. Some readers will have specific faith affiliations (most often Wiccan and Buddhist, I find, when people do) but not always.
I always think that Lenormand, because of its universal symbols, is almost infinitely adaptable in this way. It reflects us as humans, not any particular faith specifically. Whether we believe our cards are a vehicle of an outside force, God, the Universe, particular spirits, angels, or a more general force to send messages to us, or we believe it reflects “the nature of things” and we somehow generate those messages from within, we are often talking about similar things, and simply frame them in slightly different ways.
In order to help boost your intuition and personalise further, use YOUR belief system when using the cards. The cards are best used as a tool of any beliefs you hold; not the belief system in itself, or the “rule-maker” as a system. The Lenormand works for you, not the other way round.
6. Notice When You “Know” That Something Feels Right
Otherwise known as “listening to your gut”. This can be the feeling you get when you ‘know’ it is right to stop shuffling, to pull the card out ‘there’ or when you hit on the interpretation that seems to feel like the right one—even if, sometimes, you may not be sure why. It’s personal for everyone, but I usually get a very specific feeling. In my case, particularly when I’m shuffling, it’s physical, a quick prickling feeling that travels from the back of my neck up my scalp, almost as if someone’s just squeezed my shoulders from behind.
Other times, and particularly when I’m doing a reading, it’s the way the cards come together naturally as a story. This takes time and practice, as well as keeping an open mind, but is that blend, I think, of picking up lots of small factors, consciously and unconsciously, simultaneously and seeming to get “the answer”, that Aha moment where it all seems right.
So begin to notice that in yourself. What are the “gut instinct” signs for you?
7. But Be Aware Of The Distinction Between Intuition And Your Wants And Desires
One word of warning about the above though. It is VERY easy, particularly when you are highly emotionally invested in a particular outcome, to mistake what you WANT from what you KNOW. Do you really “know” you and X person are destined to be together for ever—or are you caught up in the first flush of desire and just “want” this and cannot cope with the thought that it may not come to pass? Emotions, particularly romantic ones, are powerful things and that can feel EXACTLY like that gut feeling. Or I want something with a passion and just want to know something that will give me hope because I can’t bear the thought that it might not be.
There is a world of difference between seeing what you want to see and having a genuine gut feeling about what is actually there. Alarm bells would be ringing for me if your interpretations of cards are simply not connected with the listed meanings at all. So yes, the lists certainly do have their uses, in terms of keeping yourself objective. I’m often surprised at how frequently people interpret cards, their own particularly, with meanings that are simply not suggested at ALL by the actual cards they have drawn. Most often, this is assigning random meanings to the cards that are never to be found in any list anywhere and also bear no relation whatsoever to any underlying meaning of that card.
So be very careful, and learn to distinguish the two. I quite often find my fear of a thing NOT being the case is a good indicator of emotional over-investment rather than intuition. Above all, avoid reading when in an emotional state. Your intuition is NOT the same as simply “emotion” or “want.” Contrary to popular opinion, especially in new age circles, intuition and gut instinct is not the opposite of objectivity or even logic. Like them, it can require a stepping-back, a clear head. With experience and practice, especially of getting used to looking back and assessing your own readings, you’ll learn to distinguish which is which.
Do You Need More Guidance?
Go to my Lenormand Tips page for more tips about common issues and problems.
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