10 Tips For Learning Lenormand Card Combinations & Beyond

Now, as you’ll know, Lenormand Card Combinations are pretty much the bedrock of the whole Lenormand system. The highest number of visitors to this blog come to check out the card combination lists I offer here. And “How to learn the Lenormand Card Combinations” is still the single biggest problem my readers say they have with Lenormand cards when they first start learning to read Lenormand.

So how DO you do it?

Below are my top ten tips for learning Lenormand Card Combinations.

1. Stop Thinking You Can “Learn Combinations” As If By Heart

Yes, my number one tip is actually: Don’t!

As I’ve said before, it is actually impossible to ‘learn Lenormand card combinations’ as if you can just get hold of ‘the definitive’ list and commit thousands of combinations to memory. There are simply too many possibilities and variations to be able to do that, so this approach simply isn’t going to work or offer you much in the long run. Instead,  empower yourself in your readings and simplify things by learning some key techniques so you can build a more intuitive approach to your readings. To be able to do that, though, you REALLY need to get to grips with the way the Lenormand system works.

For more on the problems with just relying on lists, take a look at this post:

5 Reasons Not to (Just) Rely on Lenormand Lists

2. Forget Tarot

Secondly,  forget what you know from reading Tarot. Tarot is a wonderful esoteric system, but Lenormand is not Tarot and in general, apart from being a deck of cards and having a fortune telling aspect, it just doesn’t work the way that Tarot does. Lenormand is pretty much built on being able to combine the fairly simple symbols on the cards into stories. (Don’t let that fool you. It doesn’t mean that Lenormand is bland in comparison or lacks depth. It’s just that the  meaning and nuance you can get from Lenormand happens in different ways.) For instance, each Tarot card, with its clues and its symbols, is almost a little ‘story’ in itself. Lenormand symbols are pretty fundamental and basic, but they’re also universal. You’ll get the most from them from being able to combine them into stories and applying their energies to situations yourself.

For more on differences between Lenormand and Tarot, check out this post:

How Is Lenormand Different From Tarot?

3. Learn The Card Meanings First And Foremost 

The key to being able to generate card combinations easily and most importantly, instinctively, for yourself ultimately lies in understanding the card meanings, getting to the core of each card. Without this basic knowledge, you’ll find it difficult to apply them more intuitively and freely later with more and more complex readings and to different situations. Make it a priority to really get to know the meanings of each of the 36 cards before you tackle combinations for yourself.

Check out Detailed Lenormand Card Meanings Here

4. Really Get Underneath The Card Meanings & Find The Essence

It’s easy to look at a particular card and think, “Okay. This card can mean this, this AND this.” So, for instance, if you’ve checked out all the meanings here, as above, and elsewhere, you might be aware that the Bear card can mean Wealth and also Power and also Diet. You might know that the Mice card means Worry and also Destruction. You might know that the Tree represents Health as well as Spirituality, and that this person says Lily means sex but that person says Lily means age, and that one says Whip means sex, and that one says it doesn’t, and you’ll just have to pick a version. And that’s all fine—up to a point.

Thing is, if you REALLY want to get to grips with card combinations and get more intuitive with more complex readings, it’s important to really hone in on the underlying essence or energy that drives each of those symbols. You want to go a bit deeper and understand why it does. That instead of a list of meanings you might find in a book, you start to notice the core energy of each card that can then be applied outward to different situations. Usually, if you’re stuck on a meaning in a situation, it can really help to try and distill it down to the very simplest essence or energy that you can. Your card combinations, particularly when it comes to getting the ‘modifying’ part (see below), as well as your more advanced readings, will thank you if you do.

5. Think of Lenormand Symbols As A Language For Storytelling

Just like with an actual language, English, Spanish, German, French… Lenormand is a system of communication. You have a a concept or a thing, and you have a word to use to communicate that concept, and then you combine words into sentences, paragraphs to tell a story, create a narrative. Sure, the concepts and things matter on their own too, but the real power of them,  comes in the use of the language. It’s exactly the same with the Lenormand cards, especially when it comes to fortune telling or getting in depth. The power comes from how you choose to combine them, the stories that you tell.

6. Practice FREELY Telling Stories With Groups Of Cards

Doing this well and fluently so it flows naturally does require some creative or lateral thinking. Now, here’s a thing you can try to free yourself and your creative mind up. Completely let go of all the  Lenormand ‘how to’s and instructions for a bit and take your cue from the original note from Hechtel’s parlour game, Game of Hope, on using the cards for fortune telling.

Remember what his fortune telling instructions were? They were to simply look at the group of cards around the querent to make a story out of them.

To make it simpler, why not just pick five Lenormand cards from your deck at random and try and tell a story about what is going to happen to a hypothetical person just using the symbols. Imagine that was you, sitting in a drawing room with some friends and you had to tell a story about their future to entertain them. Don’t worry too much about Official Lenormand Meanings for now. Just use the symbols on the cards and try to string them into a story that makes sense.

Imagine I drew the following 5 cards:


How would you make a story out of those for a friend?

How about, perhaps, something like:

Wishes or things that have been ‘in the stars’ for a long time, or your hopes for stability, lead to you finding a commitment or marriage where you are like two birds in love.

Why not try it for yourself and see what things you can come up with?

7. Learn About Card Order In Combinations

There is a knack to reading card combinations,  and it works really well. That is to read the first card in ANY pair as the focus or ‘main thing’ and the second card in the pair as the ‘description’ or modifier for that thing. So if your first card is a Ship you are talking about a journey or movement of some kind. If your second card happens to be the Mice, then use that to describe your journey. As in, a “worrying” journey or an “anxious” journey. What if your second card was a Sun instead of the Mice? Well, then it would become a “Happy journey’ or a “Successful journey”. What if you had the Cross as the second card instead? That would mean it was a “loaded” or heavy journey in some way, where movement was weighed down. What if your second card was the Bouquet instead? You take the energy of that card, which is that of “beauty” and you get “Beautiful journey.” Always use the second card to modify the first in any pair. Bear in mind that sometimes you have to use a bit of creative thinking to make the meaning of the pair make sense.

But what if you have more than two cards? What if you have a whole line of them?

Well, then, you actually have a whole chain of pairs. If you had a line of cards that read Ship Mice Bouquet, you have three possible pairs to read. Ship and Mice  (anxious journey.) Then Mice and Bouquet  where Mice becomes the first card, the thing you’re describing, and the Bouquet is the one that modifies it (a ‘beautiful’ or  pleasant kind of anxiety’ so nerves or butterflies or excitement) . And then you can also read Ship and Bouquet as a pair (lovely or beautiful journey).

Then you draw those three meanings together into a ‘story’. So in this case, a journey or trip is anxious but it’s actually a pleasant kind of anxiety, something exciting and beautiful. “You go on an exciting and beautiful trip” would be a good, simple interpretation of these cards.

Read more about the #1 Secret of Card Combinations here

And  Why Card Order Matters here

8. Practice Making Your Own Combinations

Moving on from that, in order to get used to making card combinations that make sense and having them flow naturally in your readings, you need to start practicing them. A LOT. Until you can pull them together easily, almost without thinking. Check out this post for more examples of this in action:

How To Make Your Own Lenormand Combinations

Why not do daily two-card readings for yourself to practice? Here are three of the simplest ideas:

  • Pick two cards at random to suggest you some actions or advice to take today
  • Or something to think about or meditate on
  • Or pick two cards at random to tell you something that’s going to happen to you today

9. Try Applying 2- Card Combinations To Different Situations & Questions

In the real world, the cards will need to apply to different contexts and situations, or in answer to different questions. The same two cards might read slightly differently when applied to your love life or your career, for example. (And see how if you are familiar with the energies or essences of each card, you’re likely to find this starts to make a lot more sense and is way easier than if you’re just referencing combination lists?)

You can expand the simple card combination exercises above by, for instance:

  • Pulling two cards each to represent predictions or advice for different life areas e.g. love, friendships, career, home life
  • Pulling two cards each for different questions or predictions eg: something nice that will happen today, something horrible, someone I’ll hear from, a piece of news etc

All this will help you understand card combinations and how they work in context. Again, practicing using the cards like this will also exercise your creative and lateral thinking, which in turn, will help you become a better Lenormand reader.

10. Practice Telling Stories Again With Groups of Cards But Now Incorporate Your Card Combination Knowledge

Now you can put it all together. Try the 5 random card storytelling exercise again, but this time incorporate what you’ve learnt from “learning the rules” and practising combinations again yourself.

So let’s go back to my first ‘story’ and tell it in a chain (5 card readings do have more options and combinations to squeeze all the nuances and detail you can out of a reading — see 5 Card Readings for more info— but I’m going to keep it simple here):


Wishes or things that have been ‘in the stars’ for a long time, or your hopes for stability, lead to you finding a commitment or marriage where you are like two birds in love.

Using “official” Lenormand card meanings and combination method, you get:

Long term hopes and dreams (Stars-Anchor); marriage or commitment-related stability (Anchor-Ring); a communicated commitment, so a spoken promise or a proposal (Ring-Birds); lovebirds or loving communication or declaration (Bird-Heart).

To make it a more story-like prediction?

You have long had hopes and dreams of marriage and lasting commitment and you are likely to receive a proposal of marriage or a spoken promise as well as a declaration of love. You’ll be like two lovebirds!

Just an example, and just in the love context, which might change a little depending on who you were reading for, but can you see how the ‘rules’ around Lenormand card combinations actually just make the story that’s already there more structured and sometimes give a bit more clarity, information or nuance?


Do You Need More Guidance?

Go to my Lenormand Tips page for more tips about common issues and problems.

For a FREE card combinations PDF E-Book,  sign up to my mailing list for weekly email newsletters and other freebies (be sure to check ALL your mailboxes to pick it up! And mark me as a safe sender if you don’t want to miss out on stuff.)  If you don’t want to sign up to get emails, it’s also available in both paperback and ebook format from Amazon as well as other ebook platforms.

Also, my Complete Guide to Lenormand e-book as well as my Love and Careers workbooks are now available from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books & other ebook platforms and are all also available as downloadable/printable PDFs here in the SHOP!


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