“Which layout should I choose?”
“Which is the right spread for me?”
“Which will give me the best or most accurate information for my situation?”
All of these are questions you might ask yourself when you are deciding which of the Lenormand layouts or spread to use. How do you decide?
Well, here are seven key questions you need to ask yourself before shuffling those cards. Above all, you need to bear in mind what will be most USEFUL to you given what you personally want from the cards. It all depends, really, on what you’re looking to your cards to give you at any given time you read them.
1. Do you want a general reading about a set period of your future that will broadly cover all and any life areas?
Here, you won’t necessarily have a specific question. You might be interested more in some life areas than others, but overall, you really just want a picture of what influences may be coming up for you.
Readings of this kind are really a job for the Grand Tableau, aka “The Big Picture”. If this isn’t what you’re looking for, you’ll need to choose a different kind of layout.
2. If so, do you want it to cover things fairly briefly and at a surface level, or do you want to be able to really go into depth on areas that interest you or that might show up in the reading?
Be aware that there are different ways you can read a Grand Tableau, from Traditional (broadly using the Philippe Lenormand Near & Far instructions) or more modern. A traditional Grand Tableau with Near and Far meanings will give you a result that will be fairly surface level (see my reading here) although focused, but there is an awful lot more information you can uncover with more modern ways of reading a Grand Tableau. And the beauty of modern methods is that you can take your pick of how deep you want to go.
Take a look here in the post Understanding The Grand Tableau, 10 Things To Know as well as the detailed step by step instructions and extra techniques you may or may not choose to use on the Lenormand Card Layouts page.
3. Do you want the cards to tell you your general future or would you rather they offered you guidance or answered specific questions?
The Grand Tableau is much more suited to “telling fortunes” than smaller readings which tend to be better for answering specific questions in ways which may not be so focused on what will or won’t happen, although they can be used that way. You can adapt smaller readings to all kinds of questions. By ‘smaller readings’ I mean 9 (3×3), 5 or 3 card readings, really, although there are hybrid readings you can take from other cartomancy systems, like, for instance, the Pyramid layout.
Take a look here for different ways you could read the exact same cards, depending on what you want to get out of them!
4. Are you looking for the answer to a specific question, or a piece of advice?
Choose a smaller layout where you can be more focused, in particular three card readings, when you just want a very brief overview, or five card readings which you can get a surprising amount of detail from. Here, it will prove more useful to use key or essence meanings of the cards in order to answer your questions in your situation or context than very traditional meanings.
5. Do you want a more explorative reading, focused on one specific life area, or exploring the influences around a particular thing or person?
This is a job for a reading like the 9-card or box spread, which is like a section of a Grand Tableau. It is great for uncovering influences around a situation or person and connections between influences. You can even use techniques from the Grand Tableau like knighting to get in-depth, and it also is more clear about past, present, future influences.
You can also use a keycard in the centre if you wish, to focus the reading. I look at the issue of whether or not to use keycards in the post Keycard Or No Keycard? That Is The Question.
6. What timeframe are you looking at?
Smaller readings with fewer cards are best for short timeframes. If you want to ask the cards about an influence that’s coming up today, for instance, you don’t really want to be dealing with any more than three cards. But if you want to look over the next six months and in much more general terms, you really need to be doing a bigger reading.
Generally speaking, I wouldn’t use a Grand Tableau for anything less than a couple of months (and even then, I might not go fully into detail. I prefer to use them for three to six month timeframes, or even a year.)
7. What are you planning to do with what the cards tell you?
Are you looking for the cards to give you something to consider, to find something out, a piece of advice, to help resolve a problem for you, or to tell you what will happen in your future? How “Active” do you want to be in your response? Do you want something that you’d treat much like you annual horoscope or do you want more flexibility, to be able to relate it to specific situations, and so on?
The bigger the layout, the more passive (in terms of just being a recipient of information) you will usually be, and the more geared to fortune telling and the future your reading will be. This is true of both the Grand Tableau and the 9 card spread, although the latter will focus on a particular situation, so you can use it for particular questions
Smaller layouts like 3 and 5 card spreads, even a single card, will give you more flexibility in terms of applying to specific situations and purposes that you want. You can frame your questions in any way you wish, from “What will happen in this situation?” type questions to “What would it be useful to know about X?” or “What wisdom/message should I take at this time?” Take a look at the post 7 Different Ways To Use Your Cards where I show you seven different approaches to the same cards, and the subtle differences in what the “Answers” will be.
Additionally, you may wish to adapt a spread from a different card-reading system, for example, creating a Pyramid spread, or one of the layouts for particular contextual situations I wrote about in the posts below:
Do You Need More Guidance?
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