Does your Lenormand deck contain extra Lenormand cards over and above the standard 36? And if you DO want to use them, how do they ‘work’, and how might you incorporate them into your readings? What kind of effects do they have on interpretation? And what are my top tips for starting to use them?
What Are Extra/Additional Cards In Decks?
Now, theoretically, the standard 36 cards of the traditional Lenormand system should be all you need to cover all life areas. Certainly, if you want to follow Lenormand ‘traditionally’, you don’t really need additional cards at all.
Also, when I say ‘extra’, I don’t just mean additional or differently-designed people cards, by the way. What I’m focusing on in this post are any numbered cards additional to the standard 36 that some recent Lenormand card readers/card designers have added into their decks to create expanded versions.
(For more detail on whether or not you ‘should’ or shouldn’t use them, please take a look at my previous discussion of this below.
Using Extra Lenormand Cards In Decks: Yes Or No?)
Why Do Some Decks Have Them?
Well, sometimes, card readers and designers feel that their decks don’t include all the cards that they personally really would have liked—or they felt it would be good to create additional cards to cover situations where there seemed to be some ambiguity.
It’s important to note that these additional cards are specific to the individual decks, and NOT part of the traditional Lenormand system. Rather, they reflect the sensibilities and preoccupations of that particular card designer. As such, using them can give your readings a different ‘feel’.
The principles of using them, however, are the same regardless of deck, and that’s what I want to cover in this post.
NB. Please note that although there are several decks with extra cards, I will NOT be looking at decks over and above the two decks I’m going to talk about here. Those of you who have different decks with additional cards can apply the same principles to whatever deck you have.
Which Decks’ Extra Cards Are We Going To Look At?
The two examples I’m going to explore in this post, as they are the ones that both I and most people are likely to have, are Ciro Marchetti, with his Gilded Reverie Lenormand, and the Rana George Lenormand deck.
GILDED REVERIE LENORMAND (Ciro Marchetti)
The Gilded Reverie Deck contains EIGHT additional cards, numbered from 37 to 44
(It also includes an alternative Birds card and extra people, but we’re not concerning ourselves with those here)
This, unsurprisingly, brings the factor of time to a reading. The cards nearby can show what kind of time period we’re talking; long or short? It can also indicate time limits, that something is ‘timed’ or time dependent. Or you could centre this card in a short reading (three cards, say) to ask a specific timing question.
This is probably one of my favourite of these extras and a really useful card to have as an addition. The Bridges can bridge one state to another. What do you need to get from A to B? It represents transition, the process of change, as well as what is linking to what. You can question it directly to represent how you get from one stage to another.
The element of pure chance, risk, randomness, games and gambling. It differs from the Clover, in that the Clover is more about positive luck and good fortune, whereas the Dice contains the risk element.
Playing a role. Falsehood. Disguise. What is being covered up or hidden? Concealment. Who or what is being false? The instructions say the position is important: if on the right of you, it has a more positive connotation, on the left, negative.
What is underneath, at the bottom of things? This card urges you to dive deeper. Hidden depths, untapped resources, but also can be draining, hard work
Direction, guidance. What direction are you headed in and where do you need to go? For guidance, look at where the needle is pointing. What guidance or signs are you getting?
The maze, the puzzle, a tangled knot. A problem you have to find your way through, a conundrum, frustrations.
44. MAGNIFYING GLASS
This card urges you to look more closely. Examination, scrutiny, inspection. Be careful, look at all the detail.
RANA GEORGE LENORMAND DECK ADDITIONAL CARDS
The Rana George Lenormand Deck contains FOUR additional cards, numbered from 37 to 40
Spirit references, unsurprisingly, the spiritual, including guides, gods, those of the spirit world, angels, guides, entities. If not a spirit, then the spiritual realm and intuitions, things like gut instinct, the Universe or other god-concepts, and ‘otherworldliness’ in general.
38. INCENSE BURNER
The incense burner is a ‘cleanser’, a smudger, a purifier. Cleans the air. It’s also an excellent card to describe atmospheres.
Sex and sexuality! As well as other things you do in bed; sleep, rest, relaxation, chilling. This frees up the other cards you might use for sex (eg Whip or Lilies) for their other meanings.
Marketplace or bazaar, this is the card of trade, of business, of the literal marketplace or ‘market, of buying or selling’. A business, a shop, an online store, the job ‘market’. Again, this card can free up the Fish for its more financial connotations, and the Ship away from trade to its movement and travel meanings.
My SEVEN Tips For Using Extra Cards In Readings
1. Get Comfortable With Using The Standard 36 Before Trying To Incorporate Additional Cards
I get asked about additional cards all the time by beginners who happen to have one of the decks they’re in, but if I’m to be totally honest with you, I don’t really think they’re suitable for complete beginners, especially not if you’re trying to get a solid grounding in Lenormand reading. These extra cards work best as enhancements for experienced Lenormand readers who can really get—and see— the benefit of them. If you’re still at the hand-holding stage, you may find it them—and their relationship to other cards and card meanings—a little bit too much additional info to deal with.
2. Understand The Meanings Of Extra Cards & How They Tend To Show Up
These cards’ meanings are specific to the deck and specific to what their designers intended for them. So research from the booklet that came with your deck what they are about, what they’re enhancing, what extra they ‘bring to the party’, as it were. You will notice that a good few of them are a bit more nebulous and harder to grasp than standard Lenormand meanings, but it still helps to try and get the essence of them and how they were intended by the designers to be used.
Rana George, for instance, said that she created the Spirit card because spirits, djins, guides and the spirit world are an important part of her belief system and culture, and she wanted to be able to include their influence in readings, whereas her Bed card resolves the tricky issue of sex in Lenormand readings, and frees up the other possible candidate cards for that for different meanings.
3. Remember You Don’t Have To Use All Of Them!
What if you don’t ‘like’ one of the extra cards? The beauty of extra cards is that really just are intended to be used as enhancements. If you don’t find one useful, or one doesn’t gel with your belief system, then you’re under no obligation to include it. The choice really is all yours.
4. Understand The Way They “Work” In Readings Is Similar To Other Cards In Terms Of Position, Combinations Etc
I really don’t think you need ‘special rules’ for these cards in terms of how they appear in readings and integrate with the rest of the reading. As for combinations, cards on the right will still tend to influence cards to their left, cards above to those below, in the same way as other readings.
I will in the near future be putting together guides for combining these cards for those who’d like a handholding reference point or some ideas, but to be honest, if you’re as familiar as you should be by the time you start using additional cards with how card combinations work, you should be perfectly capable of working out what they might mean yourself.
If you need a reminder for how to put card combinations together and interpret them, do take a look at these three posts:
How To Read Lenormand Card Combinations – the #1 Secret!
Lenormand Card Combinations: Why Card Order Matters
How To Make Your Own Lenormand Card Combinations
And if you’d like a ton of VERY practical practice with combinations in answering questions before you start incorporating extra cards, why not get yourself onto my Card Combinations Course? After which you should really have no problem putting combinations together instinctively at all!
5. Try Them Out In Readings: Especially 5 and 9 Card (3×3) Readings
If you leave the extra cards in your deck, they may of course show up occasionally in your day-to-day readings, and can be interpreted as part of those in the normal way.
A 9 Card Reading With The Rana Deck Including Extra Cards
“What Is Coming Up For Me?”
Here, we’ve got two of the extra cards, the Spirit, in the bottom left, and the Incense Burner, on the top right. In general, the reading is about support, help and friendship (Dog). Around it, we see a man bringing or hearing news of an ending that brings transformation and a new start (Man-Rider-Coffin-Storks). A new or changed friendship or form of support arrives (Rider-Dog-Storks), and it looks as though the man’s choices or path ahead is cleared or cleansed in some way (Crossroads-Man-Incense Burner). There does appear to be a dead or crossed spirit, or one that brings endings, (Spirit-Coffin) in the wider realm, or perhaps from the ‘other side’ (Coffin-Stars). It is as if this has been a spirit or guide present at or bringing a crossing-over (Crossroads-Rider-Spirit), and a man’s friendship or support or even an actual friend, has passed or gone (Man-Dog-Coffin). Ahead, though we see an essence of change and renewal on a big scale or the wider realm (Incense Burner-Storks-Stars).
Looking more closely at the Incense Burner and the Spirit and seeing what cards knight them, we can see the Incense Burner has the kind of cleansing effect of having brought (Rider) an ending (Coffin). The Spirit, meanwhile, is connected with the male or maleness ( or is male), and brings transformation and new beginnings (Storks).
A 9 Card Reading With The Gilded Reverie Deck Including Extra Cards
“What Do I Need To Do To Achieve Success?”
Here, the card at the heart of reading is the Labyrinth, which means that the answer to that question is a conundrum and not an easy one to solve! It probably has myriad elements. It could involve many complex “faces” or different roles (Mask-Labyrinth) or false turns and it could branch out in all sorts of directions, which may or may not be healthy or twist up energies somewhat (Labyrinth-Tree). Above that puzzle, though, the cards seem to be fairly positive, with lucky and successful choices or paths (Sun-Crossroads-Clover). Perhaps it may SEEM complex and tangled in a negative way, but we see that there are successes possible in either direction. We also have the Rider, Anchor and Magnifying Glass below it, suggesting you look more closely at the stability that has been brought.
Meanwhile, the “Masks” or roles/personae are likely to have been positive in the main (Sun-Mask-Rider), but with multiple and probably intertwined bases, or areas of stability or routines – or perhaps it’s telling you there are many paths that even if they get muddled at times, all lead in the same direction (Crossroads-Labyrinth-Anchor). Ahead, we see good luck energies, and health and wellbeing, that you need to keep an eye on (or just ‘notice’) (Clover-Tree-Magnifying Glass). Pay attention, notice the positives, wake up and smell the roses!
6. Use The Extra Cards As “Focus” Or Key Cards To Explore Those Aspects Of Your Reading
You may want to use the additional cards themselves as focuses for enhanced readings. As above with the Labyrinth, you may get one in the centre naturally, or you may want to use one of these cards to focus your reading more specifically.
The Gilded Reverie extras lend themselves especially well to these kinds of psychological explorations.
Here’s a 7-Card “How Do I Get From A To B” problem-solving reading using the Bridges specifically, as well as a key card to represent the starting point (in this case, the Woman) and another one as the end point.
A 7 Card Problem-Solving “Bridge” Reading
“What do I have to do to achieve the success I want?”
First, I laid the Bridge in the Centre to represent the process or ‘bridge’ I have to cross to get from A to B.. Then I laid my Woman as a keycard on the left and the Sun as the Goal keycard on the right. (You could choose a number of different starting and ending points, depending on where you start and what you want)
Then I shuffled and picked the cards to go between the Woman and the Bridge, and then the two cards that went between the Bridge and the Sun.
It tells me that first of all I have to commit to my dreams (Ring-Stars). The dreams and wishes, it seems will ride me over the bridge (Stars-Bridge-Rider) to their lucky delivery and to positive chance occurrences and opportunities (Clover), which will bring me success (Sun)
7.Remember That Grand Tableaus Can Be A Bit Tricky With Extra Cards
Obviously, a standard Grand Tableau only has 36 Cards and 36 houses. It’s not impossible to do a Grand Tableau reading incorporating extra cards, so here are my ideas for some options for that. There are others.
(Please note ,these are not “official” and I’m NOT including additional/alternative people cards here, JUST the other named cards after the 36. So remember to take the extra people/alternative version cards out for this.)
- Traditional 36 card layout. If you only use the traditional 36 card layout, you’d be likely to have some of the ‘main’ cards missing from your spread (a big problem if one of them is your Querent card, but also if it’s another card that’s important to you!). A 36-card GT with extra cards can work if you’re not someone who uses the ‘near and far’ method of reading (these cards don’t have ‘near/far’ meanings), but bear in mind, if you like to use the Rana George “A chain through the Houses” method, you won’t be able to if you’ve included some of the extras.
- 40 Card Layout (Rana Deck): With only four extra cards, you could create an 8x 5 layout, with the extra four cards relating to corresponding extra four “Houses” at the end after House Position 36. Cross. So add a House of Spirit, one of Incense Burner, One of Bed, one of Marketplace. Or have two rows of four at the bottom – the ‘standard’ one and then an additional four addressing these life areas.
- 44 Card Layout (Gilded Reverie Deck): Here, you could create a “Grand Tableau” of 8x 5 +4 – so just an extra row of 8 – or have two additional rows of four. Again, you could just create extra “Houses” at the end after the traditional 36 to correspond with the additional card meanings of this deck. Marchetti suggests another method could be to do your Grand Tableau as usual, with the standard 36 cards, and only then use the additional cards to clarify those you’re interested in.
Next time, I’ll be looking in more detail at the above examples of a Grand Tableau for each deck, incorporating those extra cards.
By popular demand!
My Card Combination Extra Cards Supplement!
with combination suggestions for these two decks