The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling
by Rana George (Llewellyn Publications, 2014; 408 pages)
reviewed by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, hummingwitch
Years from now, when I recall how I finally took a chance on Lenormand divination after long skirting around this trend, I will give all credit to The Essential Lenormand by Rana George. And just as I've pushed Mary K. Greer's Tarot for Your Self on every single one of my Tarot students over the years, I know I'll happily sing the praises of George's guide to Lenormand. Published this month by Llewellyn, her book is that good.
Born in Beirut, Rana George hails from a family noted for its lineage of psychics and mediums. In 1988, during the turmoil of Lebanon's civil war, after suffering devastating losses, George and her family fled to safety in the US. She now resides in Texas. Over a career of thirty years, she has become respected and cherished leader in an international community devoted to Tarot and other oracles of divination. But while most of us have come to Lenormand late in the day, it has always been home for her. She started her extensive practice in cartomancy as a gifted teen with these 36 iconic images named for France's famed fortuneteller, Mlle Marie Adelaide Lenormand.
Unlike the complex, sometimes esoteric Tarot, Lenormand presents simplified, straightforward images that anyone can grasp--a cross, a dog, a ship, a book, a key--associated with a handful of direct, often literal meanings. This accessibility accounts for much of the welcoming charm of Lenormand; many readers and querents find this a non-intimidating tool that cuts to the chase, especially for practical issues around money, relationships and the like.
George quips that Lenormand will help you "to find out if X is sleeping with Y and if the sex is good." That's a funny line, but what I'm learning from reading her guide and checking out Lenormand groups on Facebook, is that Lenormand's reach can be pretty far and wide--tackling everything from "Should I take that job offer?" to--yes, inevitably--"What really happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?"
Lenormand-ers are not afraid to go there. And, yes, they go predictive. No shame in their game.
Comprehensive in scope, The Essential Lenormand will take you through a detailed, systematic exploration of each of the 36 images. Three features are, for me, the most impressive and effective of George's teaching methods.
- For each card, she lists specific meanings as they relate to a slate of topics such as love, health and money and questions of timing.
- For each card, she relates an illustrative anecdote from her history of reading with the Lenormand.
- In addition, she demonstrates how this specific card works within a Grand Tableau ("the big picture"), the massive layout that employs all 36 cards and offers a powerful 360° perspective on the querent's situation.
George is a past master of the Grand Tableau, and a healthy chunk of the book is given over to its presentation and analysis. For Tarot folks who relish the puzzle-like complexity, sublime flexibility and potential surprise in any Tarot reading--and I'm certainly one of those--the Grand Tableau beckons. But any eager reader will find, here, a range of manageable layouts upon which to practice--like the modest but still tasty nine-card layout.
You will learn how to select a Lenormand deck that's right for you from the many varieties and styles; develop a daily practice with the cards; work with significators; integrate Lenormand with astrological patterns or with Tarot, if that is your wish; and understand the connection between Lenormand imagery and the suits and figures of regular playing cards. Readers with classic clairvoyance training should take to Lenormand quite easily, as the images--The Heart, The Ring, The Bouquet and others--have a similar function to those conjured by the inner eye in clairvoyance. It is as if those psychic visions, which bring messages, have been captured and preserved on card stock.
As for me, I have fallen in love, and I now await delivery of a Lenormand deck of my very own--the Mystical Lenormand.
Thank you, Rana George!
Learn more about The Essential Lenormand here.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa, hummingwitch