The Lenormand “method” is a lean one. You’re working with something that calls a spade a spade. Directive, specific, and helpful. So when a book comes out introducing and explaining that same method, at an impressive 300 + pages, you can be pretty sure it is going to go one of two ways: either it’s by someone who knows the method inside out, or it’s going to a lame and pretentious tome of incongruities and drivel.
Fortunately, Rana George’s The Essential Lenormand is most definitely the former.
Rana’s book is divided into three parts: Part 1 – Beginning with Lenormand; Part 2 – A Closer Look at the Thirty-Six Cards, and, Part 3 – Reading Techniques with Spreads.
“Beginning with Lenormand” sets the basics down. Rana goes through the importance of consistency and the need for direct questioning, as well as touching on the minor variations that exist within the Lenormand method which have woefully been dubbed ‘schools’ in the past and built up into a life of their own. I smiled, happily, to see Rana encourage her readers to “predict, predict, predict” – such a vital exercise for anyone to learn how this deck talks and to listen and learn from both mistakes and successes.
Within the “A Closer Look at the Thirty-Six Cards” section, Rana works through each of the petit-Lenormand deck’s symbols at some impressive length. For each symbol you learn its main meaning along with some illustrations done under headers such as “time” and “future” and for describing someone.
At the end of this, Rana concludes with an anecdotal reading, further emphasising how the card can be read, as well as giving reference to the traditional and what is the real Lenormand method, distance. Due to Rana’s progression and personal use distance is not covered in-depth but it’s wonderful to see it here.
The meanings given here are traditional within the ‘Philippe Lenormand’ sheet’s tradition. I could recognise and understand where Rana was coming from, at all times, even if I did not always agree i.e. here the Whips has ‘a sexual energy’ and the Fox is connected to employment. Minor differences which occur at all times, from reader to reader. Nevertheless these are always explained and subsidised with Rana’s own experience and background so that someone who works differently is not isolated or ‘corrected’. Thus I think this is perfectly understandable and should be expected of any author.
Finally, within Rana’s “Reading Techniques with Spreads” we are guided through several spreads, including a Sun-Sign based astrology reading, and the Grand Tableau which gives you a method of working through all 36-cards and a useful “Combination Drills” section. For a neophyte Rana does provide enough here to get you going and more, and enough information for someone struggling to come back, re-gather, and try-again.
Only Caitlín Matthews has managed to provide the masterly tone and non-intimating clarity Rana George achieves here. The meanings given are traditional, rooted within those same meanings used for over one-hundred years, but also influenced by Rana’s own unique experience. With the latter, this is delivered by way of context, derived from experience arising out of tradition, rather than absolutism or ‘revolutionising’ as other authors have fallen foul of whereby anything other than their “take” is left out and wrong.
One cannot review this book and not mention Rana’s own story which is touched by Civil War, harrowing circumstances, and finally a new beginning. What this underpins is not only a spirit full of hope but the practical uses and unique advantage of this oracle in day to day life. Whilst you will be horrified, and then inspired, you will be left in no doubt why people cherish this deck so much.
A wonderful book and one that I recommend.