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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: The Essential Lenormand


The Essential Lenormand
Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling
Trade Paperback | 9780738736624
408 pages | 8 x 9 x 1 IN

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Rana George
My interest in the Lenormand deck has grown over the past year or so, leading me to acquire several decks and books on the subject. The Essential Lenormand by Rana George is thorough, detailed, and jam-packed with fascinating and useful information. It’s exactly what I would expect from a woman who started working with the Lenormand deck when she was ten years old and continued through college, marriage, and children. Rana George leaves no card unturned, no nuance unnoticed, no aspect of the Lenormand unexplored. The tone of the writing is personal, and the reader is continually aware of what these cards have meant to George throughout her life. This combination of highly organized information and inspiring anecdotes feeds the mind, heart, and spirit in wonderful ways. Here we have both an exceptional reference book and a series of engaging narratives to be read and absorbed.

I found the section of the book covering Nuance Cards especially interesting. Rana George groups the cards into four different categories: action, portrait, mood, and time. Certain cards fall into more than one category. Using nuance cards works best with small spreads, adding power and subtlety to readings. I am also intrigued by her ideas on “charting” a pair of cards using columns with the following headings: A Person, Place, or Thing; Action; Description; Other. After filling in the columns, you combine what you have written for each card to get a sense of the many different interpretations that can be applied to those two cards.

If you want to immerse yourself in every angle and aspect of the Lenormand, you can’t go wrong with this book.


"Lenormand is a 36-card deck with simple, straightforward illustrations that provide direct answers for the reader. For over 150 years, the Lenormand deck has been a popular divination tool around the world, and it’s rapidly becoming a phenomenon in the US. Providing step-by-step instructions and a guide to individual card meanings, leading expert Rana George shows how to use the Lenormand for predictions on any topic: relationships, work, finances, family, and more. From simple inquiries to critical dilemmas, the Lenormand provides a glimpse of the future when you need it most. The Essential Lenormand includes traditional reading methods, Rana George’s personal techniques, tips for working with multiple spreads, and ways to use the Lenormand with the tarot. Use the Lenormand to unlock the secrets of your destiny, and reveal the knowledge hidden within."


Rana George (The Woodlands, TX) comes from a long lineage of well-known psychics, seers, and mystics. She has used her inherent abilities to study Lenormand for the past three decades. George leads regular workshops and study groups, and she was a main presenter at TaroCon 2012. She has also consulted on the design of several Lenormand decks and published several articles on cartomancy.


“Every card resembles a word. String those cards together with other cards and it becomes a sentence. That sentence turns into a story with every additional card added.”

“In Lenormand, the position of the cards is very important. They are linear; the last card is the final say.”

“At the beginning of your Lenormand Journey, consistency must be your watchword. As you take the first steps, start with a set of meanings and stick to them, making them your foundation and base.”

“Questions dealing with time, as in ‘when,’ are a little tricky. Time is elusive; we influence time frames with our actions. The cards’ time is different from our material time; in one sense, we are trying to access wisdom that doesn’t adhere to our linear, human time. What the cards will do is give us the sequence of events that can help us determine an estimation of time once we can determine the context.”


This 408-page quality trade paperback book measures 8 by 9 by 1 inches. The cover illustration by Ginger Kelly Studio combines rich jewel tones with an overall “dark” quality that suits the subject matter perfectly. The central image – a burnished gold key – is repeated in dark gray throughout the book.

Black text and grayscale images are printed on white stock. Book design (by Rebecca Zins) is clean, clear, and reader-friendly, with excellent use of gray sidebars in Part II (A Closer Look at the Thirty-Six Cards). The title font is suitably distinctive and “artsy,” paired with an easy-to-read serif font for the text.

Illustrations are from the Lenormand Oracle card deck published by Lo Scarabeo. Contents as follows:

Divining and Symbols
What Is Lenormand?
The Benefits of Reading Lenormand
How This Book Is Organized

Part I: Beginning with Lenormand
  • Finding Your Deck
  • First Things First
  • Questions Lead to Answers
  • Stick with Your System
  • Journal Your Cards
  • Exercise Your Deck
  • Using a Significator or a Focus Card
  • My Story with Lenormand

Part II: A Closer Look at the Thirty-Six Cards
For each card we are given:
  • Card number, name, and image
  • Playing Card Association
  • Detailed description/interpretation of the card
  • Contextual Meanings (Future; Nuance; Woman or Man; Work; Love; Health, Body, and Spirit; Money; Time or Timing; Advice or Action; Orientation; Objects and Areas)
  • A Personal Story about This Card
  • Traditional Meanings in the Grand Tableau
  • Some Combinations and Examples/Sample Readings

Part III: Reading Techniques and Spreads
  • Combination Drills
  • The Answer Line
  • The Box Spread
  • The Decision Spread
  • The Astrological Spread
  • The Pyramid Spread
  • The Cross Spread
  • Changing a Fortune
  • The Grand Tableau

Appendix A: Who Was Mademoiselle Lenormand? A Chronology
Appendix B: Focus Cards
Appendix C: Quick Interpretation Guide
Appendix D: Positive, Negative, and Neutral Cards
Appendix E: The Houses and Their Attributes
Appendix F: Court Cards
Appendix G: Lenormand and Tarot

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


  1. Great review. Perhaps this book will provide me with a more structured approach to this system. I have been dabbling around with the Lenormand and have developed an of and on relationship¨with these cards. I was wondering which cards are her working cards. In other words which tradition does she follow. I am following the Dutch tradition which reads Moon as social success and carreer

    1. Thanks, Ellen! Rana George writes: "I lean toward the French/Belgian/Dutch set of meanings."

  2. Great review, thanks for sharing! Will probably have to get this book now... and a bigger flat. Argghhhhhh :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I know what you mean about needing a bigger flat... LOL!

  3. I've got this book, but not yet had time to dip into it. I've listened to a number of Rana's podcasts, and always found what she had to say interesting, though I tend to the German interpretations. This review certainly piques my interest, now to make the time...


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~ Zanna