What is Lenormand, how is it different to Tarot?

Another form of cartomancy, Lenormand has been growing in popularity in recent years alongside Tarot and Oracle cards. Lenormand cards tend to talk about a different aspect of your life than Tarot, and though as they are both forms of cartomancy and are therefore similar, there are some stark differences between a Lenormand reading and a Tarot card reading. Let’s explore these differences and similarities to see if a Lenormand deck is right for you.

Only 36 cards

For starters, there are only 36 cards in a Lenormand deck, less than half of a Tarot deck, and even fewer than a regular playing card deck. While initially this may lead the reader to suspect these cards are very general, that isn’t the case at all. Lenormand cards deal with very practical matters instead of general meanings that a Tarot deck would supply. While Tarot is up to interpretation, Lenormand will deal with something specific; “Home, Accidents, Sex, Truth” etc. This can be a good thing; Tarot-Explained was set up because I felt Tarot was very vague and wanted to have a repository of card meanings which were generally considered to be correct. This wouldn’t need to happen with a Lenormand deck as the meanings are already very concise and decided upon.

Illustration doesn’t matter

Usually, the images on a tarot deck will have some influence on their meaning, or at least reflect it to give the reader a clearer picture of the reading. This isn’t the case with Lenormand, where the cards can be bland, have no illustration or just be text, and have the same meaning.

Combinations matter

Lenormand cards are generally designed to be read in combination, not alone. Each card can be a ‘modifier’ for another. You may have a subject card, and then an action card, and then a reason card. For example a subject (Draw card) may perform this action (Draw card) for this reason (Draw card). There are a number of set in stone spreads like this for Lenormand.

No reversals

As the card meanings for Lenormand are set in stone and are so reliant on each other, there is no need to read reversals.

There is still intuition

Like Tarot, however, Lenormand can rely on the readers intuition. While it’s likely that two readers, having drawn the same cards in the same spread will come up with the same result, there is still some room for interpretation.