These days I’m being bombed with questions from Lenormand students as to what I think of the far and near method in reading a grand tableau (5 this week have posed that question directly to my email). It’s nice to see that people take an interest and that some think I can offer an input that may counter what others insist on. Let me sum up here the gist of what I told everybody.
First off, let me just say that I distinguish very clearly between method and common sense. To me method is this: asking people to follow certain steps, look at corners first, then intersecting lines, do a mirror here and there, look at knighting positions, and so on. Method is all that which someone invents for the sake of simplicity, complexity, entertainment, or something else.
Common sense, on the other hand, is all that which we can all agree on without a method. So, to answer the question: in my humble opinion, the question of far and near pertains to common sense, NOT method.
Whether the cards change meaning or not, all according to their position in relation to the significator card, means nothing, if the cards will not relate specifically to the question.
So, saying that something stolen will not be retrieved if the mice are far from the significator means diddly squat if it contradicts the overall message that we get from the other cards on the table.
One can, of course, say that when some cards are far from the significator they would have less of an impact, but only if one is looking for such information. My point is that passing judgment on the significance of distance in a reading should never come in unmotivatedly, or simply because someone decided ‘it’s method.’
What I say is this: if it is helpful to say that because the coffin is far from the significator what we are looking at is good news, then say it. If not, then don’t say it.
In terms of the Lenormand deck having invented the ‘far and near’ approach. Right. Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of astrology knows where this idea comes from, and that it goes all the way back to the Chaldean astronomers who calculated the significance of planetary alignments according to essential dignities and speed of the planets. Far and near, anyone? Well, plenty common sense again.
To illustrate just how serious others have thought of this far/near question in terms of its belonging to the category of method, here’s a short reading of a grand tableau with a rare fortunetelling deck in my possession from the 20s, a Lenormand variant.
What I like about this deck is its take on distance as depicted on the cards in the form of a short narrative. But not all cards have such indications. And why not, one may ask, if this is such an important part of the old traditional Lenormand lore?
Here I would venture to say that it’s simply because the deck follows that part of tradition that says: use your common sense. When it’s called for observations of the far and near kind, then say it, if not, don’t force it through.
Here is my question, to stick to my own tradition of always insisting on one:
To what extent is it useful to upgrade common sense to method?
The significator card in this deck is nr. 18, the Woman (note that the significators here don’t have a playing-card inset). For common sense I picked the heart.
The first card in the tableau, the Snake discloses what’s at stake. I’m forewarned. Snake mirrors Woman. Woman mirrors Shepard. Nice. Follow the tradition of the simple folk. Leave common sense to nature. And be forewarned if common sense must pass through the Tower. Tower mirrors Snake. A nice wrap.
I don’t even need to bother reading further. I don’t even need to bother looking at the heart. But if I do, I realize that it’s far from me. Hmm, I wonder what this means.
According to others insisting on the far and near aspect as part of method, the fact that the Heart is far from the Woman can’t be good. Oh, wow, I wonder if I should get distressed now. And how will this enter in the other, rather neat, relation of the corner cards? Oh, I’m getting confused now.
It’s true what others say: To learn the Lenormand system you need to have studied for some 10000 hours. This is truly complicated. I need a teacher. – Right.
I have to say that I’m confronted with such lamentations and expressions of inadequacy quite often. I don’t see the need for any confusion.
Reading cards is not difficult if you apply to whatever system of divination common sense. The idea is not to learn a method so that you can forget all about common sense. Being merely sophisticated is not interesting if you can’t reason.
I liked my tableau today and the weird cards I’ve got. It certainly tells me that upgrading common sense to method is deadly and it goes nowhere. The Skull below the Woman in the top corner going nowhere can be taken quite literally.
Keeping common sense close to the heart means keeping it free of imposed rules that have little to do with the pleasure of reading cards. The Woman intersects with the Heart in the Child, which suggests that one should not be preoccupied with institutionalized conventions.
In many of my posts I advice readers of cards to not forget to dance with the cards. Rigidity only creates monsters.
Who wants to hear a mechanical, standard reading?
The last four cards in the tableau are quite telling in this connection: leave the many roads behind (Finger-post) and follow the sign: you are going dancing (Dancing) with the cunning (Fox) and the strong (Lion).
Dance, dance, dance, far, far away, near my heart.
Note on the deck: Valmor Fortunetelling Cards, United Novelty, MFG. Company, Chicago, 1920.
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