Below is a non-exhaustive list of the 36 cards’ basic meaning. The cards are an abbreviated language like shorthand, so when they come together the spell something out based on their distance from each other and what they fall with. That’s what “traditional” Lenormand is: it’s not the deck, or the meanings, but a method of reading these thirty-six playing cards.
If you’re looking for books, check out Caitlín Matthews “The Enchanted Lenormand” or Erna Droesbeke’s “The Oracle of Mlle. Lenormand” (available in Dutch, German and French – it was the first Lenormand book in English, coming out in 1989, and you can sometimes pick it up on eBay, Abebooks).
I authored the first comprehensive English course, which is set to re-start soon on via the Traditional Lenormand Guild, as well as a book, Lenormand – Thirty Six Cards, and Iris Treppner offers a well-respected course here. The German reader Malkiel Dietrich has authored many youtube tutorials, too.
The Lenormand Resources Menu on the far right contains links to places that are amazing and comprehensive. You may also find the following Q&A I did on Lenormand helpful. Enjoy.
No. 1 the Cavalier – 9 of Hearts
The Cavalier denotes news arriving; and the closer he falls to your card, the closer news’ origin. Look for the cards touching the Cavalier for details on what the news can be.
In general, the Cavalier can denote a visitor or hearing something off another person rather than a telephone call or a letter. This card, especially with the Heart or Lilies, is a strong sign of a new love affair and a male lover. Thus this is also the partner card for gay clients. Alone he’s a man, normally young and athletic.
The Cavalier also represents personal transport, from your car to a bicycle, as well as also representing horses.
Keywords: news; a man, lover; personal vehicles; horses.
No. 2 the Cloverleaf – 6 of Diamonds/Bells
Close-by, and free of the Clouds, the Cloverleaf promises a spell of happiness and good-luck. If the Cloverleaf is by the Clouds it shows loneliness and bad luck.
Alone, the Cloverleaf is more likely to bring short-runs of good-luck and simple pleasures. With the Sun, however, this can be longer lasting and bring greater rewards. The Cloverleaf also stands for small amounts of money, what you would carry around with you or keep in that money-box for a rainy-day.
Keywords: good-luck or a charmed run; happy news; money-box/wallet.
No. 3 the Ship – 10 of Spades/Leaves.
The Ship brings an opportunity for to make money, normally through business involving trade. However, if it’s also with the Scythe, or the Mice, these can be sudden losses. Close by, there are good tidings coming and something longed for is granted, as well as the possibility of travel (across water, two or three States).
Most of the time the card indicates travel – far travel, however (it can be a real ship, but also a plane or train). This card, in descriptions, would indicate someone born in a different country to you, and with an “exotic” appearance. It’s a very good business card, especially for expansion but also can, at times, bring an inheritance or gift of money.
Keywords: travel abroad; longing; trade.
No. 4 the House – King of Hearts
In a Grand Tableau, if the House is in the centre of the formation it indicates a need to be extra vigilant in dealings with the people you live with, neighbours or both. This is especially so when your card is above it, as you could find yourself in sticky ground. It’s better far away, and free of the Clouds, as it indicates your affairs will go well and difficulties can be overcome and wealth through your estate or businesses.
The House stands for your home, but not necessarily your family if you don’t share a roof and any property you own or pay rent on. For this reason, it can be a dormitory or Students’ Halls. As the King of Hearts this card can show a man, normally older or the same age as you and describes a home-body.
Keywords: home and home life; the people you live with; property and real estate; home working
No. 5 the Tree – 7 of Hearts
The Tree is the main health-card. When the Tree falls far away from your card, and is not by the Clouds or Coffin, it promises good-health and recovery. However, close to your card, your health will be flagged up, so take care of it – look to see if the House, Park, Roads, and the Sun are nearby, as these promises a recovery and diminish the Tree’s negativity.
Another meaning of the Tree is boredom, apathy and inertia, which can be felt quite strongly when it’s directly above your card (albeit, again, this is often due to ill health) or between your card and your partner’s card. The latter tends to be two partners who are bored and outgrown each other – as the Tree is a slow “time” card.
Describing a person, it normally denotes someone of colour however with the Dog it could be a doctor or healer.
Keywords: health; chronic or progressive ailments; inertia.
No. 6 the Clouds – King of Clubs/Acorns
The Clouds represents misfortune, difficulties and confusion. The closer the card is to yours, the more severe and long-lasting. Traditionally, the Clouds to the left of your card is more favourable (but by no means lucky).
Any cards around the Clouds diminish or suffer.
In addition to the above, the Clouds represent all bad weather – from storms, to blizzards and even heat-waves. As a person, the Clouds is normally a man, who is not very pleasant and can have black to grey hair. When with the Snake it’s a couple.
Keywords: confusion; misfortunes; bad weather.
No. 7 the Snake – Queen of Clubs/Over Knave of Acorns
This card needs attention: traditionally, the closer it is to your card the more severe it is. The Snake heralds complications, wrangling, and with very bad cards, treachery and backstabbing – which are often but not always emotionally charged, and relationship based. Far away, and not with bad cards, it’s normally just a cautionary card telling you to be on your guard and tread carefully.
As the Queen of Clubs, the Snake stands for a woman whom you might not like but can be useful and helpful advisor. The Snake is the partner card for a gay woman.
If you see Snake + Fox it represents a woman who is honest but aloof and unfriendly, however, Fox + Snake is a backstabber and you need to exercise caution. Descriptively, the Snake often shows poor eyesight and glasses. The Snake can also stand for twisting roads, lanes, alleys, as well as canals, quicksand and dangerous bodies of water.
Keywords: difficulties, deceit; complications; twists and turns.
No. 8 the Coffin – 9 of Diamonds/Bells.
The Coffin, when it falls close to your card, is a warning of sickness but also financial losses, which can affect your home, family, and your work and be hard to recover from. Alone, it’s not a sign of death, but sicknesses that tend to be chronic, draining and debilitating. Far away, the Coffin brings setbacks and endings to whatever it touches which feel more inevitable and less severe although that doesn’t make them any less upsetting.
Whatever precedes the Coffin is being brought to an end, as is often emphasised by the pall in some decks. Seeing this card with the House, does, very often, indicate a problem with your property itself or an expensive repair that costs you all your savings/forces you to move. When the Coffin falls immediately after a person card, in descriptions, it indicates musical talent and artistry.
Keywords: endings; sickness; losses (financial and emotional, normally); boxes, underground.
No. 9 the Bouquet – Queen of Spades/Over Knave of Leaves.
The Bouquet brings you happiness, good tidings, and friendships made better the closer it falls to your card and the further away it is from the Clouds, Coffin and Fox. When it’s far away from you, or with bad cards, the meaning remains the same but the effect is diminished: people will care, but unable to help, et cetera.
Another meaning of this card is gifts and presents, and with the Ring it can denote an offer – engagement, or sometimes a venture with a friend. The card also stands for flowers of all types – including lilies (card 30 never represents real flowers), but is also the card of insects!
As a person the Queen of Spades is often a female you’re friendly with, but not necessarily romantically. It also describes good-manners – so brush up on yours.
Keywords: happiness; good times; flowers; gifts.
No. 10 the Scythe – Knave of Diamonds/Under Knave of Bells
This card stands for warnings and for danger. When it’s close to you, you need to be on your guard, and look and see how many benefic cards surround it – they can reduce the severity, to a degree, or offer you aid. Far away it is still bad but the danger is normally directed elsewhere.
The other meaning of the Scythe is aggression and celerity: normally the card it precedes it takes on an antagonistic or sudden quality, especially a person card (adds qualities of rashness and threatening traits), whereas the card that follows it represents danger. You can note which way the tip of the blade points for the severity. It also stands for sharps – knives, glass, needles – and criminality, in terms of attacks, violence.
Keywords: danger; speed; cutting, sharps; criminality.
No. 11 the Rod (or Whips) – Knave of Clubs/Under Knave of Acorns
When the Rod is close to your card it brings antagonising and disruptive qualities to your relationships – you could quarrel with your spouse, children, and friends. Normally the closer the Rod is the more serious topics and its lasting effect. When further away, it tends to be a sign of idle chit-chat, as well as a need to pay close attention to documentation to save trouble. If the Rod is close to the Tree or High Tower guard your health. If it follows the House, normally people can be gossiping about your personal life.
Another meaning of the Rod is documentation: the Rod stands for signatures and writing, so watch what you are signing off. As a person, they are normally very chatty – sometimes overly, or indiscreet. It’s also one of the cards that mean a “two” – with this card it’s a repetition, you have to do something more than once.
Alone the card has nothing to do with sexuality, however Lilies + Rod can be BDSM or fetishes.
Keywords: conversations, frequently strife and arguments; writing; repetition.
No. 12 the Owls (also called Birds) – 7 of Diamonds/Bells
This card predicts sorrow (which is normally stresses these days) when it is close to your card, that are unavoidable, but do not last more than a month or two as long as it is not with bad cards. When the card is far away from you it often indicates making a short-trip.
Owls is also the pregnancy card and Child + Owls is a pregnancy, or hearing someone is pregnant. Another meaning the Owls is telephone calls, which on day-to-day level, is the card’s most common meaning. It’s also another “two” cards and with the Cloverleaf or Sun is double luck, but can be a couple (often older i.e. aunt and uncle).
Keywords: worries; trips; a pregnancy; two.
No. 13 the Child – Knave of Spades/Under Knave of Leaves
The Child has two meanings: firstly, it is your children, whether it is close or far. However, it also stands for support and the esteem you are held in by those around you – which are stronger, and better, the closer it is to your card and the further it is from the Clouds and cards of dishonesty and negativity (Fox, Snake, Scythe).
As the Child’s image suggests, it can be an actual child or indicate someone is youthful or, often, naïve. Physically it adds a feminine, doll-like appearance or shortness. It also indicates the value of something “little” – which with the Fish or Bear can be that you have little money, not just the receipt of a little money. Followed by the Owls it denotes a future pregnancy.
Keywords: child(ren); support, kindness; little.
No. 14 the Fox – 9 of Clubs/Acorns
This one of the unpleasant cards, and basically represents things that are “wrong”. The closer it is to you the stronger its influence; beware false friends, intrigues and people who will seek to use and abuse you. When it’s far away, some of your concerns about people’s conduct are less likely to prove true; nevertheless, cards that touch the Fox normally show areas that have need for some caution, especially near bad cards.
The Fox represents foxes but also all cats. When it precedes a person card, it normally casts doubt on their honesty; when it follows, however, the person is more likely just secretive and have a strong survival instinct which makes them look after number one. Very occasionally it can show a work ethic, but not specifically one’s work.
Physically it indicates red hair, sharp angular features.
Keywords: wrong; manipulation; cats; instinct and stealth.
No. 15 the Bear – 10 of Clubs/Acorns
The Bear brings you good fortune but it also promises envy and fickle friendships, made worse by it being (or your card) by bad cards.
One of the main meanings of the Bear is money, hence good fortune, but this is normally your savings or disposable income, which should be healthy when good cards accompany it.
Another common meaning is that of a woman in your life: normally, a mother-figure. It can denote a man, normally only when falling after a male card, in which case it simply describes them as being tough, statuesque and often having facial hair.
Keywords: personal finances; strength; matriarch; influence.
No. 16 the Stars – 6 of Hearts
One of the luckiest cards in the pack, the Stars promises successful ventures, and a run of good luck, the greater the closer it is to your card. The cards touching the Stars will show where the luck comes from (Fish, money, Heart, love et cetera). However, if it is close to the Clouds or other bad cards, it brings bad tidings and a unlucky happenings.
Other meanings of the Stars includes astrology and cartomancy (Letter + Stars = cards), but also science and technology –so don’t get carried away, falling after a person card can just show a sci-fi fan or scientist as much as a psychic. The card also represents night and the north.
Keywords: successful ventures; sciences, astrology, fortune-telling; night and north.
No. 17 the Storks – Queen of Hearts/Over Knave of Hearts
Storks bring some form of change when it’s close to your card; what change will be described by the cards it is with, as it’s not always a house move. Far away, or near the Clouds, it is traditionally held to instigate postponement of changes but I’ve found that they can occur: just badly, or bringing disappointment.
This card also brings honours, especially when it’s above your card or a “theme” card i.e. above a work card, a promotion. When with the Child it can herald a birth, but not one you don’t already know about.
The Queen of Hearts can represent a woman around the same age as the reader. When the Storks describe someone, they tend to be tall, willowy, but can also be “travellers” professionally or, with bad cards, a ne’er-do-well/jack of all trades.
Keywords: change, movement; honours; promotion.
No. 18 the Dog – 10 of Hearts
When the Dog is close to your card it indicates fidelity and good-friends, especially if the Mountain is far away, and as long as no bad cards are around. Far away, it does often show that people close-by are not the great support network you might expect, but also that friends or loved-ones might have a run of bad luck.
The Dog is also a card that represents a man, as well as your dog! As a person it’s normally someone you will know, and can be a care-giver such as a nurse, therapist, and doctor.
Keywords: friends, retainers; a man; dog.
No. 19 the High Tower – 6 of Spades/Leaves
The High Tower stands for long life and old age. When it is by the Tree, Clouds Coffin or Rod you must watch your health.
Due to its association with age, when it is close to your card or the Heart show loneliness and seperation. If it falls between two person cards, the partner on the left often exhibits selfish or aloof tendencies which can herald a separation. As a person card it’s your father, grandfather, uncle but if to the right of a person card can be a divorcee or a widow(er).
Sometimes the High Tower can be a literal place: from a tower block to a government office, or place of heritage.
Keywords: time; loneliness; influential and powerful structures; father, grandfather
No. 20 the Park (or Garden) – 8 of Spades/Spades
Close-by, the Park indicates a run of happiness and good-health if you’ve been sick. You’ll normally find your dealings with people go well; you meet new people, go to parties. However, if far away, or accompanied by bad cards, you find that you are isolated, lonely, or you’re let down.
The Park is a card of “many” or the public (Letter + Park = public notice) and if it follows a person card you’ve normally got someone who is the pack leader as opposed to the belle-of-the-ball (when it falls before a person card). It’s also public places – from woods, parks, and the theatre – to country houses (House + Park).
Keywords: society; open spaces; many.
No. 21 the Mountain – 8 of Clubs/Acorns
When the Mountain is close-by it promises difficulties, obstacles, but also the presence of people who are unhelpful to even dangerous – the cards surrounding the Mountain can normally shed light. When it’s far away, you can normally find you have someone to rely on, retainers, or who will help you in times of crises.
The Mountain is an obstacle which, alone, is not insurmountable but will require effort. It also stands for borders: and as such, can indicate someone from the “next” town, state or a country across your border (i.e. England-Wales, France-Spain). As the card can indicate an enemy, you’ll need to read carefully the cards around it before judging this person.
Keywords: obstacles, delay; enemy; another country, borders, mountains or difficult terrains.
No. 22 the Roads – Queen of Diamonds/Over Knave of Bells
When the Roads are close-by, a problem will soon appear; often requiring a risk or choice. If the Roads are by the Clouds they become very malefic and show a crisis.
The Roads in general represent choices, but can also stand for roads, commutes and journeys. It’s the last “two” card but these normally represent alternatives or double-roles – but with the Lilies can be two sexual partners.
Keywords: choices, deliberations; roads; multiples.
No. 23 the Mice – 7 of Clubs/Acorns
The Mice stand for losses, which are normally tangible which then bring anxiety and upset, but can be a warning of theft. The closer the Mice is to your card the better chance you have of retrieving them but the closer it is to malefic cards, the greater the initial loss and the more you feel it.
Look to the card before the Mice for what will be taken and what follows is will be what you lose by virtue of the loss.
Keywords: losses, theft; wrenching; anxiety.
No. 24 the Heart – Knave of Hearts/Under Knave of Hearts
When close and free of bad cards, the Heart promises happiness, joy, and of course the feeling of love. If the Ring is to the right of your card, and close by, it’s a good sign of a new relationship if you’re single. When far away, or if with malefic cards, there can be some up-sets of a short nature but otherwise it tends to show some happiness.
Whilst the card is the “love” card, look closely to what it is with for the nature of that love: it can be someone who loves money or their job. Describing a person if falling before the person card they’re normally bubbly, happy, and if coming after someone you care for.
Keywords: love and affection; happiness; care for someone.
No. 25 the Ring – Ace of Clubs/2 of Acorns
Firstly, you need to look and see whether the Ring is to the right or left of your card. On the left, it indicates a break in a relationship or contract and the further away the more definite it is. However, look and see where the Heart or the Anchor is to see if this can be overcome. To the right, and free of negative cards, it brings contracts and relationships the more beneficial the closer it is to you.
Otherwise, the Ring stands for binds: be it a marriage, mortgage to a job contract. Can also describe a person you’re tied to, positively or negatively.
Keywords: commitment; marriage; contracts and bindings; repeating cycles
No. 26 the Book – 10 of Diamonds/Bells
The Book represents something as yet unknown, which isn’t always going to some juicy scandal, and quite often is just something you have not taken into consideration. The closer it falls to your card is normally indicative of how bothersome, or uncomfortable, the revelation will be – made more severe by its proximity to negative cards. When it falls far away, it often heralds a surprise that is unexpected but not necessarily upsetting.
When the Book falls before the Scythe it often means something will remain secret, or you’re kept in the dark, to your detriment. As well as secrets the book stands for education and actually books which have been published (so it includes electronic books). Falling after a person card it indicates someone “intelligent” or “educated” and when before, someone you don’t yet know.
Keywords: secrets, the unknown; education; books.
No. 27 the Letter – 7 of Spades/Leaves
Wherever the Letter falls it indicates the arrival of news or an answer which can be described by the cards it is touching. If your card or the Letter is very close to the Clouds, Scythe, Fox or Cross the news is often unpleasant or affects you negatively.
The Letter stands for paper and card (hence why Letter + Stars can be cartomancy) but also newspapers, facsimiles, e-mail et cetera. Unlike the Cavalier the news it brings will rarely be by person. When it falls before a person card it is indicative superficiality; also, Letter + Lilies can be a no-strings sex.
Keywords: news; paper, card, newspapers, documents; superficiality, frivolity.
No. 28 the Gentleman – Ace of Hearts/2 of Hearts
The Gentleman stands for you if you’re male, or the most important man in your life which is often, but not always, your husband, fiancé, boyfriend et cetera.
No. 29 the Lady – Ace of Spades/2 of Leaves
The Lady stands for you if you’re female, or the most important woman in your life which is often, but not always, your wife, fiancée, girlfriend et cetera.
No. 30 the Lilies – King of Spades/Leaves
The Lilies stands for a happy, content and prosperous family-life, as well as protection, as long as it’s free of bad cards. Above a person card it shows virtue and happiness whereas below it is unhappiness. It’s worth noting the Lilies’ position (above and below) important individuals’ cards, too.
As the Lilies stand for the family, by that virtue, also stand for procreation and one’s sexual life. But most of the time it will just be happiness and family. In terms of protection, which again derives from the family-aspect, it can in certain occasions indicate social care and health, or agencies that help the vulnerable.
Keywords: family; sex and sexuality; happiness, protection.
No. 31 the Sun – Ace of Diamond/2 of Bells
Ideally, the Sun should fall close to your card. Then it symbolises good and lasting luck and successful outcomes, however, if the dark side of the Clouds are to you beware of pushing your luck. Close to malefic cards, or far from your card, it promises disappointment and a stretch of bad luck.
The Sun is the big-luck and success card, and like the Cloverleaf, before the Owls stands for double the luck. However, it’s also the card of electricity and fire – Sun + Scythe can be computers, but if you see Scythe + Sun it normally indicates danger through fire or electricity. As a person it can be someone with a tanned, healthy, buoyant – or the come from the South!
Keywords: success; good-luck; electricity, fire; south.
No. 32 the Moon – 8 of Hearts
When the Moon is far away from your card it brings a sense of dissatisfaction and abandonment: there is a lack of recognition of your skills, you’re passed over at work, and you dislike how your life has gone and your ambitions are forfeit. Close to you, however, your life takes an upward turn: you’re appreciated, you feel valued, and your career progresses.
Predominantly, the Moon talks about your job and working life – if you’re job-hunting it’ll show the success of your applications and interviews, and if you’re settled in a role, how you’re progressing and if something good (or bad with malefic cards) is around the corner at work. It will also show your reputation in general.
Keywords: work, and working life; recognition; ambition.
Health: The female genitalia, breasts and reproductive system.
No. 33 the Key – 8 of Diamonds/Bells
If the Key falls far away from you it promises setbacks, challenges, negative answers from superiors or to a petition (can be anything from a house extension to a legal claim), and if the Clouds are near your card, outright failure. Close to you however it indicates your endeavours should run smoothly, and your ambitions realised.
Keywords: certainties; yes; assurance.
No. 34 the Fish – King of Diamonds/Bells
The Fish bring you opportunities, which are primarily financial, and the closer they are to your card the greater the dividend. Whilst with the Stars this can be a cash windfall in most cases there will be a chance to earn this money through work or business. Far away, or with bad cards, the Fish brings lean times and also losses of financial nature.
Keywords: prosperity, business; income; deep water, marine life.
No. 35 the Anchor – 9 of Spades/Leaves
The Anchor’s potency is related to its proximity to your card so look carefully at the cards around it. Unless it’s with good cards, it’s best far away, as at least you will be able to hope for better times. Good cards, you can expect a strong love life, security, and good-dealings.
Unlike the Moon the Anchor’s role in work tends to be indicative of your job’s security, and your overall professional hopes: what you’re building for you. I recommend always looking at both the Moon and Anchor for work issues, and sometimes the Ship (your opportunties to make money).
Keywords: security; strong-relationships; hope.
Health: The hips and pelvis. Also describes the best that can be hoped for in treatment.
No. 36 the Cross -6 of Clubs/Clubs
The Cross brings pains and tribulation through the cards it is with. If the Cross is close to your card, whilst the upset will be felt keenly, it will be of a short nature and normally is either occurring at the time of the reading or will begin shortly thereafter. The overall feeling is burdensome, but also “fated” like a test.
Whatever falls directly before the Cross will always cease or become less important, whereas the card after begins of greater importance. As such the Cross is a bit like a full stop. It’s the card of religious faith – be it Judaism, Catholicism, or Wicca – and describing a person can be someone very religious, if a High Priest(ess). If the Cross falls before a person card, it can at times, indicate that person re-appears in your life after a long time apart.
Keywords: pain, testing times; religion; full-stop.
Text © Andy Boroveshengra, 2011-2014. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or transcribed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying, screen capture, or recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author.