The most misinterpreted card in the Lenormand deck is the Lily Card. Such a simple symbol yet one that confuses many readers. I always maintain that keeping Lenormand simple is your best bet to a clear predictive read and I have seen the meanings or interpretation of Lily range from peace and kindness through to sexuality or domesticity – so which is it or does it encompass all?
Let’s do our background checks as usual:
The Game of Hope ca. 1799 does not have a listing for the Lily Card in its auspicious versus inauspicious list, therefore suggesting it is a neutral card.
Lenormand Instructions ca. 1850
30 Lily, announces a happy life, surrounded by clouds however, it indicates discord in the domestic circle. If this card is located above the person, it designates virtue, below, we should ascertain if it is vain showiness, deception or hypocrisy.
If we understand that the fundamental principles in this card is satisfaction (how happy you are in your life) then we can understand the virtue side order. Lily located above a person shows they are satisfied with their lives and therefore have no need to be showy, vain or deceptive (the satisfaction rains down on their read). Lily below a person card shows somebody who is not satisfied with their lot and therefore needs to be a pain (the satisfaction leaving their person).
So, what if no Person Card is nearby and you are looking at a small read?
Naturally I cannot answer every eventuality and each nuance of question will determine the nuance of answer, but a rule of thumb is the Lily cards shows satisfaction within your personal life. If no clouds card is to be seen then we have a super satisfying situation (if you think of cards showing a situation that also helps in understanding!), the Lily thus bringing satisfaction into the read.
Now, as Lenormand is a language and a system we have other cards in the mix to analyse in order to understand what the Lily is telling us. Moon + Lily therefore shows satisfaction in our recognition – what does this mean? Means we feel good that someone notices us – whether in the workplace or at home…. Other cards around will give details. Garden + Lily shows “open satisfaction” or “social happiness” – we wouldn’t leave it like that obviously as we are only talking keywords but you get the idea of the mixing.
A sense of “everything is ok” is brought in when Lily is near (and with no clouds to be seen or above a Person Card), now look to the other cards presenting to understand in which situation we are seeing satisfaction.
To widen your Lenormand vocabulary, think or ponder on what situations bring us satisfaction, and what we consider to be qualities of self satisfaction… peace… calm…. achievement ……. we will each have a different understanding of what satisfies.
The sex connotations … why and how?
If you take an interpretation and work backwards and can get to “satisfaction” or “happy life” then you have an interpretation that is valid. Sex is part of our lives and it can be hard and fast or slow and contemplative (or any variation in between) – we have to remember AGAIN that Lenormand is a language and that every single card will have a “sex” meaning if a sexual question or signs of sexual contact can be foreseen, therefore any card can explain a sexual encounter. Lily is our self satisfaction and often can show sexual satisfaction within a relationship (if other cards around confirm) because its core meaning is happiness within our personal lives. Whip on the other hand can show nasty (in the "discord" sense!) sex and getting down and dirty (with other cards to confirm!)…
Remember, we are looking at the overall picture of a number of cards, not one card to signify one situation – Lenormand just works better that way!
My biggest advice would be to stop looking at Lenormand like a single card and a single meaning – every added card is an added nuance to the answer.
When is Lily a Person and who is it?
The playing cards on the Lenormand Deck stem from the Game of Hope. In the Game of Hope instructions there is NO use for the Playing Cards in the fortune telling “game”. The Playing cards are there to play German and French card games – nothing more!
The Game of Hope ca. 1799 instructions state:
In order to play all kinds of card games that are used with the usual German and French card
decks you will find the German and French card images on the figure cards, you only need to
remove, depending on the game the 6s and sometimes the 7s from the deck. You can therefore, also easily compare and learn the French and German playing cards.
If you are somebody who really wishes to use the Playing Cards as an extra level of meaning then King of Spades is your older man. I personally would advise getting a deck of playing cards and learning to read them if you would like to read playing cards as for a beginner they are far from the Lenormand core meanings and tend to leave the reader to question “well is it a man or is it showing the situation will be OK!!?”. Colorings of cards (if you haven’t used this method I would suggest at least a play at it) is a useful way to understand the nature of a spread (but in reality you can do that without the coloring too).
I would highly recommend only using the people playing cards if and when you need to gain more information on a dynamic of people in larger spreads (even better get out the Kipper Cards, Gypsy Cards OR Playing Cards!!!) and leave the Lenormand language in tact so it can give you the succinct answers that every querent deserves.
Keep it simple and....