The most asked questions in Facebook groups are how we determine the positive versus negative answers of the Lenormand deck. To understand these qualities, you have to first respect the early instructions of your Lenormand deck.
Do you know where your Lenormand deck originated? I would put my life on a few readers stating France as a source! Maybe the name Lenormand is giving the deck a French feel and of course we do have a nod in that direction for the marketing of the deck in the name of Mlle Lenormand. However, we can trace the deck back to origins in Germany and a stone's throw from where I sit writing this blog. Why is it important to know the country of publication? We need to see the earliest instructions! The earliest "retrievable" instructions for the 36 Card deck. It is true that many decks were released in the late 18th to mid 19th century, many oracles in the name of Mlle. Lenormand. I have a ton of eBay finds in my drawers from this period varying from 32 cards to 52 card decks - all with the title "Lenormand Fortune Telling Cards" or the "Fortune Telling Cards of Mlle Lenormand" - they all have one thing in common - German instruction manual with the same core meanings for the cards we now know as 1 Rider to 36 Cross.
If you speak languages you will know that translations can be the killer of meanings and interpretation can really send the audience down the wrong rabbit hole! There are nuances in the German early instructions that have not passed well into what we know of the English and French instructions - nuances that have been misunderstood at an essence level - I only realised this when moving to Germany in 2006.
In order to know your positive versus negative cards you should read through these instructions and use them as your baseline for future reads! Try it - even if you have been reading Lenormand for years, take time out to walk in the shoes of the early German instructions. I promise you, they will make your readings clear and easy to see!
The German Instructions
"Lenormand Erklärung ca. 1850".
1 Knight / Cavalier, indicates good news, but a little removed, it can have to do with the residence of the person, or arrival from a foreign country. This card is a messenger of good fortune, when it is not surrounded by sinister cards.
2 Clover, is also a harbinger of good news, surrounded by clouds it is the omen of great pain, if this card is located close to a querent, these sorrows will not be long-term, and will have a happy ending.
3 Ship, the symbol of commerce, signifies great wealth, acquired by trade or inheritance, if near to the querent it signifies a journey.
4 House, means success and prosperity in all undertakings. Even when the present situation of the person is unfortunate, they can expect a better future. If this card is located in the middle of the spread, under the person, this is a hint to be on their guard regarding those who surround them.
5 Tree, far from the person, is a sign of health, several together do not leave any doubt on the accomplishment of their wishes or on a brilliant fortune in the future.
6 Clouds, when their clear side is turned towards the person, is a happy sign, but if this is the obscure side, some trouble will not delay arising.
7 Serpent, is a sign of misfortune, that is ruled by whether the card is close to or far from the person, invariably followed by deceit, infidelity and sorrow.
8 Coffin, very close to the person, invariably means serious illness, death and the total loss of fortune. Further from the person this card is the less dangerous.
9 Bouquet, of flowers means much happiness in all respects.
10 Scythe, omen of a great danger only avoided when it is surrounded by good cards.
11 Rod, means discord in the family, domestic sorrows, dissension between spouses, fever or extended illness.
12 Birds, means difficulties that one will have to withstand, but of short duration. Far from the person, this card is the sign of a happy trip.
13 Child, is a sign that one has only good associations, and that one is full of goodness with regard to everyone.
14 Fox, if this card is close, it is necessary to beware of those one is in contact with, because someone seeks to fool us, in the opposite case there is no danger.
15 Bear, is either a messenger of good fortune, or indicates it is necessary to distance ourselves from company, especially envious people.
16 Star signifies fortune in all enterprises, but if close to clouds, it indicates lots of unhappy occurrences.
17 Stork, close to the person, indicates a change of current residence, the closer to the querent the sooner.
18 Dog, very near, assures faithful and sincere friendships,distant and surrounded by clouds it warns one not to trust those that call themselves our friends.
19 Tower, signifies a long and happy old age, but surrounded by clouds, it forewarns of illness, disease, even depending on the circumstances also death.
20 Garden or Forest, signifies getting together with respected company, very near it shows an intimate friendship, removed, this is a sign of false friends.
21 Mountain, close to the person, warns about a powerful enemy, but when distant one can count on powerful friends.
22 Roads, surrounded by clouds are signs of misfortune, far from clouds and the person, there are ways or means that we will find to escape a danger.
23 Mouse, is a sign of theft, if it is near, one will recover what is taken, if it is far away, the loss is irretrievable.
24 Heart, sign of joy, union and bliss.
25 Ring, to the right of the person announces a rich and happy marriage, but removed and to the left it announces a broken engagement or separation of two lovers.