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Exploring A Grand Tableau- Part One

You know, whenever I am talking to someone about how best to learn methods- one thing often opens the conversation, or at least comes up in it. When discussing learning astrology, tarot, or other divination- many people get confused. They don’t get confused because the tools are hard to understand. They don’t get confused because they just don’t have “a knack” for it- though, many believe that to be true.

When I have mentioned simplifying things, I’ve gotten quite a variety of feedback. Now, oddly enough, beginning students or those just getting started love this idea. Those who’ve been reading for decades, they do, too.

When I explain that simplifying things makes for an easier-to-understand reading: the only people who seem to take exception with it, are those who frequently over-complicate matters. If you find yourself comparing your results to a blog and you’re just confused: I want you to recognize that there are two key things that come with time as a reader of any sort. Experience and humility.

Humility tells us we don’t have to over-complicate matters to explore them. Experience tells us it doesn’t always take a huge, multi-faceted reading to answer questions- even important ones. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gotten feedback for Jen’s Card of the Day. A single card pull has often answered questions for people- without them even having to ask or draw any cards of their own. Then again, sometimes, you really just itch for a challenge. And in those cases… we have something like THIS:

It is in that spirit, when I was contacted by someone who was having a hard time with her Grand Tableau, I wanted to do something special. The Grand Tableau is one of those insane readings- everyone takes a look at it and they think it’s this massively complex, difficult read. And absolutely, it is time consuming and in all the best ways. However, what it is not- is complex. One of the most beautiful things about the Lenormand in general is its simplicity and the Grand Tableau’s really no different.

What is it?

Now, the Grand Tableau, if you’re not familiar- is a method where we use every single card in the Lenormand deck. That’s a 36 card reading: all in one spread. To look at it, you probably imagine it is intense- and of course, it can be. But, intense in Lenormand vs intense in say, Rider Waite- these are too different things. Lenormand is like that grouchy old grandaddy who gives you the straight dope. Rider Waite tends to be more like your agony aunt- sitting with you and letting your get it all out, and then exploring your feelings with you.

In either case- ultimately, your goal in learning them is going to be that you develop a style of reading that is uniquely your own.

The Method
Like most other readings- you’ll want to start off with someone in mind. It could be yourself, it could be someone else. This would be your querent- the person with the question.

Shuffle the cards however you please. Loads of people have lots of opinions here. Do what you like.

We are going to be working in a 4 by 9 spread, so, lay your cards down in four rows with nine columns each. If you’re curious- I am using the Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Marchetti.


The first cards we’re going to look at, today- are the corners.
First- the top right.
Second- the top left.
Third- the bottom right.
And Fourth- the bottom left.

You’re going to read these cards in combination, diagonally. So, look at the top right, connect it to the bottom left. Look at the top left, connect it to the bottom right.

In our case, here,

Upper right, card 9- The Rider
Lower left, card 28- The Fox
Upper left, card 1- The Ring
Lower right, card 36- The Birds

So, your themes for this reading will be two combinations:
Rider and Fox, indicating some sort of bullshit news:

Rider Fox

and Ring and Birds,

Ring Bird

which indicates worrying and intrusive thoughts. Looks to me as though we are dealing with a situation where gossip may play a factor and possibly, even someone spreading lies.

What’s Next?

Go ahead and imagine really loud, really repetitive children’s programming is playing as you lay out your cards- then, culminate in a very loud thud. You’ll have the Victoria Experience. Yes, eat chocolate and drink coffee. Twitch a little.

Next, we start the work of fleshing the rest of this story out- because, let’s face it, opener like that, there are a bunch of different possibilities that could be going on here. Now- you can either use a querent card, which is fairly traditional: albeit a bit behind the times- and people use the Man or Woman cards for this.

Honestly, I rarely ever do that.

Here’s the fun part, though- I don’t actually know what the question was, in this case. I just know the people involved and their particular roles in each other’s lives. I can hazard a guess at the question- but, for simplicity’s sake, this is a love reading. Bearing in mind I am breaking these up- and as we go through all of this, we’ll conclude with the Full Story, so to speak. I won’t spoiler it for you- but, do remember as you read: In Lenormand, in the Grand Tableau- you’re telling a big story.

So, because it’s a love reading- we’re going to find the Heart card, which I tend to use as the significator when I don’t know the actual question. Here’s where a lot of people get hung up because this is where the entire spread gets split up: this is why I’m breaking this down into several blogs instead of just one. Digest a bit at a time, step at a time. Don’t over think this.

The Starred Highlighting here shows us that position-

The Present

The Heart, and the row under it, show us the present tense.

Before we go into that, we have another split to bear in mind as we go:

So, you read from the Heart down, in that row, understanding the two on the top- well, these are things you’re aware play a factor. The ones below, maybe not so much.

So, we start with gossip probably causing some problems here, paired with insecurity- and, we have The Heart and Bear combination in play to start off The Present. Heeeeey, jealousy.  Possibly, someone feeling overprotective.

Gossip played off of insecurities and likely- this made for some very jealous behaviors- it happens. But- the factor beneath the surface is illustrated in the Clover and Woman combination under that. This might indicate that the woman in the situation had a desire within her- a desire to take some risks in the face of some gossip and otherwise which made her feel a bit jealous, a bit overprotective.

…well, this is getting juicy.

But…which is it? Well, I can’t just LEAVE OFF here, now can I?

Yes, yes, actually, I can.

Stay tuned, as tomorrow, we delve into the next part of the Lenormand Grand Tableau- those two tricky lines to the left of the Present line: setting the backstory.


Block interpretation: Here, the stage is set- our situation, represented by the signifier of the Heart card shows that there were some jealousy and overprotective issues brought on by both gossip and bullshit, but also, manifested by being fed insecurities from past experiences. Essentially: worry, insecurity and blurred communication caused a lot of problems, here. 




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