Table of contents

1 >> The layout
2 >> When Strings are useful
3 >> How they work
A >> ... for questions about timelines or processes
>> example reading
B >> ... for what/why/how questions
soon to come

1. The layout

The name of this spread, "String", is pretty self-explanatory. A certain number of cards (often 3 or 5) are arranged in one horizontal line. For example:

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2. When you might want to do a String reading

Strings can be used for nearly all concerns. But they are useful especially if:

• You are a beginner but already know the individual cards' meanings and the combination method.
• You have a question regarding one issue.
• You are looking for a to-the-point, focused answer.
• You asked a what/why/how question or
• your question concerns a process, consecutive stages of a development - a timeline.

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3. How String readings work

Note: There is a multitude of ways Lenormand readers interpret Strings - the following instructions only show what (usually) works best for me. Other approaches to Strings can be easily found online!

Depending on the type of question asked the positions in my Strings represent different things to me. And depending on the question, I would combine some cards but not others. This is why I devided the following instructions on how to read Strings by the type of question:

>> A - how to read timeline Strings in which the cards represent consecutive stages of processes, developments.

>> B - how to read what/why/how Strings in which the cards represent one answer or several but non-consecutive, independent-from-each other answers to what/why/how questions.

A) Timelines - developments, processes

The following instructions will serve you well if you want to know about several and consecutive stages of a process, a development.

A.0 How many cards to use

A timeline String can have any number of cards. But the shorter a String is the fewer stages of the timeline it can display. If you work with the combination method a 3-card String will display only two stages of the process you're asking about - which (usually) defeats the purpose of the question. The longer the String gets the more stages it displays - but the more wishywashy, saying-everything-and-nothing, the String tends to be. So, for Strings representing timelines I most often use 5 cards. I recommend the beginner to use this number as a starting point for their own readings, too. But this recommendation is not an absolute one. And the techniques I describe in the following paragraphs work for shorter and longer Strings as well.

A.1 The position's meanings

Generally speaking, in timeline Strings the cards to the left represent early stages, the ones in the middle the in-between stages, and the cards further to the right the later stages. These "stages" could be consecutive phases of a process (e.g. of a project you are about to begin), or represent phases of time - past, present, and future. In this latter case you might want to devide your String in thirds. If you want each third to be of equal length, pick a number of cards you can devide by three (e.g. 6 instead of 5). But the thirds needn’t be of equal lengths; phases you are more interested in can consist of more cards than others.

A.2 Interpret your String: combine cards' meanings

Once you have layed out your String you can begin to read it. Since the card(s) to the very left represent the earliest stage of the process you've asked about it makes sense to start there and proceed sequentially rightwards by combining consecutive pairs of cards. There are different approaches for this. You could combine:

a) None: If you are a beginner and have only just started to learn the individual cards’ meanings it might be better to shorten the String from 5 to 3 cards and not combine meanings yet. Instead, read each card in the String by itself (see >> Single Card readings). Here, each individual card represents one stage of the process you asked about.

b) Combine each card with its right neighbour only: This means combining cards 1+2, and cards 3+4 (and so on, if your String is longer than 5). Each pair represents one stage of the process you’ve asked about.
Note: If there is an odd number of cards, e.g. 5, the last card has no right neighbour to combine it with. It remains single. So you have to interpret it by itself, in depth (see >> Single Card readings). This will almost automatically give the last card a certain emphasis. If you picked an even number of cards (which is perfectly fine, just not what I personally prefer) no card is left single.

c) Combine each card with all its neighbours: Here, you combine cards 1+2, cards 2+3, cards 3+4, and cards 4+5. Again, each pair represents one stage of the process you’ve asked about.
Compared to the method above you get a few more stages for the same number of cards, and there is never a single card left over even with an odd number of cards. However, because most cards are used for combinations two times, similar issues turn up repeatedly, by default. Often this is a very productive thing, but sometimes it makes the reading seem repetitive.

A.3 Interpret your String: special positions

After the systematic interpretation of your timeline (stage by stage, combination by combination - moving from left to right), you can expand, or specify, your interpretation by giving some cards special significance. What has worked particularly well for me is to pick a Pivotal and/or Peak.

a)The Peak: I already mentioned above that if in an odd-numbered String the last card isn’t combined with any other card it has to be interpreted by itself, as in a Single Card reading, and that this gives it a certain emphasis. In other words, it can be interpreted as the potential peak of the process you asked about! While this mightn't be as intuitive when you have already used the last card in combination with its left neighbour it is still possible to then also interpret it once more but by itself, and as the process's peak.

a)The Pivotal: A card can be central to a String in the sense that it is positioned in the String’s center. But it can also be central in the sense that the topic this card addresses is pivotal to the process the querent has asked about - that this topic plays a vital role for every stage of the process, not just were it has appeared in. This latter meaning of central - pivotal - is what might be interesting for your reading. But the two can coincide!
For one way to determin a Pivotal is to pick the card in the exact center of the String as also pivotal by default. In other words you presuppose that the card positioned in the center also is of pivotal importance. And you then try to find an interpretation that justifies this assumption. This may sound forced, and it is - but, because it gets rid of some personal bias, it can still lead to astonishing insights!
The other way to determin a Pivotal is through interpretative deduction. You conclude that one specific card is of pivotal importance because you noticed during the interpretation of the string as a whole that this card’s topic is like a red thread connecting all the other cards, even the ones which are not neighbours. This pivotal card might well turn out to be the one in the center of the String, or coincide with the Peak. But it could be any of the other cards, too, even the one to the very left.
I can't give you a definite recommendation which way of determining the Pivotal is "better". But what usually works well for me is this: If, during the initial interpretation of the String, a certain card seems to stick out, or is of special significance to the querent, I try this card as Pivotal first. If if this doesn’t work, or if no card sticks out, I take a good look at the central card. However, sometimes all stages of a process, all topics that appear in a timeline, are equally significant, and there simply isn’t a discernable Pivotal at all. In this case, I don't force it.

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4. An example reading of a timeline String

Example A
Question: "What is the potential future development of my romantic relationship with X?"
Cards drawn: Tree, Stork, Scythe, Crossroads, Fish

The querent's relationship so far has been going very well. There are no major conflicts at the moment, and all previous challenges have been overcome successfully and in a respectful manner, and to mutual satisfaction. So I curiously ask the querent why then they feel in need of the cards' help at all. The querent explains that despite everything going so well they would still like to identify potential hurdles in the relationship's future - so they are prepared, and will be able to again handle challenges successfully, and continue to be happy in the relationship.

Techniques used:
I combine each card with all its neighbours and interpret the last card individually, too, as a Peak. Lastly, I discuss a potential Pivotal with the querent.

Interpretation of the stages:
Stage 1 (Tree+Stork): It doesn’t seem likely that anything new would happen quickly at first - the cards instead suggest that there will be a very slow transformation of the relationship’s nature. Since this is the first, earliest, stage of the String there is the possibility that this transformation is already happening.
Stage 2 (Stork+Scythe): After a while a deep longing will arise to finally take stock, to finally tackle something - or, the slow (natural) process happening in stage 1 will very suddenly, possibly unexpectedly, come to a definitive end or will be cut off.
Stage 3 (Scythe+Crossroads): A very no muss, no fuss, peremptory, end of ambivalence, a cut of options, is likely to follow immediately after - no more ambivalence, no more hesitation. Put slightly differently: By cutting off other options there will be a (forced or self-determined but very definite) decision for one path. Since the querent's relationship had been going well so far it seems unlikely that this cut would take the form of a parting of ways, of a break-up, but I mention the possibility nevertheless.
Stage 4 (Crossroads+Fish): After the decision, the cut, of stage 3 there will follow a stage of much deliberation - and many new choices. For of course the decision for a very specific path will open up a whole universe of new paths and options.

The Peak: As Peak of the whole development, the querent interestingly can't warm up to the Fish. While they claim they feel a great yearning for abundance, wealth, and profit, they also insist that these keywords "just don’t fit" their relationship - but neither do the Fish's other, more negative, keywords like greed or a "quantity is all" mentality. So for the time being we leave it at that and move on to the Pivotal.

The Pivotal: To determine the Pivotal, I ask the querent if there was one card which stuck out to them specifically. The querent immediately says that even before I mentioned that Scythe+Crossroads might signify a break-up when they saw the Scythe they instantly came up with that association themselves - and that it awoke two contradictory feelings: fear, and relief. After quite some silence the querent continues that when they asked the cards about their relationship's future they thought they wanted the cards to point to its future flourishinging. But when the Fish as Peak seemed to give them exactly that they felt a sense of wrongness, emotional pressure - and the wish to get away from it. The querent hesitatingly suggests that it's possible they are somehow aware but not willing to admit that the relationship is going to fail. Something, they concede, is missing, has always been missing, and deep down they know they won't ever get it from their partner. Now, from this perspective, stage 4 and the Fish as Peak make much more sense. For if the peremptory decision of Stage 3, the cutting away of all other options but one, really represents a break-up, this would definitely open up the huge range of new paths and options for the querent which Stage 4 seems to suggest. And the Fish as Peak confirm that only ending a relationship that never fulfilled them would enable the querent to finally seek the abundance and fulfilment they crave in places where they might actually find them. We both conclude that in this sense the whole reading is centered around the Scythe: the natural development of the relationship, the inner nature of the relationship as it is now (truly respectful, loving, but still lacking something very important on a deeper level), inevitably leads to its end. And, painful though its end might be, it is also this painful cut which will free the querent, and offer them the chance to go in search of the abundance they've longed for so long.

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3. How String readings work

B) What/why/how questions

Soon to come!

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