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.
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.