Look at the cards in the 3×3 above. It’s very easy to tell which cards they are, even though the spread was done with a tiny mini deck and the picture was shot with a cheap camera phone. This is the first thing you look for in a Lenormand: clarity. It’s important to be able to locate cards in a split second if you’re doing a Grand Tableau for a client, you don’t want to sit there going “Uhhhhh…”! That’s why a lot of us are into old decks like the Glück and the Mertz. They’re easy to read.
Now see what liberties the artist has taken, if any. Some decks try so hard to fit a theme, or the personal vision of the artist, that they forget all about Lenormand. This one has no variations from the standard, except extra cards intended for the reader to choose from in order to make a regular 36 card deck. This doesn’t hurt anything at all and it makes it fun: like a lot of recent decks, it has two Man cards and two Lady cards. What’s different is that there are two Child cards as well, a boy and a girl. One family is made up of contemporary people, the other is made up of…medieval superheros! Now we’re rockin’. 😀 There’s two Rider cards, too, since the artist is named Ryder – one goes left and one goes right.
The next thing you do is go through the cards to see whether the person who created it understands Lenormand. Ideally, there should be visual cues and memory-joggers like two birds on the Birds card, and well-defined dark and light sides on the Clouds card. And of course the cards should be properly numbered and have correct playing card insets. This deck gets a TOP SCORE on all of that. Not only is the important stuff all there, the expressions on the Courts fit the meanings: The King of Clubs looks angry, the King of Hearts is smiling, etc.! Some of the information that comes with the cards is by Rana George (Ryder’s mom) who is a top-notch reader. (She had a book coming out soon – get this book!!!!!) – but here she gives some background info about Ryder and how the deck came to be, and then stands aside – the keywords for each card are by Ryder, and he knows his cards.
Next, see how the deck handles. Ideally, the cards should slide easily, they should be flexible and comfortable, neither too stiff nor so delicate that you’re scared you’ll crease them. This deck feels exceptionally good, and a very close look told me why: it’s got a cambric finish, which creates a kind of air cushion between the cards. This was fairly common for playing cards years ago, but now you only see it on stage magicians’ sleight-of-hand decks like Tally Ho and Black Tiger. The only cards I’ve owned until now that had it were a couple of Bulldog Squeezers poker decks, and I’ve often bemoaned the fact that it’s never used for oracle and Tarot decks. It’s such a nice finish! The bar just got raised: deckmakers, take note!
Does the art appeal? Yes! It’s 100% freehand drawing, very expressive and it’s got a fantastic folk-arty vibe. Perfect for a Lenormand. Here’s the kicker: Ryder is eight. Yep, eight. He’s a great kid, and he’s got a great mom (I’m a HUGE believer in encouraging kids in their areas of interest, they’re natural learning sponges if they like something. And what’s really cool about this is when I show it to kids, they’re so impressed that somebody about their age made something and it got published. It opens possibilites – you can almost see a wall come down in their minds.) Oh, and the backs are classy: blue and tan with “RG” (Ryder George) worked into the pattern. 🙂
You get two decks, a standard sized one with borders and a mini without. Each one comes tied (mine have fuzzy yarn and tinsel, respectively) and they’re in a muslin drawstring bag that’s decorated with all kinds of stuff, each one is unique (Ryder did these, too.) Mine has an elephant (trunk up, that’s good luck!) with all kinds of ink stamps and drawing going on around it and a smileyface button. Even the back of the bag has a secret owl. 😉
Don’t miss this one. Paypal Rana at:
For US $30+$6 for shipping.
For out of the US $30+$14
And that is for both decks.