Tag Archives: Lenormand

Deck Review: Black Hand Lenormand

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Who is Shelley Barnes?
Was she in Andy’s course under a screen name? Or has she been outside the online community quietly soaking up books – the good ones, Andy’s, Rana’s, and Caitlyn’s?

I’m asking because she seems to know what she’s doing. This is actually a great little deck.

The art is wonderful. The tuckbox reminds me of title cards on silent movies – the kind of thing you’d see with Lon Chaney Sr. or early Clara Bow. The whole thing seems to have a 20’s-through-Noir feel, possibly the most modern feature of the deck is the Bettie Page bangs on the Lady.

But good art doesn’t often translate to a good reading deck, the reason being that the artist lets their vision override reading conventions and practical concerns. This is the part of the reason I stick with antique reproductions as a rule, (the other reason is godawful bad art) and tune out 99.999% of the new Lenormands that are constantly coming out. Lots of competent artists have made unreadable pretties. Not Shelley.

Does this deck have aberrations? A few, yes, but no more that you see in some of the old decks that have things like two scythes on the Scythe card. And in no way do they make the deck unworkable. Let’s have a look at them:

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The mouse appears to be dead or sleeping. Well, if you’re killing mice, it’s because they’ve infested. Or maybe he’s just taking a nap after he gorged on your food. Either way, it’s still loss. And very clearly a mouse. The Tree is a palm tree. Still a tree, still recognizable, same meaning. The Clover is encased in a glass pendant with a chain, but it still pops out at you right away. The Park has a statue of a naked woman predominating, but you can see the pedestal, you know it’s not the Lady. It’s a statue. Statues are in Parks and Gardens. The Cross is more symmetrical than usual, a little less churchy – so what? And the Tower, rather than an old structure guarding a border from invaders, is more modern. It reminds me of that famous shot in Baby Face, where the camera pans up the Gotham Trust tower to indicate that Barbara Stanwyck is screwing her way to the top, lol. OK, that has nothing to do with the card meaning. But I like it and it’s a readable Tower card, you can tell what it is right away.

Another oddity is that the playing card 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s have been added. Would I shuffle the whole thing together and do a Lenormand/playing card reading? No, because Lenormand is based on Alemannic cartomancy, it’s a different system. Doing things like that will throw the whole thing off balance by giving you more than one card that means the same thing, or something very similar.

But I would shuffle it all together and do a playing card reading, ignoring the Lenormand symbols.

I would also use it as a gaming deck. (The Jokers double as extra Man and Woman cards. I don’t use those, since Rider and Snake are the Male and Female lover cards, but I won’t be storing these Jokers away to lie in state in the “extra Man and Woman card box”. since I enjoy playing games with wild cards.) So you have three uses in one – Lenormand, playing cards for reading, and playing cards for gaming. And it’s a mini. Keep it in your purse or pocket for spur of the moment readings, and quick poker hands to see who pays for lunch.

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I went ahead and ordered the deck with the palmistry card, because it just looks cool. I really, really like the way this woman draws, I’m even keeping the business card. I’m going to find a little frame for the hand. It has meanings printed on the back, some perfectly sound, some a little sketchy. But all in all, if you don’t want to use this deck’s version of the “LWB”, just do like me and frame the hand. Or get the deck alone. Or the deck and the pendulum.

Everything else is perfectly traditional. Check this out:

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Clearly split Crossroads with both a wide and a narrow branch. (Has she been watching Malkiel Rouven Dietrich’s videos? 😀 ) Male Rider, blowing his horn and clearly hurrying along to announce something important. Two hectic, chattering birds.

And this:

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“The Snake biting the Fox’s tail.” Maybe she doesn’t know about that particular reading convention and it’s just a happy accident, but I wonder… 🙂

You can order the Black Hand HERE, (for not very much money! The price is surprisingly low.) It will arrive quickly, in a well-padded envelope with doodley things on it in Shelley’s own hand. And yes, it’s good linen stock and shuffles easily.

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This is such a great deck. It may start a trend where people include playing cards to make 52 card Lenormands, but that’s missing the point entirely. It’s a great deck because it’s a good, readable Lenormand, and because it’ll make you feel like Joan Blondell on the midway in Nightmare Alley*. Can’t beat that!

*Nightmare Alley (1947) is a film adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name. In the book, there are 22 chapters, each named for a Tarot Major. There is also a graphic novel adaptation of the novel that was produced in 2012 by the great underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez.
It’s a fantastic story, and not to be missed.

Andy’s Book: Revised & Expanded

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If you read this blog at all, you’ve probably heard of Lenormand Thirty Six Cards by now. It was intended as an introductory book, though it was quite detailed – I got a lot of benefit from it, and I’d been reading Lenormand for years already. Andy did a great job of filling in the gaps left by Treppner and the handful of others who had published information in english.

Since then, he re-opened his Cabinet course for awhile, including information that wasn’t available in the first edition of the book, and paying careful attention to the areas where people were having problems and how to explain things more clearly. (There is a human tendency to misinterpret certain statements and run with it – this is what he was mainly trying to remedy, I think. The man is infinitely more patient and accommodating than I am.) All of this – the course material and the teaching approach, have been added to the original book. Certain parts have been revised. And what came of all this is a book with roughly twice the word count, yet with the fat trimmed.

This appears, for all intents and purposes, to be the definitive Lenormand book. There’s really not much else you can say about the subject, the answers to virtually all of the questions one commonly sees are answered in this book. (Andy says it’s “intermediate”, I’m curious as to what he considers “advanced” – work through this book and internalize the information, and you’ve got Lenormand nailed.) Card and suit meanings, history, attendance, proximity, exercises, combos and more.

You can get more information here: http://boroveshengra.com/2015/07/01/lenormand-thirty-six-cards-2015-edition/

Order from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Lenormand-Thirty-Six-Cards-Introduction-Petit-ebook/dp/B00JHO7X8M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1435760966

Or, if you prefer, from Createspace here: https://www.createspace.com/4913005

Andy’s Book

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The expanded edition of Lenormand Thirty Six Cards will be available soon. This one goes a good way beyond the first edition’s comprehensive-yet-basic Lenormand 101, with material that was included in Andy’s last course. I’m hoping for a hardcover copy, after all, it’s a reference work and will get tons of use. My Book.

This is why

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A good Lenormand practice group will limit the decks you can post to things like the Blue Owl, Carta Mundi, Dondorf, Glück, Mertz, Piatnik, and other reproductions of decks first published prior to 1950. To understand why, we need look no further than the very first card: the Rider.

The Rider is a well dressed man on a spirited horse. He looks well-to-do, and he’s hurrying to deliver some news himself, instead of sending a hired man, so it’s fairly important. His period clothing tips you off that the horse is his usual mode of transportation. What better to express the meanings of news, something tangible, a vehicle, speed, an athletic young man, a male lover, feet, knees, and ligaments?

In too many contemporary decks, this gets lost. Any person riding something will do, and you see jockeys, women, cowboys, polo ponies, people on bikes – some of the meanings are always lost, and in some instances the card isn’t even recognizable. I saw a deck recently that used a child on a rocking horse – it looked like a Child card. If you’re asking people to help you with a spread, at least use readable cards. And a kid on a rocking horse isn’t coming down the road to see you. A jockey isn’t going to leave the track on a million dollar racehorse to deliver your package or tell you Auntie Edna’s gall bladder surgery went well.

“But the Rider is fine in such-and-such deck” you say. And maybe it is. But if you go through the whole deck, there’s overwhelming odds that you’ll find some hinky cards. It’s not JUST the Rider! A lot of the new decks are cray-cray all the way through. And even if they get it right (there are a few that do), imagine the fallout when “Marilyn’s Lenormand” is allowed and “Carolyn’s Lenormand” isn’t. So best to keep it to old decks by deceased artists, lol.

Are all these old decks perfect? No, they’re not. I actually have one that shows a tank of goldfish on the Fish card. And that Mice card in the Glück – where are the Mice? But on the whole, old decks are a pretty safe bet for group discussion.

On Community

"The Homecoming", Norman Rockwell, 1945

“The Homecoming”, Norman Rockwell, 1945

I often see people using the terms “Lenormand community” or “cartomancy community”, with the implication that we shouldn’t fight, we should be in solidarity, i.e., unity or agreement of feeling or action among individuals with a common interest, and mutual support within a group. Being in a community with someone doesn’t mean you have to do that. If you’ve ever had neighbors from hell, you can understand this.

And let’s look at the word “community” itself, shall we? from Merriam-Webster:

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Pretty irrelevant to reading cards, isn’t it? All we have in common is cards. It’s like saying “the soap community” or “the makeup community”. Nobody says “You need to be nicer and more supportive of John Wayne Gacy, he used soap and makeup, too.”

Should we be supportive of Sylvie Steinbach just because the woman has written a crappy Lenormand book? She denies the Holocaust, FFS. Or Donnaleigh de la Rose, who equated being denied access to a facebook group to “perpetuating the Holocaust”, thereby trivializing the pointless suffering and deaths of millions? Or Christiana Gaudet, who writes hate blogs about the Roma? Why lower ourselves and give tacit endorsement to the hate by making nice with people like that?

Fuck antisemites and fuck racists. May they rot in hell.

As for the Rockwell painting at the beginning of this post, it’s a picture of what an actual community might look like. And I hope that soldier killed lots and lots of nazis.

Postcards from the Front

I'm considering a vacation. This looks like a good spot.

I’m considering a vacation. This looks like a good spot.

Greetings from historic Ratchetville, Texas. Sometimes – nay, often – I need to close the doors on our scenic soiled-panty-and-beer-can lined streets and just lose myself online. When I do this, I find some cool stuff. So I’m here to let you know I’m still among the living – time is at a premium, but I’m doing phone readings occasionally, though email is out of the question. And I’m also here today to tell you about something everybody likes: that cool stuff and where to get it.

The Mercury Key

Mercury Key from Professor Ames

Mercury Key, Professor Ames

Firstly, there’s the Mercury Key from Professor Ames. You can read about it here: http://skullboneemporium.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/the-mercury-key/ and if you contact him, you can arrange for him to make one for you. It gets its name from the dimes – old “Mercury” dimes (actually Liberty in a winged hat, which I take to mean “free thought”, but the folk associations of Mercury with these dimes are ubiquitous.) You can read it according to geomancy, or alternately, a simple “strong yes/probable yes/probable no/strong no”. It reminds me a little bit of those Ifa divining chains – it alludes to several traditions, but it’s a new thing, Ames invented it. So it doesn’t come with a reading tradition like Lenormand, you’re free to experiment some. (And props to Ames and everyone who INVENTS an oracle – I’ve said enough here about the difference between that, and those awful Lenormand retreads. Googling images of a man, woman, tree, etc. and giving them a horrible color scheme is NOT “creativity”.) I suppose in a pinch, you could even disregard one of the four dimes and use it for I Ching, though I haven’t done that. You could take the direction the key points into account, in some contexts. And the bonus is that these are all leap year dimes, and therefore super lucky. Four leap year dimes and an old iron key – the Lenormand Key, the Master Key…so many positive associations. Dab it with a little Van Van and keep it draped on a lucky statue or image when you’re not carrying or using it.

From a 1910 theatrical poster advertising an appearance by C. Alexander

From a 1910 theatrical poster advertising an appearance by C. Alexander

Crystal Balls

In the late 90’s, you could google “scrying” and nothing came up. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. As of tonight, I got 1,310,000 results. But Sturgeon’s Revelation (commonly cited as “90% of everything is crap”) definitely applies here.

Let’s look at the word itself – dictionary definitions are generally along the lines of seeing visions in/telling the future with a crystal ball or other reflective surface. But new age marketing has expanded it to include, well – anything you look at that looks like something else to you. Jesus on a tortilla, clouds that look like kitties, that stain on the bathroom wall at work that looks like Ron Jeremy – all “scrying”, according to the “anyone can do this!” folks. Well, maybe anyone CAN do that, but what’s the point?

Consider the old texts on crystal gazing. It’s said that both those and the new age are influenced by the New Thought movement. The difference is that the old texts say something like “Practice self-discipline, be discriminating in what you eat, take plenty of outdoor exercise and cultivate a positive attitude, and you will greatly improve your chances of success.” The new age stuff says “Just see yourself getting what you want, and you will!”

New age rhetoric is a lot like those “Lose weight without diet or exercise!” ads, isn’t it?

The old texts are not without issues, at least one of them would have you carving your table up with Enochian symbols. And there was plagiarism in those days, too. There’s a good bit of conjecture and pseudoscience presented as absolute fact, as well. But for the most part, for the purpose of learning to actually see crystal visions, they’ll give you good, solid, practical advice. There’s a list of them here, compiled by Cat Yronwode, and several of these are in the public domain and can be downloaded at no cost from sites like Project Gutenberg: http://www.yronwode.org/crystal-gazing-bibliography.html

While we’re on the subject, Miss Cat also sells crystal balls on her site. A three-inch clear glass crystal is perfect (it’s large enough not to strain the eyes, without being so big that it’s hard to block the reflections, or too heavy to hold in your hands, and there’s no inclusions to distract you) and you can get one here for $20 (yes, you read that right!) But they have all kinds, all sizes. http://www.luckymojo.com/mojocatdivination.html#scrying And they come with their own little boxes and stands.

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My newest crystal resting in its snazzy red box, on top of two C. Alexander booklets.

Not only that, but you get a free membership in the Crystal Silence League for the year http://www.crystalsilenceleague.org/
and a copy “Personal Lessons, Codes, and Instructions for Members of The Crystal Silence League” by C. Alexander. The book is published by Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, and Lucky Mojo distributes it free when you buy any crystal ball of any size from them. It’s not a Lucky Mojo publication. Lucky Mojo acts as a distributor, including the book with sales of crystal balls, and underwrites the cost of the book, as a service to the church.

Best deal ever, isn’t it?

AND LENORMAND NEWS, OF COURSE

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I’ve been considering getting Carrie Paris’s Lenormand Lodestones (actually magnets, not lodestones)- these would be useful as a kind of secret code to put on the refrigerator and other metallic surfaces (ex: “Birds – Woman – Moon: call me this evening”) The possibilities for sneaky hijinx are endless! http://carrieparis.com/shop/lenormand-lodestones/

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Karla Souza has a very unique deck called the Esmeralda Lenormand – while I don’t use the chakras and elements, it does have proper hints and memory joggers as to the card meanings down in the bottom corners, so it’s great for beginners. I know Karla, she’s a good reader. At some point, I mean to give this one its own blog post, but in the meantime, you can get it here: http://www.sensoriall.com/#!shop/c1tc8

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And of course, Lauren Forestell continues to make quality reproductions, and more great decks are always showing up on her site. Check out the four jokers on the mini Alte Deutsch! And she’s got a Brepols now – it’s like a Carta Mundi, but with restored color, gorgeous backs, better stock and no verses. http://gameofhopelenormand.bigcartel.com/

An update…& a new deck

Lauren Forestell's Paris Primitive/Didot

Lauren Forestell’s Paris Primitive/Didot

Just to let people know what’s been happening – a fortuneteller’s income is fickle. One month you’re buying electronics and jade and real ladies hats from milliners, but the next may find you couch surfing. So when family circumstances dictated that I find a more dependable – if excruciatingly boring – source of income for awhile, I took a job making and testing automotive computer parts, and cut way back on my readings, due to the crazy long hours. (Email readings are especially difficult with all this going on, so I’ve temporarily stopped offering them at Etsy, but not to worry – I don’t intend to do this forever! And phone readings are still available.)

Now I want to tell you about a deck, the only one I’ve purchased in quite some time, and I don’t see anyone talking about it – which is a shame, really! You guys are missing out. It’s the Paris Primitive, aka Didot, available from Lauren Forestell’s Game of Hope site here: http://gameofhopelenormand.bigcartel.com/product/paris-primitive

I needed yet another Lenormand like I needed a hole in the head, but this one sang a siren song with its peachy borders and quirkiness, and I was sucked in. While it was originally produced in France, it seems to be targeting the German market, as the verses are in that old-style German (you know, the kind that google translate can’t *quite* handle. We’ve all been nine rounds with that. 😀 ) The banners across the top give some old keywords, and the rhymes are on the bottom. No playing card insets, but that shouldn’t present a problem if you know your people cards. This one is very readable, the images pop nicely in a GT.

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The following list is for those who like to use visual cues – and remember, there are NO perfect Lenormands, this one is about as good as it gets:

The Rider faces left – perfect, since he can be the same sex lover or the other man. (Ideally, male cards would face right and female left, but the Rider is the logical exception.)
The Ship sails to the right, the future.
The dark side of the Clouds is very plainly on the right.
The Snake faces right, so remember your rules. 😉
The Coffin is drawn from a perspective where the left looks slightly larger, so it’s a hint that it ends what’s to its left.
The Scythe tip faces right. Perfect.
There is only one Birchrod bundle, so remember it can be something happening twice.
There are three Birds instead of two, so remember your “couple” meaning.
The Child faces forward, but she’s obviously female, so no problem.
The Fox faces left, so just keep in mind that they got the Snake the wrong way around.
I love the Bear. It’s standing, facing slightly away, arms crossed. Grrr. 😀
The Stork is on a rooftop. Old school!
The Dog faces left, so just keep in mind its a man.
The Crossroads have a very plain wide and narrow way to go.
The Mouse faces left.
There are several Books, but one obviously opens to the right.
Lauren has included, as always, extra Man and Woman cards. I use the right facing Man and the left facing Woman.
The Lilies are blue, but they’re very obviously lilies and distinct from the other botanical cards, so it’s not an issue.
There are trees shown on the Park card, but not the Roads, Sun, or Moon, so again, remember your “many trees” rule.

The cards are plainly numbered. There are astrological and planetary glyphs in the verse area, something I’d suggest ignoring (People have been trying to forcefit astrology to Lenormand forever. It just doesn’t work.) but they add a nice touch visually, a bit like the glyphs surrounding the images on Malkiel’s Lenormand. The backs are curling french vines surrounding an interlock pattern, all in beige and burgundy, very nice. And there’s a cover card with a repro pic of a suitably grotesque and dessicated Mlle. Lenormand, wrapped in a shawl and sitting before a grand tableau. I want it on a t shirt. 😀

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The deck comes in a plush brown velvet bag, but I ordered the Wahrsagekarten tin. I’m going to use the bag for a change purse, lol, since I sometimes stow money in the bag with my purse deck (also one of Lauren’s – the Purple Dragon).

If you’re looking for a change from your usual reading deck but you want a real Lenormand and not one of those wack contemporary things, I can fully recommend this one. It’s readable, it’s fun to look at, and it’s got that linen finish and Game of Hope quality! 🙂