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Enchanted Lenormand
- Lyn D. Black, The Lamplighter -
Nov 2013  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!
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The Enchanted Lenormand Oracle by the famed Caitlin Matthews, with art by Virginia Lee; Watkins Publishing, London, 2013. Caitlin & John Matthews' website, http://www.hallowquest.org.uk/
Caitlin's blog,
www.caitlin-matthews.blogspot.com  The day I typed this up, the set was $15.11 : http://www.amazon.com/Lenormand-Oracle-Cards-Revealing-Destiny/

The original announcement, "In September 2013, the Enchanted Lenormand Oracle by Caitlin Matthews, art by Virginia Lee (daughter of Alan Lee who did the Lord of the Rings film illustrations and design) will be published by Watkins. This 36 Lenormand card deck is accompanied by a book of instruction for learners, including the card meanings, spreads, a biography of Lenormand and many ways of practicing and a spread sheet for making the Grand Tableau 4 rows X 9 cards in a lift off box. This will be the first English language project of this kind. The cards will depict the Lenormand image and the playing card insert, plus the card's number, but no other words."

My pre-ordered copy of "The Enchanted Lenormand" arrived at long last, Nov 7th 2013. This has got to be the nicest storage box, I've ever seen... usually the cards fit into their spot and promptly spill all over, once you close the lid. These won't be doing that! It measures roughly 7 1/4" tall by 5 1/2" wide and just shy of 2 1/2" deep; the top then lifts off.

Inside the box the book, layout paper, and cards... sit straight down into it in a manner where they are easily reached fro and pulled out. There is no fumbling and no fight to get them back in the box when finished working with them.

The Book measures roughly 4 3/4" wide by 6 3/4" tall and has 160 pages; and the lavish use of color photos is most helpful.

Chapter One covers five pages learning how to read the cards and with color diagrams of nine cards at a time, we are given brief sentence descriptions of each one. Then a page for Approaching the Cards, that covers interpretation thoughts. Two pages covers the Significators and two pages for Framing Your Question. Lenormand Language covers nine pages of easy to understand, beginner information and advice. Counting the pips : a final blessing, is a single dealing with using the Playing Card part of each Len card... and for the first time, amid everything else I have ever read, I understand what she telling us to do with them! Using the playing card, is really quite simple. We end this chapter with two pages of Using the Diviner Card (card #37), and the different uses for Her.

Chapter Two begins on page 34, with two pages of Through the Crystal Ball, and these are vitally important keywords of guidance for us, of what to consider as we do our card readings... before going into each of the 37 cards, with two pages devoted to each one. These comments and examples, are quite valuable if you will take the time to apply yourself to their study.

Chapter Three begins at page 110 and is called Spreading the Fortune, in the index but Spreading the Cards on the actual page. Here are 34 pages of guided layouts.

Chapter Four begins on page 144 and is called The Playing Card Messages and includes seven pages and all the information you need for interpreting them. The Timing Board is a page about timing events, then Timing Houses is a two pages of neat list, of timing per each card. The Playing Card Rhyme is two pages of memory poem. Finally, we have two pages of the Enchanted Lenormand Meanings at a Glance and covers what it describes, keywords per card.

The book closes with a Bibliography, a list of Useful Online Sources, and Acknowledgments.

My own closing thoughts is that this book is one of the best sources, I have ever come across and while it will obviously be slanted to the author's experience and her lessons... this only heightens its value because of the respect all have for the famed expertise of Caitlin Matthews.

The Enchanted Len Deck is made up of 37 cards and the feel is very Celtic, pagan-woodsy because of the border pictures. I was startled at the darker shades but mostly felt a delighted, "oh my gosh, what a neat deck!" Once I began handling the cards, I realized that the somber colorations of the surrounding art, draws your eyes inward to the brighter key depiction of each card. It's a rather clever, visual device that really works if you give it time to and don't make a snap judgment.

At first glance, the main card depictions and like many modern decks it includes alternate Man & Woman cards, look like traditional renderings; except... #11 Whip has become the Broom. She didn't like the connotation of Whip or Birch, as devices that give corporal punishment. Since a longer handle of birches, then turns from hitting naughty children, to sweeping the house... she thus made the card change.

Another change is that there is a hanging bridge for the #36 Cross card, and it is re-named Crossing. This we are told was done, "...out of respect for people with different religious beliefs who might wish to use this deck."

These changes are ones that I can whole-heartedly agree with; especially given the apparent thought and care behind the decisions of their creation and depiction.

Then there is card #37 Diviner, to represent Madame LeNormand. This is called the Diviner card and is used in various ways, as will be described in the book. She is not always included in actual shuffling and laying down your cards for interpretation but is more of a guide when one needs a little extra help.

The set comes with a paper fold-out Grand Layout. I could not get it to lay flat for my picture, as I had only just laid it out for the very first time... but this would look absolutely gorgeous on a desk, under glass. It measures 31" wide by 21" tall; and take heed :  it easily tears along the folds!

The cards measure 2 7/8" wide by 3 3/8" tall. The art renditions cover the entire card but the actual card's subject depiction is in a sphere approximately 1 3/4" across and in the book, they call this a "luminous crystal ball" [page 9 at bottom].

Caitlin writes that she found with Lenormand cards, "...the more detailed each card became, the less easy it was to read them." I leave it to you reading this review, to judge whether she kept her cards clear and less detailed or not. I strongly suggest that you work with the deck for a time before making a judgment, because after a while, the whole art disappears, as your eyes concentrate on the main circle depiction.

One of my friends, actually took scissors and cut her cards down to just these circles and is reading them as a tiny 'circle' deck' and with great success. So far at the time I am typing this, it didn't ruin them by causing the coating to peel.

Each corner of the cards has the same top-left diamond, top-right spear point (spade), bottom-left heart, and bottom-right clover (club). The top-center has the associated playing card and the bottom-center has the number for that card. The card number is hard to read, unless you have good light; and there is no card name displayed.

 

The card back is a beautiful picture with the same woodsy theme, with a heart at the top and playing card Aces centrally located, around a crystal ball. It is a directional deck for upright and renders the cards, when they are turned back-up, to knowing if the card is upright or not before turning it over.

This is a beautifully illustrated deck. The book is worth this set's price, just for it alone. Any deck collector would be thrilled to have it and pagan-types should especially appreciate it, I believe.

 

And then, many of us noted the "oops!"

 

 

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Copyright Nov 2013 Lyn D. Black
All rights reserved.