Review by: Sharon Cumming
Before beginning my review, I want to say that I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to Lenormand books and decks. I tried reading with Lenormand in the past but found them hard to adapt to after reading with tarot for so long. When I saw the Easy Lenormand Box Set was up for review, I jumped at the chance to try it out, hoping it would reboot my Lenormand learning path.
The book and deck are packed inside a cardboard box with a fold out lid. The box is a bit bigger than an average paperback so will fit neatly on a bookshelf. Both box and book cover carry a pale blue Baroque/Rococo design plus illustrations of a few cards from the deck. The book is also about the same size as an average paperback, and the print inside is easy to read.
The Easy Lenormand companion book starts with a brief history of Lenormand, and then moves onto a general description of each card in chapter one. There are black and white scans of the cards accompanying the interpretive text to go with them, and some discussion about how each card might interact with one or two others. Chapter two describes how to read the cards in sequence, and there are some examples of how different questions alter the context of a card. Chapter three is devoted to a variety of spreads ranging from pairs to The Grand Tableau, and talks about how these spreads can be used for all sorts of queries. Chapter four explores methods of reading developed by the authors which they refer to as Zones and Shadows. The book ends with a short conclusion.
The deck is printed on thin, strong, flexible, smooth card stock. I have small hands, and at 62mm x 100mm, the cards fit comfortably in my palms and are really easy to shuffle. The card illustrations are gorgeous! During writing this review, I found out that the cards are actually The French Cartomancy deck published by Lo Scarabeo. The images have the soft pastoral pastel look associated with the French fashions of the time (late 1700s to mid 1800s) giving the deck a calm, gentle feel. Each card is numbered and also has an illustration of the corresponding playing card near the top but there are no card titles, which I think makes the deck look less cluttered. The backs are also beautifully decorated. Now, onto the Easy Lenormand companion book!
Chapter one contains an introductory exercise using card pairs and triplets that encourages the reader to dip a toe into the pastoral French Cartomancy waters. The card descriptions follow this section with meanings that are simple and clear. However, a few descriptions are a bit on the short side, and I do think more information about these particular cards would have been useful. One of the things I really enjoyed about this chapter was the authors’ emphasis on creative and intuitive thinking around reading card combinations. The chapter ends with a description of positive, negative, and neutral cards, and how these can be applied to yes/no questions.
Chapter two begins with a brief chat about being open to trying a variety of exercises and methods in order to figure out what best works for you as a reader. This was refreshing as one of the biggest obstacles for me while previously learning to read Lenormand, was the frequent insistence that there’s only one way. There’s a journaling exercise for card meanings, and a brief exploration of the Grand Tableau. Chapter two covers things like the importance of the final card in a row, and how to apply card meanings to different types of questions. There’s also a discussion about the different ways to read the past and the future in the Grand Tableau, and there are examples of card combinations to help get you started.
Chapter three looks at spreads in more detail. Sample spreads of three and nine cards are introduced using a variety of questions. There are instructions on how to charge cards for specific questions, and more information is given for the Grand Tableau. All three and nine card samples are taken from an actual single Grand Tableau to show the reader how easy it is to get information about a number of topics from one sitting with this larger spread. This exercise shows the Grand Tableau isn’t as fearsome or confusing as it first appears. There are also suggestions on how to get more from your readings plus tips on further exploration.
Chapter four covers some methods developed by the authors themselves. They divide the Grand Tableau into zones such as past, future, spiritual and mundane, and there are pin and label cards to help the reader extract more information from the spread. Shadowing is explained as a way of reading the ‘shadow’ effects from the card that lies next to another. I found this approach interesting and look forward to working with it when I have more experience reading with the deck. Chapter four also contains examples showing how an interpretation might change depending on the direction the reader chooses to read in (i.e. from right to left or left to right), something I hadn’t considered before.
For the most part I like this box set, and where other Lenormand books and decks left me feeling dazed, confused or fed up, the Easy Lenormand inspired me to keep at it and stick with my own way of doing things… within the bounds of Lenormand reading but with some flexibility. The box isn’t particularly sturdy but then again, I’m comparing it to those that come with my Schiffer deck sets so maybe I’m being unfair? Also, the book has a lot of blank white space which makes it seem more substantial than it actually is, and the images printed in the book differ from the images on the cards, which might bother some readers.
However, the deck is lovely, and I really enjoyed the content of the book. It gave me the information and confidence I needed to restart my Lennie practise, and there’s also enough intermediate knowledge to help me take things further, when I’m ready. I enjoyed the Easy Lenormand so much that unlike other Lenormand sets I tried in the past, I’m going to keep this one and will continue working with it. It’s light, relaxed, conversational tone suits me, and for me… The Easy Lenormand is easy because it’s easy-going. The entire book is presented as an informal friendly chat about a variety of standard Lenormand practises, both traditional and contemporary, and the authors leave it up to the reader to decide how to develop their skills, according to the experience they acquire from the exercises in the book.
In a nutshell, if a more structured linear approach to Lenormand is what you’re after, this probably isn’t for you. The set is better suited to readers who are looking to develop their Lennie reading style in creative and experimental ways.
Authors: Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin
Published by Llewellyn Publications