Opening the box for the first time in a year, I was reminded of another reason why I'd set it aside: the corners weren't rounded. Although I've put my corner rounder to work on a number of decks, it does take some effort. As you can see from the scans, though, I've now bitten the bullet :)
So, having set aside an otherwise interesting deck because of the Court cards, it's rather fitting that the first card I drew should be the Queen of Swords. With her analytical mind and no-nonsense approach, she challenged me to dig out the other queens and assess whether these Courts are as bad as I'd made them out to be in my mind.
Overall, I'm still not hugely fond of them. As you can see, the base drawing for all the queens is identical - same hair, same face, same collar, same crown. And given the limited colour palette employed in the whole deck (black, grey, gold and brown), there is little overt colour differentiation either. Each queen has her suit emblem, an elemental symbol on her crown, and a landscape that is echoed in her eyes. Other than that and some minor colour differences, they are the same. Not a lot of symbolism there to spark intuition or understanding of what these cards, which many find the hardest in any deck to interpret, actually represent.
The Kings and Knights are even worse, being extremely similar not just among their own rank, but also to each other, as you can see here with the rest of the Swords Court. My favourites are the Pages, who are at least quite different from the Queens, but still the same as each other.
In general, then, I stand by my initial assessment that this isn't a deck for anyone uncertain of the Court cards. It also isn't great for quickly scanning a larger reading, if you have a couple of Courts in it, as you have to look closely to see the differences (or just read the titles). However, the rest of the deck is very sweet and charming. So, I've rounded all the corners and will give it another chance :)
Returning to the card for today, the Queen of Swords, she has clouds (not dissimilar from the Queen of Cups' waves, though) and birds as her landscape and eyes. Her colours are simply grey and black, her crown has an air symbol, and there is a sword that seems almost to jab her through the neck (opening her throat for communication, at a macabre push). And, as you can see above, the other swords Courts have their sword positioned in the exact same way: yeah, definitely not a fan of the Courts overall!
She seems cold, somewhat distant, but clear. She'll tell you the truth, but won't be purposely mean about it. She sees the big picture, and always acts from a place of rational calm.
I have some research to do today, to finish off the Celtic Lenormand companion book. My, I hope they actually bother to publish it! Ah well, we'll see. For the moment, I shall just put my best into it, and hope it's worthwhile. And if not, maybe I can analyse the content and the market, and find another way to get at least some of it out there...
I am grateful for my reference books and some time to go through them :)