Friday, 17 October 2014

Pagan Lenormand Overview

Box, deck and booklet
Gina Pace created the Pagan Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2005), so authoring the Pagan Lenormand (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) was a clear step along the same path.  Though in terms of artwork it is closer to the Silver Witchcraft Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) by the same artist.

Lo Scarabeo are really breaking the mould this year.  Once again, this is a borderless deck, with no international titles.  And the box, too, is a nice, solid contraption with a lift-off lid and a ribbon to help get the cards and booklet out. 

As for the booklet, it is most definitely not a LWB.  Rather, it is nice, has greyscale images to show spread layouts, as well as some decorative images.  There is a page devoted to each card, with keywords and an explanation of the Pagan Lenormand image, as well as the Lenormand interpretation.

Gypsy Heart Spread
The spreads offered are interesting and thematically appropriate, though some may complain of their single card positional meanings.  They are a ten card Gypsy's Heart Love Spread, an Elemental Square of Nine Spread (a nine square with alternate positional meanings based on the four elements), a six card "U" for Universe Spread, a six card Fork in the Road Spread, and a Pentagram of Five Spread.  However, traditional reading methods are left out for the most part - there is no explanation of how to combine card meanings, and no explanation of the Grand Tableau, either.

Multi-cultural People Cards
The only thing that came as a slight disappointment here is that the booklet is only half the length it seems, as it comes in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German (though the foreign language sections are condensed and don't give the spreads or some additional information).  Overall, though, Gina has made thoughtful choices to represent Lenormand ideas in a modern, pagan context.  From a labyrinth walking meditation to candlelit spirit guide quests, via a trip to the mountains and pagans in a regular suburban house, she achieves her aim well.

Another aspect I like about the deck is the people cards.  As has become frequent practice, there are two man and two woman cards, facing in different directions.  These allow same sex readings if desired, but also have two other uses.  Firstly, they offer a good cultural balance, with a Native American, an African American, a Caucasian and an Asian figure.  Secondly, each wears different colour robes and holds a different object (smudging sage, an incense burner etc), so together they represent the four quarters of a sacred circle, and could be used as such on an altar.

House, Dog, Garden, Mountain
In terms of the cards, the artwork is accomplished, though not everyone may feel comfortable with the robed figures (an issue also raised with the Silver Witchcraft Tarot).  Although there are vignettes of modern pagan life on many cards, the Lenormand object or person is still mostly very clear.  One slight exception to this is the Dog, which is represented by a spirit Wolf (wild ancestor to the dog).  In fact, the Fox, Bear, Stork and Dog are all "spirit guides", which means they rise up ethereally from meditating people.  I guess there aren't many real wild animals in most modern, urban pagans' lives, so there is certainly a logic to this.

Pagan Lenormand (large) and French Cartomancy
Each card also has a playing card insert.  These are taken directly from the Dondorf Lenormand, which Lo Scarabeo issued as the French Cartomancy deck (Lo Scarabeo, 2005).  At first, I found this a little jarring - having an old-fashioned, hand-drawn card insert on these modern, CGI images.  However, as it is basically a card from a separate deck, the lack of consistency between the two styles isn't as strange as having Majors and Minors by different artists in a tarot deck.  And it makes a good deal of sense to have something which readers will already be quite familiar with, given how different the images are generally.

Pagan Lenormand (centre) and Silver Witchcraft Tarot
Overall, my only complaint about this deck, and unfortunately this is a big one, is its size.  The cards are huge, bigger than many tarot decks (well, they are tarot deck height, but more square).  They are nearly twice the size of a regular Lenormand deck!  So, it comes as no surprise that the companion book doesn't talk about any spread larger than ten cards: you'd need a huge table or a bed to lay a Grand Tableau.  Even a line of five won't fit on my scanner, and for a line of three I had to turn them sideways and then rotate the image.  These are unwieldy, and though I enjoy the theme and the imagery, I sadly won't be using them very often.

17 comments:

  1. Oh no! Stiff LoScarabeo art invades the Lenormand world! Will they leave nothing unscathed! ;)

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    1. Well, you know I'm often a fan of Lo Scarabeo decks, and I actually think the artwork here has a somewhat more natural feel than the Silver Witchcraft Tarot. Overall, I like this deck other than the size :)

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    2. Plenty of room in the world for stiff witch decks. Just not in my collection. :D tee hee

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  2. Lol, Carla.

    There are aspects of these which remind me of the Cannon Reid Witches. Maybe it is the robes or the colours.

    Lo Scarabeo certainly have changed their direction. I'm not sure how I feel about these images. A lot of these portraits (even though well done) lack something - maybe emotion or movement? Maybe they are different in person or in use.

    Great overview though. I like the multicultural aspect in the people setup. I guess it is also nice to have a companion Lenormand in the same style if you use the tarot deck by the same artist. Nice for joint readings.

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    1. Stiff as a board, but alas not light as a feather. :D

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    2. I'd agree they're not very expressive, but I do like the symbolism and ideas Gina Pace has put in. And I like non-traditional decks that are still easily readable :)

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  3. I agree with Steve about the lack of movement due to the stiff robes.
    Although I don't like this style of art, I do appreciate the thought behind it but, (this gets boring), I am anxiously waiting and saving my pennies for the Celtic Lenormand !!!

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    1. Tee hee, it still warms my heart to hear people are looking forward to the Celtic Lenormand :)

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  4. I haven't purchased a Lenormand deck yet. I read a description that described Lenormand as a much more "direct" reading- more yes/no - what's going on right now… more so than tarot. (More situation and less feelings?) Would you say that's accurate? (I use runes, and they can sometimes be more direct than tarot, for me anyways.) Maybe Lenormand cards are like the runestones of the tarot world? :)

    I have been tempted to purchase a deck.

    *Oh, so many things to learn* :D

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    1. *I* would say that's accurate as that's how I use Lenormand -- but Chloe uses them differently. So I think it would depend on who you ask. I like Lenormand for fortune telling. I wouldn't say they are the runes of the tarot world because the only thing they have in common with tarot is that they are cards. Why not pick up a deck and get started? I think you will like them. I recommend something traditional as a starter (but then I would!). Why not try Mlle Lenormand Blue Owl? It's a good starter. :)

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    2. Now, now, Carla, I've seen you do some deep, psychological readings with Lenormands, too!
      I would agree Lenormands can be very practical and direct, though I don't tend to predict or ask yes/no questions, MizPixie. As Carla says, they're definitely interesting. And I'd say choose a deck that you find attractive, whether traditional or not. If you don't like the art, you probably won't use the deck. That's what I'm like, anyway! :D

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    3. Thanks for the replies! I agree with needing to like the art. (I'm a graphic designer by day, so the art is a huge factor for me! Probably too much so, but I know that I just won't use it if I don't love it :) I like that it depends on the reader, too. Perfect insight. Thank you Carla and Inner Whispers (Chloe? I am guessing?) :) I will take a peek at the Blue Owl set :D And explore. xoxox

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    4. Yes, MPC, I'm Chloë :) As well as the Blue Owl, you could take a look at Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Lenormand, the Under the Roses, and the Mystical Lenormand - three very different art styles, all lovely :)

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  5. Great review and I am personally loving these cards. I like the size of them for meditating with, and also to study side by side with standard size Lenormand decks. For me the simple style and those robes work well (I love Gina Pace's work anyway).

    Nice deck and great for someone who is fairly new to the Lenormand party, like me!

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    1. Glad you're enjoying them, Mary! I hadn't thought about meditating with them, as I generally do that with a card that particularly pops from a larger reading, but it's a good thought... :)

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  6. It's the smoothly blank faces and clothes of the quickie computer generated deck. I miss the talented roster of Lo Scarabeo illustrators when I see junk like this.

    Nope, there is no comparison with the Celtic Lenormand. Squee!!

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    1. I actually found the faces and clothes here a bit more natural-feeling than those of the Silver Witchcraft Tarot, but I do know what you mean, JJ! :)

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