Friday, 21 November 2014

Esmeralda Lenormand Overview

The Esmeralda Lenormand (Karla Souza, self-published) is a lovely little deck from Brazil.  And little is the word: although not a mini, its cards are slightly smaller than standard bridge size.  They are extremely vibrant, and have some fabulous partial lamination effects, such that certain elements in the cards really pop, an effect that is totally lost in the scans, unfortunately.  Might have to dig out my video camera to do this deck justice...

While the standard Lenormand people and objects are very clear on the cards, there are also lots of additional elements and symbols layered in.  For one thing, there are little graphic elements intended to help people learn or remember standard meanings.  So, on the Storks we see a stock market style graph pointing upward, for work prospects looking up, and a suitcase, for moving abroad.

The cards also give standard Lenormand timings, for those that consider these useful.  As far as I'm concerned, predicting something in ten to twenty years is an exercise in futility, but each to their own.  Another addition which strikes me as not very useful is that of alchemical elemental symbols at the top of each card.  Basically, all cards with Hearts as their playing card suit are associated to water, Clubs with earth, Diamonds with fire and Spades with air.  Therefore, knowing these very standard associations, you don't need the extra symbol.

Far more innovatively, there are also chakra associations on seven of the cards, and the Sun has a mini-title of Prana.  Interestingly, I have been thinking about chakra associations, and we picked five of the same cards out of seven, though Karla and I used the same cards in different places in three instances.  As well as giving the Sanskrit chakra name, she also includes the bija (seed) mantra for each, as well as their mandala.

Pagan influences are clear in the images, too, with Pentacles showing up on the Man and the Book.  The Whips, with its broom and black cat, is a cute nod to pagan iconography.  And the Coffin, with its Día de Los Muertos skull, is colourful and acknowledges alternate cultural, spiritual beliefs.  Another non-traditional aspect of this deck that I like is its use of corvids on the Birds card, the only deck I've seen with this.

Altogether, the deck is readable, attractive and practical.  It has a nice combination of traditional elements with innovations to help the beginner.  And it also has more pagan and new age associations, which are non-intrusive enough that you can take them or leave them.  For its sheer prettiness and shininess, it gets a big thumbs-up from me!


  1. What a great surprise to find your review! Thank you!

    1. Hi Karla,
      You're very welcome, I think it's a gorgeous deck!
      Best, Chloë