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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: The Essential Lenormand

R E V I E W


The Essential Lenormand
Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling
Trade Paperback | 9780738736624
408 pages | 8 x 9 x 1 IN


TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Rana George
My interest in the Lenormand deck has grown over the past year or so, leading me to acquire several decks and books on the subject. The Essential Lenormand by Rana George is thorough, detailed, and jam-packed with fascinating and useful information. It’s exactly what I would expect from a woman who started working with the Lenormand deck when she was ten years old and continued through college, marriage, and children. Rana George leaves no card unturned, no nuance unnoticed, no aspect of the Lenormand unexplored. The tone of the writing is personal, and the reader is continually aware of what these cards have meant to George throughout her life. This combination of highly organized information and inspiring anecdotes feeds the mind, heart, and spirit in wonderful ways. Here we have both an exceptional reference book and a series of engaging narratives to be read and absorbed.

I found the section of the book covering Nuance Cards especially interesting. Rana George groups the cards into four different categories: action, portrait, mood, and time. Certain cards fall into more than one category. Using nuance cards works best with small spreads, adding power and subtlety to readings. I am also intrigued by her ideas on “charting” a pair of cards using columns with the following headings: A Person, Place, or Thing; Action; Description; Other. After filling in the columns, you combine what you have written for each card to get a sense of the many different interpretations that can be applied to those two cards.

If you want to immerse yourself in every angle and aspect of the Lenormand, you can’t go wrong with this book.

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

"Lenormand is a 36-card deck with simple, straightforward illustrations that provide direct answers for the reader. For over 150 years, the Lenormand deck has been a popular divination tool around the world, and it’s rapidly becoming a phenomenon in the US. Providing step-by-step instructions and a guide to individual card meanings, leading expert Rana George shows how to use the Lenormand for predictions on any topic: relationships, work, finances, family, and more. From simple inquiries to critical dilemmas, the Lenormand provides a glimpse of the future when you need it most. The Essential Lenormand includes traditional reading methods, Rana George’s personal techniques, tips for working with multiple spreads, and ways to use the Lenormand with the tarot. Use the Lenormand to unlock the secrets of your destiny, and reveal the knowledge hidden within."

THE AUTHOR

Rana George (The Woodlands, TX) comes from a long lineage of well-known psychics, seers, and mystics. She has used her inherent abilities to study Lenormand for the past three decades. George leads regular workshops and study groups, and she was a main presenter at TaroCon 2012. She has also consulted on the design of several Lenormand decks and published several articles on cartomancy.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

“Every card resembles a word. String those cards together with other cards and it becomes a sentence. That sentence turns into a story with every additional card added.”

“In Lenormand, the position of the cards is very important. They are linear; the last card is the final say.”

“At the beginning of your Lenormand Journey, consistency must be your watchword. As you take the first steps, start with a set of meanings and stick to them, making them your foundation and base.”

“Questions dealing with time, as in ‘when,’ are a little tricky. Time is elusive; we influence time frames with our actions. The cards’ time is different from our material time; in one sense, we are trying to access wisdom that doesn’t adhere to our linear, human time. What the cards will do is give us the sequence of events that can help us determine an estimation of time once we can determine the context.”

BASIC INFORMATION / APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY / ART

This 408-page quality trade paperback book measures 8 by 9 by 1 inches. The cover illustration by Ginger Kelly Studio combines rich jewel tones with an overall “dark” quality that suits the subject matter perfectly. The central image – a burnished gold key – is repeated in dark gray throughout the book.

Black text and grayscale images are printed on white stock. Book design (by Rebecca Zins) is clean, clear, and reader-friendly, with excellent use of gray sidebars in Part II (A Closer Look at the Thirty-Six Cards). The title font is suitably distinctive and “artsy,” paired with an easy-to-read serif font for the text.

Illustrations are from the Lenormand Oracle card deck published by Lo Scarabeo. Contents as follows:

Introduction
Divining and Symbols
What Is Lenormand?
The Benefits of Reading Lenormand
How This Book Is Organized

Part I: Beginning with Lenormand
  • Finding Your Deck
  • First Things First
  • Questions Lead to Answers
  • Stick with Your System
  • Journal Your Cards
  • Exercise Your Deck
  • Using a Significator or a Focus Card
  • My Story with Lenormand

Part II: A Closer Look at the Thirty-Six Cards
For each card we are given:
  • Card number, name, and image
  • Playing Card Association
  • Detailed description/interpretation of the card
  • Contextual Meanings (Future; Nuance; Woman or Man; Work; Love; Health, Body, and Spirit; Money; Time or Timing; Advice or Action; Orientation; Objects and Areas)
  • A Personal Story about This Card
  • Traditional Meanings in the Grand Tableau
  • Some Combinations and Examples/Sample Readings

Part III: Reading Techniques and Spreads
  • Combination Drills
  • The Answer Line
  • The Box Spread
  • The Decision Spread
  • The Astrological Spread
  • The Pyramid Spread
  • The Cross Spread
  • Changing a Fortune
  • The Grand Tableau

Appendix A: Who Was Mademoiselle Lenormand? A Chronology
Appendix B: Focus Cards
Appendix C: Quick Interpretation Guide
Appendix D: Positive, Negative, and Neutral Cards
Appendix E: The Houses and Their Attributes
Appendix F: Court Cards
Appendix G: Lenormand and Tarot
Glossary
Acknowledgments


In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Reading with the KARD Spread

I was just playing around with ideas for spreads and came up with one that used the positions Keep, Reconsider, and Discard, each paired with “Because.”

When I wrote it out I realized if I just added something beginning with “A” I would be spelling “KARD” with the spread position titles. So I added “Analyze,” and a new spread was born with a quirky name: the KARD spread. (I figure KARD will be easy to remember because of Card, as in Tarot Card, yes?)

(I know it's not impossible that someone else has already thought of this. If you've copyrighted it or something, be sure to let me know!)

Let’s see what I can get out of this. I am using Corrine Kenner’s wonderful Wizard’s Tarot, illustrated by John J. Blumen (Llewellyn Worldwide).

The layout looks like this:

8-CARD “K A R D” SPREAD
by Zanna Starr

………………………..1, 2…………………………

3,4……………………………………………….5,6

……………………..…7, 8………………………...


1) Keep or embrace this: TEN OF WANDS
I want to keep/embrace my ability to be efficient, organized, and committed to accomplishing what I set out to accomplish, even if things weigh me down near the end.
2) Because… ACE OF SWORDS
Because this trait helps me focus my mind, think clearly, and make decisions quickly and with confidence.


3) Analyze this: THREE OF PENTACLES
I want to analyze what it takes in terms of training or guidance for me to achieve mastery and craftsmanship in an area of study or skill.
4) Because… THREE OF CUPS
Because my analysis can show how interaction and celebration with close friends can play a large role in that process.


5) Reconsider this: SIX OF CUPS
I want to reconsider how I view past relationships and memories.
6) Because… THE SUN
Because these past relationships and memories have an impact on my current identity and personal strength, my self-awareness and ability to appreciate the brightest, most rewarding features of my life.


7) Discard or avoid this: FOUR OF CUPS
I want to discard/avoid any tendency to ignore or miss opportunities or gifts that are readily available to me.
8) Because… SIX OF SWORDS
Because ignoring or missing opportunities or gifts can make my journey turbulent, stressful, and even dangerous.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Everything is coming up ACES!

I am delighted to welcome Helen Howell back to Tarot Notes to give us some insights and impressions about the Tarot Aces!

Everything is coming up ACES!
by Helen Howell

Now we all know the term Ace as meaning that’s good, excellent etc. It’s a term we use when we want to express that something is going great. It demonstrates in one word the potential we are seeing. When an Ace in the tarot deck appears for us, we too get a glimpse of what the potential could be.

The Aces are that first step of their suit. They are the new energy not yet fully formed. What it shows us is the potential of what it could be. It’s just the beginning, but what a great beginning the Aces offer. Now like all cards in the tarot, it’s not enough just to get the card, it’s what you do with the information it gives you, that really determines whether everything is coming up Aces or not.

Bearing this in mind lets take a look at the potential of each of the four Aces in the deck:

Rider Tarot (US Games)
Ace of Swords, by its very nature refers to how we think and how we communicate those thoughts. It’s the suit that represents mental activity and clarity. Swords is also a masculine energy. When this Ace shows up it heralds the opportunity to put those thoughts into some sort of working order from which to proceed. What this card does is it urges you to find a positive solution to any situation you may be facing. It’s a strong card as indicated by its masculine energy, and suggests strength and courage to face those challenges that may have to be faced. 

Rider Tarot (US Games)
Ace of Wands represents energy and action. This Ace tells you that the time may just be right to apply those new and creative thoughts in a positive way which helps to make them a reality. Again a masculine energy, it’s strong and creative and encourages you set your ideas in motion. It shows the potential for will power to see something materialise and not back away from the challenge.

Rider Tarot (US Games)
Ace of Cups lets us tap into our feelings and emotions and imagination. It’s a feminine energy. The potential here is to get to understand yourself a little better, and a chance to allow those feelings to emerge and take form. It offers the opportunity to let your imagination fly free and the chance to follow your heart. When the Ace of Cups turns up in a reading it can indicate a swell of emotions/feelings, whether they be good or bad, but the potential here is to understand them and why we feel the way we do and what we should do about it.

Rider Tarot (US Games)
Ace of Pentacles is also a feminine energy and the suit represents for us the material world, those things which are tangible, including money, house, work etc. This is the Ace that shows us the potential to manifest those thoughts and ideas by the creative conception of an idea (Wands), the emotions that support it (Cups), the mental activity that forms it (Swords), and the manifestation of it into reality (Pentacles).

The Ace of Pentacles is the result of all those other Aces and their suits and what it shows us is how those emotions, thoughts and actions can be manifested into something tangible.


In the Rider-Waite deck we see all the Aces are presented by a hand from the heavens, this indicates a gift, but just accepting the gift is not enough. The real potential of the Aces still depends on the action you take. So when an Ace appears for you, remember the potential it holds and everything will be ACE!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Five-Ten-Fifteen / Mystical Cats Tarot

Wow, it’s been a VERY long time since I did this little exercise! Be forewarned: I am using a deck I just received in the mail – Mystical Cats Tarot by Lunaea Weatherstone, with art by Mickie Mueller (Llewellyn).

(Watch for my review of this deck here on the blog at a future date!)

For now, I am going to just jump right in and “throw” some cards.

The purpose of this 3-card spread is to help me determine what area(s) of life need my attention at this time. For this spread, I shuffle the deck then count down to the 5th card in the stack and turn it over. Next I count down to the 10th card after that and turn it over. Finally, I count down to the 15th card after that and turn it over. Is there a significance to five-ten-fifteen? I don't know. It just sounded good to me!

The three cards go into the following positions:
1.....2.....3
(1) Urgent. Deal with this right now.
(2) Important but not urgent. Can be set aside for now, but don't forget.
(3) Not important. Not urgent. Let it go. Forget it.


(1) Urgent. Deal with this right now.
THE LOVERS
Somehow I just knew this card (or something with a similar message) would show up here. Without going into a lot of personal detail, I will simply say that a significant relationship does need to be on the front burner right now, along with a significant choice or decision about how to continue within that relationship. In the book that accompanies this deck, Luneae Weatherstone writes, “small irritations may bring on a hiss now and then, but their love is bigger than any quarrel.” I hope so.

(2) Important but not urgent. Can be set aside for now, but don't forget.
SIX OF FIRE, rx
When this card is drawn reversed, it can refer to the danger of letting power go to my head or the possibility that others are against me due to jealousy or resentment. On this card, an alpha cat accepts tokens of admiration from other cats. As long as he truly deserves their respect and admiration, all will be well.

(3) Not important. Not urgent. Let it go. Forget it.
FIRE KING
Like the alpha cat on the Six of Fire, the Fire King is a powerful figure – confident, gallant, and courageous. I get the sense that in this position, the Fire King is telling me to let go of a desire for control, power, or leadership in relationships right now. This is not the time to go to the mat to prove that I’m the “top cat.” Sometimes strength is better shown by being willing to cooperate or compromise, by respecting others, and by letting somebody else “win” once in awhile.

A lot of truth in these three cards for me! Those two “boss cats” from the Fire family seem to point a finger straight at my Sagittarius Sun, warning me that ego and bluntness and combativeness are not among my more attractive qualities, and I would be wise to put a lid on that sort of thing for awhile.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

An Interview with Tarot Draconis

After I wrote my review of this deck (which can be read HERE), the dragons strongly suggested that I take a moment to interview the deck, and that I share that interview on this blog. I do not say “no” to dragons (or at least not often!)

I am using my THREE-CARD INTERVIEW.

1....................2.....................3
Tarot Draconis
by Davide Corsi
Llewellyn / Lo Scarabeo 

1. What would you like me to understand about you?
THE HANGED MAN

I would like you to understand that I believe in the value of sacrifice and dedication to an idea. Some would call me generous, and others would call me mad. I don’t care. I know that listening to me and heeding my messages will bring not death, but rebirth.

2. What would you like me to understand about myself?
NINE OF WANDS

Your sincerity allows you to rally others around a cause you champion. It is up to you to use that gift for destruction or for creation as you carry the torch lit by our Fire. [Note: The Golden Dawn links this card with the Moon in Sagittarius, my Sun Sign.)

3. What strengths and/or weaknesses do we have as a team?
TWO OF WANDS

In the Number Two, there is you and there is me. Together, our energy is that of Mars in Aries, and we can accomplish important things. No castle can resist our fire, no chain can subdue us. Our energies are in balance, reinforcing our strength as a team. Our weakness may be that we tend to push too hard, too fast, or too far. Sometimes strength is shown by holding back or being subtle, allowing Fire to warm and comfort without burning to a crisp!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Tarot Draconis

R E V I E W



78 cards, 64-page instruction booklet
Llewellyn / Lo Scarabeo 
ISBN-10: 0738739421
ISBN-13: 978-0738739427
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 3 x 1.2 inches


(My apologies for labeling the card images "Draconis Tarot" when it should be "Tarot Draconis.")

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I like dragons (and dragon-themed decks), so of course this deck appealed to me immediately. I loved the examples of the cards that I saw on line. I like the way the artist gave many of the dragons a distinct “attitude” or “personality.” Unfortunately, most of the card images are darker than I would like. Many of the images look muddy, and details are difficult to see or entirely lost.

I do like the color schemes based on elemental/suit associations. You can tell at a glance if a card is from the suit of Cups, Pentacles, Wands, or Swords. To me, that adds something to a layout. You immediately see elemental strength/weakness and relationships in a reading.

I am quite fond of the Little White Book (LWB) that comes with this deck. It starts with a quote by the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Who wouldn’t love that? After a discussion of what dragons have symbolized over the centuries (and still symbolize) to humans, we get a description of what this deck offers: “a mythical past of Humanity. . . a world where heroes in armour achieve their destiny by fighting epic battles to conquer kingdoms and where the skies are obscured by the passage of Dragons.”

That’s very nice – but what I enjoy most are the descriptions of the individual suits. Here are the opening lines of each:

Chalices – The Dragons of the Dawn
“We come to the days before days, in a time when the World was a dream, and Man was still a soul. . .”

Pentacles – The Dragons of Wealth
“We are the first-born of Mother Earth and we know her secrets. . .”

Wands – The Dragons of the Battle
“Our home is the flaming heart of the Battle. . . This is the Torch lit by our Fire. It is up to you to use it for destruction or for creation.”

Swords – The Dragons of Twilight
“We come from the Shadows, from that realm in between, inhabited by ghosts and restless souls. . .”

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

Embodying all the magic and primitive purity of the mighty winged beasts, Davide Corsi's bold dragon art perfectly combines the epic grandeur of classic fantasy with the iconic power of the traditional Rider-Waite tarot. It has been said that dragons share a common sight everywhere—in the skies, in the sea, and on the land. In this deck, the visionary wisdom of the dragons will be your guide through the mystical and spiritual worlds.


BASIC INFORMATION

Davide Corsi is an illustrator based in Italy. In addition to Tarot Draconis, he is the artist for the Vampire Tarot of Eternal Night, The Tarot of the Elves, the Pictorial Key Tarot, and The Ghost Tarot, all published by Llewellyn.

This deck has the standard Tarot components:

  • Major Arcana: 22 cards (zero through 21)
  • Four suits: Chalices, Pentacles, Wands, Swords
  • Court Cards: King, Queen, Knight, Knave
  • Pips: Ace through Ten for each suit

The Major Arcana begins with a glowing golden egg atop a pile of treasure for The Fool and ends with the egg breaking open as a baby dragon emerges on The World.

A number of reviewers have expressed disappointment in the Court Cards from this deck, describing them as “uninspired.” This is largely due to the approach that was used in creating them. For example, notice that the horse on all four Knight cards is the same horse in the same position. The Queens feature the same woman for each suit in a slightly different pose but sitting on the same throne, with the color scheme varying based on the suit. This is true of the Knaves, Knights, and Kings as well.

If you’re interested, you can also get the following from Lo Scarabeo/Llewellyn:
_Draconis Journal_
_Draconis Satin Bag_

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The cards measure just over 2-1/2 inches wide and 4-3/4 inches tall. (Dimensions of the deck in the box are listed on Amazon as 5.1 x 3 x 1.2 inches and on the Llewellyn web site as 3 x 5 x 1 IN.)

Card fronts have black borders and a picture frame colored for each suit (blue-cups, light green-coins, red-wands, gray-swords) or Major Arcana (gold). The backs also have black borders with an ornate golden frame on a red background and a gold emblem of a dragon.

There are no labels or titles on the cards. Majors have a Roman numeral at the top and bottom. Courts have symbols for Knave, Knight, Queen, or King at the top and suit symbols at the bottom. Pips have a numeral at the top and suit symbol at the bottom.

Quality of the card stock is acceptable – somewhere between sturdy and flimsy.  The cards are not laminated.

ART

I would describe the art as a classic fantasy style that comes across very well on the Llewellyn web site, where some of the cards are displayed digitally. Unfortunately, that level of beauty and “sizzle” does not make it into the cards. This is not the fault of the artist, of course, but probably the printing process.



In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.