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Friday, September 21, 2012

REVIEW: Freshly Squeezed Lenormand

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Freshly Squeezed Lenormand
by Jean Hamilton-Fford
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TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

When life hands you lemons -- consult the Freshly Squeezed Lenormand! In fact, it's fine to consult it when life hands you a delicious lemon meringue pie and all is right with your world. I am a newcomer to the whole Lenormand oracle deck world, having only recently acquired the French Cartomancy deck by Lo Scarabeo. (So if you're looking for a Lenormand expert's view on Freshly Squeezed, you'll need to look elsewhere.)

Having said that, it's my opinion that Jean Hamilton-Fford has created a charming deck, which she presents in attractive handcrafted packaging. The surprise gift included with the deck is a feast for the senses, and the golden organza bag is the perfect home for this lemony delight.

The cards are not as thick and sturdy as some decks, so you do need to treat them extra gently, and make sure your hands and your reading surface are always clean and dry. After all, Madame Lenormand deserves only the best!

The words printed on the cards are blank-verse poems with irregular rhythm and intermittent  rhymes and near rhymes. I love the sensory details and evocative phrases. For example, Card 20 (Meeting Place) includes the lines: "The Meeting Place is full of sun / It dances brightly on the flowers / It showers those who visit here / With love, with long spent hours / Of holding hands, of stolen kisses / Of good company and reminiscences."

I especially like Jean's comment near the end of her LWB (little white book) for this deck: "Whatever your journey with the Lenormand, I encourage you to make it FUN. No one is absolutely 100% correct. There are no absolutes in Lenormand. Everyone develops their own spreads. Everyone develops their own habits and techniques. . . Keep it inventive and make it your way."

As suggested in the LWB, I drew a card this morning to engage my focus for today. Number 6 -- Clouds -- came forward. I find that there are "cloudy moments" in every day, and I do have one or two small clouds hanging over my head at the moment -- but clouds also provide blessed relief from the sun on a hot day. It will be interesting to see what meaning this has for me as the day progresses. I plan to share larger readings with this deck in the future.


In Jean Hamilton-Fford's own words, she is "an author, a columnist, an international speaker, a life coach, an artist, a mother, sister and wife... not necessarily in that order."

Jean describes this self-published oracle deck as "A New Take on an Old Divination -- Complete With All the Pulp." When she immersed herself in Lenormand as a way to round out and question her Tarot studies, she noticed that "there were so many cards that were full of heavy, negative and hopeless images and verses." She also found no real relevance in some of the image-verse combinations in the Lenormand.

The inspiration for the Freshly Squeezed Lenormand came from dreams given to Jean before and during the project. She wanted to create a Lenormand deck in which she could offer hope and in which the images and verses were applicable to the current day. Some of the card titles are the same as the traditional Lenormand deck titles, but many are not. For example, Card 1 in the Freshly Squeezed Lenormand is titled "Messenger." The traditional title is "Horseman." Jean titles Card 12 "Anxiety." She writes: "Traditionally, this card is known as the Birds/Owls (representative of two elderly women). There are so many culturally ambiguous meanings with those pictures, I felt compelled to update it."

There are no card titles on the cards themselves. The card number is printed directly above the verse on each card.

Jean advises us that any card can be used to represent the Querent (the person consulting the cards for information). She refers to this as "Your Card" throughout the LWB (little white book).

Four unnumbered "Mystery Cards" are included in the deck: YES, NO, NOW, and LATER. Jean suggests that we separate these cards from the main deck and use them "only when needed." When that time comes, we are to randomly place the Mystery Cards in the deck and shuffle a few times. Next, we turn over cards until we come to the Querent's card. Then we continue turning cards until we come across the first Mystery card. The number of cards between the Querent's card and the Mystery Card helps us determine the certainty of the answer and if there is any 'wiggle room' regarding the strength of the answer.

The LWB for this deck is actually a PDF file that you can download from the internet and print. I printed mine in "booklet format." The content is extremely useful and clear. The type is a nice size and easy to read. I agree with Jean when she says, "There's nothing worse than trying to read 4 or 5 point font through a whole little white book." 

The LWB contains the following sections:
  • Acknowledgements
  • How to Care for Your Deck
  • Introduction
  • Using Your Deck
  • Detailed titles and descriptions for each card, along with black-and-white illustrations of the card
  • Spreads
  • About Jean
The cards are numbered 1 through 36. For each card Jean tells us the comparable card from the traditional Lenormand deck. She then offers a detailed explanation of the symbols and images on the card and why she chose them. Jean does not provide a separate interpretation for reversed (upside down) cards. After each card description she asks, "What do you see in this card? How would you interpret it?" Space is provided for Notes.


The cards in this deck are small, measuring 6cm by 8cm (just over 3-1/4 by just over 2-1/4 inches). Card stock is light-weight and will probably not withstand poker-style shuffling (I didn't even try). If you use a push-pull shuffle or when laying out cards, you'll need to go slowly to make sure cards don't cling to each other.

The cards are not laminated.  Jean warns: "While the ink on the cards will not come off due to a special coating on the paper, the cards will react with wet surfaces and they bubble up like puff paint."

The box is handcrafted and relatively sturdy, but you'll need to treat it gently. A golden organza bag and another free gift are packaged with the deck.


Jean views each card in this deck as a miniature work of art that can mean different things to different people but makes current sense when paired with the accompanying verse.

Each card is a collage of images or, in some cases, a single image. For example, Card 14 combines a field of flowers with a fox wearing a tie labeled "Deception," a yellow diamond warning sign labeled "Wrong!" and the word "LIES." On Card 35 we have an ocean in the background, with a desk, bookcase, and lamp sitting on the beach in the foreground. An anchor is hooked around one leg of the desk. Card 31 simply shows a blazing sun against an orange background. Card 6 depicts both dark and light clouds against a blue sky.

Some of the images contain more detail than others, but all of them encourage the eye and mind to explore. There are no borders, so the images fill the entire card face. A scroll positioned in the top third of each card contains verses that pertain to the meaning of the card.

Card backs feature a photograph of lemons.

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.


  1. Jean is a remarkable, positive and wonderful human being... I now possess her deck and will treasure it always... it is colorful and beautifully made - She is to be commended for all the work that went into this great project!!!!!
    - Laura Cline

  2. Zanna -

    I loved watching the process of this deck. Jean has done such an outstanding job with it, and your review followed suit! :)


    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Bonnie! It's always so much fun to watch a deck take shape.

  3. fun fun fun... in the summertime- NO wait!
    it's the Equinox!!!!

  4. This looks amazing!

    1. It's a clever little deck, James. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thanks for your review, Zanna! I really appreciate your approach. It is balanced, reasoned and very straightforward. I am so delighted you like the deck and hope you have many happy hours with it! Love, light and blessings! ♥

    1. You are more than welcome, Jean. I admire your creativity and attention to detail and quality!

  6. You make sense out of the most complex topics.
    psychic reading free


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~ Zanna