The Enchanted Lenormand Oracle from Caitlin Matthews and Virginia Lee

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The Enchanted Lenormand Oracle from Caitlin Matthews and Virginia Lee is the most recent new deck to cross my desk through the good graces of the publisher, Watkins Publishing, this beautifully produced set lives up to the promise of both its name and its presentation–it is truly enchanting

The lush colors of the card illustrations–both the front images and the well-designed back image–create the visual magic which bring Matthews’ ideas to life.

The cards are printed on substantial cardstock with a gloss finish, making them easy to handle.

The images are a mix of historical and fantastical elements. The images are seen as they would appear when viewed through a crystal ball. This unusual visual perspective allows the reader to focus closely on the image, which gives a more focused reading.

The corresponding playing card appears in miniature at the top of each card, making it easier to work with those associations. Even if you have them memorized, it’s still helpful to have the visual cue.

The back design of the cards shows the four aces of their suits, along with their symbols, wrapped in scrolling branches, further creating a sense of magic.

The deck comes with two versions each of the Man and Woman cards, a welcome acknowledgement of the multiplicity of relationship possibilities between romantic partners. These are also useful if a client’s question concerns a non-romantic relationship, such as a female client asking about a difficult situation at work with a female supervisor.

The Whip card has been transformed to the Broom. While still carrying an implication of force, Matthews sees the broom as a neutral influence whose effects can be positive or challenging, depending on the client’s response to the energy of the situation.

Matthews also changes card 36, The Cross, to Crossing, out of respect for readers whose spiritual beliefs do not encompass The Cross. I appreciate this change not only for that reason, but also for the idea of transition involved with Crossing, rather than the feeling of stasis and inescapability that often comes with The Cross.

A new, 37th card comes at the end of the deck, The Diviner. Representing Mademoiselle Lenormand herself, Matthews notes that this card is “the deck’s own internal oracle and teacher” and offer several suggestions for working with this card in readings. The Diviner card re-establishes the focus on the client, and emphasizes the client’s possibilities and responsibilities. This is particularly helpful for reading for one’s self, as I find it often serves as a reality check on the reading, removing ambiguities and eliminating the ability to attempt to spin the reading with a more desirable, but less honest, message.

The set also includes a layout sheet for the Big Picture spread (what Matthews calls the Grand Tableau), making it easier for new readers to learn this layout.

The companion book provides a look at the history of the Lenormand deck, and a thorough grounding in reading techniques for both beginning and advanced readers. A number of example readings provide excellent guidance on interpreting the cards individually and as groups within the reading.

The Enchanted Lenormand Oracle is beautiful, magical, and useful. It honors tradition while incorporating needed adaptations for the twenty-first century, and I am pleased it has found a home in my library.

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