Review by Solandia
One of the most popular styles of Oracle decks across the world, the Lenormand deck, has been more obscure in the English-speaking world due to the lack of info or texts in English. I’ve often received questions over the years as to whether the Lenormand cards have a companion book, or a book that helps explains their use in readings. I never knew of one to recommend – until now.
Sylvie Steinbach has drawn on her thirty years of experience with the Lenormand cards to write Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, a well-needed English language manual to accompany the deck, a book “teaches the features of the cards and walks the reader through the process of using them as a psychic support to unveil the future”.
The 36 cards of the Lenormand have images of physical objects: the ship, house, clouds, tree, birds, coffin, stars, bear, the heart, the book, the man, the woman, etc, sometimes printed with poems or divinatory meanings, other times plain and unadorned. They were created in the 19th century by the famous French psychic and fortune-teller to Napoleon, Mademoiselle Marie Lenormand, and legend has it the prototype for the deck was found in her belongings after her death.
These particular Lenormand sets are known by several names – Le Petit Lenormand, the Little Lenormand, the Lenormand oracle, or the Mlle Lenormand cartomancy deck. (There are also the Grand Lenormand and Lenormand Tarot cards in existence, but these are not covered in the scope of this book.)
The 279-page book is divided into seven sections or secrets:
Secret 1: The Meanings of the Cards: 1 - 36
Secret 2: How to Use the Cards
Secret 3: Predicting with Details
Secret 4: Love and Romance
Secret 5: Business and Money
Secret 6: Health, Children and Spirituality
Secret 7: How to Improve Your Psychic Abilities
‘Secret 1’ is the biggest part of the book, and goes through each of the 36 cards in order, organising them into six groups. The book offers keywords/meanings, descriptions, astrological references, associated Lenormand playing card, special features (usually in regards to timing, numerology or alternative interpretations), body connection, card associations (these are actually 35 keyword combination meanings listed for each card, combined with each of the others), and footnotes. However, there are no card illustrations, so it’s best to have a set of the Lenormand cards to compare with the text descriptions.
How to Use the Cards is covered in Secret 2. Although the Lenormand cards can be used with virtually any spread, Sylvie describes the full-deck panoramic spread that is considered a classic for use with the Lenormand, and a ‘no-lay-out’ system based on charging the deck and selecting a ‘key card’.
The Lenormand is a practical oracle, and Secret 3 concentrates on the question of when: timing accuracy, how to assess locations, physical moves and trips, and how to describe an individual. Secrets 4 – 6 are for the reader who has become more experienced and comfortable with readings, and cover readings on individual’s love lives, relationships, business and career opportunities, and specific cards with especial meanings for the subject. Sometimes a controversial topic, health and fertility readings are also covered, though Sylvie stresses giving only insights rather than medical advice, for obvious reasons.
The seventh Secret has information on choosing the right Lenormand deck for you, with descriptions of the main Petit Lenormand decks on the market (no doubt having a deck with artwork you enjoy enhances the psychic abilities), followed by the ’10 Psychic Commandments’, or guidelines for the psychic apprentice. These are common sense but very useful admonitions to keep your own physical and psychic health when helping others in readings. Finally, there are three visualisation techniques for balancing or opening the mind.
Sylvie’s approach is informative and well-grounded, and she has written an excellent how-to manual and quick interpretation system to accompany the Lenormand cards, as well as a process for psychic development. Finally, there is a companion guide to reading and fortune-telling with the Lenormand Oracle cards.
Kate Hill (also known as Solandia) is the founder and editor of Aeclectic Tarot, and has reviewed more than 200 decks over the years.