Note: From here on out I’m going to refer to this deck as the “Fortune Telling” cards because the actual title I understand is offensive to some people.
So I confessed on my Facebook page that I have a love-hate relationship with this deck. That remains true.
UGH. Here's part of the hate. It clashes so much with the really intriguing card fronts. The back is this strange blue-gradient-silhouette picture that doesn’t connect at all to the front-side imagery. It’s the same picture as is on the front of the box, so I don’t know why they went with blue. It would’ve looked so great in orange, or just black and white. The first time I saw the card backs I entertained the thought of modding them. I might still, if I can come up with something clever.
The illustrations are crude, some of them so dark and strange that you can’t even make them out (see picture on left), and the text is wonky, but...it works. Between the traditional playing card association, the card meaning, and the illustration, there’s a wonderful dark-smokey-parlor-with-candles-and-crushed-velvet vibe to the whole deck. (Which is why I hate the card backs so much! They kill that vibe.)
Great! Good card stock, nice and slippery. Easy to shuffle. Box is a standard playing card box. No complaints here. In fact, they feel fantastic in hand. I don't know how to explain it. They just have a really nice lamination and it's fun just to handle the cards.
The LWB talks briefly about Lenormand as the inspiration for this deck, and includes two reading formats - the short reading, and the long reading. The reading formats described are very interesting, and worth giving a shot. I did a modified version of the short reading for myself when I first got it. Essentially I placed the Lady card in the center, and then placed eight random cards around that to answer a question about what was immediately present in my situation. It turned out to be a good reading! You can see the full extent of the LWB in the first picture of this article. It really is that small/simple.
Super affordable. I got mine for $7.95 at what is now my most favorite New Age Metaphysical shop ever.
This is essentially a Lenormand deck, but with extra cards. However, I wouldn’t use this as a Lenormand deck by taking out the non-applicable cards. I think I prefer to keep it as its own unique entity. My reasoning for this is mostly because some of the cards that are in traditional Lenormand have different meanings in this deck. This could get very very confusing.
When I first started looking through the cards, I noticed that a number of them were very very negative and dramatic. For example:
"The Scythe presages disappointment and when near the coffin, early death."
Whoa. Okay. In Tarot we don't even go so far as to say that the Death card means actual physical death.
"Clouds with the dark side toward the person indicates divorce..."
"The broken glass foretells ill luck for long years if near; but if distant, death of a friend."
See how specific they are in forecasting doom? And that is where I find the biggest problem with these cards. I think you really need intuition here to temper the messages and adjust them to reality. Or, to have a good humor and take the cards messages with a grain of salt.
I can see a situation where Broken Glass means that you need to slow down and be careful before you break something valuable and fragile (whether that's a physical thing or a relationship). Or, it could mean that you have a shattered self-image, depending on what other cards are present. Or, it could indeed indicate a string of bad luck. Or maybe that you need to make some repairs around the house.
Overall, I’m not inclined to use these for self reflection. The kinds of questions I want to ask these cards are:
- What’s coming up for me this next week?
- What can I expect at the BBQ this weekend?
- Will this business venture be successful?
Here is what I have learned from testing this deck out on myself. You have to be super clear on whether you’re going to use traditional Lenormand meanings - or the meanings as given on the cards - or intuition - or a mixture of the three or what. Otherwise you're just going to get confused or be unhappy with the cards.
Here is a past/present/future reading that I did for myself.
This made sense to me up until the future card. Why? Because I was following the given card meanings, reading them right off the card, and nodding along. Yes, yes, in the past I was largely successful at whatever I put my hand to. Yes, I am engaged in some successful business ventures right now. Wait- disappointment in the future? I stumbled, because that didn't sound right. Sure, the future is predictive, and sure, there could be disappointment, but something didn't feel right about that interpretation. And then I remembered that the traditional Scythe meaning in Lenormand can be cutting away things. Clearing things. As it turned out, the night I did this reading I was planning on going through my wardrobe and really decluttering. Decluttering is a huge theme for me in the coming weeks, so HA! There it was. That was the future meaning that really made sense, and that I could validate.
I am reluctant to recommend these to beginners, because I worry that without enough Lenormand or playing-card interpretation knowledge, or without a strong sense of developed intuition, you’ll end up scaring your own pants off.
However, if a person only has the meanings on the card to go by, then it’s entirely possible that they won’t get these at first glance freak out readings like I do. The deck/universe/higher self will pick the gentler cards, or the ones that are more accurate based on the given meanings. But, because I have intuition and Lenormand knowledge to go with, sure, it can throw the scythe at me for the future and I won’t have to fret every ten seconds about what kind of disappointment is coming my way.
If these cards call to you, go for it. Just be aware of that icky (in my opinion) card back, the super skimpy LWB, and the fact that these cards have drama written all over them. It will probably take a little bit of work (a few test readings) to build a relationship with this deck so that you know how the cards work for you.
Let me know if you have any questions about this deck! I'm happy to update this post in the future.