Happy Birthday, Mlle. Lenormand!

by Asher on May 27, 2013

On this day in 1772, Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand was born in Alencon, France. Convent-educated, it is said she accurately predicted the transfer of the Mother Superior.

After moving to Paris, she had a long and successful career as a fortune teller, earning her the nickname the “Sibyl of the Salons”.  She was a prolific writer, penning several books about herself (likely exaggerated), and she also spent some time in prison, defying Parisian laws against divination.

Her reputation grew, and she became perhaps the most famous cartomancer in the world. She read ordinary playing cards with notes and symbols written on them, although there is one mention of “Tharot” cards in her writings.

Mlle. Lenormand did document some of her meetings with high-ranking members of French society, including Jean-Paul Marat, Robespierre, St. Just and Josephine de Beauharnais, who would later become empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She became Josephine’s trusted advisor, and later predicted the downfall of Napoleon and his divorce from Josephine.

Two hundred or so years later, Mlle. Lenormand’s name and reputation have re-emerged with the renewed interested in the deck of cards bearing her name, the Petit Lenormand. Many Lenormand decks are currently being published, along with books written in English to teach people her “system”.

The Petit Lenormand, which bears her name, is actually derived from a German card game called the Game of Hope, created by Johann Kaspar Hechtel around 1800 (Mlle. Lenormand died in 1843). The game consisted of 36 cards bearing a single image, played with dice, and which included a fortune telling component at the game’s end.

The Lenormand “revival” is introducing Mlle. Lenormand and the Petit Jeu to new generations of cartomancers. It is amazing to see the market being flooded with decks, books, and classes devoted to this “new” system, which has been very popular in Europe since the Game of Hope was linked with Marie Anne Lenormand’s name.

If you are interested in exploring the Petit Lenormand and learning how to read it, the following websites are good places to begin:





{ Comments on this entry are closed }

World Tarot Day 2013

by Asher on May 25, 2013

Happy World Tarot Day to all!

“World Tarot Day™ (founded by Den Elder in 2003) celebrates the tarot as an authentic spiritual method of self-discovery and divination for modern life. It is rapidly becoming a tool for our times, which has seen a phenomenal upsurge of interest during recent economic, political and spiritual uncertainty. In response to this growth, Tarot Professionals, the largest tarot organization of its kind, presents World Tarot Day™ to provide support and education for tarot enthusiasts and professionals worldwide.”

“Visitors to the site discover a range of announcements and activities during the day. A large free online Tarot lesson will attract hundreds of new students to Tarot reading. Tarot enthusiasts around the world of every level of interest can join linked social media sites to share their work.”

“A media pack and Tarot activities sheet are available on the main site at: 
http://www.worldtarotday.com.” (London (PRWEB) May 24, 2012)

Today is an excellent time to reflect on your experiences with the Tarot, to look back and appreciate the results of your study and work.

Here’s a spread you might like to use on this special day:

1. What lesson have I learned through my work with the Tarot during 2012?

2. What special message does the Tarot have for me on World Tarot Day 2013?

3. Where might my Tarot studies be taking me in the coming year?

Here are my results, using Robert Place’s Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery:

1. Lady of Cups: My lesson from 2012 is to continue to trust in my intuition and to tap into the deep knowledge within. The unconscious offers wisdom and support, if only we will listen and trust it.

2. Lady of Pentacles: Today’s special message is to really see, feel and experience what good health, well-being and success have brought to me, and to allow my passion for the Tarot to continue to bloom in my life.

3. The Lovers: In the coming year, this card is telling me to focus on the four qualities depicted: love, will, appetite and fidelity, and to apply them to my Tarot work. I have neglected the Tarot over the past year and a half, as I have devoted these four qualities to my learning of the Lenormand oracle. I need to strike a balance in my work with both systems and to find a place for both. There will be room for Tarot and Lenormand if I work diligently with the four qualities. The card is also a call to re-awaken my love for the Tarot and to keep it an important influence and support in my life.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Tarot Education At Your Fingertips

by Asher on November 11, 2012

Studying and learning the Tarot is a lifelong endeavor. We buy decks and books, read forums and blogs, and perhaps attend Tarot Meetup groups or conferences in our desire to broaden our knowledge. But what if one has no Tarot friends with whom to share ideas, or for whatever reason cannot attend BATS or the Readers Studio? Is continuing Tarot education out of reach?

Definitely not! In fact, there is a wonderful library of educational DVDs available to help us learn new reading techniques, brush up on our Tarot history, explore Tarot reading through art, as well as many other fascinating topics. And they are very affordable, too!

Linda Marson, of Global Spiritual Studies, produces webinars featuring well-known Tarot teachers and readers. These hour-long presentations can be attended live via the Internet in a web-based ‘classroom’. After participating in the webinar, attendees may access the online recordings at no additional charge. Also, the webinars are recorded and available for purchase on DVDs that are played via computer, and can be watched again and again.

I have purchased several of Linda’s DVDs and find them to be of excellent quality. Presenters include Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Linda Marson, Bonnie Cehovet and Caitlin Matthews. Topics include Tarot birth cards, Major Arcana readings, the depiction of cartomancers in art, Tarot storytelling and reading the popular Lenormand cards (the newest additions!).

The DVDs are housed in plastic cases with cover artwork describing the webinar. They take about a week to arrive, as they are produced and sent from Australia. Postage is included in the cost of the DVDs, too.  These excellent DVDs belong in every Tarot practitioner’s library. I have watched nearly all of them more than once, and have learned so much from them.

You can take a look at the collection here. I highly recommend these to all Tarot lovers, from beginners to experienced readers and teachers. Check them out!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Under the Roses Lenormand Deck

by Asher on October 17, 2012

The current Lenormand craze continues to grow, and new Lenormand decks are appearing almost daily. The small, 36-card deck is finding new devotees who are drawn to its simplicity and pragmatic directness. It cuts to the chase and pulls no punches. It requires a new and refreshing mind-set to read the cards, which is very different from reading the Tarot.

I have been studying and reading the Lenormand cards for about nine months now. I continue to be amazed at how literal the cards can be. As part of the online course I am taking, we are asked to do a daily draw of three cards and to make predictions based on the combinations of the selected cards. At the end of the day, we look back on the cards and see how they played out in our daily lives.

A recent draw for me was the Coffin + Clouds + Fish.  I came up with some ideas, including an end to some confusion about money. Upon returning from work, I realized the cards had two messages for me. One was that I was not paid for some contract work I had done (and this day was payday) and I was indeed puzzled about that (it all got straightened out by day’s end). Yet another, more literal message for me was the fact that I was feeling sick (Coffin) and that the day was overcast and rainy (Clouds + Fish)!

As I continue with my studies, I also look at new decks that are being published. One new one caught my eye, the Under the Roses Lenormand. Although the artwork was very attractive, I dismissed it outright because it has keywords at the bottom of each card. I judged it simply as a deck for people who are not willing to do the necessary study and work to learn to read the cards.

A few days ago, I read a very positive review of the deck. So, I went to the creators’ website for a second look. And I am very glad that I did. After looking at all of the cards, I decided to take a chance and order a deck for myself. It arrived a couple of days later, and I must admit, I am very impressed with it.

The keywords that I though would be so distracting are actually not distracting at all. They take up relatively little space at the bottom of each card. The images are very easy to see and focus on. While there are several keywords on each card, they have been carefully selected to reflect the variety of meanings possible for each symbol (A few of them do have me scratching my head, though). The playing card symbols for each card are placed unobtrusively at the top right corner; readers who don’t use the card attributions (I do) can easily ignore them. The large rose on the card back is just beautiful!

The cards are 3 ½ x 2 ¼ and printed on quality cardstock. A few of the cards have been re-named (the Grave for the Coffin, the Sickle for the Scythe, the Clock Tower for the Tower, the Locket for the Heart, and the Journal for the Book). Included is an additional set of Man and Woman cards, as well as 4 cards with various spreads. The deck is housed in a nice acrylic box and a black bag is also included (the box fits beautifully in the bag!).

I am so pleased that I gave this deck a second chance. It is a very readable deck with nice artwork, and I appreciate that some of the keywords are causing me to think about some of the meanings. The Under the Roses Lenormand should appeal to both beginning and experienced readers alike. Take a look at the deck for yourself here. And here are a few images of the cards:

 The Key, The Garden, The Ship

Images ©  2012 by K. Hurteau and K. Hill

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

BATS turned 21 this year!

by Asher on September 2, 2012

This year, the Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS) celebrated its 21st anniversary! And what a party!  Over a hundred Tarot lovers gathered to fete the “oldest established permanent floating Tarot conference in the US”.

Two days of Tarot workshops with some of the brightest stars in the Tarot universe, including:

Mary Greer – author of many Tarot books, including Tarot for Yourself

James Wanless – creator of the Voyager Tarot

Pamela Eakins – creator of Tarot of the Spirit

Diane Wilkes – creator of the Storyteller tarot and the Jane Austen Tarot

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince – creator of the Tarot of the Crone, and the upcoming Minoan Tarot

Marie White – creator of the Mary-El Tarot

Carrie Paris – creator of the upcoming Lenormand deck & book, Le Jeu de Changement

Nancy Antenucci – author of Psychic Tarot – Using Your Natural  Psychic Abilities to Read the Cards

A first for BATS this year was the inclusion of two workshops on the Lenormand Oracle cards. Melissa Hill, creator of the Melissa Lenormand and the Postmark Lenormand, gave a Lenormand 101 presentation. She had attendees at tables and on the floor, reading the Grand Tableau (a spread of all 36 cards!) in one hour! Mary Greer spoke about the historical development of the Lenormand cards, and presented tips and techniques for reading the cards.

Melissa Hill’s Lenormand 101

A lovely jazz band provided background music for Saturday night’s cocktail party. I did some Lenormand readings at the party (and got some wonderful feedback from Mary Greer!).

And of course there were the vendors! An amazing array of Tarot-related goodies was available for sale: decks, books, bags, DVDs, jewelry, and artwork. I was very good this year; I came home with only 2 books, 3 bags and a mini Postmark Lenormand deck.

Next year’s BATS will move to a new venue. It will be held August 17-18 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California. If you are at all into Tarot (and Lenormand), you owe it to yourself to attend a BATS gathering!

Thalassa, Queen of BATS

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

(Re) Learning Lenormand

by Asher on August 6, 2012

After my first post on wanting to learn to read the Lenormand cards, I had some success. But, as time went on, other shiny, pretty things (Tarot decks) caught my eye, and I left my Lenormand books and decks behind.

Now, three years later, my interest and desire to re-connect with the Lenormand has surged. I took part in an online class and had even more success! By session 2, I read my first Grand Tableau for a friend who confirmed everything I saw in the cards! I wanted to learn more!

After doing some research, I realized that the class I had completed was not the traditional style of reading Lenormand. While I learned quite a bit from the class, I knew I wanted to learn the traditional Lenormand reading techniques. I learned that there are various “schools” of Lenormand tradition, and that it is not recommended to mix schools. Three years ago, I was trying to combine the French and German schools and did not succeed.

Now, I am a student in Andybc’s course at Cartomantes’ Cabinet. It is a self-paced, traditional approach to learning the cards. All that is required is that you select a school and stick with it throughout the course. Andy offers a list of meanings from several schools (German, French, Russian, Dutch-Belgian) for prospective students to use. I am using the German school, to build on what I learned in my earlier studies.

The course is also part of an online forum, where students can learn, ask questions and practice with each other. It is a very supportive environment, for those who have the discipline for self-study. I am amazed at how quickly my learning has progressed. The course is well designed and each new skill builds on what has been learned previously and sets the stage for the next set of skills. Students begin by compiling a list of personal meanings for the cards (based on the school they have selected). Then, practical exercises teach the skill of card combining, the very essence of successfully reading the Lenormand cards. Also covered in the course are how to incorporate the playing card insets into readings, how to read a line of 5 cards, and how to read a block of nine cards, called a 3 x 3. These skills prepare students to read the Grand Tableau, a large reading using all 36 cards!

Now, my shiny-pretty distractions are new Lenormand decks! I have collected quite a few decks, both traditional and modern. One of my new favorites is the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Lenormand, a perfect choice to use here in the Southwest where the holiday is a popular and important part of the culture.

I have also created and printed my very own deck that I call the Lenormand Moderne. It is composed entirely of photographs, with no computer enhancement or manipulation. I am using it along with the Piatnik Lenormand for my card studies to great success.

The Lenormand is quickly becoming very popular in the U.S. now and I am excited to be a part of the community, as I am becoming a more proficient and confident reader. I am excited to be involved with a group of people who share my enthusiasm for reading the Lenormand cards. We have created a Meetup group, called the Sibyls of the Southwest, to hone our reading skills and share techniques that we have come across.

I haven’t even picked up a Tarot deck in several months!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Wheel of the Year Tarot

by Asher on June 17, 2012

I arrived at our recent Tarot Meetup, only to discover I had not brought a deck with me (and I usually bring 4 or 5 decks to the meetings)! Luckily, I was near a metaphysical bookstore, so off I went in search of a deck (which would be my first deck purchase of 2012, and my first deck after the Great Purge of 2011).

My eye was immediately drawn to the Wheel of the Year Tarot, a 2011 release from Lo Scarabeo. The vibrantly colored box is illustrated with the World on the front and the 2 of Cups on the back. I was excited to note that the artwork is by Antonella Platano, one of my favorite Lo Scarabeo artists. So it was the obvious choice for my new deck!

As I opened the deck during our Meetup, I had thought it was going to be a colorful RWS inspired deck, but I was wrong. There are nods to the RWS, to be sure, but there are also many wonderful new takes on the cards as well. No heart to be impaled in the 3 of Swords, no thief sneaking away in the 7 of Swords, and a delicious new image for the Devil! How refreshing! It is a deck that reads very well right out of the box, yet offers bright new interpretations of many of the cards.

3 of Swords

The theme of the deck is the turning of the wheel of the year, i.e., the seasons and the eight Sabbaths of neo-pagan celebration. The 8 celebrations and their Tarot attributions are:

Imbolc – numbered cards of Cups (called Chalices in the deck)

Ostara – court cards of Cups

Beltane – numbered cards of Wands

Litha – court cards of Wands

Lughnasadh – numbered cards of Pentacles

Mabon – court cards of Pentacles

Samhain – numbered cards of Swords

Yule – court cards of Swords

7 of Swords

According to the LWB, the Major Arcana “appears to have chosen its corresponding season spontaneously.” Here is how the LWB describes the deck: “The lively colors of a meadow with a carpet of heavenly scented springtime flowers, the light and the welcome warmth of a blinding summer sun, the slow and graceful dance of the yellow leaves that fall from the trees during the autumn [and] the muffles silence of a winter night under a heavy snow fall.” This is a wonderful description of this beautiful deck, although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The colors are extremely vibrant, which I like very much; they might be too much for some people. The backs (non-reversible) depict symbols of the seasons and a 8-spoked wheel.

Back of Deck

I recommend this deck for those who are looking for a colorful deck with interesting new takes on the cards. It is very readable and easy to work with. It might be just the deck you’re looking for!

The Devil

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Downsizing into 2012

by Asher on December 27, 2011

I have been collecting Tarot and oracle decks for about 20 years, and amassed a collection of around 650 decks (a small collection by some standards!). They were kept on 5 bookshelves, and eventually began rising from the floor in various stacks. Mass market, independently published decks, limited editions, signed and numbered, and OOP decks all filled my living room. For awhile, I did go through them all at least once a year, but that eventually became overwhelming. It was just so much stuff!

Simultaneously, after nearly four years apart (for graduate school and work), my partner got a job and moved back here. The week before Thanksgiving, we began the daunting task of combining two households. On his end in California, Phil began to seriously evaluate his stuff to see what could be let go of. And he suggested I do the same! The idea of trimming my collection (we had a party when I hit 500!) was not what I wanted to hear. But after some earnest thought, I realized he was right. It was time to let things move on…and I had begun to lose the urge to collect just for the sake of collecting. I had not bought a deck in several months, so it seemed a perfect time to go through my collection.

I sat on the floor and began to pull decks of the shelf that I knew I would never miss — that was the easy part! Next came the decks that I absolutely could not live without, and into a pile they went. Finally, I was left with several shelves of decks that required careful consideration about whether to keep them or let them go. After several days, the process was over, or so I thought…

Not wanting the hassle of advertising them for sale, boxing them up and going to the post office, I had an idea. I called several friends and told them to come armed with boxes and bags. They arrived and took what they wanted, and the pile began to diminish (and their collections grew exponentially!) I also filled up three boxes of decks (and books) to donate to a beloved Tarot organization. The rest of the piles were given to a friend to sell on eBay to help her raise money to begin the adoption process.

I had done it! From a collection of 650 or so decks, I kept around 200-250 or so ( I have yet to do a final tally). I now have a collection of decks that I actually want, instead of having them for the purpose of collecting. It was an amazing feeling! The new collection is very eclectic, with a mixture of historic, themed, well-known, virtually unheard of, and collector’s item decks. They are now housed in the living room in a colorful set of fabric drawers in a wooden display (with a bit of overflow onto a small bookshelf).  Here is their new home:

My partner and I have moved into a beautiful three-bedroom home, and are working to make it our own. We are combining things and still downsizing. Clothes, books, kitchen items, knick-knacks, furniture and other things are being donated to local charities. Instead of just having stuff, we have only what we enjoy having around us. Phil took fantastic pictures of many of the items I let go of, and the photos take up virtually no space at all. We are so happy with our new home, and look forward to living with much less clutter around us. It is a good beginning to 2012!

Happy New Year to everyone! May 2012 bring you peace and joy and love.


{ Comments on this entry are closed }

New book: Abiding in the Sanctuary

by Asher on December 3, 2011




Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin, co-directors of  Tarot Professionals, have just published a new book of great historical significance.

Abiding in the Sanctuary: The Waite-Trinick Tarot, A Christian Mystical Tarot (1917-1923) is the result of several years of research into the second deck created by Arthur Edward Waite. Not a divinatory deck, these images were designed as meditations on the 22 paths of the Tree of Life.  Their placement on the Tree is quite different from that of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Waite was a member of the Golden Dawn, but after the schism that led to the order’s eventual dissolution, Waite founded his own mystical order.

Waite wanted to emphasize mystical Christianity in his work and rituals, and did so through his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross.  He worked with artists John Trinick and Wilfrid Pippet in the creation of the images, which illustrate what he called “The Great Symbols of the Paths”. These images were used in the FRC rituals as meditations on the paths of the Tree of Life.

These images were never seen by the public until a few of them were illustrated in Decker and Dummett’s A History of the Occult Tarot (1870 -1970), published in 2002. Through a amazing series of synchronicities, Marcus and Tali were able to locate, photograph and secure publication rights to document these images in this beautiful book.

Published in hardcover, with both color and black and white photographs and illustrations, this book is a limited edition of 250 copies. With a preface by Mary K. Greer, the book includes biographical accounts of Trinick and Pippet (as well as other examples of their artwork), additional material about A. E. Waite, and the glorious images themselves. A two-page spread illustrates the placement of the images on the paths and two methods of contemplation using the images are also detailed.

Expected to sell out, this limited edition is available here.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Batty for BATS 2011!

by Asher on September 17, 2011

A few weeks ago, I attended the 20th anniversary of the Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS), sponsored by the amazing Thalassa and her minions, the Daughters of Divination. It is a two-day festival celebrating all things Tarot, and offers workshops and lectures by the crème de la crème of Tarot authors and deck creators.

This year’s lineup of presenters included Mary K. Greer, Rachel Pollack, James Wanless, Joanna Powell Colbert, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, Corrine Kenner, Barbara Moore, James Ricklef, Kooch Daniels, and many more. In addition, there was the Tarot Bazaar, where one could purchase decks, books, jewelry, leather Tarot pouches, DVDs, and artwork. Many of the presenters were also available for readings (at last year’s BATS, I had an amazing reading with Rachel Pollack).

One amazing event that I was involved in was a Tarot “throw-down”. A friend from California and I both brought our Pam-B decks to BATS. After the cocktail party on Saturday evening, we both sat down and went through our decks card by card. We compared card stock, size, color, and condition (these decks are at least 80 years old!). We had quite a group observing, too. Mary Greer and Rachel Pollack attended! Mary read selections from Waite’s Key to the Tarot and Rachel offered gens of wisdom from her many years’ experience of working with the cards. Next year, we hope to repeat the process with a Pam-A, Pam-B and Pam-C. It should be very exciting, especially to see examples of these vintage decks together in one place.

Here are four new books that I acquired at BATS this year, hot off the press, for your perusal and enjoyment.

Mary Greer needs no introduction. She has been teaching and writing about Tarot for many years. Her newest book, Who Are You in the Tarot? is a brand new, revised and expanded version of her classic book Tarot Constellations. In the book, Mary uses the principles of numerology to help us determine our birth cards, soul card, personality card, and hidden factor or shadow card. Both Major and Minor Arcana cards are used to create a personal constellation of cards for self-exploration. Mary gave a presentation at BATS based on the book that was well attended and very well received.

Another well-known Tarot author is Corrine Kenner. Her newest book Tarot and Astrology is a very well written book combining the art of tarot and the science of astrology. Using the Golden Dawn system of correspondences, Corrine weaves the two disciplines together clearly and elegantly. Both beginners and advanced Tarot practitioners will find practical knowledge in this book that will enhance their work. The book includes, diagrams, tables, spreads and is illustrated with Corrine’s own deck, the Wizards Tarot.

Another new book that I am enjoying is Bonnie Cehovet’s Tarot, Birth Cards, and You. Using the Tarot School’s method of calculating birth cards (a bit different from Mary Greer’s method), Bonnie helps us reveal our pair of birth cards. Once our cards are determined, we can read about the archetypal themes of the cards, learn the astrological associations, create affirmations, and learn to work with the gifts, abilities and challenges of our birth cards. She also includes detailed guided meditations or journeys into the cards as well as questions to ask along our journey. This is a new and unique way of working with our birth cards.

The fourth book I got was one I had not heard of until now. Written by Claudine Aegerter and Berenice Benjelloun, The Spirit of the Tarot: Numbers as Initiators of the Major Arcana is quite a tome. The book’s 523 pages cover the Major Arcana and the esoteric numerology contained therein. The authors teach at the Connaissance School of Numerology and the book is a compilation of lectures given at the school. The book is illustrated with the Oswald Wirth Tarot. This is not going to be a casual read, but an intensive study, which I enjoy.

Consider attending BATS next year, when the Symposium turns 21, and “is old enough to drink!” (Ruth Ann Amberstone). It promises to be an exciting celebration of learning and socializing and fun!


{ Comments on this entry are closed }