Under the Roses Lenormand
By Kendra Hurteau & Katrina Hill
This is a lovely deck which largely follows the Petit Lenormand tradition. The artwork is beautiful: simple, yet attractive. The style is an interestingly modern take on old-fashioned, with dark sepia tones and Victorian-looking clothing and objects. There are plenty of roses in the cards as a wink to the title, which itself is a wink to the Roman phrase “sub rosa”, meaning “confidential”.
The cards come with a section of keywords, as well as giving the Lenormand numbering in a small circle in the top left hand corner, and an abbreviated playing card symbol in the top right corner – covering all the interpretive bases most Lenormand readers use. The cardstock is of a nice quality, and the size is traditional Bridge size: 5.7cms by 8.9cms or 2.25 inches by 3.5 inches. There is a black border with roses and vines twining around the straight lines that delineate the images, and a graduated cream/brown border around the edges.
While many people don’t like keywords on tarot cards, I think on Lenormand cards it works rather well. This is because Lenormand cards are meant to be read “semantically”. So, for example, you put the card meanings together, blending them and creating “sentences”. If Bear is seen as a manager, and Whip is seen as quarrels, then Bear and Whip together would be a quarrelsome manager. Due to this style of reading, having a selection of keywords on the cards make this ideal, not only as a beginner deck, but also to help break more advanced readers out of rigid ways of interpreting the cards. Seeing a different keyword combination can bring new insights.
The biggest change that has been made from traditional decks is that there are two Lady and two Gentleman cards, one each of European and African descent. However, both versions retain the original numbering. So, you can choose which card to include based on the ethnicity of your client or on personal preference. You can also use either two ladies or two gentlemen if reading for a same-sex couple. Or else leave all four cards in if there are a lot of people involved in the situation.
The changes don’t end there, though. Some of the cards have also been renamed – the Tower becomes the Clock Tower while, the Heart becomes the Locket, a lovely way of treating this image. So, too, the Coffin becomes the Grave – in some ways a clearer, more striking depiction that fits better with modern sensibilities – and the Book becomes the Journal, which I think is my favourite change. It gives that sense of things being hidden, but also of study, really nicely. Finally, the Scythe becomes the Sickle: easier to handle, I guess.
Nevertheless, the cards are fairly clear and easy to read: you can tell what each card is at a glance. There is a lot of charm and a touch of cute to these cards, with their slightly dark tones, yet sweet images. Altogether, this is a very pretty, accessible deck, which will appeal to established Lenormand readers as well as beginners.