I usually blog about vintage tarot and fortune telling decks, so why am I writing about a brand new deck today? Because this one has an antique charm that dovetails perfectly with my collection, even though it was just printed a month ago.
I found it by surfing around on eBay. A collector was breaking up a collection, and had a first edition deck of these cards for sale for an outrageous fortune. It wouldn't be the first time I saw something on eBay priced inappropriately, so I searched the Internet to see if I could find the creator of the deck to see if she had them priced more reasonably. My search took me to sassysibyl.com.
Melissa Hill has created two wonderful decks: Melissa Lenormand and Postmark Lenormand. I ended up buying both, but this is a review of Melissa Lenormand only. I'll save Postmark for another time.
Lenormand was a popular fortune telling deck in the 19th century. There are 36 cards in a Lenormand deck, and each card has a number from 1-36, a relation to a card in a traditional deck (like the six of clubs), and a simple symbol (like a lady, a sun, or a cross). The cards are laid out in four rows of nine cards, or four rows of eight and one row of four, and I'll bet there are other permutations out there. The lady card and the man card are significators for the person being read. If it's a woman, note the location of the lady card. If it's a man, note the location of the man card. If the querent is a woman but has a question about a man in her life, both cards should be noted.
The cards closest to the querent's significator card are the ones that have the most influence. The cards lying above are of more influence than the cards lying below, and the cards lying to the left are of more influence than the cards lying to the right. The cards with pictures that are turned toward the querent's card are of greater influence than the ones with pictures that are turned away.
If you're doing a reading where both querent cards are being used (like a reading for a woman who has a question about a man in her life), look at the cards that lie between the lady and the man card. These will be the bridge or the barrier between the two.
Melissa has a lot of information about Lenormand cartomancy on her Lenormand 101 website: lenormand.info
It turned out that the deck on eBay was the 2011 first edition, but she just created a second edition of the Melissa Lenormand that was reasonably priced through Etsy. (I think the second edition is sold out now, though; I don't see any buying information on her website.) She used the same numbers and symbols that the 19th century Lenormand deck had (minus the relation to a traditional deck of cards), but updated the card imagery with vintage ephemera and the magic of Photoshop. The cards come packaged in a copper tin decorated with hand-punched handmade paper and contain a simple instruction sheet.
Pictured nearby is a scan of an 1880s version of a Lenormand deck that I have in my collection, and a picture of the Melissa Lenormand deck in its copper tin. You can see more images at her website here: http://lenormand.info/cards/melissa-lenormand/
And you can see all the cards by having her generate a Grand Tableau for you automagically using a widget on her website: http://dev.sassysibyl.com/grandtableau/
A Grand Tableau is a layout of all the cards for a reading.
Hope you enjoy looking around at her website, reading some of her blog posts, and trying the Grand Tableau generator. There's a lot to explore there!