Gilded Reverie

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Transcript of Gilded Reverie

  • Dolor Set Amet


  • ii

    hen I initially started this project, I assumed that the potential audience would be primarily deck collectors, and specifically those already familiar with one or more of the various Lenormand systems. As such I didnt consider there would be a need for any companion documentation with this special edition. However during the course of its production I received considerable feedback, that suggested in fact there was growing interest in these images from many who had no previous experience with the Lenormand system. So I felt there was after all a need after all in providing at least some basic complimentary material.

    This e-book is intended to serve as merely a brief overview and initial introduction to this fascinating genre of divination that is embraced under the generic category of Lenormand. Its content has been assembled from various contributors who each have considerable experience in this field. Nevertheless I recommend that anyone wishing to learn and study the Lenormand systems in greater depth, to take advantage of the hyperlinks provided throughout this document that connect to various useful Lenormand related publications, blogs and web sites.

    Ciro Marchetti.




    Creative Approach, Process & ProductionIn May of 2011, I attended the Readers Studio Tarot Conference

    in New York. One morning I shared a breakfast table with the renowned Tarot author and reader Mary Greer. During our conversation she suggested that I should consider designing a Lenormand deck. At the time I didn't give it too much thought as I assumed it was a fringe sub-division of Tarot and one with an appeal limited mainly to European readers. I was also at the time concentrating my efforts on the re working of the Gilded Tarot into its new "Royale" version. Nevertheless Mary's suggestion did peak my curiosity and so in between commitments to other projects, I did dabble with producing Lenormand related images, such as trees, books, ships, etc. However, still not convinced about a full commitment to the entire project, I used many of those elements in other unrelated images instead. Nevertheless, one year later at the following corresponding Readers Studio venue, I was finally convinced. Having overheard Rana George explaining and demonstrating the basics of the Lenormand system, I was intrigued and certainly impressed by the reaction and response of the audience who were enthusiastically following her every word. So with that change of heart, I took another look at the various images I

  • had previously produced, or had started but not finished. I also revisited even earlier projects, I soon realized that many of them also contained elements that would lend themselves perfectly to a Lenormand project. Strangely it seemed that such a deck had been sitting there hidden from view with images just waiting to be recognized for the Lenormand cards they potentially could become. The challenge now would be to see if they could be resurrected with a purpose, theme and common visual denominator into a collective body of work.

    As with my tarot journey which had started 10 years earlier, I was (and still am) a complete novice compared to almost everyone who is likely to be reading this. So, I am clearly not qualified to teach, explain or otherwise shed fresh light on the Lenormand system. Instead, I can share some background insight into how I approached the project, both from a conceptual and production perspective.

    Over the preceding few months I had dedicated time to learning the basic history, tradition and reading structure of the Lenormand. I also regard these early less informed period as useful ones, as they allow me to see things with a fresh eye, less tainted by pre-concepts and biases of what any given card should look like. This perspective is clearly a temporary one that can only exists at the beginning. Eventually as one reads and hears more of other peoples opinions, and preferences, your own personal perspective become

    increasingly influenced. So its during this early period that is one of prolific output, involving numerous sketches and experimentation with variations on how to best portray core meaning, overall illustrative style, and conceptual themes. The vast majority of these early drafts get trashed, while others that seem promising I may post on say Facebook and other related on line forums, and take into consideration whatever feedback they generate. Its frustrating that some approaches seem to work so well for one card but simply won't for others and have to be discarded in order to maintain a visual cohesion throughout.

    The real challenge however, is one of balance, between personal creative goals and the expectations and needs of the audience that may use the deck. Early on it was pointed out to me that the essence of the Lenormand is its simplicity, or better put, its directness compared to Tarot. The cards and their images should be less ambiguous. A Freudian cigar is just a cigar, so to speak, or in a Lenormand context, a tree is just a tree, a key is just a key. As such, I was advised, those core elements should not be diluted with other imagery or symbolism that might detract or distract from the basic meaning. Therein lies a dilemma. First of all, taken to its conclusion such simplicity could be reduced to a boring blank card with a simple keyword or title printed on it. With minimal effort, I or anyone else searching on the internet, could find free or relatively cheap clipart, and produce an


  • acceptably deck in about a day. However such a process would have no appeal to me as a project, and I suspect little appeal to my target audience. Despite the well intentioned advice to "keep it simple" my personal experience and opinion is that the vast majority of the tarot community do indeed prefer more. Entering into an images visual richness, no matter the style, is for many an integral part of the reading experience both for reader and querent. A key may indeed be just a key, but this inert object can nevertheless accurately portray vastly opposing concepts of either imprisonment or freedom. Most images, depending on the circumstances, may also convey a duality of meaning. As such, scenes, elements and characters portrayed in a richer visual way might provide an environment that is more conducive to the intuitive interpretation and divinatory process. The dilemma of course is that if a depicted scene is too specific then it can become less flexible and thus counterproductive. The reader may find their own imagination being restricted. Its for these reasons that I attempt to depict people in as neutral a way as possible. Facial expressions and poses, do not suggest any specific emotion or mood. Clothing is either minimal or nondescript This avoids direct association with historical periods in time, or cultural, socio economic status. Unlike many Lenormand decks of the past, I chose to depict a Man and Woman as opposed to a Gentleman and Lady.

    Any modification or tampering with tradition can of course be like walking on thin ice. Once again there is a dilemma and balance involved in providing the core imagery. Ones that readers can still use as part of the reading structure they are already familiar with, but also fulfilling a designers wish to create something fresh. This challenge is particularly ironic in the case of Lenormand, where the tradition that is considered so integral to the whole process, is actually a house of cards (excuse the pun), a fragile structure evolved over time more by whim and opportunistic marketing than any genuine symbolic rational. Furthermore the evolution of Lenormand took different paths incorporating variations of symbolic meaning along the way reflecting cultural deviations. For example the Bear would be considered male in German and Spanish, but female in the French, Belgium, Dutch and Russian traditions. Depending on the species and countries, lilies might be considered appropriate (or inappropriate) for either a funeral or wedding. Clearly with such variables, a one size fits all symbolic approach is not possible. Once I accepted that, I felt more comfortable straying from any of the norms as it were. Nevertheless I feel that despite the individual style and variations in this Gilded Reverie, it is still a deck that I hope Lenormand readers, whether they be experienced or beginners, should be able to use with comfort.




    The Fox, The Moon and The Fish...

    In the name of LenormandThe Gilded Reverie Lenormand is a continuation of a card-

    reading tradition dating back to the late 18th and into the 19th century. The design of this deck is intended to respect the tradition whilst providing a new vision for the future. We will see that the tradition itself has been rooted in borrowing and whim since its inception, with an ongoing history of change.

    You may be surprised to discover that these cards have little to do with Mlle. Lenormand, famed fortuneteller of France, other than to use her name for marketing. It is only a matter of geography and history that give us a deck with an Anchor card and not a Spider card, or a House card and not a Well. You will also come to discover that the Reverie has reworked some of the images to provide a more contemporary perspective for the modern parlor of the 21st century and presented in a unique illustrative style.

    The story of this deck, for a story it is, begins with its namesake, when in Alenon, Normandy, France, a baby girl, Marie-Anne Lenormand was born to Marie-Anne Gilbert and

  • Jean-Louis Lenormand on the 27th of May 1772. Her father died the following year, and by the time she was five years old she had lost both p