Deck: Green Glyphs Lenormand
Creator: James R. Eads
Where to buy: https://www.jamesreadsmerch.com
There are many words that can be used to describe the Green Glyphs Lenormand. Simple. Beautiful. Well executed. My favourite description for this deck is ‘Perfect’.
The first thing I noticed is the quality of this product. The sturdy one piece box has a simple and elegant design and a magnetic closure. The coloured guidebook that greets you when you first open the box is one of the best guidebooks I’ve ever read (and we’ll come back to this later). The cards themselves have a gorgeous rose gold gilding and a matted velvety finish that makes me want to hold them in my hands all day.
Being a huge fan of James’ Prisma Visions and Light Visions Tarot, I was at first surprised to see the difference in the style of art. I once read a description of his artwork as being what things would look like ‘if Monet and Van Gogh paintings made babies.’ I think it’s a perfect summary of the richness and magical qualities of his work. In comparison, the art Green Glyphs Lenormand is strikingly simple and feels like a dramatic departure from what I’ve come to expect.
But just because you can sing like Celine Dion doesn’t mean you should hog the mic at karaoke. Likewise, this deck is deliberately simple because the creator’s focus wasn’t to show off his skills but to produce a deck with the user in mind. Unlike tarot, the meaning of each Lenormand card doesn’t vary from deck to deck. Every Ship card carries the same meaning of travel, regardless of whether the ship is depicted as a raft or the Titanic.
As such, instead of filling the cards with details that may distract instead of enhance, this deck utilizes other means to provide useful information and uniqueness. The first is the glyphs that are listed along with the names of each card. In James’ own words, these glyphs ‘are meant to add an extra layer of understanding the symbolism of Lenormand – like emojis, these glyphs can speak on their own.’
The other technique utilized to provide information is colour. Cards with more negative connotation are coloured in rust and orange. Yellows and golds represent more fortunate cards. While this is useful information on its own, it is especially powerful when reading a grand tableau. A cluster of cards with the same colour scheme will give you a quick overview of whether something pleasant is coming your way or if there are dangers you need to look out for.
As impressive as the cards are, I’m thrilled to say that the little green book is just as impressive. It’s practically a miracle how much useful information is packed into that guidebook. While most guidebooks contain some general information on how to read with a deck, this book goes into details that most Lenormand deck guidebooks don’t.
A good chunk of the book in terms of the number of pages are dedicated to the meanings of the cards, but these descriptions are brief. There are several key words, one word to describe the energy of the card and several examples of how to read it when combined with other cards.
The true gem of this guidebook is the detailed explanation on how to read the cards. Like many other Lenormand guidebooks, it teaches users how to read the cards in pairs, triplets, lines and grand tableau. In addition to the standard overview, however, it also goes into details that is normally only found in books specifically written about Lenormand.
It talks about ways to read cards beyond just reading them together as a line to form a sentence. There is a section on ‘knighting’, in which a card has a relationship to cards that are connected to it in an L shape (the naming of this relationship is based on the possible moves the Knight piece on a chessboard can move).
Another aspect that this guidebook gives attention to are the inset pips. I have a deck where the guidebook completely ignores this and there are some decks that have removed these insets from the cards altogether. Here, I don’t just appreciate that the guidebook talks about it but I find that the explanation is actually better than even the full book I have on Lenormand!
Just when I thought that this deck couldn’t get any better, I noticed something unique about the extra cards in this deck. As with many modern Lenormand decks, this one comes with an extra Gentlemen and Lady. There’s also an added gender neutral figure, titled Person. What’s different about this deck is the numbering of the additional people. Instead of assigning both males to 28 and females to 29, there’s one of each assigned to those numbers (with the Person also assigned to 29). It may seem like a minor detail, but for those who would replace one gender for a same sex relationship reading, isn’t it nice to be acknowledged as two separate people?
I really can’t express enough how well put together I think this deck is. It has everything I could have wanted from a Lenormand deck and more. I love it so much that, sometimes, it hurts to put it down!