Deck: Old Style Lenormand
Creator: Alexander Ray
Publisher: U.S. Games
Where to buy: https://www.usgamesinc.com/old-style-lenormand.html

I’ve always felt that the images in Lenormand decks are an expression of the Victorian era. It is a display of their fear and admiration, challenges and joys. The objects chosen to express these sentiments reveal what they value and scorn. 

The Old Style Lenormand by U.S. Games, with a sepia tone and coloured etchings, beautifully captures the essence of Lenormand. Even though these Victorian expressions clearly reflect a certain time in culture, these cards don’t feel dated. While they represent something old, they aren’t out of fashion. Rather, it feels timeless. 

The card backs have the name of the deck printed in the middle, and ‘2019 U.S. Games’ printed in a super tiny print along one of its diamond borders. This is my first deck with writing on the card backs. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. But after several uses, I found that having the name printed makes the cards feel like a book cover and turning the cards around feels like flipping open a story book, filled with classic illustrations. 

Like many modern Lenormand decks, this one comes with an extra Man and Lady. You can switch out one of the sex for a same gender reading or include an extra person for questions relating to more than two people. 

While I rarely relate to the people cards in Lenormand decks, I find these four especially hard to relate to. It’s not because they are white and I’m a visible minority. This has never bothered me and the skin colour choice in this deck is particularly understandable given the theme. Rather, the lack of relatability is due to a sense of boredom and indifference on their faces that I equate to wealthy snobbishness. 

Having said that, I know fashion is a big part of what modern people associate with the Victorian era so it makes sense to portray the people in the high fashion of their days. However, I think it would have been interesting to turn one of the pairs into a peasant couple. 

Aside from the people card, another card that captures my attention is the Clouds card. Normally, Clouds is one of the cards with directional reading. The clouds are usually heading either left or right and the card beside the direction that the clouds are facing is negatively affected by it. 

In this deck, the clouds form a spiral, almost like a tornado. Instead of reading with left/right directionality, I interpret this to affect the card above in a reading with a spread using multiple rows. There is no directional interpretation in a single row spread and how it affects the reading depends on the surrounding cards and the nature of the question being asked of the cards. I used this style of interpretation in a grand tableau and the result was rather accurate!

The guidebook is perfect for beginners. It includes several simple spreads and leaves out the grand tableau. The explanation for each card includes keywords, general description and how to interpret it under four different types of readings: 

  • People
  • Relationship
  • Work and finances
  • Well being

Another thing worthy of mention is the quality of the deck. Like other decks by U.S. Games, the cardstock is perfect. They are sturdy, smooth and semi glossy, but not enough to be distracting. 

The tuck box that the deck comes in is dark pink on the inside. While it’s not a big deal since no one really looks inside the box, I think this is a nice touch and would love to see more of this in tuck box decks. 

As a collector, I have many decks that I flip through once or twice and then sit on the shelf for months without being touched. I’m glad to say that this deck has a purpose. I know exactly the type of mood and question this deck is useful for. Since the Victorian theme feels fancy to me and I don’t have a lot of fancy occasions, I use it for creative writing and predicting outcomes on TV shows. As this review is written during the days of COVID-19 self-quarantine, these leisure activities are taking place a lot, and as a result the Old Style Lenormand is receiving a lot of use and love!