Ever since I got to review the Gravenchase Lenormand by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso Lenormand has demanded a steady percentage of my cartomancy activities. So it was great that Mr. Paraluman -Narciso’s studio name- had another deck up his sleeve. Totally different, but such an ideal and nice beginners tool, that it has been my trusted sidekick since the moment it arrived. Join me on my Anino Lenormand -tour!
The Anino Lenormand comes, just like The Gravenchase, in two sizes: bridge-sized and mini (half a poker deck). The packaging is the same sturdy plastic case (a little case pimping or nice bag-purchasing is in order if that is important to you) and this deck as well offers no LWB. The latter for exactly the same reason as its predecessor: Narciso thinks there is plenty info out there already and instead of writing the same on a few pages he committed to writing his bonus cards full with several good websites and books on Lenormand.
Speaking of Bonus…The Anino deck has extra cards of Man, Woman and Child. Now, that isn’t so weird nowadays, but the drawings on these cards made me look twice. They were more typical than the duo cards I see in other Lenormand decks where you simply pick out the one you like most. For me it was almost as if the first pairing of Man+Woman was young, dressed to go out and the man courting with his flowers. Where the second couple shows two obviously sophisticated types many years their senior. The children are split into male and female.
That’s why the Anino Lenormand made me entertain the idea of using ALL extra Man, Woman and Child cards in a reading for others. In this case it won’t be confusing, it’ll give you extra opportunities: ‘Umbrella man’ can signify an older love interest, a father or maybe even grandparent, where the woman can of course be a (grand)mother. But think of reading for 60+ ladies/men: they might like to see a card in which they recognize themselves a little more too. The kiddy-cards could be cool in readings for expectant mothers. Nothing ‘has to’, but I like the fact I *can*.
There is more when it comes to bonus with the Anino Lenormand. If you have the other recent Paraluman deck, The Gravenchase Lenormand, you might already know what I am referring to, but also comes with its very own extra free deck: the Anino Zodiac Oracle. You might’ve already caught that if you’ve seen Paraluman’s first installment of his Artist’s Advice column. This deck can be used for timing, the cards as single significators, for extra information et cetera et cetera. Lynyrd-Jym can explain that much better than I can, so go this his Artist’s Advice pages for both free Zodiac Oracle decks (and remember: there is a part 2. A special Zodiac Houses spread).
The Anino Lenormand has an extra free Zodiac Oracle that can be used for specific details
Top stock & learner’s deck
The Anino Lenormand handles wonderfully. It has 330mg linen stock and is absolute premium casino-quality. When it comes to art and coloring, it is quite different from most decks. It is the style that plays the lead, not its tones. It isn’t a ‘color bomb’ as so many decks are nowadays, nor is it pretty pastels and watercolors. The cards of this Lenormand deck are predominantly light brown – that being the color of the borderline too – with sepia beige. With a decent amount of shuffling comes chipping (the Anino is my learner’s deck so I use it every day), which is what happens with most decks that have a darker edge, but it remains a shame nevertheless.
As I said – and I will come back to that very quickly – the Anino Lenormand is an excellent deck for Lenormand beginners and traditional readers. If you are interested in using the playing card inserts, you can, but they have been used very modestly in the way of symbol+number in the lower right corner of each card. If you don’t care for them you will hardly notice.
Tribal & Traditional
The art itself is very cool… The main theme is tribalistic (The back of the cards show a cool eye with tribal lines radiating from it. I would not be surprised if this ends up as a tattoo on some Lenormand-loving-leg or arm somewhere ;-).). Some time ago in my sneak peek I wrote that the influences for the Anino are wide and varied: shadow puppets, graffiti, ethnic textile patterns, doodles, and paper-cutting traditions. And this shows in a good way, no ‘copy-pasted’ theme. For me personally the ethnic textile patterns jumped out the most as well as the idea of shadow puppets. My aunt used to be married to an Indonesian and it reminds me of those old shadow puppets she used to have and gave to my dad when I was young (Lynyrd-Jym comes from the Philippines…guess there is some overlap there).
This overlay of such a specific cultural element works beautifully on this good ol’ European-born deck and will most likely therefore attract a wider variety of clientele: not just Europeans and other Western Countries, but also Asians who might recognize a little more of themselves in this Lenormand. It’s a dynamic and cool re-interpretation, adding some softness and -if you will – femininity – to the deck because of the ‘round’ drawing style. But it never feels forced or a stretch.
That comes in part because artist Lynyrd-Jym is completely dedicated to the traditional take. He wanted to showcase his art, but the entire deck is created with readability in mind. So, he might reinvent its art, but the original work stands firm and proud. This shows in every single way. Symbols are immediately recognizable and there are no weird diversions to drawings. Because the tribal theme gives you just the two colors it will be quite restful to the eye and I can guarantee an easy Grand Tableau where you’ll pin-point which card is where in a jiffy.
If there’s one thing I don’t like it is the obvious copyright notice on every single card. I forgot to mention that in a review of his other work, but here it is again. Despite having teensy-weensy lettering, it is a little distracting: it is everywhere and feels a little ads-y to me (and in this case it definitely won’t stop counterfeiters). There are more elegant ways to sign your decks if that is your wish (Ciro Marchetti does it very covert-op, Robert Place more obvious, but still not annoying). But I guess if this is the only thing I have to complain about, the creator did pretty d**n well, didn’t he? 😉
When I put it altogether I can only say I like this deck and will start recommending it to Lenormand readers of all levels. If you want easy readability, good card stock, a great new theme without losing sight of traditional, recognizable imagery and something new in the process you have it all here, wrapped in a plastic container and ready to go.
Buy Anino Lenormand at Paraluman’s Etsy Store.