The Friar’s Delight Lenormand is a little unpretentious gem of a deck. Firstly, I’m not big on Lenormand decks, I used to have a couple some years ago, and I dabbled with reading them but it never stuck so they quickly moved on to more motivated hands. After these failed experiences I spent a couple years sticking closely to tarot and playing cards, not big on oracles either unless you count the one and only LXXXI Magician’s deck. So when I caught sight of this little gem I thought, how curious. Utilizing illuminated manuscript art but within the context of a pack of cards, each card is a re-contextualization of this particular art form.
As per the creator:
“All 36 cards feature artwork taken directly from the pages of these centuries-old illustrations. Each one has it’s own unique authentic frame and is named using decorative letters from an actual manuscript.”
As is stated by the creator, each card stands alone in a way, as each has distinct borders and decorations that stays true to the milieu of the image presented, yet when the cards are displayed together in a spread the whole aesthetic coheres to illustrate a story with a particularly unconventional voice. All the images sit on a black background, which again struck me since it’s not common to see this in decks, especially Lenormand decks. The effect is striking and allows the reader to really grasp the details of each illustration. In other words, the illustration for each card, whether the ship or the ring, is accentuated by the black background.
As per the creator, again:
“The vibrant colours are a result of the offset printing (not digital) process. The elements are assembled on a black background, (a modern touch) to set them off in a dramatic and clear way.”
This vibrancy is fully captured when you layout the cards in a big tableau, as opposed to 3 or 5 cards.
The card stock is a soft matter that shuffles smoothly, specifically 350-gram matte finish, the edges are a metallic gold, and it is a poker sized deck, just big enough to enjoy the art while still small enough to comfortably accommodate a grand tableau. It comes in a two-piece sturdy, matte-black cardboard box, and a small 12-page booklet. The booklet itself is brief, so if you are looking for more in-depth information a standalone book aimed at going over the art of Lenormand reading is the best way to go.† The card backs are made to look like a cover of a manuscript, weaving an enchanted narrative of the deck itself as an illuminated manuscript with which we can divine and read the signs, and to open the manuscript is to enter into this world.
Many of the cards stand out in presenting different perspectives on the traditional Lenormand images, for example, the tower is reminiscent of the tower of Babel, the rider has the air of St. George missing his dragon, the snake encircles the globe, and the whip is too much, deliciously comical, and look at that cloud card, memorable. All the cards have the playing card insert in the top right hand corner, excluding Stars and Cloud, which have it positioned differently. The insert itself is clearly visible as well.
All in all, this is an idiosyncratic deck for all Lenormand lovers. It is lighthearted, endearing, funny, and takes itself seriously enough to give straight answers, while grabbing you by the hand and taking you for a walk through its enchanted pages.
You can buy the deck here: Rabbit’s Moon Tarot.
† A couple Lenormand books and recommendations:
- The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards by Caitlín Matthews.
- The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling by Rana George
- I would be remiss if I didn’t add as well Camelia Elias, and her writings on the Lenormand: Taroflexions and Patheos: Cartomancer.