When the Lenormand has just started picking my interest, in the early stages of my addiction when I spent only a small amount of time and money on these cards, I came across images from Titania’s Fortune Cards — and they made me cringe. “Who?”, I thought to myself, “who would buy and enjoy such a horrid card set?”
To me it seemed a complete sensory overload with golden borders; like a vintage china plate stained with paint by a child’s fingertips.
Well, surprise, surprise! Here I am, a true Lenormand fiend, with Titania’s in hand, humming:
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.
If the sun don’t come, you get a tan
From standing in the English rain.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob
In her book, Titania’s Fortune Cards — How to interpret the cards, the author Tiania Harding explains that she’s been fascinated by the Lenormand ever since her mother’s friend, Marion Charlouis, read the cards at the age of 13. She explains:
These cards are a modern interpretation of those she [Charlouis] used: we have remained faithful to the symbol and much of the meaning she invested in each image, but have given a more up-to-date feel to communicate the different ways we now lead our lives.
I am not sure what to make of the ways Miss Harding leads her life in the year 2000, judging by the color palette of the cards. Though in my experience, these little, inverted and neony peculiarities trigger that nostalgic spot in myself were naive fantasies of Woodstock, free love, and LSD live. In my mind, these cards represent a 1960’s reincarnation of Mlle Lenormand.
Just Look at her, I hear my Spirit of Divination exclaiming:
Look! Today Marie Anne Adelaide is wearing nothing but her hair down. Swinging from side to side, she’s dancing to a psychodelic tune playing only in her mind.
What does she say? Does she have a message for us? I ask.
Groovy, replies my Spirit of Divination, She says, Groo-Vy.
The real reason I finally made the decision to purchase this deck was a few conversations on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum about the similarity of the Titania interpretations to the Russian school of Lenormand. Since there are no books in English on the subject, I ordered this deck and book set from The Book Depositary.
A week later, sitting in my office I observed a cooky 4X9 arrangement staring back at me from the hardwood floor. Suddenly I wasn’t cringing. The images, though painfully saturated, carried very clear and concise messages. The experience was very different from what I expected. There was no complex, multi-layerd meshing of meaning and art; like the collaged, new wave versions of Lenormand that have been flooding the market recently — vis a vie Melissa, Alice in Wonderland, and Les Vieus Jours.
I was immediately aware of the ease with which this pack communicates. Without numbers, words, playing card inserts, or multifaceted imagery the key symbols float atop the overly saturated backgrounds in an almost juvenile fashion. It doesn’t take long before a card bangs it’s meaning over your eyeball.
Looking through the book I did find some resemblance to the Russian school of Lenormand (at least compared to several Russian (online) sources and their English translation on the AT Forum), though other interpretations weren’t similar at all. For instance, this is what, Titania Hardy says of the Cross: “This is the card of destiny! You are looked after, and your road is in the hands of the gods.” The Russian sources, on the other hand, place a much heavier spin on this religious symbol — it represents the cross one has to bear, so to speak.
After a little bonding time, I actually found many cards attractive, in their own neony way. I really like the Tower and the Tree cards. And the Anchor and the Star are simply Psychobilly-adorable. But other cards I still find particularly unappealing. For instance, all I can think about when I look at the the Man and the Woman cards is “Barbie and Ken are getting married”. These really don’t work for me, and I have a hard time “charging” these for myself or my clients.
Finally, I am not sorry at all for investing in Titania’s deck. Like the 1960’s, there’s something endearingly hopeful and playful in this psychedelic pack of cards. And so, I leave you with a trippy version of Beatles’ I am the Walrus, performed by Bono in an original movie musical Across the Universe.
Have a groovy week, y’all!