Donnaleigh's Lessons



6 Tips to Choose a Good Grand Tableau Deck

Posted by Donnaleigh on September 21, 2017 at 11:25 PM

Deck shown above: The Blue Bird Lenormand, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., copyright 2016. 


To Choosing a Good Grand Tableau Deck

So you're ready to start reading Grand Tableaus (GTs). Hooray! It's a remarkable spread with a lot of very useful information. But it can be confusing and daunting with the wrong deck.

As we start reading Grand Tableaus (GTs), our deck of choice becomes VERY important. You will want to pay close attention to the decks you chose. IT WILL MATTER.


We always want "Clarity, not Chaos." A lot is going on in a GT already, we don't want to muddle it with the wrong deck of cards. A GT naturally already has a lot of visual detail as it contains 36 cards. You don't want to stir that up with any added visual confusion.

Simple cards will make it much easier as you scan for multiple things quickly. 


Make it easy on yourself!

You will find that using a clear deck is *vitally* important to the reading, like the ease of breathing clear oxygen versus gasping for air. Reading a good deck is like reading a book with a clear, good font versus reading one with a beautiful, fancy font that is pretty to the eye but impossible to read fluently or quickly.

These 2 videos below are just 2 of several I made previously that talk about cards being compared to fonts (sorry there is a sound delay in one video), and the importance of clarity and simplicity. At the end of the 2nd video, I give a visual comparison of letter fonts to cards as you try to read.

Making (or Finding) Clear Lenormand Decks (6 minutes) 

One Big Tip for Lenormand Deck Creators (4 minutes)

We will be assimilating large amounts of information in the GTs, and you will see how the eye will have to scan across multiple cards to find things FAST. If you can't see things quickly, the reading is really stunted and impacted. If your deck has a lot of detail, it may be more difficult to let the eye scan. Personally, I become very frustrated reading with decks that are cluttery, because I want so badly to read what it says, but there is too much chaos to see what I'm looking for in a GT. I just want to see the words, the concepts, the simplicity of the images, but sometimes they get buried in the wrong deck. You will be combining multiples, and you want to arrive at meanings seamlessly. You'll be combining a LOT of things, so one thing you DON'T want to be doing is struggling to find the cards in chaos. Struggling to find cards feels like doing a Where's Waldo puzzle. Then you can't think of meanings because you so busy wasting your time and energy searching for a card. You forget what you were reading about, and the flow of natural thought gets interrupted.

Make it easy on yourself!

So how can we test drive a deck for clarity? Here are 6 techniques you can try at home to challenge your new (or old) deck:


Here are some things to consider and techniques to try yourself to determine whether a deck is right for you (and it is possible that what deck works for you may not work for me, and vice versa). But these are good general rules:

1. TEST your deck as a whole!

Lay your deck into a practice GT. Look for a deck that you can set up in a large spread (GT) and scan and find things FAST. Lay out all 36 cards in a GT. How fast can you scan them and find any one card? Scan your GT quickly.... Can you locate the Snake? The Letter? The Mice? Man? Woman? Child? It should be 2 or 3 seconds at best. If it takes long, you will miss key points that may otherwise pop out at you. Consider it like speed-reading a spread. Our eyes will be traveling over the cards fast, scanning for cards, looking for clues and clusters. It is not like tarot where you just stare at one card and sort out the details within. The entire GT is like the tarot card, and each card within becomes the details. Don't get lost in the details of each card. I always lay out a new deck in a GT to make sure it doesn't turn into clutter. What works in small spreads can become mass confusion in a large one.


Cluttered background details can obscure the primary image. I look for a clear, bold central image, and little to no details in the card background.


Make sure the images are the PRIMARY item in each card. If the letter is shown as a small thing in someone's hand, you'll miss it and it could potentially be seen as the Ring card if the hand has a ring. If the ship is a tiny thing in a puddle that a child is playing with, you'll mistake it for the child card. To me, functionality wins over beauty every time.

4. SCAN LINES FAST. Scan the lines of the GT like you are reading the sentences. Can you read the 8- or 9-card sentences in each line without stopping to guess what each card is? If you're not sure what the card is, and this keeps happening and keeps stalling you and keeping you hanging, move to another deck. Many decks lose readability due to themes the deck creators try to make. Don't let the theme steal the reading ease of the deck.


Don't judge the readability of a deck by the awards it has won. Many of these decks were made by good tarot readers who do not read Lenormand fluently, and many of the awards given are voted on by the general cartomancy communities and unfortunately, most of those well-meaning people who voted do not have proficiency in reading the Lenormand. Some decks have won high-standing awards, while those same decks cannot be read at all in a GT by the experts. A deck that is functional always outweighs all other factors when it comes to reading complex spreads like the GT.


If there are a lot of people in cards in any cards other than the Man, Woman, Child, and Rider, you may find yourself tripping over cards to locate significators and other cards that are not significators but look like they could be. Sometimes the Scythe or other cards are depicted with people. If you can get used to this, that is good, but you'll find that a preponderance of people can make the central images become less central, and the true people cards we are seeking "get lost in the shuffle." I address this in my first video listed above in this blog, "Making (or Finding) Clear Lenormand Decks." Here is that link again if you missed it.

Making (or Finding) Clear Lenormand Decks (6 minutes)



Don't throw away those pretty detail-y decks that you absolutely love that you can't successfully use in a GT. You can still read them in your small spreads. But when it comes to large spreads, you'll find that there is so much happening at one time that you lose the ability to scan the cards and find multiple things quickly. In small spreads, there is less to assimilate and they are easier to digest. You won't need to search for cards, they are present in the small spread.

Reading the GT may forever change the way you shop for Lenormand decks. You may find you go more for simplicity than detail.



Categories: Lenormand , Tutorials