Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Making Of: The Book

©C. McCracken & W. Worthington
As I mentioned last week, it is my intention to regularly post on the ideas and process behind the creation of the Celtic Lenormand.  This week, I thought we'd take a look at the Book.

This was a somewhat tricky card, because there is no evidence of books as we know them in Celtic times.  Instead, my idea was to show a pair of linked bronze tablets, or wax tablets inset into wood.  These were used during that period, either for permanent messages (bronze), or for messages which could be deleted and the tablets re-used (wax).  There is evidence of two of these being linked together and folded closed, thus protecting the wax and the message. 

At first, I thought to have the 'Book' lying open, so it would be more obvious that this was two tablets, rather than a paper book.  However, that conflicted with the idea in Lenormand that the Book is closed to indicate secrets (though there are some exceptions, even in quite traditional decks). 

©C. McCracken & W. Worthington
It also raised the issue of what to put as a text, and what type of writing to use.  There is a known ancient Irish script, and closer to the Brittany home of this deck there is Gaulish.  Often, especially in the later period, Celts used Latin for writing, as a kind of lingua franca, and because there was no unified celtic language.  With all those considerations in mind, I opted for a closed Book.  The 'tablet' nature of it may be less apparent, but it fits better overall, and still creates a lovely image.

Another factor was the light.  Celtic roundhouses didn't generally have windows, so the two main options were a candle or daylight streaming in through the open door.  For the Book, I decided to go for the latter, to represent the light of illumination that can come from study.  This is brighter far than the single candle of our own minds, the combination of the ideas and insights of generations and multitudes!  None of this is necessary to our understanding of the Book, it is simply intended as an unconscious support for the traditional meanings.

In my eyes, Will did a beautiful job with this card.  I love the rough stone wall that shows in the background, and the celtic knotwork detail on the table legs.  The Book itself is also wonderful, the wooden nature of it very apparent, as well as the beautiful binding to highlight the importance of what it holds.  Hopefully, reading with it, and the other cards of this deck, will help us study and explore some of the mysteries in our own lives.

4 comments:

  1. I like it, and I would have just thought 'Book' and never noticed or wondered why it appears to be wood, nor the other details around it. That, to me, says it is a perfectly natural looking setting that calls no attention to itself. :) Very nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good, glad to hear the card works as a Lenormand book, as well :)

      Delete
  2. I think it's perfect for what the image triggers. I, too, would not have been aware of the tablet nature of the object without prompting, although I did know in advance that the Celts did not have books. I'll be interested to see what you do with the Letter, then. I don't know what their main mode of distance communication was (besides the equivalent of the Rider). Smoke or light signals?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you think the book works :)

      Interesting ideas about the Letter, Joanne. Hmm, if anyone ever does a Native American Lenormand, maybe they'd put in smoke signals. I went more traditional with the Letter, based on the cultural crossover between Rome and the Celts... :)

      Delete

We love comments, let us know what you think :)