Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ostara Blog Hop: Lily Renewed

Final card - Martagon Lily
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For those who don't yet know, the Celtic Lenormand is a 45 card deck due to be published by US Games later this summer.  While it is a standard Lenormand which can be read following that deck's tradition, it also has pagan influences.  For instance, there are associations between the cards and the eight sabbats on the Wheel of the Year.  These can be used for timing questions, or as a focus for readings around the sabbats.

Last year, I posted about the Lily card as part of that Ostara blog hop.  The responses I received to that post led to the card being overhauled.  So, I'd like to share those changes with you all, as part of this blog hop focused on renewal.

Lily of the Valley version
Originally, I thought to have a Lily of the Valley on this card.  White lilies are fairly common in Lenormand decks, and the Lily of the Valley also has connections to the Goddess Eostre, linked to this pagan celebration.  However, it turns out that the Lily of the Valley is no longer considered a true lily (it used to be, but botanists changed their minds!)  Combining that with the fact that traditionally the Lenormand Lily is associated with the King of France in particular (linked through the Fleur de Lys), and wise, older men in general (through the King of Spades playing card association), I decided to choose a different, true lily for this depiction. 

The Martagon Lily combines the purple of royalty (and spiritual enlightenment) with the more masculine protruding stamen you now see in the card.  I placed it at the foot of a great oak, to suggest the wisdom of age, and the commanding, masculine virtues of the Greenman/King of Spades.  As well as the association to an older man, the card can also be linked to sexuality (those protruding stamen and its pink/purple colour), and to harmony and balance (the wisdom brought by experience, and the purple of the crown chakra).  These associations connect well with this time of year, too, a time of renewal.  After all, you can get that feeling of renewed energy and vigour both from finding a better harmony and balance in your life and from enjoying your sexuality!

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20 comments:

  1. Both cards are beautiful! I love the white lily but I appreciate your desire to keep with tradition while still upholding your personal take on the deck. I can't wait til it's released!

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    1. I'm really delighted with how this card turned out - it's very clear and colourful, but with additional associations if you look a bit deeper :) Like you both, I can't wait to have the final deck in my hands. I've done lots of readings with my prototype, but it really doesn't shuffle well :(

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  2. I am so looking forward to this deck! Both of these images are beautiful but I understand why the lily had to change....or resurrect. Ostara blessings!

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    1. Thanks, Margo. Somehow, it wasn't until I wrote this post that I realised how appropriate it was for the Lily card in particular to have been reborn this way ;)

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  3. Beautiful Artwork! I don't know very much (actually, anything) about Lenormand but lilies are one of my favorite flowers. Gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Tarot Ann, glad you like the artwork, I think Will is amazing :) As for Lenormand, it's a fascinating system, hope you'll give it a try sometime...

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  4. Both cards are beautiful but I can see why you've made the change. Looking forward to seeing this deck soon!

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    1. As I say, it was comments, particularly from Viv, that made me rethink things. And I love how it worked out.

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  5. A beautiful lily card! I like why you laid it at the foot of the great oak. Fab work with this deck!

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    1. Yes, the suggestion of wisdom, and of nestling peacefully at the feet of something greater than ourselves, also fit with traditional readings of peace, harmony and wisdom. I like adding in extra visual associations to traditional meanings, which hopefully don't distract from the clarity of the image: they are just there if you want them :)

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  6. I love hearing the story of the cards like this. Can't wait to see this deck. :D

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    1. Glad to hear it, Arwen. I've always loved reading these stories with other people's decks, which is what encouraged me to write them, too :)

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  7. a beautiful card ! I like it very much... my favorite is purple lily
    "a spring card" for me

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    1. Glad the associations work for you, Selena :)

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  9. Both are beautyful cards, but as lily in the traditionel lenormand way I have some hesistation for both. In german we call the lily of the vally Maiglöckchen - bell of may, they are poisoned and in former times used as medicin for the heart. the other is called Türkenbund - knot (used by) of turcs (sometimes connotation with gilwell-knot), has otherwise no special mythology or healingpower. The traditionel, french lily means not really sexuality, but purity and also carelessness ("be like a lily on the field .." Bible) and is - here in germany at least also a symbol of death, especially if it comes together with the card of the coffin. So why the connotation with sexuality? Through the times of bourbon kings prostitution was forbidden. If such a woman was catched, she went to prison - and hereby she become property of the crown. as symbol the lily was burned into her shoulder. - I try to stay open for the new understanding of your lily, but this time its not so easy :-)

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    1. Wow, thanks for the historical context, Monika. Having prostitutes branded with the Lily is a great explanation of why the card also became associated with sexuality, one I didn't know.

      As for the connection, I'm surprised you say you don't know it. Although I more often see the Lily as harmony and peace, I find the connection to sexuality in almost all my Lenormand books. Treppner speaks of passion (Leidenshaft), Fiechter of a seducer (ein Verführer), and Mertz suggests the connection comes because sex has been called "the little death". Colette Silvestre, from the French side, mentions both virginity and marriage, which may be why the card is seen as a strange pivot between purity and sexuality :)

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  10. I understand you are using natural elements from ancient times, so the lily is small; I just got the hothouse 'Easter lily' in my head so it's most recognizable. But for your deck, I'd lean as you have in the direction of making sure the Celtic-ness follows through as a context. To do this, you will obviously need to challenge us a bit with our familiarities solidified in 18th/19th century card illustrations. :)

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    1. The Easter Lily is native to Japan, so I really couldn't go with that for this deck. I hope the challenge to traditional imagery is a good thing, shaking up new thoughts and ideas within standard lines :)

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