Monday 3 February 2020

In Praise of the Little White Book


In most card reading systems, many decks come with a Little White Book (LWB). This accessory is legendary amongst readers, tutors and creators of decks. The inclusion, or exclusion, or indeed merit of the LWB provokes discussion across forums, social media and anywhere else where cartomancers gather. I love a LWB! It's a personal thing, but then you're looking at the girl who read every lyric on a rock album; every individual credited with lead vocals to hand claps. Which studio was used, and the names of any dogs who accompanied said rock idol (I'm looking at you Eric Clapton). I'm that person who loves to know why something was created, where it was created, and why, and how .... and so on.

The above is a selection from my stash - some LWBs are nestled with their decks, others are boxed up and away with my collection, and others such as these squeeze onto a shelf while their accompanying deck is cosseted in a separate bag.

Of course, some LWBs are simply a generic set of basic instructions or information relating to its deck. Others though, contain exquisite nuggets of genius, easily missed if a reader chooses to discard this oft-regarded insignificant booklet. Many of the above contain the thoughts of the artist and/or creator, and the inspiration behind the cards and the messages therein. I find that even if concepts and ideas don't always gel with me, I always, always, learn something.

Of course not all LWBs are little or white ...

The wonderful Steven Bright produced a heavenly book to accompany his Spirit Within Tarot - full colour depictions of the cards with succinct and profound insights and meanings. I honour the skill involved in capturing so much in a few sentences.

The Zombie Tarot is an excellent case in what I view as the importance of the LWB. A 'themed' deck may or may not come over as a 'novelty' deck, and the Zombie is themed to such a high standard with huge thanks to the brilliance of the accompanying book (and I'm really not into Zombies, but this deck is superb). The premise is that when you're up against an apocalypse, you'll turn to the Tarot. Bam! There and then you have a solid reason to ask the cards for assistance.

There is a wonderful example of a meaning for The Hierophant - not always the easiest archetype to get across. Here we have a news anchorman, struggling through static, power outages and destruction, to stay on the air in order to provide the population with assurances, information and advice. His is the voice of trust and security. This is a fabulous example of finding a real gem of an interpretation that can be applied to hundreds of decks. I love it!

Another favourite Little White Book is the one which accompanies the Tarot of Pagan Cats (Lo Scarabeo - Magdelina Messina, Lola Airaghi). In only 14 pages of English (it's a multi lingual deck and book) each short sentence has to try and convey enough information for the reader to comprehend what's going on. The writers do this beautifully. Here's just one example to finish this post with: The Lovers - Making a decision that makes your heart glad. 

Til next time,


All content and images © Margo Benson

Monday 27 January 2020

Peeking at some Petit Lenormand


I love Lenormand. I became serious about reading with the system a few years ago, and often augment a tarot reading with a 3 or 5 card spread of Lenormand cards. I have collected a modest number of decks and want to show you a selection of those I read with. My latest acquisition is one of the most exquisite Lenormands I have ever seen. I am delighted to be working with it.

Let me present ... The Alexander Daniloff Lenormand!

I mentioned in a previous post featuring Alexander's beautiful tarot that he was bringing out a Lenormand - I knew it would be beautiful, theatrical art, but this deck had my jaw dropping to the floor in wonder. As soon as I began working with the cards, it became an instant favourite. The cards are the traditional small size (approx 9cm x 5.8cm) so there is ease when laying out a Grand Tableau (a spread using all 36 cards). Larger-sized Lenormands aren't a deal-breaker for me, I possess many poker-sized decks (approx 9cm x 6.3cm) but I find I reach for the smaller decks first. Alexander's placement of the playing card insert is stunning and original; the banners are truly a part of the image.
Here are some more!


I say the deck became an instant favourite, which takes some doing as a forever-favourite and well-used Lenormand is the wonderful Celtic Lenormand by Chloe McCracken with art by Will Worthington. Again sticking with the smaller size, I adore these.

Woman, Heart, Book - I also love that the images are so clear it isn't necessary to name the cards. I'm easy on that count as long as the name doesn't interfere with the artwork, but I know several readers who abhor seeing card names. Still, we can't all be the same, eh!

The deck I learned with was this one - Blau Eule, or Blue Owl (Urania publishing). It's an extremely popular Lenormand containing very traditional images.

I have a few Lenormand decks created by Paris Debono ( and this one, The Yellow Wave, is wicked!

It's stark and contemporary, I love the inserts.

The system of Petit Lenormand came out of 'The Game of Hope' a game a little like Snakes and Ladders, where all the cards are laid out from 1 to 36. Old sets of these cards can be found in the British Museum but facsimiles are available to buy from many book and card sellers.

Aren't they lovely? You can see that the inserts include Bells, Hearts, Leaves and Acorns, which were forerunners of Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and Clubs in German-style imagery.

I'll leave you with another picture from the Alexander Daniloff - many creators include extra Man and Woman/Lord and Lady cards to cover diversity and same-sex relationships. Here are Alexander's - I particularly love the Woman with a ginger and white cat in her arms as that'll be me!

'Til next time,