The Amor Oscuro Lenormand by Modern Witchy Woman Diana Chin is an independently published deck that is a glimpse inside an artist’s sketchbook, sketches that narrate what Chin describes as “the story of an interracial couple through 36 symbolic messages.” The Amor Oscuro pays homage to diversity in divination through the lens of a multiracial woman.
You can order your copy of the Amor Oscuro just in time for the holidays, here, via GameCrafter. I’ve been getting back into Lenormand as of late and have loved doing so with Chin’s Amor Oscuro. If you’re a Lenormand deck collector, then you’re going to want to get this one.
As it seems with many decks self-published through GameCrafter, the box is too big for the 36-card Lenormand deck and also quite flimsy, so if you’re a deck collector and tend to store your decks stacked one on top of the other, you won’t really be able to do that with this deck, because it’ll squish the box. This is less about Amor Oscuro and more just to production logistics from GameCrafter. The deck quality they produce isn’t my favorite.
Overall, this is a go-to Lenormand deck for me. The muscle memory in my hands prefer tarot card sizes over the typically smaller Lenormands, so I love that Chin opted for the larger typical-tarot size dimensions for Amor Oscuro.
I love the tiled card back design, which could plausibly be sourced from any number of cultures, so I like that sense of multi-ethnic ubiquity expressed in the card back design. I’ve set up three cards from the deck above for you to choose from– left, center, and right. Remember your selection and we’ll circle back toward the end of this review.
Since this Lenormand deck is printed in a more standard tarot deck size, the Amor Oscuro deck works really well in tandem with tarot in a multi-deck spread, which is all the rage right now among readers, i.e., mixing tarot and oracle decks together in a single divinatory spread. The Amor Oscuro works seamlessly in multi-deck spreads, which is a fascinating echo of its purpose and point of view–celebrating diversity and integration.
Oops! The roman numerals on the Lady card is interesting. I think it was meant to be XXIX, i.e., card 29. Nevertheless, it didn’t bother me during my readings. Although I didn’t love the box the deck came in, the cardstock quality is great. It handles like any standard tarot deck (I say tarot here because of the size dimensions for Amor Oscuro; here, the size is more along the lines of a typical tarot deck than a typical Lenormand, where typical Lenormands tend to be much smaller).
Above you’ll see my variation on a Grand Tableau, which I like to use. I observe all the common reading techniques, i.e., reading the rows and columns, diagonals, and mirroring, etc. However, with this personal variation, the thesis or main divinatory message to take home is read in the top three cards and the bottom six cards are read as the six forces to either amplify or attenuate from your life if you seek to change the outcome prognosticated.
I love the grayscale sketchbook vibe of the illustrations, with just a touch of color here and there, like the wing tips on Card XII, Birds, or as you can see clearer below, along the breast of the stork in Card XVII.
The sketchbook art concept that defines Chin’s style here conveys the sense of peeking into someone’s journal and reading deeply private, intimate thoughts. It’s quite intriguing and poetic. Chin’s sketch style here is also just a touch reminiscent of art deco with a midcentury modern aesthetic. I love the conscious emphasis on diversity in divination, but the imagery isn’t decidedly “ethnic” in any way, which I really appreciate. It’s really diversity in divination done right.
Chin’s Lenormand deck also comes with a little white booklet (LWB). It introduces you to Lenormand divination and has a basic listing of keywords for each card.
I appreciate the inclusion of the LWB for a self-published Lenormand (many of them don’t come with supplemental text) and the keywords are enough to go on for a beginner just learning to read with the Lenormand.
The Amor Oscuro is a really great beginner’s or first Lenormand deck to work with. It’s classic in style, handles beautifully when you shuffle and form spreads, and is a tempered balance between traditional and modern. You’ve got the iconic symbols every Lenormand reader can recognize along with the poker deck correspondences in the bottom right corner.
Fortune-teller style readers will appreciate all the classical elements found in the Amor Oscuro. Psychology-based readers will appreciate Chin’s art style, which is conducive to thematic apperception testing. One of the strongest attributes of the Amor Oscuro Lenormand is its versatility.
Now back to those three cards I had face down on a music stand…
So which did you pick? The left, center, or right card?
Note which card you chose below and read the corresponding divinatory entry I’ve provided.
Left: Card XVI, Stars
Have you been paying attention to your dreams? That which began in you as just an intangible idea or emotion materializes into your reality. If you’ve been suffering under some poorer health conditions than usual, this is a sign of a turn for the better. The stars are aligning in your personal astrology in such a way that it’s time for you to advance onward to the next milestone of your life path. Good auspices ahead.
Center: Card XXVI, Book
Knowledge is what keeps our momentum toward personal expansion. It’s a time and phase in your life to hit the books. Focus on learning and engage in some concentrated study in the weeks ahead. Is it a ten-week program or ten months? Depends on what you’re studying, I suppose. Either way, it’s all about due diligence for you. If you’re looking for love, you might find it in a stranger. If career matters have been on your mind, an intriguing proposition for change is forthcoming.
Right: Card V, Tree
Where are your roots and where are your branches expanding toward? Know your past for a clearer vision of how you want to navigate your future. The answers you’ve been searching for are at the foundation and heart of the matter. Also: if you’re really seeking to touch the sky, then every step of your growth must be healthy and strong. Pay more attention to diet and exercise. Seems mundane, but garbage in, garbage out, everybody knows that. Make a more conscious effort to reach for healthy, wholesome foods that nourish both body and soul. Spend some time engaged in physical activity so that all the limbs are nimble enough to chase after dreams.
Above is the back view of the box. The Amor Oscuro emerges as one of the few Lenormand decks I’ve encountered with a decidedly multiracial perspective, that really touches on racial diversity rather than relying on cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is not political. It’s pretty and you can use lots of “safe” pretty imagery that won’t shake up white-dominant Eurocentric norms. Racial diversity, though, gets political. It’s not as “safe” and so I see the Amor Oscuro as breaking new ground.
Be sure to check out Diana Chin’s website, where she offers an array of tantalizing divinatory and spiritual services. In addition to the Amor Oscuro Lenormand, Chin is also the creator of another oracle deck, the Sensory Oracle, so be sure to check that out as well. Her blog features a regular tarot and astrology horoscope that I know you’ll want to bookmark.
If you’re an avid Lenormand reader, then you’ll love this deck. If you’re thinking of beginning your studies with the Lenormand, then I wholeheartedly recommend the simplicity and elegant imagery of the Amor Oscuro, so order the Amor Oscuro Lenormand here via GameCrafter.