An Ukiyo-e Lenormand is a deluxe thirty-six card oracle deck with gold edged cards and a cloth covered box. The name Ukiyo-e, meaning “floating world,” refers to the style of Japanese woodcuts and paintings made famous in the 19thcentury. The deck references Japanese art and culture, including Shinto deities (called kami), Buddhist bodhisattvas, and other mythic figures. At times, these references may modify the meaning of the card. It is surprising, however, how often these items, taken from Japanese culture, harmonize with the European symbols.
You can read about the creation of this deck in my blog post from January 8, 2019
All preorders of this deck have been mailed out as of May 6, 2019
They are $30 each
plus $10 shipping in the US, $31 for Canada, and $42 for all other countries.
If you are interested in ordering this deck email me at:
US customers may use this link to order:
The deluxe cards are four inches by three inches with gold edges and come in a cloth covered box. The box is based on an antique deck in my collection. It is a design that I have not seen being used for 100 years. It has two parts, an open-topped box that holds the cards and the little book, and a slipcase that goes over the box, making it double thick. The box is covered with cloth, with a label on the front and the back. The book not only contains the divinatory meanings for each card but discuss the significance of each symbol in Japanese culture.
This is the first sample of the box and deck, airmailed from the printer on 3/18/2019
Here is what Barry Pirro had to say:
I just received my ‘An Ukiyo-e Lenormand’ cards. Amazing! What an absolutely beautiful deck. The Japanese woodcut style artwork is fantastic, the card stock is nice and thick, the colors are vibrant, and the gold-gilded edges add a really nice touch. Even the red cloth covered box is beautiful! The accompanying booklet is really helpful, and I love that it explains the meaning of the deities associated with some of the cards. I know there are pictures of the cards on your website, but the actual cards are even more beautiful. Beautiful job! Anyone reading this who hasn’t bought this deck yet — don’t miss this one!
This is what Scott Martin had to say:
I love this deck and pleased that I have the art deck version. It’s so elegant in its relative simplicity.
Rebecca Bingham said:
Mine arrive yesterday. Gorgeous production in every way. Now I get the pleasure of going through the cards individually to savor your lovely drawings, amplified by the notes in the accompanying booklet.
Joe Schippa said:
I purchased this deck from you at RS19. It’s like no other deck I own. Just beautiful!
Roxanne Binkowski said:
They are truly beautiful to look at. But, when you hold them…. they are spectacular. ❤️ you have to feel them…
Fran Kostella said:
Wow! I just received my copy of Robert Place’s new Ukiyo-e Lenormand deck. The art is stunningly beautiful, as are all of his decks, which makes them a joy to use. The fit and finish is amazing, the cards are properly stiff enough for me, and the card stock is just lovely, and they have a flat finish, gilt edges, and no borders. The quality is just beyond any deck I own. I love it, I wish all of my decks were done this well and came with a snug, solid box, too. Great stuff. You can order them directly from him, his site is linked from his FB account.
Here are the thirty-six cards with a description of each image.
Horses were first brought to Japan in the 6thcentury and were valued by the samurai class for their role in warfare.
Japanese clover is a flowering plant in the pea family that grows in East Asia. Detailed drawings of plants such as this are common in Japanese books containing artist sketches, known as manga. In the Tale of Genji,the clover is used as a metaphor for the season of autumn and the fading of life and love.
Being surrounded by water, boats and ships are essential to Japanese culture. Traditional Japanese boats are built by craftspeople, who follow designs that have been passed down for many generations. They are built of planks nailed together with hand-made square copper nails. The holes for the nails, therefore, cannot be drilled. They are cut into the plank with a chisel.
When Westerners were first allowed into Japan after 1853, they were amazed to see that Japanese houses have massive title or thatch roofs but thin walls made of paper stretched over wooden frames. There are no windows, but the paper walls are translucent and allow light to enter the house. The roofs are actually supported by a structure of heavy wooden beams that are expertly joined without the use of nails.
The Japanese red maple is native to East Asia. It is popular in Japanese gardens and art because of its graceful shape and its vivid red leaves in autumn. Red is a sacred protective color associated with the kami Inari, and with Amaterasu and her sun.
In Japanese art, influenced by Shintoism, clouds, represent the spirits of the dead. In Buddhism, in contrast with the traditional Lenormand meaning, they signify the Western Paradise where Buddhists hope to reside after death.
This image is based on a woodblock print by Hokusai (the most famous ukiyo-e artist) representing a snake with two melons. The snake is one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.
Emma-O is the god of underworld. He holds the souls of the dead until it is time for them to be reborn.
Ikebana(flower arrangement) is one the traditional arts of Japan. It was first introduced in in the 15thcentury by a Buddhist priest as an expression of the beauty of nature.
Daikoku is a combination Buddhist and Shinto deity. He is one of the Seven Lucky Gods. He is the god of the rice harvest, depicted standing on bags of rice, and he is, therefore, considered a god of prosperity and of the kitchen. He holds a wish granting wooden mallet and, as a god of the harvest, the scythe would also be one of his tools.
Small whips like this one are depicted in the mouths of the Kitsune (fox) sculptures that guard the god Inari’s shrines. They signify that Kitsune is a protector.
Because of their love of nature, birds are a common theme in Japanese art. Originally ukiyo-e art mainly focused on depicting kabuki actors or beautiful women. It was Hokusai who popularized nature subjects, known as birds and flower pictures.
Known as the Golden Boy in English, Kintaro is a legendary hero, who was born with immense strength. He was an orphan, who was raised in the forest by Yama-Uba (mountain witch). His only friends were animals, and although he was a child, he used his ax for felling trees like an adult.
Kitsune is the messenger of the god Inari, the Shinto god (or kami) of rice and wealth. Kitsune is believed to ward off evil, which is in contrast with some of the traditional Lenormand meanings and with some of her roles in folklore. The fox spirit in Japanese folklore is a prolific shapeshifter, who often takes the form of beautiful young women, and attempts to seduce men for mere mischief or to consume their bodies or spirits.
Having learned the language of the animals, Kintaro befriended a bear, who became his servant.
In ancient Japan, the star Polaris was believed to be Amaatsu-Mikaboshi. He was an evil god, who represented the void of primordial darkness from which the universe emerged. He was constantly trying to recapture the world and bring it back into darkness. Being void, he had no other pictorial form. When Buddhism came to Japan he merged with the more benevolent Buddhist deity Ama-no-mi-naka-nushi (Divine Lord of the middle heavens), the god who rules over stars.
The Oriental stork is a native of East Asia. It resembles the European stork. In Japan, birds, in general, are believed to be able to interact with the kami.
This samurai hero with his faithful dog is based on a series of prints depicting the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.
A pagoda is a tower (the traditional name for this card) with several tiers. It is found in China, Japan, and other parts of East Asia. It evolved from the Indian stupa, a funeral mound with a tower projecting from the top that became one of the central symbols of Buddhism. Buddhist stupas held relics and the structure itself became taller and leaner. It served as a symbol of the axis mundi, channeling Buddha Energy down to earth.
Shinto is considered a nature religion, in which the kami personify various aspects of the landscape. Therefore gardens are a natural component of Shinto shrines. Japanese gardens are also heavily influenced by Chinese Buddhist ideas, especially Zen aesthetic principles, such as simplicity, harmony with the natural landscape, and a preference for aged materials. Gardening is considered a high art, like painting or calligraphy. One common feature is the Japanese iris.
Mount Fuji was made famous by Hokusai’s series of woodcuts, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (which includesThe Great Wave, the most famous work of Japanese art),and of Hiroshige’s series, One Hundred Views of Edo. These artists popularized the landscape as a subject in Ukiyo-e prints. They depicted the mountain in the background of their landscapes, using it as a symbol of the spiritual and eternal in contrast to the mundane world depicted in the foreground. We may, therefore, add this symbolism to the traditional meanings for this card.
Small statues of Jizo, like this one, can be found along paths and at crossroads throughout Japan. Jizo is a bodhisattva depicted as a monk with a shaved head. He holds a monk’s sounding staff (that rattles and warns away small creatures, who could be accidentally stepped on) and a wish granting jewel. He is the protector of children (particularly the ghosts of dead children) and of travelers.
Mice are the natural predators of silk worms, which helps to explain the Japanese fondness for cats.
Kokoro, written at the top of this card in Japanese calligraphy, means heart, but also mind, emotions, and feelings, much the same as heart does in the West. The Western heart symbol did not exist in Japan until it was introduced in modern times. We can find this shape, however, in the bleeding heart flower, which is native to Japan.
Before the Meiji Restoration of Imperial power in 1868 rings were not common in Japan, but once the emperor decreed the adoption of Western dress, Japanese metalworkers began to apply their skills to designing Western jewelry.
With the help of his bear, Kintaro taught himself to read.
During the Edo period (the 18thand early 19thcenturies), 50% of males and 20% of women from all classes were literate. Today Japan is included among the most literate countries in the world. Japanese letters were rolled like a small scroll. They are often depicted in ukiyo-e prints and we find them depicted in the mouths of Kitsune at Inari shrines.
Like the gentleman depicted on the traditional Lenormand card, Japanese samurai were nobles who were expected to carry a sword.
A woman dances in a traditional Japanese kimono. Her fan, like the man’s sword, signifies her elevated social standing.
The lotus is an aquatic follower that is similar to the water lily (Lily is the traditional name for this card). In Buddhism, the lotus represents purity of body, mind, and spirit. Buddha and other deities are depicted sitting on a lotus. On the Jizo – The Path card, we can see that Jizo is standing on a lotus.
Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun and the principle Shinto kami. It was believed that the emperor was her descendent. Her necklace is made ofhand-carved stone beads called magatama, a traditional design that stems from the earliest Jomon period (1,000 BCE).
Kannon is the bodhisattva known as Quan Yin in Chinese and the Goddess of Mercy in English. She is the most beloved of the Buddhist deities, and has miraculous powers to assist all those who appeal to her. She is also associated with the Moon and childbirth.
This is an antique Japanese key. It is often depicted in the mouth of Kitsune statues guarding Inari shrines. There is one in the mouth of the Kitsune on the Kitsune – The Fox card.
Ebisu is one of the Seven Lucky Gods. He is the god of fishermen and luck. Overtime he also became the god of merchants and money. Just as in the traditional Lenormand card, fish and money are linked.
Traditional Japanese anchors are similar to their Western counterparts.
Family crests, called kamon, originated in the 11thcentury among the samurai class. They allowed the members of a clan to be identified during warfare. Today they are included on formal garments. When cloth is dyed for clothing, a resist is applied in the form of the crest so that the crest remains undyed. This kamon is called Nakagawake Kurusu (the cross of the Nakagawa clan).
They are $30 each plus $10 shipping in the US, $31 for Canada, and $42 for all other countries.
If you are interested in preordering this deck email me at:
US customers may use this link to order:
Kitsune the fox holding a whip at the Kyoto shrine of Inari, the Shinto god of wealth
To receive The Restored Temple of Hermes, my free newsletter e-mailed every three months or so, with links to my latest articles and news about up-coming lectures, workshops, and publications, send an e-mail to me with The Restored Temple of Hermes in the subject line. Also, please let me know what state or country you live in.
The 63rd Temple of Hermes newsletter was sent on July 26, 2022. If you did not receive yours, you may need to update your email address.