Let's Talk Lenormand

Lenormand is a divination method with playing cards where the 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s & 6s have been removed; also called a piquet deck. It originates from 19th century France, named after the famous French diviner Marie-Anne Lenormand. However, the deck itself is based on a German deck of cards called ‘Das Spiel der Hofnung’ (The Game of Hope) which was published around the 1800s.

Who was Marie-Anne Lenormand?

Marie-Anne Lenormand was an influential French diviner who was famous in the Napoleonic era. Having been active for over 40 years she is rumored to have read for many famous people including Empress Joséphine of France. Next to cartomancy she also had a literary career which had caused some controversy and had her imprisoned quite a few times.’Le Petit Jeu Lenormand’ was published after her death.

How do you use Lenormand?

When reading with Lenormand it is best to read it with at least two cards, as they tend to go in pairs. Personally, my favorite way to read them is 9x9, but seek whatever fits. The cards are known to be more straightforward than Tarot, but not necessarily less symbolic as a lot of the cards are based on Christian imagery. The Enchanted Lenormand is one of the decks that tried to change this. Besides having less Christian imagery it also included an extra man & woman card. There are lots of spreads and ways to read Lenormand. The Grand Tableau is the most well known spread regarding the system. You put down all your cards in rows of 9x4 after shuffling and look at the cards surrounding the themed card of your choice to see what there is in store. I mostly use this spread with new year readings, but you could technically use it for anything. An extra way of reading the cards is counting the pips to bring forth more insight regarding your question. With my grand tableau reading of 2023 I had the rider next to the health card (tree). The rider (9 of hearts) + the tree (7 of hearts) = 16 which in Lenormand is the star. The translation of this is that I'll exercise more and because of that I'll gain more confidence.

Staying nuanced

In my opinion, no card in Lenormand has only good or bad meanings. The fox card will often be a sly person, but when it was around the tree card in my grand tableau reading its meaning was that I was going to be discerning my needs and putting myself first. Above the fox card was the house card while next to it was the snake card. Oftentimes the snake will mean being back stabbed or someone not being entirely truthful. I think you can understand how the fox and the snake together would be a boatload of trouble for most readers. However, their meaning together was that I was going to get down and dirty with cleaning my house. Always look at the surrounding cards and the situation you are inquiring about to determine whether it's wholly bad or if they could be seen in a different light.

This post was originally posted on March 20th, 2023

Some other useful links/books:

Cafe Lenormand
Grand Tableau: 10 key points to know
The Enchanted Lenormand by Caitlín Matthews