Marie Anne Lenormand

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Marie Anne Lenormand
Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand

(1772-05-27)27 May 1772
Alençon, Normandy, France
Died25 June 1843(1843-06-25) (aged 71)
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Occupation(s)bookseller, necromancer, fortune-teller and cartomancer
Parent(s)Jean Louis Antoine Lenormand, Marie Anne Lenormand (née Gilbert)

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772–1843), also known as Marie Anne Le Normand,[1] was a French bookseller, necromancer, fortune-teller and cartomancer of considerable fame during the Napoleonic era. In France, Lenormand is considered as the greatest cartomancer of all time, highly influential on the wave of French cartomancy that began in the late 18th century.

Early life[edit]

Lenormand was born on 27 May 1772 in Alençon, Normandy, to Jean Louis Antoine Lenormand, a draper, and Marie Anne Lenormand (née Gilbert). Lenormand was orphaned at the age of five and educated in a convent school. Lenormand left Alençon for Paris in 1786.[2]


Arrest engraving of Marie-Anne Lenormand from the book frontispiece of Les Souvenirs prophétiques d'une sibylle sur les causes secrètes de son arrestation (The Prophetic Memories of a Sibyl on the Secret Causes of Her Arrest), Paris, 11 December 1809, by Mademoiselle Marie Anne Le Normand.[1]

Lenormand claimed to have given cartomantic advice to many famous persons, among them leaders of the French Revolution (Marat, Robespierre and St-Just), Empress Josephine and Tsar Alexander I. She was active for more than 40 years.

In 1814 Lenormand started a second literary career and published many texts, causing many public controversies.[vague] She was imprisoned more than once, though never for very long.


Grave of Lenormand, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Lenormand died in Paris on 25 June 1843 and is buried in Division 3 of Père Lachaise Cemetery.[3][4] She left behind a fortune of 500,000 Francs, and left no heirs other than a nephew who, at the time of her death, was in the army.[5] A devout Catholic, her nephew burned all of her occult paraphernalia, taking only the monetary fortune that she left behind.


  • Les souvenirs prophétiques d'une sibylle sur les causes secrétes de son arrestation - Paris (1814) (592 pages)
  • Anniversaire de la mort de l'impératrice Josephine (1815)
  • La sibylle au tombeau de Louis XVI (1816)
  • Les oracles sibyllins ou la suite des souvenirs prophétiques - Paris (1817) (528 pages)
  • La sibylle au congrès d'Aix-la-Chapelle (1819) (316 pages)
  • Mémoires historiques et secrets de l'impératrice Joséphine, Marie-Rose Tascher-de-la-Pagerie, première épouse de Napoléon Bonaparte - Paris (1820) (556 pages)
  • Mémoire justificatif présenté par Mlle Le Normand (1821) (20 pages)
  • Cri de l'honneur (1821) (18 pages)
  • Souvenirs de la Belgique - Cent jours d'infortunes où le procès mémorable (1822) (416 pages)
  • L'ange protecteur de la France au tombeau de Louis XVIII (1824)
  • L'ombre immortelle de Catherine II au tombeau d'Alexandre Ier (1826)
  • L'ombre de Henri IV au palais d'Orléans (1830) (107 pages)
  • Le petit homme rouge au château des Tuileries - Paris (1831) (107 pages)
  • Manifeste des dieux sur les affaires de France (1832) (60 pages)
  • Arrêt suprême des dieux de l'Olympe en faveur de Mme. la duchesse de Berry et de son fils (1833) (144 pages)

Possibly author of

  • Histoire de Jean VI. de Portugal, depuis sa naissance jusqu'à sa mort en 1826. - Paris : Ponthieu, 1827

Lenormand cards[edit]

A Lenormand card based on a deck from 1854

After Lenormand's death her name was used on several cartomancy decks. This included a deck of 36 illustrated cards known as the Petit Lenormand, or simply "Lenormand cards", still used extensively today.[6] It is commonly used for divination in France, the Low Countries, Central Europe, the Balkans, and Russia. It eventually spread to Brazil, probably through European and Russian emigres.

Das Spiel der Hoffnung[edit]

The 36-card Petite Lenormand tarot deck is modelled on a deck of cards published circa 1799 called Das Spiel der Hoffnung (The Game of Hope), a game of chance designed by Johann Kaspar Hechtel of Nuremberg.[7][8][9][10][11] It was originally meant to be laid out in a 6 x 6 grid of cards and played as a boardgame, with #1 (The Rider) as the start and #35 (The Anchor / Hope) as the end. Movement was determined with a pair of standard six-sided dice. Some cards granted money from the pot or moved the player forward to another card. Others forced the player to pay into the pot or moved them backwards. If the player landed on #8 (The Coffin) or overshot #35 by 1 and ended up on #36 (The Cross) instead, they were stuck there. They couldn't get out until they either rolled a double number on a later turn (like two "1s" or two "6s") or another player landed on the card. If the player rolled too high and overshot #36, they deducted the number of spaces to #36 from the result and then moved backwards for the remainder (for example, a player who was on #32 rolls a result of 8, they subtract 4 from the result [36 - 32 = 4] and then go backwards four spaces to #28 [32 - 4 = 28]).

It also had German- and/or French-style playing cards depicted on them in the upper field so it could double as a standard German 36-card deck. If used as a card deck, the numbered cards in each suit ranged from 6 to 9, followed by the Panier (or "banner", representing the 10 card), the three Face Cards (Untermann (Jack), Obermann (Queen) and König (King)), and the Daus (or "Deuce", representing the 2) replacing the Ace.

Divination is carried out by either laying out a spread or a grid of cards. A spread is usually of 3 or 5 cards laid out left to right. A grid is usually of three cards in three rows (3x3). The topic of the spread is the center card on the second row and the other cards are interpreted in how they relate to or influence it. There is also the Grande Tableau ("Great Scene"), in which the whole deck is laid out in a grid of four rows of nine cards (4x9) or five rows (four rows of eight cards and the fifth row having only four cards). The reader interprets the pattern to see how all the cards are connected to the topic or person the reading is for (the Querant).

Some modern Lenormand decks have additional or alternative #29 (Male) and #28 (Female) cards for non-binary or gender fluid people in the Querent's life.

Petit Lenormand
# Card Suit Divinatory Meaning
01 Rider (Cavalier / Ritter),
Cyclist (Radler)
9 of Hearts Messages, Energy, Passion, Speed, Activity, News, Young Athletic Person
02 Trefoil (Dreiblatt),
Clover (Klee)
6 of Hawkbells
(6 of Diamonds)
Luck, Lightheartedness, Small Happinesses, Opportunity, Being Untroubled, Comedy
03 Ship (Schiff) Panier of Leaves
(10 of Spades)
Departure, Farewell, Distance, Voyage, Travel, Journey, Adventure, Trading
04 House (Haus) König of Hearts
(King of Hearts)
Home, Establishment, Safety, Tradition, Custom, Privacy, Conservation, What is Under your Roof
05 Tree / Trees
(Bäum / Bäume)
7 of Hearts Health, Growth, Grounded, Past Connection, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Family/Ancestors.
06 Cloud / Clouds
König of Acorns
(King of Clubs)
Confusion, Lack of clarity, Misunderstanding, Insecurity, Doubt, Hidden Secrets
07 Snake (Natter) Obermann of Acorns
(Queen of Clubs)
Desire, Seduction, Deception, Craving, Attraction, Sexuality, Wisdom, Forbidden Knowledge (Modern readers can have the Snake card as representing the Cosmic or Orphic Egg, transformation and wisdom, unification of two parts. The Judeo-Christian "Fall from Eden" story that the original meaning of this cards comes from is offensive to some people, as - on top of the sexism inherent in that story - this card was also interpreted as meaning 'a woman of Asiatic appearance' and the racism inherent in this is usually offensive to modern readers).
08 Coffin (Sarg) 9 of Hawkbells
(9 of Diamonds)
Ending, Dying, Funeral, Loss, Grief, Mourning, Sadness, Ill Health
09 Bouquet (Strauß) Obermann of Leaves
(Queen of Spades)
Flattery, Social Life, Pleasantness, Cordiality Etiquette, Politeness, Appreciation, Beauty, Art, An Unexpected Gift
10 Scythe (Sense) Untermann of Hawkbells
(Jack of Diamonds)
Accidents, Hasty Decisions, Danger, A Warning, Speed, Reckoning, A Decision that Cannot be Undone.
11 Whip (Peitsche),
Broom (Besen)
Untermann of Acorns
(Jack of Clubs)
Conflict, Discussions, Arguments, Debate, Scolding, Opposition, Objection, Violence, Repetitive Actions, Sexual Behaviour.
12 Birds (Vogeln),
Owl (Uhu)
7 of Hawkbells
(7 of Diamonds)
Worry, Excitement, Gossip, Chattering, Nervousness, Anxiety, An Old Couple, Conversation In-Person (as compared to online, via SMS or over the phone)
13 Child (Kind) Untermann of Leaves
(Jack of Spades)
New Beginnings, Child, Toddler, Play , Inexperience, Innocence, Immaturity, Small, New, Vulnerable
14 Fox (Fuchs) 9 of Acorns
(9 of Clubs)
Selfishness, Self Care, Trickery, Suspicion, Cunning, Caution (modern interpretations also can have 9-5 work as the main interpretation, ie, 'what you do to feed your family')
15 Bear (Bär) Panier of Acorns
(10 of Clubs)
Power, Leadership, Dominance, Influence, Short temper, Strength of character, Boss, Matriarch, Hirsuit, a Body Builder or Over-weight Person
16 Star (Stern) 6 of Hearts Hope, Inspiration, Optimism, Spirituality, Dreams, Progress to Goals 
17 Stork (Storch) Obermann of Hearts
(Queen of Hearts)
Change, Transition, Movement, Recurrence, New Cycle, Yearning
18 Dog (Hund) Panier of Hearts
(10 of Hearts)
Loyalty, Friendship, A Follower, Devotion, Obedience, Support
19 Tower (Tor) 6 of Leaves
(6 of Spades)
Authority, Solitude, Loneliness, Isolation, Aloofness, Ego, Arrogance
20 Garden 8 of Leaves
(8 of Spades)
Public Affairs, Society, Culture, Teamwork, Fame, Social Networks
21 Mountain 8 of Acorns
(8 of Clubs)
Difficulties, Problems, Obstacles, Impairment, Hurdles, Struggles, Challenge
22 Crossroads Obermann of Hawkbells
(Queen of Diamonds)
Choices, Many Opportunities, Travel, Separation, Hesitation, Decisions
23 Mouse / Mice
(Mäus / Mäuse)
7 of Acorns
(7 of Clubs)
Dwindling, Deficiency, Depletion, Destruction, Defect, Flaw, Disease
24 Heart (Herz) Untermann of Hearts
(Jack of Hearts)
Love, Amicability, Romanticization, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Softness, Charity
25 Ring (Ring) Daus of Acorns
(Ace of Clubs)
Commitment, Promise, Honor, Partnership, Cooperation, Cycles
26 Book (Buch) Panier of Hawkbells
(10 of Diamonds)
Secrets, Knowledge, Education, Information, Research, Studies
27 Letter (Brief) 7 of Leaves
(7 of Spades)
Document, Email, Speech, Conversations, Expression, Information, Communication
28 Man
Animus (Spirit)
Daus of Hearts
(Ace of Hearts)
If the Querent is Male: The Querent.
If the Querent is Female: Male in Querent’s Life (Male Friend, Partner, Family Member)
29 Woman
Anima (Spirit)
Daus of Leaves
(Ace of Spades)
If the Querent is Female: The Querent.
If the Querent is Male: Female in Querent’s Life (Female Friend, Partner, Family Member)
30 Lilies (Lilien) König of Leaves
(King of Spades)
Sensuality, Sex, Virtue, Morality, Ethics, Wisdom
31 Sun (Sonne) Daus of Hawkbells
(Ace of Diamonds)
Happiness, Victory, Success, Power, Warmth, Truth
32 Moon (Mond) 8 of Hearts Subconscious, Intuition, Emotions, Fears, Desires, Fantasy
33 Key (Schlüssel) 8 of Hawkbells
(8 of Diamonds)
Openness, Revelation, Unlocking, Achievement, Liberation, Resolution
34 Fishes (Fische) König of Hawkbells
(King of Diamonds)
Finances, Business, Wealth, Values, Gain, Abundance
35 Anchor (Anker),
Hope (Hoffnung)
9 of Leaves
(9 of Spades)
Stability, Restraint, Security, Resilience, Durability, Laying Foundations
36 Cross (Kreutz) 6 of Acorns
(6 of Clubs)
Duty, Conviction, Suffering, Burden, Intolerance, Principles, Indoctrination

In popular culture[edit]

Lenormand appears as a character in the video game Assassin's Creed Unity.

Lenormand's reincarnated soul is a character in the novel Waiting for Gertrude: A Graveyard Gothic by Bill Richardson.

Lenormand is the subject of a séance in the first episode of the Russian TV series Detective Anna.


  1. ^ a b Mademoiselle Marie Anne Le Normand (1814). Les Souvenirs prophétiques d'une sibylle sur les causes secrètes de son arrestation [The Prophetic Memories of a Sibyl on the Secret Causes of Her Arrest] (in French).
  2. ^ Decker, Ronald; Depaulis, Thierry; Dummett, Michael (1996). A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot. London: Gerald Duckworth and Company. p. 119. ISBN 9780715627136.
  3. ^ Decker, Ronald; Depaulis, Thierry; Dummett, Michael (1996). A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot. London: Gerald Duckworth and Company. p. 132. ISBN 9780715627136.
  4. ^ "Marie Anne Lenormand". Find A Grave. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  5. ^ The Illustrated London News, 1 July 1843.
  6. ^ "What is Lenormand?". Cafe Lenormand. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  7. ^ Hoffmann, Detlef; Kroppenstedt, Erika (1972). Wahrsagekarten: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Okkultismus. Bielefeld: Deutsches Spielkarten Museum. pp. 17, 21.
  8. ^ O'Donoghue, Freeman Marius (1901). Catalogue of the Collection of Playing Cards Bequeathed to the Trustees of the British Museum by the late Lady Charlotte Schreiber. London: British Museum.
  9. ^ Decker, Ronald; Depaulis, Thierry; Dummett, Michael (1996). A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot. London: Gerald Duckworth and Company. pp. 141, 282. ISBN 9780715627136.
  10. ^ Humoristische Blätter für Kopf und Herz. Nuremberg: Gustav Philipp Jakob Bieling. 1799.
  11. ^ Will, Georg Andreas; Nopitsch, Christian Conrad (1805). Nürnbergisches Gelehrten-Lexicon: Sechster Theil von H-M. Altdorf bei Nürnberg.

External links[edit]