In my Lenormand class, as in any of my cartomancy classes, we place function over symbol.

All things have a designated function before they have a ‘meaning’: The Scythe cuts before it’s a symbolic representation of an ending. So we start with this premise in our reading, before we go, ‘this is the end’, or ‘this is a negative card, and therefore ‘no’.

But for the sake of context, we want to consider  the original suggestions for the symbolic meanings of the Lenormand cards, published in Germany with the first deck in 1800.

Below is the English translation facsimile.

A glance at the text quickly discloses the concerns, desires and fears of the bourgeois society at the time. The good news is that human problems don’t change much over time, the classic being the problem of being.

‘Who am I’ is often answered in terms of emulating a desired identity: ‘I want to be just like her’, or, ‘I fear that I’m not good enough for him’. ‘And what if the neighbour doesn’t like me, or doesn’t think I’m respectable?’

Yes, such is life, full of illusions.

Here are the ‘meanings’ of the Lenormand cards.

We work with this context, but then also with a lot more.


Philippe Le Normand LWB white
Image: Courtesy of Lauren Forestall

Stay tuned on new courses.




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  1. I find it most interesting that the German leaflet is printed by the “Verlag für die Frau”, the Publisher for the Woman as it were, where here we have the Woman who is a publisher 🙂
    And that we are embarking on leaving behind this context of for this and that, which was a hoax to start with….none of them were heirs of the good Mlle Lenormand as the English translation claims….onwards !

    • There’s a long tradition in the world of fortunetelling for phoney claims. It continues, still. But we know this, so all is therefore fine. We just deconstruct the hell out of nonsense, and then laugh in the process. It’s all part of the general fun.

  2. If you’re interested in a high resolution version of this original image you can print, and also find some antique Lenormand repros, you can find it here:

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