Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand was born in 1772. Her date of birth, May 27, puts her in the Gemini house. She was orphaned very early in her life so she was sent to a convent to receive her education. It is said that she left there at the age of 14 to head to Paris.
Per her own writing, Mademoiselle Lenormand read
her cards for many important people including Tsar Alexander 1. The Empress Josephine was arguably her most famous client but she also read for Robespierre and other French revolutionaries such as Marat. It is an interesting thing to think about, isn’t it?
If she read for those revolutionaries as well as French nobility, could she have been setting both sides against one another? Purely speculation on this writer’s part, of course, but it is fun to consider.
There are many references to her readings and predictions. It is said that she told Bonaparte that he would meet a widow who would make him happy. She also advised that he would, “achieve a very high rank by his influence; but that ye be ungrateful to it” thus losing any happiness he might find. I think we all know how that one turned out.
At the age of 42, she began writing. Some of her literary works ended her up in prison a few times. Madame Lenormand never spent too much time in jail though. It seems our card reader was a bit of a rabble rouser. Her death came at less than a month after her seventy first birthday in 1843.
A misconception is that Mlle. Lenormand created the Lenormand deck. That is not correct. She popularized the reading of cards. Card reading was fairly common but generally done by the travelers or Romany people. The term gypsy is offensive to many in that populace so we will not use that here. Mlle. Lenormand did say that her first pack of cards was given to her at the age of fourteen by that group. It would be intriguing to go back to that time to discover if getting that deck of cards was what precipitated her leaving the convent to head into the grand city of Paris.
A deck created by Madame Breteau was named “Le Grand Jeu de Mlle. Lenormand” in honor of Lenormand after her death. This Madame Breteau claimed to be a student of Mlle. Lenormand. The deck was the fifty-four card version. Another deck was also published around the same time called the “Petit Lenormand.”
That 36 card deck is the one that is most popular now. German in origin, it is said to be based on the “Game of Hope” card game, which is based on a board game where you raced around the board based on cards drawn. Similar games would be Candyland in today’s world. I can only hope that one hundred years from now we do not have a Candyland oracle.
So from 18th and 19th century Paris, a young orphan girl still shines. Do you think she knew her legacy would stretch so far into the future? I like to think that she did.
We are celebrating our Lenormand line today. Which of the four decks featured here appeal to you the most? One commenter will win their choice of these four Lenormand decks.
Comments must be entered by Friday June 20 no later than 12 midnight PST.
Winner announced on this blog Tuesday June 24, 2014.