The Fascinating History and Art of Lenormand Cards

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The Fascinating History and Art of Lenormand Cards

When it comes to divination and fortune-telling, most people are familiar with tarot cards. However, there is another lesser-known deck of cards that holds its own captivating history and unique artistry – the Lenormand cards.

Named after the famous French fortune-teller Madame Marie Anne Lenormand, these cards originated in the 19th century and have since gained a loyal following among cartomancy enthusiasts. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating history, symbolism, and interpretation of Lenormand cards.

The Origins of Lenormand Cards

The origins of Lenormand cards can be traced back to Europe in the late 18th century. The deck was created as a response to the widespread popularity of regular playing cards for divination purposes. People wanted a dedicated deck solely for fortune-telling, and thus, the Lenormand deck was born.

Mme. Lenormand herself, born in 1772, rose to fame as one of the most renowned fortune-tellers of her time. She read cards for many notable figures, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Josephine. Though she did not create the Lenormand deck, her association with cartomancy and divination led to its subsequent naming in her honor.

The Structure and Symbols of Lenormand Cards

Unlike tarot cards, which typically have 78 cards divided into major and minor arcana, Lenormand cards are more straightforward. The traditional Lenormand deck consists of 36 cards, each depicting a specific symbol or image.

The symbols in Lenormand cards are simple and rooted in everyday life. They include objects like a key, a ship, a house, and a bouquet, among others. Each card carries a unique meaning, but their interpretation often relies on combinations and proximity to other cards.

To further understand the structure of the Lenormand deck, it is essential to know that the cards are numbered but not in a sequential order. For instance, card number 6 depicts the clouds, card number 22 shows the paths, and so forth. These numbers help identify specific cards during a reading.

Interpreting Lenormand Cards

The Lenormand deck is often admired for its straight-to-the-point nature and practical insights into daily life. While tarot cards tend to delve into the depths of the subconscious and complex archetypes, Lenormand cards focus more on practical matters and tangible outcomes.

Since the symbolism in Lenormand cards is grounded in reality, their interpretations often revolve around situations and events familiar to most people. The cards can provide guidance on love, career, finance, health, and personal growth.

A key aspect of reading Lenormand cards is combining multiple cards to create meaningful narratives. Traditional spreads, such as the Grand Tableau, involve laying out all 36 cards in a grid, creating a vast tableau of possibilities and connections. This method allows for a detailed and comprehensive analysis of a person’s life.

Lenormand Cards vs. Tarot Cards

As mentioned earlier, Lenormand cards and tarot cards share some similarities but also have distinct differences. While both decks are used for divination, their approaches and symbolism offer unique insights.

One significant difference lies in the imagery. Tarot cards often feature elaborate scenes, rich symbolism, and archetypal figures, encouraging deep exploration of the subconscious. On the other hand, Lenormand cards use simple, everyday objects that act as clear and direct messages, focusing on the practical aspects of life.

Another distinction is the size of the deck. Tarot cards have 78 cards while Lenormand cards have only 36. This variation affects the depth and breadth of the readings. Tarot cards offer more nuanced interpretations, giving insights into psychological patterns and emotional states. Lenormand cards, with their smaller number of cards, provide specific and practical advice.

The Appeal of Lenormand Cards

Lenormand cards may be less known than tarot cards, but their popularity has been steadily growing. Many cartomancy enthusiasts appreciate the Lenormand deck for its simplicity, versatility, and straightforward approach to divination.

Furthermore, the unique artistry of Lenormand cards adds to their appeal. Numerous artists have created stunning renditions of the deck, each with their artistic style and interpretation of the symbols. From vintage-inspired designs to modern, abstract interpretations, Lenormand decks offer a wide range of visual aesthetics to suit various preferences.


The world of cartomancy is vast and fascinating, and the Lenormand deck adds another layer of intrigue to the practice. Whether you are new to divination or an experienced tarot reader looking to explore different cards, Lenormand cards offer a refreshing and insightful approach to fortune-telling.

From its origins in 19th-century Europe to its enduring popularity today, Lenormand cards have captured the imaginations of many with their direct symbolism and practical interpretations. So why not shuffle a Lenormand deck, lay the cards, and uncover the secrets they hold within?

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The Fascinating History and Art of Lenormand Cards