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Petit Lenormand history

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Petit Lenormand history


The Petit Lenormand deck is based on a regular playing card deck that has been reduced from 52 cards to 36 cards by removing the 2, 3, 4 and 5 pip cards in each suit. The cards are illustrated with various symbols and traditionally also include a miniature of the playing card associated with each symbol. Little seems to be known or understood about the significance of the playing cards, other than that the court cards can serve to describe people in a reading (I have posted my own personal theory on my blog post titled "Lenormand suits"). There are also regional and personal variations throughout Europe in the card meanings.

Several decks named after the French cartomancer Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772-1843), including the Petit Lenormand popular today, were published after her death. However, the Petit Lenormand appears to have been modelled on a deck of cards published much earlier as part of a game of chance:

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"Detlef Hoffmann has shown that their prototype can be clearly traced back to a lovely little pack of fancy cards, called 'Das Spiel der Hofnung (sic) / Le jeu de l'espérance' (The Game of Hope), published around 1800 by G.P.J. Bieling in Nuremberg."
A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot (1996), Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis and Michael Dummett
[You can see a complete set of these cards on The British Museum website here.]

Recent research into this game will be included in Tali Goodwin's book to be published in May 2012, The New Lenormand. I understand that the book will include an English translation of the original game booklet which should help us to understand the original meanings of the cards better.

Caitlín Matthews has also been researching the game for her upcoming book and deck set The Enchanted Lenormand due out in September 2013.
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It's wonderful that we're going to be seeing some English-language books about the Lenormand at last! Thanks so much for this news, and for posting a link to that beautiful deck.
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Originally Posted by Astraea View Post
It's wonderful that we're going to be seeing some English-language books about the Lenormand at last! Thanks so much for this news, and for posting a link to that beautiful deck.
Thanks Astraea, it is very exciting!
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Description of the game from The Enchanted Lenormand


Caitlín Matthews posted a description of the game on her blog Soundings on 28 April 2012 (it is part of an extract from her upcoming book The Enchanted Lenormand):

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In actual fact, the Petit Lenormand deck images derive from a German game called Das Spiel der Hoffnung, published in 1800 by G. P. J. Bieling-Dietz of Nuremberg. This was a board game in which 36 cards were laid in a square while competitors raced to be the winner; it was played by two dice to determine how one advanced around the board. Like Snakes and Ladders, you might advance or retreat if you landed on particular cards. The cards have the same numeration and images as the Petit Lenormand cards, conclusively proving that this was the origin of the images and their ordering. The accompanying leaflet to the game also suggested a simple question and answer whereby 32 cards laid in eight rows of four might answer questions.
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Suit signs


The cards include both French and German playing card insets using the following correspondences:

Clubs = Acorns (=Tarot Coins/Pentacles*)
Hearts = Hearts (=Tarot Cups*)
Spades = Leaves (=Tarot Swords*)
Diamonds = Bells (=Tarot Batons/Wands*)

*The English names given to the standard French suit signs are not the same in meaning as the French names except for Hearts, which could explain the popular belief that Clubs (which were originally Fleurs meaning flowers, later Trčfles meaning clovers) were derived from Italian Bastoni (Batons). 18th century French cartomancers such as Antoine Court de Gébelin and Etteilla associated Clubs with Italian Coins (Tarot Pentacles) and Diamonds with Italian Batons (Tarot Wands), an association which becomes more obvious when observing these Minor Arcana suit patterns of the Tarot of Marseilles. [Source: Mystical Origins of the Tarot by Paul Huson]
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Lenormand Prototype


Hello All

Yes, indeed, this is the photograph of the deck I researched and the instructions to which are translated for the first time in English in my forthcoming book, "The New Lenormand". We paid the museum last week to photograph the cards and I am so glad everyone can now share them who is researching the tradition - without having to go down to London on a terrible train trip as I did for the visit!

TaliTarot x
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaliTarot View Post
Hello All

Yes, indeed, this is the photograph of the deck I researched and the instructions to which are translated for the first time in English in my forthcoming book, "The New Lenormand". We paid the museum last week to photograph the cards and I am so glad everyone can now share them who is researching the tradition - without having to go down to London on a terrible train trip as I did for the visit!

TaliTarot x
I am very grateful!
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That is great!


I need an additional source to verify my 1780 to 1840 French playing card and the U.S. 1800's Fischer and Sons decks with Fortune style motifs. I cannot get a quick correpondence between Patience, Eucre and Whist and some of these games as played regionally.

The card meanings also varied quite a bit text to text. At first I thought hearts were always good, and a fair haired woman was usually cheerfully attributed, but I think that also varied..so it will be great to find more reliable sources that agree.

I have read Madame Lenormand kept referring to face or physical reading in terms of telling fortunes, at least in her Empress Josephine footnotes "biography"and the novel Jane Eyre certainly validates the prior to 1850 tendency to read physical features. I look forward to checking all the references.

Part of my problem is the Latin suited Portugese and Spanish decks are in the regional history, so I have to go further to find my resources. As happy as I am to find Hombre and Latin suited decks at California mission historical museums, it is more within my interests to check out French and European games...Grimaud's old booklets all varied and are terrible in terms of attributions.

Also the Petit Cartomancy, Book of Destiny, Grand Jeu LeNormand, etc from Grimaud do not seem to agree . The Grand Jeu actually has 54 cards, two being the Consultants, female and male.

I do agree French and European board games have not been researched very well for fortune tellimg sources. French cartomancy, fashionable stage productions and satirical childrens' games have many intrguing possibilities.

Best

Cerulean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IheartTarot View Post
The cards include both French and German playing card insets using the following correspondences:

Clubs = Acorns (=Tarot Coins/Pentacles*)
Hearts = Hearts (=Tarot Cups*)
Spades = Leaves (=Tarot Swords*)
Diamonds = Bells (=Tarot Batons/Wands*)

*The English names given to the standard French suit signs are not the same in meaning as the French names except for Hearts, which could explain the popular belief that Clubs (which were originally Fleurs meaning flowers, later Trčfles meaning clovers) were derived from Italian Bastoni (Batons). 18th century French cartomancers such as Antoine Court de Gébelin and Etteilla associated Clubs with Italian Coins (Tarot Pentacles) and Diamonds with Italian Batons (Tarot Wands), an association which becomes more obvious when observing these Minor Arcana suit patterns of the Tarot of Marseilles. [Source: Mystical Origins of the Tarot by Paul Huson]
This is very interesting, as Acorns, Hearts, Leaves and Bells are the suits used in the LoS Fairy Tarot. The Fairy Tarot LWB makes these associations:

Chalices - Hearts
Pentacles - Bells
Wands - Acorns
Swords - Leaves
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinemaiden View Post
This is very interesting, as Acorns, Hearts, Leaves and Bells are the suits used in the LoS Fairy Tarot. The Fairy Tarot LWB makes these associations:

Chalices - Hearts
Pentacles - Bells
Wands - Acorns
Swords - Leaves
Thanks Rhinemaiden, I was just wondering about that deck (I don't have it). That is the popular suit association. Most sources I have found say that these associations are assumed but not proven. I am happy to go along with the likes of Paul Huson, Court de Gébelin, Comte de Mellett and Etteila. It makes a whole lot more sense in the Lenormand deck. For my purposes, I want to know what the creators of Lenormand believed and that is what matters not which playing card suit derives from which Tarot suit if that is even how it happened (the playing card suit symbols could be more arbitrary than that).
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