Lenormand is a 36 Card System originating in Germany in the 18th Century.
Lenormand roots are linked back to Das Spiel Der Hoffnung which was a popular Parlour Game in the late 1700s and early 1800s, the game consisted of 36 Cards each with a simple Symbol and a Playing Card assigned to each card. The aim of the game was to be the first to get to the Anchor Card in spot 35. Along the way the Players found their way through auspicious and inauspicious cards which either catapulted them forward, hindered their progress or in the worst case returned them to the beginning of the game.
The Game itself has a feeling of a "fated" journey and the instructions themselves spoke of the use of the cards for reading purposes:
If you are looking for meanings and more scroll down!
"With these cards you can also play an entertaining Fortune Telling Game, if you shuffle the 36 cards and then allow the person for whom you would like to tell the fortune of, deal the cards, that is in 4 rows of 8 cards and the last row with the 4 remaining cards.
If the Querent is Female begin with Card 29 and look to the cards nearby and surrounding, humorously forming a story using the Figures on the cards which give you enough information to play with.
If the player is Male you begin the account from Card 28 and again use the help of the cards laying nearby which, when played in enjoyable company will bring lively entertainment"
Le Petit Lenormand ("the small Lenormand") arose from this game and contains the same symbols and numbering of the cards.
The Lenormand Deck we use today, albeit named after one of the most renowned Fortune Teller's of all time, is simply a namesake used for marketing purposes, the cards were neither created nor used by Mlle. Lenormand herself. After Mlle. Lenormand's death many card decks were assigned her name as Fortune Telling Deck publishers cashed in on her fame.
A short snapshot to get you on your way!
The meanings below are a mix of the early instructions and original translations (OT) and meanings that have progressed from them.