Mlle. Marie-Anne Lenormand (27-05-1772 to 23-06-1843) is beyond any doubt one of the most influential cartomancers and fortune tellers of all time. Shortly after her death, several card games were named after her, even though they had never been used by her. This was of course a clever example of 19th century marketing. The two most famous “Lenormand” games are undoubtedly the 36-card “Le Petit Lenormand” and “Le Grand Jeu Lenormand” with 54 cards.
The most popular one, Le Petit Lenormand, is much older than Le Grand Jeu and has its origin in Germany. It is a divination game that first existed under the name “Das Spiel der Hoffnung”, the Game of Hope, and which originally appeared on the market in 1799. After Mlle. Lenormand’s death, this game was re-released under the name Wahrsagekarten Mlle. Lenormand and was soon taken over by other card manufacturers in Germany, Belgium and France, who all released their own editions. This deck can be used for small readings but its traditional purpose was to be laid out in a Grand Tableau, using all 36 cards.
In the same period, the renowned French card maker Grimaud published “Le Grand Jeu Lenormand”. This extremely complex but interesting card game is completely different in structure and method compared to any other card system. Each card contains a mix of images which refer to different forms of divination: playing cards, astrology, geomancy, flowers and letters. Furthermore, in the middle, on the largest image, there is a story from Greek mythology. The small images below depict daily life scenes from the 19th century.
Different layouts can be used when consulting the Grand Lenormand. The images of one card are then connected to those of the other cards. The cards are packed with information and surprising storylines and they provide beautiful, comprehensive and accurate readings.
These cards have clearly been inspired by the authentic method and interests of Marie-Anne herself. In many of her books you will find proof of her fascination for Greek mythology, and her knowledge of flowers and astrology. Testimonials from customers explain how she used large painted cards that contained astrological signs, flowers and letters.
Every true Lenormand fan should have Le grand Jeu Lenormand in their collection. While Marie-Anne never truly revealed the details of the cards she worked with, this system comes definitely closest to what she used two centuries ago.