Marie-Anne Lenormand was one of the most famous fortune tellers of her time. Not much is officially known about her; she was baptised on May 27, 1772 and she died on June 25, 1843. She spent her life as a fortune teller in Paris and attained affluence and recognition, especially because of her predictions for Napoleon and Josephine and other famous personalities of her time. She maintained a small “salon” in Paris where she advised her clients with the help of card readings, coffee-grounds readings, or astrology.
It is documented that she expanded upon the plain motifs of simple playing cards and also added notes to them. However, the Lenormand cards of today are not the same as those. These card motifs of our current time have been accredited to the “Game of Hope”, which is also called “original Lenormand”. The Game of Hope was a combined game, resp. dice game, which the playing card maker Kasper Hechtel of Nürnberg developed around 1800. At that time it contained mainly typical life situations, their meanings and changes, for example, the Rider, the Ship, the Coffin, the Cross, etc., which we still find today in the Lenormand cards. In 1846 the first Lenormand cards were created out of the Game of Hope. This “German” invention was then dubbed with the famous Lenormand name – a clever marketing strategy! All of the current Lenormand decks contain 36 cards with consecutive numbering. The most famous Lenormand card sets today are the Blue Owl and the Red Owl. The Blue Owl shows picture images plus playing card motifs (diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs); the Red Owl shows picture images and verses. Besides these, there are also variations with just pictures or with all three illustrations (pictures, verses, playing cards). Lenormand cards are one of the most popular oracle cards in the world today, and like the Tarot cards, are used as symbolic keys for our self-understanding. The messages of the cards give us a look into a mirror – we see ourselves and our (subconscious) possibilities, perspectives, potentials and opportunities.