The Musings of Madame Lenormand

This year we announce our theme of the “Tarot of Antiquity”, taking the tagline of ‘Tarot out of Time’. We will be teaching and encouraging the use of Lenormand, Kipper, Marseilles and other traditional (often European) decks, as well as contemporary Oracle decks such as Ciro Marchetti’s “Oracle of Visions” and Dr. Art Rosengarten’s “Tarot of the Nine Paths”. Across the whole of this year, you will discover with us – and indeed, in the spirit of Madame Lenormand herself – a range of new and old oracle decks to extend your practice. This is the year of tradition reborn – a return of the oracles themselves! Now let us listen to the words of the Madame herself …

Allow me to introduce myself from beyond the veil – I am Madame de Lenormand, who first became known in France during my life between 1772 – 1843 and yet became even more famous following my passing from this plane, as I myself predicted. It seems I am to make a return in this year of our Lord, 2012. As the most famous of cartomancers, of course, it should be I who take centre stage at this time of great change and anxiety. A time of re-revolution, such as the High Tower in my own deck – or at least, one of the many produced after my name.

Lenormand Tower

Lenormand Tower

When I first commenced my practice, it is said that I “found the troubles of my times, which unhinged the minds of all around [her], and filled them with alarm and anxiety, very propitious to [her] views”. Now, you may say that indeed my time has come again, for everywhere I look I see the same revolutions as I did back in my own day – indeed, my distant biographer went on to say, when speaking of the great crowds that gathered at my readings, that it was because of an “alarm[ed] at the rapid progress of events, and rendered superstitious by their fears”, that the people of France flocked to me. [p. 209, Remarkable Women of Different Nations and Ages, pub. Boston, 1858].

I should say  “plus ça change”!

Whether it was the Russian campaign or the to-ings and go-ings of those of Luxembourg, my cards never lied. I was honour-bound to speak truth, at great personal cost, for I was incarcerated a number of times for my plain-speaking; judged by some heresy, by others, treason. Yet always the Knave of Clubs haunted me – speaking of those who would imprison me and yet also of those who would released me.

Even my own brother’s death came to me in my sleep – it was a time of tears and wars – and in the midst, my little library sat at the heart of the nations. I was forced to call my profession “librarian” for reasons of prudence, and yet this suited well my boudoir, with my kabbalistic texts and oriental décor. I, myself, made much of my own small stature, being broad and ruddy, decorating myself as clients would expect, with flaxon wig and rouged cheeks.

When a client visits me, I shuffle the cards and ask questions that appear to be of little value; their favourite flower, the animal they find most obnoxious, and more. This allows me to intuit their whole life, in some manner unfathomable even unto myself. Perhaps it is written in the very movement of their eyes, the fluttering of their hand, a nervous gesture caught by the corner of my own eye as the shuffling draws me into a waking sleep.

Of course, I also used Greek Sticks, Tharots (a deck of 78, including the Fol, Devil and Death), and was an expert in the nineteen points of Tharot. I was one of the few skilled in the use of the divining basin, with bay and verbena, and salt.

My Masters included the famous Olivarius and of course, my dealings were often with the “Le petit home rouge”, the “little red man”, who caused so much controversy and yet protected Napoleon himself. I will speak no more of these things for now.

[A Wicked Pack of Cards, Decker, Depaulis & Dummett, pub. New York, 1996]

A great change is coming, and I will be here to guide you through it again. Be with me here again shortly when I will cast my first cards.

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