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Lenormand originated in Germany as a card game (The Game of Hope) in the 18th century. It evolved into a 36-card oracle for divination in the 19th century. The name Lenormand comes from the famed French fortune teller Mlle. Maria-Anne Lenormand who was an advisor to high profile people, such as Empress Josephine (Napoleon’s wife).
While Tarot can be used for deeper reflection on one’s psyche, emotions, motives and spirituality, Lenormand is at its best with more tactical and practice aspects of life. It’s a blunt and direct system and works well for predictive readings. While one can literally get lost in the breadth of a Tarot card’s meaning, each Lenormand card has a fixed/limited meaning and is meant to be read in pairs or triplets to create sentences.
This antique Lenormand deck harkens from 1880 and was published by Frankfurt-based Bernhard Dondorf. Dondorf was world-famous for producing high-quality cards using a special lithographic printing process, resulting in brilliant colors. These decks remain heavily pursued by collectors. This particular deck was designed for Dutch export and came with a small instruction booklet, written in Dutch. Export decks can be identified by the “c” in the “Francfort” on each card.
Images scanned and donated to Phuture Me by Petra Gilbert