Mlle Lenormand lived from 1768 (she later claimed 1772) to 1843. During her life, she claimed to have read for the famous and the infamous
including Marat, St. Just, Robespierre and Joséphine de Beauharnais (future Empress of France with Napoléon).
She moved from dire poverty to riches, opening a salon for the élite of Paris. These claims have been disputed, but she remains a durable mythical figure.
Her skills included her own unique system using a deck of 36 playing cards, astrology and other predictive methods.
She later developed a deck of cards with the images on each card. The cards are usually referred
to by their pictures rather than by their suit and number.
Note: The Piatnik edition of the Lenormand cards shows the Clouds with the dark side of the clouds on the left rather than the right and the Urania Verlags edition has them on the right hand side. Titania's Fortune Cards (based on Lenormand) has slightly more dark clouds on the left. When reading Lenormand cards, it is important which side the dark clouds are on, as the Clouds indicates unpleasant events.
So, if the dark side of the card is next to the Personal Card, then an unpleasant situation cannot be avoided in the near future. However, if the brighter side of the Clouds is next to the Personal Card, then there is still the possibility things will turn out all right, and bad times may already be departing.
Nine Card Spread: Lay out three cards in a row from left to
right. The top three cards represent the past, the middle three the present and
the bottom three cards the future (from left to right). This spread can also be
extended to a Nine Card Spread using three cards for the past, three cards
for the present and three cards for the future. The central card is pivotal in this reading.
Don't forget that you can read the cards diagonally with this spread as well.
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
The Lenormand Spread: From left to right, lay four rows of eight cards.
The bottom row consists of only 4 cards centered. All the cards will be used.
Locate the Woman (Lady) or the Man (Gentleman) according to whether
the querent is female or male. This is the all important personal card, against which the position of all the
other cards are judged. This card is often called the Significator.
There are many different ways to read the cards. Some readers believe that the card may change its meaning to its opposite according to whether it is near or far from the Woman/Man card. For example, the Tree close to the personal card would show that the querent must pay attention to their health. The Tree far away would show that the querent can expect good health. Cards to the left of the personal card indicate the past, cards to the right the future. Clover would indicate good luck for the querent if close to the personal card, but if it lying far from the personal card, then bad luck would dog the querent. Clouds close by to the personal card would indicate problems, but far away would show that any problems would be easily overcome.
Other readers read the cards directly in a line above the Significator, below, to the left, to the right, as well as diagonally upwards/left, upwards/right, downwards/left and downwards right (as in a star or asterisk shape). Left is the past, right is the future.
Most readers pay close attention to combinations of cards, as negative cards can alter the meanings of otherwise positive cards. This is especially true if the reader doesn't use the near/far method. For example, Ring next to Scythe shows a broken relationship, or a divorce. Child plus Crossroad shows twins. Star plus Lily shows retirement.
You can also use your own layouts in readings. Within a very specific reading, the Significator card can be the Tree for health issues, the House for home/house issues, the Fox for career issues, the Tower for legal issues, the Clover for money/luck issues, the Bear for money issues and the Fish for business issues etc. The Child can be the personal card for a very young querent, and the Lily can be the personal card for an elderly querent. These cards can also be secondary significators alongside the personal card (Man/Woman) in the large 36 card reading.
The Meanings of the Cards
The Horseman (The Rider/Cavalier) News from a foreign country or from far away. New situations or people are coming towards you. A change is coming via a visitor or news. (9 Hearts)
The Clover Hope, good luck, wealth and opportunities. A new twist brings new possibilities. You can take a chance. (6 Diamonds)
The Ship Travelling, good opportunities arising. A strong overseas connection. Exploration and change. (10 Spades)
The House The home, fruitful projects. Domestic affairs and intimate life. Real estate, home businesses and small businesses. (King Hearts)
The Tree Health, energy and spiritual beliefs. Mental health. Karmic matters. (7 Hearts)
The Clouds Obstacles and unpleasant events. Complications, uncertainties and troubles. Be patient. Disturbed people around you. (King of Clubs)
The Snake Betrayal, jealousy, cheating, disappointments, lies. People around you could be using you. (Queen Clubs)
The Coffin Completion, serious illness, even death, depression. Large loss of money or loss of a relationship. Important life-changing events. Destructive behaviours and negative attitudes. (9 Diamonds)
The Bouquet (The Flowers) Contentment, abundance of love, beauty, grace, joy. Recovery, healing, emotional wellness, granted wishes. (Queen Spades)
The Scythe Break-up, great danger, accidents, shocks. Violent acts, hurtful actions. Surgery. Emotional separations, rejections. (Jack Diamonds)
The Whip (The Birchrod) Strife and conflict, arguments, fights. Abuses, suffering. Sexual chemistry and passion. Sports, physical activities. (Jack of Clubs)
The Birds (The Bird) Communications, conversation, messages. Sales and negotiations. Couples and personal connections. Problems to deal with, short journeys, thinking. (7 Diamonds)
The Child Trust, friendliness, children. Sincerity and fragility. Immaturity. Small things. (Jack of Spades)
The Fox Treachery, hidden traps, disloyalty. Be cautious and discreet. Employment, career or job. (9 Clubs)
The Bear Power, be careful around those in power, envious people, need for strength. Financial windfall, cash flow. The boss. Protection. Government. Weight control. (10 Clubs)
The Stars (The Star) Success, hope, vision, imagination. A new path. Fame and reputation. (6 Hearts)
The Storks (The Stork) Changes in the home. House move. Birth of a child. Improvements. (Queen Hearts)
The Dog Reliable friendship. Reliability, faithfulness. Trust, stability. Life companion. (10 Hearts)
The Tower (The High Tower) Guidance, protection. Legal judgements. Government and military institutions. Officials. Hospitals, universities, airports. The course of your life, long life, someone or something from the past. (6 Spades
The Garden Creativity, meeting, party. Event, the public. The audience. Network of people. (8 Spades)