Looking for a Petit Lenormand? I do not like giving recommendations; every reader is different. However, as this is a learning resource, I will offer a few words of advice and cite four decks to consider.
Consideration #1: How Many Cards?
A true le petit jeu Lenormand contains thirty-six cards. Some newer Lenormand cards include extra cards, which can cause some confusion.
Some artists have also chosen to replace or substitute individual cards, which can complicate matters—changing the picture’s subject changes the card’s meaning. The High Tower is a tower-house or sentinel. It is not a skyscraper or condo. The Letter is a private communication, and this is because it is unopened, and we do not even see the addressee. If it is opened, and its content laid bare, how private is it?
Consideration #2: Themed or Abstract?
During its long history, numerous Lenormand Oracle decks have been created. Contrary to popular belief, there was no standard edition. However, there was a degree of uniformity in their clear illustration of the thirty-six symbols.
Over the last fifteen years or so, there have been several themed Petit Lenormands. Some of these are the most beautiful decks. However, the issue with themes is that it often subjugates the essential features of the cards. Several of these decks change cards beyond recognition. You will need to consider this.
Consideration #3: Playing Cards or Verses?
As the Lenormand gained popularity in the Anglo-Saxon market, there was much confusion regarding the playing-cards. Many have recommend ignoring them, erroneously claiming that they are contradictory. However, the neophyte reader will find in time that choosing a set that contains the playing cards is beneficial.
Claims that the playing cards “differ” or “contradict” the traditional emblems’ definition stem from a misunderstanding of both the cards’ roots and variations that exist in Continental and Eastern Europe. There has never been one set of meanings for playing cards universally accepted by all.
Choosing a Lenormand illustrated without playing cards will cost the cartomante much interpretive richness.
Anglo-Saxon cartomantes seem to prefer cards without verses. The rhymes featured on some Lenormand are part of the cards’ history and folklore. The Jeu Lenormand published by Carta Mundi has been my main deck for almost 20 years (as of 2018). I must confess that the verses have neither confused nor distracted me (or my clients)!
However, if these verses prove distracting, then I agree that it is best for the student to avoid them. I also recommend avoiding the modern patterns, such as the Blue Bird Lenormand, as these poems do not accurately match the traditional lyrics and are nonsensical.
With that in mind, here are my top four:
The Dondorf Pattern
Lenormand Orakelkarten mit Kartenabbildungen © Königsfurt-Urania
Perhaps the closest one can come to a standard pattern. Affectionately termed the “Dondorf,” from the Frankfurt publishing house that issued it, the Biedermeier style is timeless, and it is the most frequent first deck cited by seasoned cartomantes.
Owing to its ubiquitous position in Lenormand cartomancy, various editions exist. The one shown here is printed by Königsfurt-Urania (Lenormand Orakelkarten mit Kartenabbildungen). Urania removed the original playing-card inserts and also doctored the Lady card so that she faces left. Lo Scarabeo’s “French Cartomancy” (a misnomer) retains the original playing-cards, but both the Lord and Lady face right. There are also independent artisans giving the reader multiple options.
The Brepols’ Pattern
Jeu Lenormand © Carta Mundi
First published at the turn of the last century, these Belle Époque cards have proven themselves a favourite with professional and amateur cartomantes. Colette Silvestre, Marie Delclos, Erna Droesbeke, Mary Marco and Jeanine Goffinet all used these cards in their books.
Surpassing the Blaue Eule, the cards’ illustrations contain an inherent cohesiveness and direction. Thus the neophyte immediately can see important links between cards through both their designs and interaction. It is the pattern I use, both professionally and for teaching.
Each card features a playing-card and rhyme, which are available in Dutch, French, German, and English. Depending on the choice of verses, the colour-scheme varies. Lyrics have proven unpopular with Anglo-Saxon cartomantes, but an independently published edition, without the verses, is available.
The Blue Owl Design
Lenormand Fortune-Telling Cards © Zao-Gelli
Known for its back design, that shows a blue owl, the Lenormand Orakelkarten: Blaue Eule has been a popular choice for cartomantes for some time. With its twee late eighteenth-century drawings, complete with playing-card inserts, the symbols are both delicate and clear.
A Russian variant, both smaller and without borders, is my preferred option but the Königsfurt-Urania is the most circulated. Do be aware that the red and white owls cards are different – with the latter being recoloured with much pink.
The Game of Hope
Ur-Lenormand © Königsfurt-Urania
This is a facsimile of the cards published by Johann Kaspar Hechtel, in c. 1798. .Königsfurt-Urania’s publication (Ur-Lenormand) is somewhat larger than most Petit Lenormand, but there are independently published versions with smaller cards.
There you have my four recommendations. There are others, but these provide a broad selection in terms of design and variety. Others cartomantes can offer their opinion, too. Check them out. Spend some time looking at the different options and choose the set that you feel confident in studying. Study being the keyword.
There you have my five recommendations. There are others, but these five provide a broad selection in terms of design and variety. Others cartomantes can offer their opinion, too. Spend some time looking at the different options and choose the set that you feel confident in studying. Study being the keyword.
The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020
These cards have been chosen based on my experience as a reader and tutor. I receive no financial remuneration should you purchase one.