Category Archive

The first is laid across the blank one, which represents the person whose thoughts you are reading. [Choose a Significator for that person. Next, fan the shuffled deck, and have the querent choose a card which you lay across the Significator.] This shows what his heart is feeling.

8-Key (6 of Diamonds) =insight to secrets or mysteries, best of a bargain.

Heres a interesting comparison of fortune cards: In the top row: the three differenteditions. On the bottom row, left to right, is the Horseshoe/Trefoil from thedeck (playing cards are included on all but this card and the Man & Woman cards), and two cards from thedeck Horn of Plenty and Horseshoe.

the Queen of Spades should be Bouquet and the Queen of Hearts, Stork. All the other cards are correct. The booklet is only in English, but it is an exact translation of the standard German instruction sheet. The illustrations on the boxes changed frequently. The deck is a standard poker size.

As early as 1894 Frederick J. Drake & Co. of Chicago, Illinois began publishing an expanded 52-card version of the Lenormand cards calledMlle. Le Normands Gypsy Witches Fortune Telling Cards. It was based on a 48-card deck from Danner G. Mhlhausen, Berlin that in 1875 had added twelve extra illustrations to the original deck (plus incorporated an alchemical-looking script in place of the playing card insets) see later Adolf Engel edition (1880?) here. Thedeck switched all the playing card associations around, increased the cards to 52 and included a Joker card. By 1903 it was being published by Home Game Co., and later by the United States Playing Card Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio. Today, as theGypsy Witch Fortune Telling Playing Cards,

This post should help place theViennese Coffee-Ground Cards of 1796, forerunners of the Petit Lenormand deck, in the context of the time.

are from United Novelty, Mfg Company, Chicago, c. 1920 a 36-card deck with playing cards inset and meanings given on each card. The instructions are in Polish and English and the Woman is clearly dressed as a 1920s flapper. They were printed by theValmor Companyof Chicago (also doing business as King Novelty. United Novelty were distributors) and so are sometimes called theThis hints at an interesting crossover between the immigrant community of Jewish founder Morton Neumann (the Polish connection?) and the African-American hoodoo tradition. Could African-American artist, Charles Dawson, who did Valmor ads, have been the artist of these cards? Seepost using this deck by Camelia Elias.

Try this with your favorite divination deck and let us know, in the comments, how it works for you.

This version is essentially a Lenormand with twelve cards that vary from the standardsome a mere substitution of a different image and others, entirely new but drawn out of the Mlhausen/Drake selection. Several of the non-standard cards appear in the two previous alternative decks. This deck features an emphasis on love and marriage. There have been three different artistic renditions of the Whitman deck, all designed in the style of childrens book illustrations. There are no playing card associations.

This deck is found fairly often on eBay. It is a simple red & black version of theBerlin deck of 1854 and the same as the b&w(see above). Notice that the Ship is quite different, while the other cards are identical. Theres some indication that publishers would substitute their own countrys ships and flag. Although I cant see enough detail on most of the flags, this one does appear to be an American flag. This edition is instantly recognizable because the black playing card suits have red pictures and the red suits have black pictures. The Queens are the only cards with no suit markers (due to the confusion that arose with the McLoughlin deck?). Several of the outer boxes have a blank space following the words Published by which suggests that Wehman Bros of New York may have merely been a distributor for decks printed elsewhere. The instructions are printed in both English and German. This small deck measures 2-1/8 x 3.

This 36-card deck probably originated in GermanyseeDas Echte Wahrsagespielfrom approximately 1925-30, featuring identical pictures but with fake alchemical-kabbalistic script in the yellow insets instead of the numbers and titles. This, in turn, was a variation of the Mhlhausen/Engel (Berlin) 48-card deck of 1875/80.

(ToGormillan(one of the giants)): You stand on a huge high Mountain, with several People about you, who seem to beg something. [I see] a Ring, my Lord, over a fine Ladys Head: She sits by the Sea-sideshe must be some Foreign Princess.

In 1724 eighteen-year-old Benjamin Franklin and his good friend, James Ralph, travel to London, ostensibly to buy printing equipment for Franklins first print shop, but instead they hang out at coffee houses, attend the theatre and other entertainments, and read voraciously, with Ralph living off an almost destitute Franklin. Franklin returns to Philadelphia eighteen months later. Remaining in England, Ralph attempts to become a man of letters, turning his hand to poetry, plays, and social commentary, writingThe Taste of the Town: or a Guide to all Publick Diversions, by A. PrimcockSince theatres are rowdy places where one goes mostly to chat, intrigue, eat and drink (and tell fortunes?) Ralph advocates the pleasures of low theatre, farce, and tales of British folk heroes instead of the lofty classics. He meets the young Henry Fielding, who is just starting his writing career (Fielding is credited with writing some of the first English novels includingand creating the first municipal police force, the Bow Street Runners).

Old Gypsy Cards Fortune Telling Gamefrom Addison Products Co, Chicago (no-date 1940s?), also with instructions in English and Polish. Looking similar to the, and with elements appearing in Whitmans deck (see below), this deck has its own unique assignation of playing cards (the suits & numbers appear in sequence in the numbering of the cards), which accord most closely with the usual French & English playing card meanings. While most of the deck includes Lenormand-like cards there are also unique ones like 21-The Fairy and 27-The Bacchanalian. Cards like 30-The Eye are found in other gypsy cards mentioned here. In 1948 this same deck was published by Wehman Bros. but without the text.

Hogarth, preparations for The Devil to Pay in Heaven (1738).

The first edition, mentioned in the Uniform Trade List of July 1867 asMadam Morrows Fortune Telling Cards, was an exact replica of the German Kunst-Comptoir, Berlin deck of 1854. (They were also published by McLoughlin asMadam Le Normands Mystic Cards of Fortunein a simple b&w printing see Wehman Bros deck below.) In 1886 a new edition was copyrighted a beautifully etched masterpiece (large cards above)! Note that the Court Cards have been redone to match those found in contemporary playing card decks. An oddity of this deck, which influenced a few other decks, is that three of the Queens are switched from their normal Lenormand card placements. Crossroads should be the Queen of Diamonds (originally Bells) instead of Spades, while

(ToThunderdale): I am certain you will conquer, for an Angel with gilded Wings holds a Laurel to youan undoubted Sign of Triumph.

November 15, 2015 inLenormandPlaying Card DivinationStory in a PictureTarot History & ResearchTags:CartomancyCharles DawsondivinationgypsyMorton NeumannOld Gypsy Fortune Telling Cardsby

My copy came without a box or book, so the closest Ive come to identifying it is via a deck that sold from the Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation edition, which makes it 1916 or later. The Dick & Fitzgerald Publishing Co was originally founded in 1858 on Anne St. and they did publish playing card decks. Upon the death of the founders son in 1816, the Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation at 18 Vesey St. came into being, known mainly for editions of theatrical plays and music. Whether this deck was a carry-over from the earlier company or not will not be known until an earlier box is found. The style is a near exact replica of one of the earliest Lenormand decks: black & white cards from Kunst-Comptoir in Berlin, Germany in 1854 (see the early Madam Morrow deck). This particular deck is notable not only for the fine coloring of the scenes but also for the lovely pink and blue sky. The deck is a standard poker size.

March 26, 2015 inLenormandPlaying Card DivinationTarot History & Researchby

Second Woman.Here is a Cock crowing in this, that betokens good NewsDoes not your Majesty expect a Letter? I see tis from the Southit comes from that Part of the Compassthe Cup being round, we have at once every Quarter of the Globe before usyour Allies are all firm to your Interest. But please to throw againYour Majesty knows the third time is most to be depended on.

They were printed by theValmor Companyof Chicago (also doing business as King Novelty; United Novelty appear to be distributors) and so are sometimes called theValmor Fortune-Telling Cards.This hints at an interesting crossover between the immigrant community of Jewish founder Morton and Rose Neumann (the Polish connection?) and the African-American hoodoo tradition.

Heres a interesting comparison of the three Whitman Old Gypsy deck editions (top), while (below) is the Horseshoe/Trefoil from the(which, along with the Key, Gentleman & Lady cards, have no playing cards printed on them), and two from thedeck Horn of Plenty and Horseshoe.

(ToGalligantus): And youll be married, my Lord, to the great Fortune you have courted so longhere you are at the very Top of the Cup, and all your rivals are under your FeetO, she has a vast Estate, I see Acres with Cattle feeding on them, Trees loaded with Fruit, Rivers and Ponds full of Fishyoull be a happy Manyou have been with her lately, I believe. [He responds that she didnt treat him kindly.] I see now she was reservedthere was a little Cloud between youbut twill do for all that, my Lord; or Ill never turn a Cup again.

See also my post on19th Century American Lenormand decks.

Valmor Old Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards

(ToBlunderboar): A divided House! my Lord, youll be divorcd from your Lady.

One of the most varied collections of early European Petit Lenormand decks can be seen at

features two main characters: Luckless, a penniless writer and Jack. A farceis a comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable. They are incomprehensible plot-wise . . . and  viewers are encouraged not to try to follow the plot in order to avoid becoming confused and overwhelmed.

Read a greatly expanded version of the material on the

After shuffling and cutting the cards, ask the person to choose any five of them, and lay them down as follows:

[These first two cardsfollowing the Significatordepict what is consciously going on in the persons heart and head.]

On the left is what he is fond of and on the right what he cares nothing for. [That is, what he likes and dislikes in the querent. Or, possibly, a person he likes and a person he dislikes?]

A Table, Coffee-Cups, Folly, and the four Giants turning the Cups; three Women looking into them.

Another is placed at the bottom, and represents what he tramples under foot. [This is beneath himthe more unconscious feelings or thoughts that he (or she) is squelching or ignoring.]

Madam Morrows Fortune-Telling Cards

Box for unknown deck (picture on the left). Is this another Lenormand deck? It says the instructions are in German and English and there are 36 cards. It was published in New York. Does anyone have any further information?

This is my earliest American deck. While the box cover is in French, the booklet is in German (my copy is without these), and it was published in New York, for the immigrant community. Charles Magnus (1826-1900) was a print publisher, map dealer, bookseller and stationer working in New York City from 1850 to 1899, having arrived from Germany around 1848. He is especially known for his maps of Civil War battlefields. The deck is on matt cardboard. It was printed in black or red (depending on the card suit) and then colored by stencil in red, blue and yellow with green being a combination of yellow and blue. The size is 1-5/8 x 2-7/8 (4.1 cm x 7.3 cm) a little taller than todays mini decks. (A much later German deck of the same style appears at theLenormand Museumonline.)

We now know that theLenormand(also known as thePetit Lenormand) cards had nothing to do with the famous French fortune-teller, Mlle. Lenormand, merely co-opting her name. The date of their inception has been pushed back to the late 18th century with the multi-purpose Game of Hope from Nuremburg and similar Coffee-Cards from Vienna.

Later in 1730, the same theatre presents a short, anonymous play,Jack the Giant-Killer: A Comi-Tragical Farce.It is a striking parody of James Ralphs theatrical theories and Fieldings comedy featuring the poet Plotless and the hero, Jack. This parody could have been written by Fielding and Ralph themselves as a spoof of their own theatrical endeavors. Or it could have been written by a rival playwright who hoped to make a laughing stock of the two of them. In the play, the Giants tell Queen Folly (who has usurped Reason) in a self-congratulatory way,

This museum can be searched by categories:Lenormand Fortune-Telling Cards Museum.285 Year-old Coffee-Ground and CardReadings

All of these decks are on matt card-stock thats easily torn or bent, rather than the glossy-finished flexible and quality stock found on many 19th century European decks. Compared to the fine artistry and the best in chromo-lithography of the European decks, these American decks seem like poor cousins, but I find them to be outstanding examples of a folk-tradition. They add much to an overlooked aspect of immigrant and everyday life here in America.

Here is the little-known American branch of the family. Anyone with an early American edition not included here, please contact me with a photo and as much information as you have so we can add to the list.

Since the 175-year-old German divination deck known as thePetit Lenormandburst onto the English-language scene about five years ago, nearly a hundred new, published decks have appeared and a half-a-dozen books and ebooks. [And by 2018 its become a divination staple.] Even thoughUSGames has published a German Blue Owl Lenormand deck for nearly fifty years, Lenormand has remained an oddity, superseded by a similar, though more negative, Gypsy Witch deck, with 52 instead of 36 cards, that quickly came to dominate the American cartomancy scene.

While these cards look quite different than the Lenormand decks we are used to, they are actually exact matches to the standard deck. Dr. Jayne and Son was a patent medicine company that existed from 1843 to 1930. They used almanacs, trading cards, recipe books, a dream & fortune telling book, striking graphics and this deck to promote their medicines, primarily to families, many of whom were functionally illiterate. The vulture (Mice) card probably darkened from being exposed to the sun. The back of the cards and the box have the same design. There is an error in my deck where the Ship should have been the 10 of Spades, the card mistakenly shows the 8 of Clubs. Interestingly the Jack of Hearts card should have a red playing card and black emblem, but as the emblem is a heart the colors are reversed so the heart can be red. They are roughly poker size.

Old Gypsy Cards Fortune Telling Gamefrom Addison Products Co, Chicago (no-date 1940s?) is an identical deck, also with instructions in English and Polish. Looking similar to the, and with elements appearing in Whitmans Old Gypsy deck, this deck has its own assignation of playing cards such that the suits & numbers appear in sequence according to the numbering of the cards, and they accord most closely with the usual French and English playing card meanings. While most of the deck includes Lenormand-like cards there are also unique ones like 23-A Beautiful Lady, 27-The Bacchanalian, 29-The Loving Couple, 31-The Fairy, 32-The Shepherd, 11-The Dancing Persons. Cards like 20-the Horseshoe, 30-The Eye and 35-The Duel are found in other gypsy decks that I talk about. In 1948 this same deck was published by Wehman Bros. but without the text.

(1880s-1902) published this chromolithography deck on heavy cardstock with childrens-book-like illustrations under at least two names (see above). Singer also published a planchette game and a miniature theatre. While the 36 cards are all standard Lenormand, they feature non-standard numbers, and many of the playing card correspondences have changed. The instruction sheet gives very brief keyword meanings, some of which are different than usual:

Two years after Morton Neumann started Valmor he married Rose and thenthe whole approach to Valmor advertising changed radically. The company became known for its illustrations featuring fair-skinned, black-haired beauties in seductive, sexy scenes. The original advertisment illustrator was African-American artist, Charles Dawson. Could he have been the artist of this deck?

Ill present the text with several unacknowledged cuts so as to focus on the readings.

First well examine theDecrees of Fate, in mysticCoffee-CupsandTeareveald; Thenew-inventedArts of Snuff andCards, Shall all be tryd, the grand Event to show, If we, my Friends, shall conquer, or the Foe.

13-Mountain (9 of Clubs) =friendship.

An old booklet from the 1890s might have just the spread for you. Taken from theLivre du DestinorBook of Destinycard deck printed by Grimaud in Paris, this simple layout may be exactly what you need. Furthermore, it may have been an inspiration for the core of the original Celtic Cross spread. Ive included some clarifying remarks in brackets.

I was unable to find this particular deck in a King Novelty (Valmor) catalog but I did come across their 1944 catalog ad for a nearly identical deck calledMadame Sigma Fortune Telling Cards. You could purchase both the deck and book together for $1.35!

This is a very rare, unusual 36-card deck. Eighteen cards are the same or very similar to Lenormand cards, although in a different numerical order, and 22 cards share some (if not exact) similarities with the Old Gypsy FT Cards just above. The other cards share similarities with other cartomancy decks, like the Eye, Cat, Coins (bags of money) and Cornucopeia, but this deck also features unusual cards like the Stairs, the Horse, the Bee, the Ivy, and the Candle. Theres no instruction sheet as all the meanings and most significant combinations are printed on the cards.

The Evening Worlds Home Magazine(New York) reproduced the original Philippe (heirs of Mlle. Lenormand) Instruction Sheet in their October 19, 1903 issue. Included are the standard Kunst-Comptoir 1854 images that one is encouraged to cut out to make ones own deck. Here is the article if you wish to print it out and do the same. Click the picture for a large version.

Ralphs theories influence Fieldings most successful plays, one namedThe Farceand the other,The Life and Death of Tom Thumb, the Great. They would remain life-long friends and collaborators.

Mlle. Lenormands LOracle and Appendix

When I began collecting Lenormand decks I soon discovered that in the 19th and early 20th centuries they were far more common in the United States than I had imagined.It appears that German-American immigrant communities, centered mostly in New York and Chicago, published a continuous stream of decks, from different publishers, to meet local demand. The majority of these decks contained the original, 1846 Philippe instruction sheet, unchanged, in both German and in English-translation. This was of particular interest to me as my German-American great-grandmother was known to have the sight and read cards for visitors in her New Orleans kitchen. I like to think she would have known the Lenormand deck.

Tarot helps you meet whatever comes in the best possible way.

Livre du Destin(Chartier-Marteau & Boudin/Grimaud), 1890.

18-The Stars (10 of Hearts) =foretells.

These Cards have been used for years with unvarying success by Queen Sabina, one of the most foremost Queens of the Romany Rye. Venerated by her subjects for her good qualities, she is also regarded by them with a superstitious awe, and guarded with such a jealous care that no one outside the inner circle is allowed to see or hold converse with her, and she has taken this means of holding communication with the outside world, so that they may partake of her wondrous gift oflifting the curtain of the futurefor all who have faith.

A second one is laid at the top, and shows his thoughts.

January 31, 2015 inBook/Story/Poetry ReportsPlaying Card Divinationby

A few other American variations on the Lenormand deck began appearing in the late 20th century, but thats for another post.

: 36 Illuminated Cards with English and German Description for sale by Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation, 18 Vesey St., New York (circa 1916+).

What does he (or she) think (or feel) about me? In the whole field of card divination this is one of the most asked questions online and one of my least favorite. In my experience people are a hotbed of conflicting thoughts and feelings that change from moment to moment and circumstance to circumstance. To say nothing of ones head and heart giving us different messages! You think of your sweetie with longing as you anticipate going out with him that evening, then he calls to say hell be watching a game with his buddies instead. Suddenly you think hes a scumbag and plan how you wont be available when he wants some. Meanwhile, youre facing an evening at home alone. Or, he hasnt called in a weeknot since . . . Or, I want to ask her out, but am unsure if she sees me as anything other than an annoying co-worker.

Twas we who snatchd you from Obscurity, and to the grinning World disclosd your Charms. . . . We vow ourselves your ever grateful champions. . . . Folly for ever, say we all.

This deck was quite a find. It contains the same 36 figures that are found in a standard Lenormand deck but the Queens are switched around yet again! Snake is the Queen of Spades (rather than the Queen of Clubs). The drawings are original to this deck and include the unusual device of a curtain being pulled back by a winged child to reveal the pictorial scene. Self-explaining verses in furled banners in both German and English give the meanings on each card. The minimalistic instruction sheet is also in German and English, telling one to lay the cards in four rows of nine cards with the Significator always in the center of the top row. The card backs feature an advertisement for John Miles Wholesale Millinery Goods, which suggests that a printer offered them as promotional products to their business customers. The cards are a little taller than usual, measuring 2-3/8 x 3-5/8. The back of the box has this interesting explanation for the deck:

What is of most interest to us is that when Jack arrives to champion Reason and defeat the royal Sorceress Folly, Folly declares that before setting off to battle,

September 25, 2016 inFor BeginnersPlaying Card DivinationTarot SpreadsTarot Tips & Techniquesby

Madam Morrow cards first came out some time after the death of an infamous fortune-teller (arrested many times) who worked in New York and Philadelphia. She described herself thusly in an advertisement:

You are currently browsing the category archive for the Playing Card Divination category.

A surprisingly large number of hoodoo mail-order companies were founded by Jewish chemists who perceived a need for affordable beauty products and who then expanded into incense, candles and hoodoo potions.

First Woman.I see a Gallows in this Cup, that must be for the Traitors to be sure: Here are small Crosses indeed, but you stand above em. [The Significator is above the Crosses.]

from United Novelty, Mfc Company, Chicago, circa 1920-30 are a 36-card deck with playing cards inset and meanings given on each card. The instructions are in Polish and English and the Lady (significator) is clearly dressed as a 1920s flapper. At least 22 of the 36 cards are close cognates with the Lenormand cards. A few of the other card images are found on other cartomancy decks of the period. See thispost in which Camelia Elias demonstrates using the deck.

Its interesting that Morton and Rose Neumann, by the mid-20th century, began investing their wealth in 19th century European art and later in American art, amassing what is considered today to be the foremost and most valuable private family art collection in America. They tried to keep it intact until the death of Rose and son, Hubert, whenan inheritance tax of $50 million forced the sale of several works.

, 1867. New Illustrations, copyrighted 1886 by McLoughlin Bros., New York. [The cards here are from the 1894 printing.]

So here, in 1730, we have the first mention of fortune telling with playing cards along with a description of the method and meaning of a reading, plus in the same sentence we find tas搜索引擎优化mancy, which would later be linked with the meanings of Lenormand cards.

I was unable to find this particular deck in a King Novelty (Valmor) catalog but I did come across their 1944 catalog ad for a nearly identical deck calledMadame Sigma Fortune Telling Cards. You could purchase both the deck and book together for $1.35!

Leave a Reply