Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Napoleon's Reader

Marie-Anne Lenormand, a famous French card reader, was said to have read for many famous people, including Napoleon and Josephine, Marat, Robespierre, St-Just,and Czar Alexander. When she died in 1843, her estate contained 120,00 francs, another indication of her success, and she is buried in Paris' Père Lachaise Cemetery, which is the final resting place of many famous French people.

She used a deck of her own design, consisting of 36 cards. Various versions of these are still available, usually from the Grimaud publishing company in France. And there are companies such as Piatnik in Austria which have produced fortune telling decks based on the Lenormand model. One popular modern model is the Titania Fortune Telling Deck, and I have another French deck called the Tarot of Isis, which is a 36 card deck, obviously modeled on the Lenormand.

In fact, it was one of these, rather than a traditional tarot deck that I started with. My first familiarity was with a tarot deck, but when I bought my deck of 36, I loved the way it spoke to me and I felt that it opened up my intuition rapidly. This is the way I worked for many years until one day I became faascinated with tarot, and switched back to a regular tarot deck again.

For those who may feel intimidated by the prospect of learning a 78 card tarot deck, a 36 card Lenormand type of deck is considerably easy to work with. Do not fool yourself. Just because it has less cards, that does not mean it is less effective.

Generally these card sets have an image and one key word. There are no suits in some versions, no numbers. no court cards or divisions into major and minor arcana. Some versions, reputedly designed by her followers, had verses printed on them. Some sday that she came up with the 36 card deck by modifying a deck used for a popular French card game of the time, which also used 36. This is one explanation for why in the decks that show playing card numbers and pips are missing some numbers. That point, however, is not significant in learning to interpret and develop your intuition. It simply answers the question of how the deck got to have that number of cards.

In some ways, the Lenormand is down to earth. These cards deal with the changes in every day life that people always want to ask about. They emphasize questions about money, business, love, relationships, feelings, and difficulties. They generally do not have cards like the Devil, Judgment, Magician, Pope, and so on.

So if you are looking for easy to use, easy to learn deck which can help you develop your intuition, try one of these 36 card decks. you can learn to use them quite well without a book. They are simple but powerful, and many people are amazed at how accurately they work. These types of fortune telling cards are quite popular in Europe and with many others around the world partly due to the legend of Mlle Lenormand, but also due to the fact that she created a modern innovation that worked. It is both appealing and profound and has a strong niche, even though tarot is much larger, older, more storied and more numerous.

It is definitely worth a look. If you have found a regular tarot deck to be daunting, try a Lenormand and other 36 card deck, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

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