Ms. Lenormand

Madame Lenormand is being arrested in her parlor in Paris.
Madame Lenormand is being arrested in her parlor in Paris.

Marie Anne Adélaïde Lenormand

So much has already been written about Marie Anne Adélaïde Lenormand (Ms. Lenormand) that it is hard to add anything new on the subject. However, this site wouldn’t be complete without some information on the woman who inspired generations of fortune readers, all over the world.

Born in Alençon (France) on May 27, 1772, Ms. Lenormand was a very popular French fortune teller that lived through the French Revolution during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

She is perhaps more well known by historians as one of Joséphine de Beauharnais’ advisors who predicted that Joséphine would be raised higher than a queen, and that her husband (Napoléon Bonaparte, then an officer in the French army), even higher than a King.

She Was a Prolific Writer

Ms. Lenormand left behind quite a few publications (mainly to promote herself or in response to her detractors & critics), most of which seem self-serving.

However, nothing of her occult collection actually survived. In fact, the lack of cards or written essays about her craft has some people (myself included) doubting that the oracle we use today is the actual system that she used.

According to the Sign on her Door,
She Ran a Book Store

We do know from several personal accounts form the people that used her services that she read with ordinary playing cards; that she was well versed in the Tarot as well as Astrology; and, that she had an assorted mix of divination tools on top of the cards and astrology… there are reports that she used a rooster, mirrors, eggs, tea leaves…

Whatever you can possibly think of, Ms. Lenormand had very likely tried it out at some point.

She’s even pridefully exclaimed that she had hundreds of ways of interpreting cards in one of her memoirs!

But if one thing never left her side… it her playing cards (they even accompanied her in prison)..!

In fact, she was so successful in predicting the future that she even came under the scrutiny of the fledgling French Republic’s revolutionary leaders (in hindsight, predicting their deaths probably did not help matters).

She was of course imprisoned a few times, but the attention only helped fuel her popularity as a fortune teller.

Little of Her Works Remain…

She lived through the French Revolution, la Terreur, and was imprisoned by the revolutionary government.

She fortold Napoleon’s rise to power as well as his fall, lived off of her craft. Eeventually, Ms. Lenormand died of old age in her Paris residence on 25 June 1843. She was 71 years old.

Throughout it all, we know she kept notes in her journals, received hundreds of letters! She rubbed shoulders with aristocrats and gained Joséphine de Beauharnais‘ ear (to Napoleon’s great displeasure)! Her collections included all sorts of divination implements and occult works over the years.

Her nephew, inheriting her belongings, decided to destroy every vestige of her occult library.

Gone are her astrological charts, her cards, her notes… nothing is left — that we know of! Other than police records and the accounts that we have from her former clients and friends.

Card publishers of the time, trying to capitalize on Lenormand’s reputation and name, published the oracles that we know today and that now bear her name after her death…