The Deck of Shadows | An Amazing Lenormand Substitute Awaits You

The inner eye does not see upon command.

                                                                 – J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

There has been a lot of attention of late directed at the Lenormand oracle cards. For those who might not already know of the deck, it is traditionally made up of 36 cards (the Petit Lenormand) purportedly modeled from one used by the lady known as the Sybille des Salons – Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand.

It is thought by some, however, that Madame Lenormand actually used a full 52-card deck. Some consider her the most celebrated cartomancer of all time having been a professional fortune teller during the Napoleonic era. Following her death, assorted Lenormand decks sprung up claiming to be duplicates of the cards that Madame Lenormand actually used.  Although different in design than Tarot cards, the Lenormand deck features a symbol for each card.

For those of you who use The Deck of Shadows, I am excited to bring to light a lesser known secret of the deck; there is a Lenormand aspect to the cards waiting for you to put to spectacular use! In fact, at the bottom of each card of The Deck of Shadows is an icon/image and there are 54 of them (rather than being limited to the smaller 36-card set in the Petit Lenormand).

Fun stuff? You bet! So, let’s start wandering and wondering with The Deck of Shadows and see how to expand its use.

FIRST CONCEPT: Look through the icons at the bottom of each Deck of Shadows card. As you contemplate them, keep musing over the physical attributes, the emotions, and the purpose of the images that you see.

The Deck of Shadows provides you with the following Petit Lenormand-like icons:


1.  Horse = Horseman

2.  Gargoyle = Whip

3.  Crown = Bear

4.  Gauntlet = Fox

5.  Broken Wheel = Mouse

6.  Candle = Letter

7.  Sun = Sun

8.  Lightning = Man

9.  Knot = Dog

10.  Rose = Bouquet

11.  Heart = Heart

12.  Tower = Tower

13.  Cave = Cross

14.  Clouds = Clouds

15.  Cadeuceus = Stork

16.  Door = Book

17.  Angel’s Wing = Clover

18.  Star = Star

19.  Moon = Moon

20.  Circle = Ring

21.  Apple = Woman

22.  Anchor = Anchor

23.  Snake = Snake

24.  Key = Key

25.  Sword = Mountain

26.  Butterfly = Child

27.  Owl = Crossroad

28.  Cauldron = Garden

29.  Scythe = Scythe

30.  Castle = House

31.  Ship = Ship

32.  Beacon = Birds

33.  Labyrinth = Lily

34.  Fishhook = Fish

35.  Bone = Coffin

36.  Tree = Tree

All 36 Lenormand concepts/divinatory meanings are present in the cards. The images have, of course, been adapted/updated.

In addition to these 36 symbols, you have the following additional 18 symbols at your disposal:

1.  Chains

2.  Feather

3.  Skull

4.  Hourglass

5.  Raven

6.  Ladder

7.  Phoenix

8.  Gate

9.  Gryphon

10.  Bell

11.  Devil’s Wing

12.  Storm

13.  Dragon

14.  Nail

15.  Mirror

16.  Eagle

17.  Crossed Arms

18.  Laurel

The fact that there are 54 cards (rather than the standard Petit Lenormand 36 count) provides you with a deck more akin to what Madame Lenormand actually used and contributes more nuances because  . . . there are more cards. The images were arrived at by exploring the combination of chronicled Tarot/Playing Card meanings with contemplation on how these would translate to one iconic image.

SECOND IDEA: When viewing the icons at the bottom of each card, you can certainly use Enrique Enriquez’ concept of imagining what would have to happen physically, emotionally, and spiritually for one image to turn into the next one, and so on. This can lead to some very detailed and emotionally deep readings.

THIRD IDEA: Each icon on the card can be thought to have the following attributes: object/action/item. So, for example, the ladder has : OBJECT: ladder, ACTION: ascend/descend, and ITEM: rungs. You can take the cards in your spread and break them down into 3-card groups (using the 9-card Vitruvian Square layout, by the way, you can bring this concept into play in every direction) using the first card as the Querent’s object, the second card as their action, and the third card as the item that is being used. This can be as metaphorical or direct as your intuition leads you.

FOURTH IDEA: There is also a Deck of Shadows Grand Tableau spread – as with the 36 Lenormand cards (which break down into 4 Squares of 9), the 54 Deck of Shadows cards easily break down into 6 Vitruvian Squares (6 Squares of 9 each). This allows you to create one tableau spread for an event or series of consecutive readings and simply read from this one spread. Think of it . . . one spread with different portions read for different people. And don’t forget the Square of 9 (and the Grand Tableau) are actually cyclic or circular in nature. They actually don’t stop at the edges or corners (there is no flat world to fall off of).

This brief discussion should provide you with enough inspiration to begin an exploration of your own with The Deck of Shadows; an exploit of which Madame Lenormand. herself, would be proud!

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© 2012 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “The Deck of Shadows | An Amazing Lenormand Substitute Awaits You

  1. Pingback: Daily Lenormand Draw | Seer Pathways

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