Marie Anne Lenormand: The Early Years

Marie-Anne Lenormand was orphaned as a child. Fortunately, she came from a family with money. Her step-mother was able to see to her upbringing and education. Marie-Anne Lenormand likely was a handful to deal with even as a child. She was placed in the Royal Abbey of Benedictines where, at the age of 7, was already manifesting both psychic gifts and a fearless attitude. She quickly became the unofficial oracle of the abbey. Young Marie-Anne Lenormand openly predicted that the Mother Superior would lose her position (something that got young Marie-Anne Lenormand into some trouble). Then, little Marie-Anne Lenormand took it a step further and named who the new superior would be: A woman named Livardrie. When Livardrie arrived at the Abbey, the young Lenormand was introduced as ‘one supernaturally inspired’.

(This article is actually a series of articles on Marie-Anne Lenormand. Before continuing here, you may wish to read the preceding article Indomitable Marie Anne Lenormand.)


Portrait of Marie-Anne Lenormand taken from an engraving at the Bibliothèque Impèriale, in Paris. Thought to be only true likeness of Lenormand. Originally printed in the book ‘The Court of Napoleon’ by Frank Boott Goodrich, 1856

As for young Marie Anne Lenormand’s education, she wanted to read little else than materials dealing with divination and related topics. Her studies were not superficial. She read books on Greek and Roman oracles, the Druids, the prophets of Baal and Hebrew mystics. She investigated dream interpretation, astrology, dowsing (the divining rod)., coffee grounds divination, numerology and more.

Young Lenormand wanted to know the history and commentary on each form of divination, as well as the various types of practices … even the most obscure forms of divination such as reading the whites of eggs. She wanted to know if Plato, Aristotle and Plutarch were right, that Socrates was psychic and predicted important events within his own life. She investigated the power of amulets, relics of saints, healing arts and any sort of miracle. By age 12 young Lenormand was so adept at astrology she could create her own horoscopes. In truth, Marie Anne Lenormand was far more than a cartomancer, she was a master of divination, something she does not get enough credit for.

Eventually, the young Lenormand settled on a few forms of divination as credible. Chief among these was the practice of chiromancy, better known as palm reading. She brazenly proclaimed that the Bible hints that both Moses and Job knew of palmistry and that Solomon was a true believer in chiromancy based on his statement in the Book of Proverbs that, "Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left riches and honor".

Similarly she was attracted to physiognomy (the art of reading the lines and structure of the human face). She considered astrology, chiromancy and the hermetic sciences to be her career, her future (the hermetic sciences are, one could say, the opposite of the traditional physical sciences, base more on non-Christian spirituality and ‘magick’). Ironically, the young Lenormand seemed to reject cartomancy, the use of playing cards for divination (and the forerunner of what we know today as Tarot). Cartomancy, as it was practiced in Lenormand’s time, was not acceptable to her. Possibly because cartomancy at the time was about strict interpretation of the card. The classic Waite-Rider Tarot cards hadn’t been created, yet (first published in 1909), which allowed for more symbolic interpretation of the cards.

Over time, Lenormand found that the cards for cartomancy could be used for divination primarily as a means of accessing her own innate psychic ability (and in conjunction with her formidable knowledge of numerology and mystical symbolism).

Clairvoyant Arthur

Curious what a cartomancy reading may tell you about love, career, the future? Give Psychic Arthur a Call at 1-866-407-7164

This is not unlike how professional tarot readers utilize tarot cards today, as a tool for accessing one’s own possible. Tarot reading has been linked to synchronicity as a means of connecting seemingly un-connected events. Did Lenormand pioneer this style of tarot reading? It is something worth being researched one day.

By the age of 17 Marie Anne Lenormand made a bold prediction that would both make her well known. The prediction would also make her some enemies. She predicted the downfall of rule of King Louis XVI. And, this fall would deeply erode the power of the Catholic Church in France. The current monarchy had ruled France for over 800 years. The church had been involved with the ruling of France even longer. As Marie Anne Lenormand’s prediction began to unfold, her reputation grew …

In the next article in this series on Marie Anne Lenormand we examine Lenormand: Fortune Teller of Paris

Want to get your own cartomancy reading from someone who also admires Marie Ann Lenormand? Give Psychic Arthur a call at 1-866-407-7164. Would you like to chat online with other tarot specialists? Visit, live chat and readings 24/7.