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A History of Oracle Cards in Relation to The Burning Serpent

Oracle and a new revelation about the origin of the Lenormand

Robert M. Place, January, 2015
For many years I have been lecturing on the history of Tarot and
divination cards at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My
lectures take place in the print collection, a library of historic prints
nestled behind the walls of the print gallery in the museum. Although I
do expound on the history of cards, the afternoon is actually more of a
guided tour of the museums collection of playing and divinatory cards.
The collection includes what may be the oldest woodcut printed Tarot
cards in the world, and contains examples of cards from every period
from the 15th century to the present. Although most of my students
are probably drawn here by the chance to see early Tarots, when we
get to the 19th century examples, oracle cards (non-Tarot decks
intended primarily for use in divination) dominate the collection.
Naturally, after seeing these decks for several years and realizing that
there was little information available on them, I desired to uncover
their history. Simultaneously, the idea of designing my own oracle deck
began to emerge. So, when Rachel Pollack approached me with the
offer of collaborating on an oracle deck I was not only open to the
suggestion, I was eager to start.
As Rachel states in her Burning Serpent Oracle book, we did not begin
this project with the intention of creating a Lenormand deck but this is
the tradition to which The Burning Serpent belongs. It is as if the
Lenormand cards reached out to us unconsciously, and at a certain
point in the process we became conscious of this direction and began
to intentionally create a Lenormand. The Lenormand cards are a type
of oracle deck that originated in 19th century Europe, and that has
remained popular there. In America and England, however, it was
unknown or overlooked until recently, when it has become almost an

obsession with a growing group of card readers, many of whom also

read the Tarot. The Lenormand deck tends to be minimalistic, with
cards depicting, for example, a ring, a scythe, or a book, and it tends to
apply definite meanings to these images, such as commitment for the
ring, danger for the scythe, and secrets for the book. This limitation is
useful when the cards are used for divination, and I apply similar basic
meanings to the cards when I work with the Tarot. However, I also look
into the images in the Tarot for deeper spiritual guidance, and I noticed
that many non-Lenormand oracle decks have similar spiritual or mythic
dimensions. It was my intention and Rachels to create a Lenormand
with this spiritual dimension and I am writing this history to provide
insight into my inspiration for our deck.
At first, all I knew about the Lenormand came from a brief mention in A
Wicked Pack of Cards by Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael
Dummett, who pointed out that the Lenormand deck was based on an
earlier deck used for a game. Much of the history of the deck beyond
this connection has only been uncovered recently, thanks to the efforts
and discoveries of Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin, the authors of
Learning Lenormand, and Tarot scholar Mary K. Greer, who has found a
previously unknown early source for the Lenormand images. This
article is intended to add to the work that they started. I intend to
unveil an even earlier source, one that is a common ancestor for both
the Lenormand and all other oracle decks. I have also found that many
of the images that I created for The Burning Serpent Oracle, although
they emerged totally from my imagination and my discussions with
Rachel, have an uncanny resonance with this early deck.
Lets Start with Lenormand
Marie Anne Adelaide Le Normand (1772-1843) was born in Normandy
but moved to Paris in 1786. She also lived in Belgium and London for

short periods. She became the most famous fortuneteller in Europe

during the Napoleonic era. Le Normand used a variety of divinatory
methods, including palmistry, numerology, scrying, necromancy, 33
Greek sticks, a magic wand, and a special talisman. She also read egg
whites and coffee grounds. For cartomancy, she used an ordinary pack
of 32 French Piquet cards and a German 36-card deck. In addition, she
is said to have been an admirer of the French occultist Etteilla and may
have used the Tarot that he designed, The Grand Etteilla, as well as a
traditional French Tarot.
The French and German decks seem to have influenced the later
Lenormand decks and it is useful to know more about their structure.
Pique decks have the four French suits: hearts, clubs, diamonds, and
spades, but only contain the knave, queen, king, ace, and the pips
numbered seven to ten in each suit. The traditional German 36-card
deck is used in Bavaria for playing games like Schafkopf (sheep's
head). It has four suits of: hearts, acorns, hawk belles, and leaves,
each with an under knave, over knave, king, ace (the ace displays two
suit symbols and is sometimes considered a duce), and the six to ten
pips. There are also German decks that use the French suit symbols,
and a deck that combines the French symbols with the German colors:
red hearts, yellow diamonds, green spades, and black clubs.
Mlle. Le Normands fame rests on the fact that she was the author of
14 best selling books, in which she described her career and her
dealings with her famous clients. Her clients included Marat,
Robespierre, Czar Alexander, and most famously the Empress
Josephine. Le Normand is credited with predicting the rise and the fall
of Napoleon. In fame, she is comparable to the 20th century psychic
Jeane Dixon (1904-1997), who was famous for having predicted the
assassination of President Kennedy. Many of Mlle. Le Normands

statements about her life and her dealings with high society have been
shown to be exaggerated or simply false. However, it is true that she
was a member of a secret society in London, called Members of
In 1845, two years after her death, Mlle. Le Normands name was
attached to a set of divination or cartomancy cards, Grand jeu de Mlle
Lenormand, published in France by Grimaud. The colorful deck was one
of the first examples of lithographic printing in France. It consisted of
52 cards related to an ordinary playing card deck, with two additional
cards (significators) representing a male or a female querent, 54 cards
in total. Each card depicted a central scene surrounded by symbols: a
miniature playing card, a bold letter, a constellation, and a flower. It
was sold with a set of five books describing various types of divination,
including cartomancy, palmistry, astrology, numerology, and
In 1846, Mlle Le Normands name was applied to another oracle deck,
Petit Le Normand, published in Germany. The German deck consisted
of 36 cards, which had little in common with the French Lenormand.
Each card depicted an iconic symbol, such as a ring, a ship, a house, a
dog, or a heart, all with a miniature playing card at the top. Although it
contained 36 cards like a German deck, the miniature playing cards on
the face displayed the French suit symbols. Neither of these decks had
been used by Mlle. Le Normand and her name was attached only so
that the publishers could cash in on her fame. Similarly, several
spurious biographies of Mlle. Le Normand and a book claiming to
contain her last predictions were published soon after her death.
There seems to have been earlier divination decks that may have
influenced the Lenormand. By 1818, 36-card fortune telling decks were

being created in Germany and Austria in which iconic images related to

some of the Le Normand images were correlated with German suits.
These decks seem to have influenced the Petit Le Normand, and are
related to sibilla cards that were created in Italy, France, Germany,
Austria, and Hungary since the 1700s but do not display numbers or
suit symbols. Another offshoot, the Kipper Cards, was created in
Bavaria, circa 1870. There are also numerous decks with Lenormand in
their name that were created after 1846 and contain most of the
standard Lenormand images but have additional cards such as a safe,
a mirror, or lightning. These are believed to be adaptions of the
standard deck but I have found that some of the additional images can
be traced to an earlier source.
Below is a list of the 36 standard Lenormand cards:
1. The
2. The
3. The
4. The
5. The
6. The
7. The
8. The
9. The

The Scythe
The Rod
The Birds
The Child
The Fox
The Bear
The Stars
The Stork
The Dog
The Tower
The Garden
The Mountain
The Path
The Mice
The Heart
The Ring




The Game of Hope

According to Decker, Depaulis, and Dummett, in 1972, Historian Detlef
Hoffmann discovered that the German Le Normand is based on a deck
published in Nuremberg as a game in 1799, and authored by Johann
Kaspar Hechtle. The Game of Hope. The numbering and subjects on
the 36 cards in this deck are identical to the Petit Le Normand, but
there are two miniature cards at the top of each card instead of one,
one with French suits and one with German. It was a race game and it
came with instructions, which have been published in English by Katz
and Goodwin. The 36 cards were to be arranged in a square of six rows
of six cards, in numerical order and two dice were thrown to see how
many cards along the square a player may move his or her marker.
There are lucky and unlucky cards, and landing on them brings rewards
or penalties. The first player to land on the next-to-last card, the
Anchor (called Hope in the booklet), wins. In Christian iconography, the
anchor is the symbol of the Christian virtue hope and this explains the
name of this card and of the game. If the player overshoots the anchor
and lands on the last card, the Cross, he or she will be stuck until a
double number is thrown or another player lands on it and the first
player can go backward from this space.

This type of game belongs to a group of spiral race games collectively

known as The Royal Game of Goose. In all of these games the next-tolast space is the winning position. Goose games first appeared in
Florence in the 16th century, where they were most likely brought from
Greece. Their boards are in the form of a spiral and they may derive
from Mehen, a 5,000 year old Egyptian game named after the snake
god, who coiled around the sun god Ra to protect him. We have ancient
spiraling Mehen boards carved from stone or bone but the game was
thought to have died out before 2,000 bc. However, a similar looking
clay artifact called the Phaistos disk, was created in Crete, circa 2,000
bc, There is no definite knowledge about the use of this spiraling disk
but Rachel has theorized that it was a similar game board. Also,
modern anthropologists have found a similar game being played in
Africa in the 20th century.
At the end of this Game of Hope pamphlet, there is a brief explanation
of how the deck could also be used for divination. The deck is to be
shuffled and the 36 cards laid out in four rows of eight cards and then a
row of four on the bottom. The position of the significator, the
Gentleman for a male querent and the Lady for a female querent,
determines how the cards are to be read, and the reader was
encouraged to create a story centered on this character and the cards
that surround him or her. This is the standard Grand Tableau used by
Lenormand readers today, but the 1799 pamphlet does not provided
definite meanings for each card. Some cards, however, were
considered positive or negative in the game and this would affect their
interpretation. Also the Book card is said to depict a Grimoire, the Bird
is said to have come from the Canary Islands, and the Path is said to
lead to the Garden.
Coffee Ground Cards

Recently, Tarot scholar Mary Greer was doing research in the British
Museums archives when she found a deck of cards accompanied by a
31-page book that is an earlier model for the Petit Le Normand. The
deck, whose full title is Les Amusements des Allemands, or The
Diversions of the Court of Vienna, in which the Mystery of FortuneTelling from the Grounds of the Coffee-Cup is unravelled, and Three
pleasant Games, viz.: 1. Fortune-telling from the Grounds of the
Coffee-Cup. 2. Fortune-telling by laying out the cards. 3. The new
Imperial Game of numbers are invented, was published in England
1796. The book states that these cards were based on an AustroGerman set of cards published in Vienna in 1794. The cards consist of
uncolored engravings with a full landscape on each card dominated by
the singular subject. There are a few lines of text on the bottom of
each card that are meant to be the divinatory meaning but also offer
moral advice. There are only 32 cards in the deck, like a Piquet deck,
four less than the Lenormand, they are numbered differently, and
some cards, like the vipers card, do not relate to any Lenormand cards.
The majority of the cards, however, can easily be matched with
Lenormand cards. Below is a list of the cards. I have found that nearly
all of these images and subjects, as well as the ones found in the
Lenormand, can be traced to a deck created in England two decades
1. Crossroads/Fingerpost
2. Ring
3. Clover
4. Anchor
5. Snake
6. Letter
7. Coffin
8. Star

9. Dog
10. Lily
11. Cross
12. Clouds
13. Sun
14. Moon
15. Mountain
16. Tree I Labor, Pains, Long Effort (the second Tree card seems to a
better fit with the Lenormand Tree)
17. Child
18. Woman
19. Man
20. Rider
21. Mouse
22. Birchrod/Whip
23. Flower (relates to the Lenormand Bouquet)
24. Heart
25. Garden
26. Bird/Turtledove (Relates to the Lenormand Birds)
27. Fish
28. Lion (Mary Greer feels that this relates to the Lenormand Bear and I
agree that there is an iconic resemblance in the pose that is used for
the Bear in the early Lenormand cards)
29. Tree II the result of ones labor (this seems to be a better fit for
the Lenormand Tree, which means health)
30. Worms or Vipers (Bugs) (does not relate to Lenormand)
31. House
32. Scythe
There are no cards relating to the Lenormand Ship, Fox, Stork, Tower,
Key, or Book (unless you consider the book that the child holds on the
Child card).

According to the book and the title, The Diversions of the Court of
Vienna, (commonly known as the Coffee Ground Cards) were designed
to correlate with numerology and divination with coffee grounds.
Coffee grounds reading and tealeaf reading, together known as
tasseography, were introduced in Europe in the 17th century with the
importation of tea and coffee. Coffee ground reading is traditionally
performed with Turkish coffee, and is more popular in Eastern Europe.
To read coffee grounds, water is poured into a white cup on top of
ground coffee beans, as is common when brewing Turkish coffee. The
client may sip the coffee until sludge is left in the bottom of the cup.
Then the reader places a saucer on top of the cup and turns it over so
that the excess liquid pours out, leaving the grounds clustered on the
bottom and sides of the cup. The remaining dark grounds form
patterns and shapes against the white cup. The reader looks for
images in the shapes, and notes their darkness, lightness, and position
on the cup. When reading the grounds, each image and position adds
meaning. Darker shapes are considered negative and light ones
positive. The same shape positioned on the side or bottom will have a
different meaning.
There are hundreds of possible images the reader might envision in the
blobs of coffee. Over time, lists of standard images emerged. One
website that I investigated had a list of 120 meaningful shapes to look
for. In that list 18 were animals or objects found on Lenormand cards.
Because there is a similarity between these lists and the Lenormand
images, it was natural to form a correlation between the two
techniques, and that is what the Coffee Ground cards did. Also the fact
that different positions change the meaning of an image is similar to
what happens in a Lenormand reading. Because of this, some have

suggested that the Lenormand images were derived from coffee

readings, but these similarities do not prove that tasseography is the
source. I believe that the source of the Lenormand is more likely found
in cartomancy, which evolved from earlier forms of divination.
The first cards in Europe were Islamic playing cards, known as the
Mamluk deck, with four suits: coins, cups, scimitars, and polo sticks.
They were introduced in Spain in the 14th century. The Spanish and
Italians copied the cards and created decks with the suits: coins, cups,
swords, and staffs. Both decks have ten pips and three all-male royals
in each suit, equaling 52 cards (there are variations with four royals
and 56 cards or with nine pips and 48 cards). The decks spread
through Europe, and although the essential structure remained, new
suit symbols were invented in Switzerland, Germany, and France.
Hand-painted and gilded examples of the Mamluk cards from the 15th
century still exist and they contain calligraphic aphorisms, which
suggest divinatory meanings that were attached to the cards. Historian
Ross Caldwell has also discovered numerous Spanish references to
divination with cards, in literature and in the records of the Inquisition.
His work has shown that, at least in Spain, there have been
professional card readers at work since the 16th century. It seems that
from the beginning, cards were used for both gaming and divination.
One of the first texts to describe divination with cards is the c.1450
Juego de Naypes (game of cards), a poem by Fernando de la Torre, who
dedicated his work to the Countess of Castaeda. In his poem,
Fernando described a game played with a 49-card deck of the four
Spanish suits with nine pips and only three court cards per suit. The

deck also included an additional Emperador card, which functioned as

a trump. Fernando mentioned that the deck could also be used to tell
fortunes, but only on the subject of love. The cards could predict a
man's love interest with each suit representing a different class of
women: coins represented maidens, cups wives, swords nuns, and
staffs widows. Fernando included instructions for the artists creating
the deck and instructed that each card should contain lines from his
poem, with the number of lines corresponding to the rank of the card:
20 lines for the Emperor, 12 for the Kings, and on down to one for the
One of the first mentions of symbolism connected with an Italian Tarot
deck, a deck containing an extra suit of trumps, is found in a poem
attributed to Count Matteo Maria Boiardo, court poet of Ercole DEste,
of Ferrara. Boiardo wrote a poem about a set of Tarot cards, between
1460 and1494. The deck he describes has four minor suits with 14
cards in each and a fifth trump suit with 22 cards, a Fool and 21
figures, which he calls The Triumph of the Vain World. This is one of
the oldest references to a deck with 22 cards in the trump suit, but
only images of the minor suits still exist. Boiardos minor suits are,
eyes, vases, arrows, and whips, which in his poem symbolize four
human passions: jealously for eyes, hope for vases, love for arrows,
and fear for whips. Each card contains a three-line poem at the top
that can serve as its divinatory meaning.
The next group of texts that we know of that describe divination with
cards were published in Germany in the early 15th century. Possibly
the oldest is the Mainzer Kartenlosbuch (Mainz fortune-telling book),
first published in Mantz or Ulm, in 1505. The Mainzer Kartenlosbuch
makes use of the German suited deck. It displays a frivolous eight-line


poem next to the image of each card, such as, You have been drinking
too much from the vine, and, therefore, you will find sorrow.
The Mainzer Kartenlosbuch is an oracle or fortune book, a type of
divination book that was popular in the 16th century. In this tradition,
the answer to the querents question is found in the book in the form of
a poem, and the cards are only used as a means to arrive at the right
poem. Some fortune books instead of using cards, made use of dice,
the time of day, or a wheel to find the correct passage. Indeed, the
earliest Mainzer Kartenlosbuch published in 1485, made use of a wheel
and the divinatory poems were paired with pictures of birds or animals.
One of the best examples of a fortune book is Le Sorti (the fates),
written by Francesco Marcolini (c.1500-c.1559) and published in Venice
in 1540. The Metropolitan Museum has a copy of this book and it is one
of the items that we explore in my class at the museum.
Le Sorti, is more serious in its philosophical purpose. It is heavily
influenced by fortune-telling with dice but the book uses playing cards
as its tool. Specifically, it makes uses of the king, knight, knave, 10, 9,
8, 7, 2, and ace from the suit of coins. Le Sorti lists 50 questions. To
find the answer to the chosen question, the querent draws two cards
and finds the appropriate page where the two cards are correlated with
an allegory on virtue or vice. Then, one card is drawn and the querent
is redirected to a page on abstract principles. This page provides an
additional card, illustrated on the page. The card from the book is
combined with another card, drawn from the deck, and these two lead
to a page, headed by a philosopher, where the final answer is found, in
the form of a three-line poem composed by the poet Lodovico Dolce


The oldest known deck of cards that was created primarily for
divination is John Lenthalls Fortune-Telling Cards, first published in
England in 1665, with additional editions published up to 1712. The
deck is structured like a 52-card deck with 10 pips and three royals in
each suit but the kings contain a list of possible questions that the
deck may answer and the answers are found on lists written on the
even numbered pips. The odd pips contain wheels with astrological
signs, numbers, and symbols, and the royals are equated to legendary
mystics and magicians, with the queens and knaves holding books with
numbers and singular words. The method of divination is often
described as complicated or convoluted and not worth going into. But
as the questions and answers are found written on the cards, this is
obviously a fortune book in the form of a deck. At this date, there
seems to be no consistent meanings attached to individual cards
except for individual decks that had the meaning written on the cards
and their meanings were not transferred to other decks.
I again am thankful to Mary Greer for bringing to my attention an
English fortune book published in 1729, Dr. Flamsteads and Mr.
Patridges New Fortune-Book containing . . . Their new-invented
method of knowing ones fortune by a pack of cards. Like other fortune
books, It contains a method of divination in which a chosen card led to
a verse in the book. By 1770, however, a new shorter version appeared
whose complete title is Patridge and Flamsteds new and well
Experienced Fortune Book, delivered to the world from the Astrologers
Office in Greenwich Park, for the benefit of all young men, maids,
wives, and widows. Who, by drawing Cards according to the direction
of this Book, may know whether Life shall be long or short; whether
they shall have the person desired; and every lawful question
whatsoever. The signification of Moles in any part of the body; and the
interpretation of Dreams, as they relate to good or bad fortune. This

book provided a definite meaning for each card in a standard deck and
it could be applied to any deck. With this universal system we have the
beginning of what is considered true cartomancy, in which any card
deck can be used for divination without a list of specific questions and
lists of answers. The reader is free to answer any question and the list
of answers is only limited by the readers imagination. Historian Ross
Caldwell tells us that there is further literary evidence found in the play
Jack the Gyant-Killer, from 1730, that attests to the practice
cartomancy in England in the early 18th century.
In this same period, a new category called morality cards was born.
One example is Geistliche Karten (clergyman cards), published in
Germany in 1718. This was a deck with moral a homily written on each
card. The intent was that one card should be drawn each day as the
motto for the day. This practice was combined with playing cards by
adding a motto to a standard card and In England, numerous engraved
decks were published in the early 18th century. Although they all
maintained a connection to the suits and structure of standard playing
cards by adding a miniature card or at least the suit symbol and
number at the top, the cards were dominated by illustrative scenes
and contained a moral message at the bottom. Examples include The
Duke of Marlboroughs victories Playing Cards from 1707, Lenthalsl
Proverb Playing Cards published between 1710 and 1720, and
Hogarths Delightful Playing Cards form 1723 (based on the moralistic
artwork of William Hogarth). The Coffee Ground cards, with a moralistic
message on each card, actually fit this category (although they do not
reference playing cards) and demonstrate the ease in which morality
cards could be adapted to divination. The Game of Hope itself is
similarly moralistic, in that virtues and vices are suggested in its
symbols, but it is also an oracle deck. Now that cartomancy had been
born and merged with moral statements and pictures, the stage was

set for the development of oracle cards, in which each card is an

illustrated symbol designed for divinatory interpretation.

Hoopers deck
The oldest oracle deck that I have found, the one that appears to be
the predecessor of all Lenormand decks and other oracle decks,
Including The Burning Serpent Oracle, is S. Hoopers Conversational
Cards, published in England on October 2, 1775. Cards from this deck
can be found in The Waddington Collection and in the British Museum
collection and are available on line, but with very little information
provided. In the few comments on the deck that exist online, they are
also referred to as the Tragedy and Comedy Cards, because Tragedy
and Comedy is written at the bottom of what may be the title card. The
deck consists of 56 uncolored engravings each with a morally
descriptive picture but no text other than the title.
When I first found these cards on the Internet, all that was said about
them was that they were an antique fortunetelling deck available for
use in craft projects. I immediately noticed that the figures were
heavily influenced by the art of Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds and
suspected that they were created in the mid 18th century, earlier than
any other oracle cards. In fact, the scene depicted on the title card is
drawn form a painting by Joshua Reynolds depicting the actor David
Garrick standing between two allegorical women, one representing
tragedy and one comedy. This painting was painted in 1761. So I knew
the deck had to have been created after that date, but how long after
was the question. It was only when I found a faint trace of a name and
date on the bottom of one of the cards, that I learned that it was
published by Hooper in 1775. This information allowed me to better


research the deck and to find clearer copies. I even discovered that it
had three additional cards that I did not know of at first.
The reason that they were called conversational cards is that they were
designed for playing a game in which the first card picked became the
beginning of a story. Each player then picked an additional card and
used it as inspiration to continue the tale. This is something like the
game invented by Surrealist artists, called The Exquisite Corpse. The
Hooper cards are the oldest deck I have seen that has a male and a
female significator and these cards suggest that they could become
the central figures in the story told with the cards. Rachel suggests
that the significator could represent the person who started the story
by picking the first card. With the significator as the focus of the story
we can see that this game is similar to The Game of Hopes prescribed
method of divination.
The Hooper deck is the oldest one to have a figure with an anchor
representing Hope; it has a melancholy hermit contemplating death
and the cross; and it has an optimistic figure of Fortune like most nonLenormand oracle decks and unlike the Tarot with its moralistic Wheel.
The complex stories depicted on the cards often help to explain the
meaning attached to a single object on the related Lenormand card.
The images are rich with cultural references going back to Elizabethan
England and to the Classical world and I have spent months attempting
to uncover the stories connected with each card. Here is a list of the
Burning Serpent cards with a correlation to Lenormand cards and the
Hooper cards. Some Hooper cards are applicable to more than one
Lenormand and sometimes two cards are applicable to one
Lenormand. The correlations are determined by the meanings as much
as by the image.


1. Hermes the Messenger - The Rider Folly or Idleness (The

meaning of Folly or Idleness is, in fact, the opposite of the speed shown
by the Rider, which does link them to opposite ends of the same
theme. Also the depiction of the fool riding a donkey and wiping his
mount is visually comparable to the Rider and it was likely to have
been the first card after the title card.)
2. The Red Clover The Clover Courtship (depicting a couple
conversing on the glass, which is keeping with one meaning of The
3. The Voyage The Ship - Equipage (a carriage with a crew like a
4. The House on the Hill The House - Cottage
5. The Flaming Tree The Tree Industry (depicting a woman in
front of a tree regenerating itself from a stump)
6. The Clouds The Clouds Garden (Although the Garden card
also relates to the Lenormand Garden, the sky on the card is
dominated dark and light clouds that are similar to ones depicted on
The Cloudsit relates to both cards.)
7. The Burning Serpent The Snake Flattery or Deceit
(depicting Eve and the Serpent)
8. The Dead Tree The Coffin Death but also Physician (who is
depicted entering a coffin shop)
9. The Bouquet - The Flowers or Bouquet Nobody (holding a
rose in his teeth)
10. The Scythe The Scythe Time (depicted holding a Scythe and
an hourglass--the hourglass appears with the scythe on The Game of
Hope card) but also Plenty (depicted holding Grain)
11. The Cat-o-Three-Tails The Rod or Whip School (depicting a
school master holding the birch rod in front of a crying student) but
also Contemplation (in which the hermit holds a cat-o-three-tails)


12. The Owl and Mouse The Birds or The Owl Harlequin or
player, Courtship, or Friendship (all of which depict two people
conversing, which is the same meaning)
13. The Girl and Boy - The Child Innocence (depicting a boy with
a dog)
14. The Fox - The Fox - Courage (depicting a lion and a rooster;
the rooster often appears with the fox on Lenormand cards) but also
Treachery (which is similar in meaning)
15. The Bear - The Bear Courage (This card depicts a lion instead
of a bear as in the Coffee Ground Cards. The Bear means mother,
protection and strength and courage is a virtue related to protection
and Strength) also Charity (which depicts a mother)
16. The Stars - The Star Religion (depicting a woman holding a
light like a star)
17. The Stork The Stork - Charity (depicting a woman nursing two
babies like the stork in her nest)
18. The Hound The Dog Fidelity (depicting a dog defending a
19. The Tower - The Tower Church (with its steeple) but also
Palace (with men looking down on a steeple from inside a tower)
20. The Garden The Garden - Garden
21. The Mountain The Mountain Crime (a mountain with a
gallows in front blocks a thiefs path)
22. The Path The Ways Equipage (which is on a winding path but
also Tragedy and Comedy (depicting Garrick between Tragedy and
Comedy suggesting a choice)
23. The Mice The Mice Gratitude (depicting a mouse freeing a
lion in a net) but also Ruin (which is closer in meaning) as well as
Fidelity (which depicts a burglar trying to bribe the dog with a
sausage) and Treachery

24. The Heart The Heart - Heart

25. The Gold Ring The Ring - Hymen or Marriage (depicting a
couple before the god of marriage)
26. The Book of Life The Book Religion (a woman depicted
holding a large book) but also School (depicting boys with books)
27. The Letter The Letter Law or Security (depicting two
lawyers with a contract) but also Courtship (although the
communication depicted is verbal the meaning is similar)
28. The Man The Gentleman - Gentleman
29. The Woman The Lady - Lady
30. The Lilies The Lily Folly or Idleness (with lilies growing in
front of his donkey)
31. The Sun The Sun Fortune (who foretells success like the Sun)
32. The Moon The Moon Honour (depicting a victorious general
which is similar in meaning)
33. The Key The Key Law or Security (the lawyers have a locked
strong box)
34. The Jumping Fish The Fish Liberality (a woman who is
giving money to the poor, which is similar in meaning)
35. The Anchor The Anchor - Hope
36. The Rusty Cross The Cross Contemplation (with a hermit
contemplating a cross)
37. Osiris and 38. Isis these do not correspond to Lenormand cards
but do correspond to several Hooper cards including Fortune,
Prudence, Religion, Cupid or Love, and Justice (which depict
divine beings and represent higher spiritual influences)
I believe that the Hooper Cards are one of the earliest, if not the
earliest oracle deck. Oracle decks are not a variation on the Lenormand
deck but the larger group to which Lenormand belongs. The


Lenormand is an oracle deck and the earliest oracle cards contained

moral allegories and references to divine figures.
In creating the The Burning Serpent Oracle Rachel and I were
attempting to add these aspects to the Lenormand cards and in effect
we were reconnecting it with its roots.