The Fox and the Snake

[This post was first published in October 2013.]

There is a clear correspondence between the suit associations in Lenormand cartomancy and those in traditional German cartomancy.[1] Below I compare the generic suit associations in traditional German cartomancy from two different sources not associated with particular illustrated fortune telling decks: 1) Source published in Vienna, Austria[2][3][4], 2) Source published in Reutlingen, southern Germany.[5]

♠ Green/spades:
1) Pleasant hope, good fortune in undertakings, luck in love. 2) Good influences.
♥ Red/hearts:
1) Sincerity, friendship, love. 2) Love, happiness.
♣ Acorns/clubs:
1) Unpleasant incidents, disagreements, loss, insult, a lot of work, trouble and falsehood. 2) Bad influences, illness.
♦ Bells/diamonds:
1) Wealth, prosperity, carefree life. 2) Money, profit through speculation, windfall.

Finding a direct correspondence for each individual card is not so easy. Below I compare the generic traditional German cartomancy meanings for the individual Lenormand card insets using the same two sources (the second source is based on a 32 card deck so there are no meanings for the sixes). Note that there are many variations of card meanings for illustrated German fortune telling decks, a group which includes the Lenormand deck. As the cartomancy meanings of these decks are all one step removed from the generic cartomancy meanings, I prefer to base my comparison on the generic cartomancy meanings. There may be another identical system to Lenormand somewhere out there, but I am not betting the farm on it. I find the generic card meanings somewhat limiting, repetitive and contradictory in light of the suit associations, so it makes sense to me that deck designers later developed their own systems incorporating other symbolism such as dream symbolism and coffee grounds symbolism. I have underlined a few meanings that correspond closely to the Lenormand card meanings. There are also several corresponding card meanings within the same suit that don't match the specific card however.

A♠ (Woman): 1) Money received. 2) Government office or courthouse.
K♠ (Lily): 1) Good fortune in undertakings. 2) Young man.
Q♠ (Bouquet): 1) Good times. 2) Young girl.
J♠ (Child): 1) News. 2) Messenger, thoughts.
10♠ (Ship): 1) Expenses. 2) Pleasant letter.
9♠ (Anchor): 1) Sad news. 2) Trip, long distance travel.
8♠ (Garden): 1) Vexation. 2) Stroll (short leisurely walk).
7♠ (Letter): 1) Fright. 2) Warning to beware of everything around one.
6♠ (Tower): 1) Loss. 2) N/A.

A♥ (Man): 1) Pleasant news. 2) Home, large building or house.
K♥ (House): 1) Gift. 2) Male querent, male partner or close relative of female querent.
Q♥ (Stork): 1) Loyalty. 2) Female querent, female partner or close relative of male querent.
J♥ (Heart): 1) Joy. 2) Thoughts of querent.
10♥ (Dog): 1) Gift. 2) Marriage.
9♥ (Rider): 1) Unhappiness. 2) Affection.
8♥ (Moon): 1) Pleasure. 2) Assurance regarding a particular matter.
7♥ (Tree): 1) Happy news. 2) Living room in a house.
6♥ (Stars): 1) Luck in games. 2) N/A.

A♣ (Ring): 1) Death. 2) Scare.
K♣ (Clouds): 1) Vexation caused by a man. 2) Older man.
Q♣ (Snake): 1) Infidelity. 2) Female (beware of them).
J♣ (Whip): 1) Unpleasant news. 2) Confusing, corrupt thoughts.
10♣ (Bear): 1) Disputes. 2) Unpleasant letter.
9♣ (Fox): 1) Falsehood. 2) Anger, vexation.
8♣ (Mountain): 1) Disloyalty, theft. 2) Woe, offensiveness.
7♣ (Mice): 1) Domestic woe. 2) Tears.
6♣ (Cross): 1) Distrust. 2) N/A.

A♦ (Sun): 1) Trade. 2) Great luck/happiness.
K♦ (Fish): 1) Rich acquaintance. 2) Rich young man.
Q♦ (Crossroad): 1) Good news. 2) Wealthy girl.
J♦ (Scythe): 1) Financial gain. 2) Gift.
10♦ (Book): 1) Gift. 2) Letter with money.
9♦ (Coffin): 1) Unexpected luck. 2) Money in general.
8♦ (Key): 1) Illness. 2) Less money.
7♦ (Birds): 1) Vexation in friendship. 2) Even less money.
6♦ (Clover): 1) Vexation over money. 2) N/A.

[Individual card images: Fox © Melissa Haney, Snake © Bobbie Jo Drake, Le Petit Lenormand Éclectique]

1 Helen Riding (August 2012), "Vier Farben: Lenormand suits (revisited)"
2 Wer wird mein Mann? Ein untrügliches Kartenwahrsagebuch, fifth expanded edition (Varaždin and Vienna, 1892) (This source also contains different meanings for the French cards.)
3 Hubert Streicher, Das Wahrsagen (Vienna, 1926), online source which references Wer wird mein Mann? above
4 There is also a very similar list on pages 144–146 of Ausführliche Beschreibung der Sprachmaschinen oder sprechenden Figuren by Heinrich Maximilian Brunner (Nuremberg, 1798).
5 Nostradamus: Neuestes vollständiges und größtes ägyptisches Traumbuch, wahrhafte Auslegung aller Träume (Reutlingen, 1928), referenced in Schlaf, Seele und Wissenschaft by Dita Arzt-Wegman and her English translation thereof
[See also: Duremouri 1793 piquet deck]