Category Archives: Grand Jeu Lenormand

The Grand Jeu, An Introduction

Don’t look away…
Years ago, when I started blogging here, some of my first posts were on the Grand Jeu. I shared what I knew and tried to figure out the rest. In time I moved on and wrote about other decks, but I’ve continued to use this deck over the years, in spite of the fact that I still have some questions about it that have never been answered to my satisfaction and probably never will be. The deck is accurate – it WORKS, even with the unanswered bits – and it keeps you honest.

I know that when blogging about something, the Standard Operating Procedure is to set yourself up as an expert and pretend to know everything about it. I see a lot of blogs like that, but a quick read-through usually shows that the author knows very little. I’m always happy to find people who know something. A good reader grows, changes, and revises. And I totally get those people who take down their blogs and youtube channels and put them up again in a different form (the ones I admire most do that!) and I would do the same, but I’m lazy and justify that by letting the old stuff stand as a record. It’s here, warts and all.

It’s very difficult to sugarcoat with this one. It’s full of myth: Jason and the Argonauts, Isis and Osiris, the Trojan War…these stories still resonate. People will still read them, watch movies about them. Seriously, virtually any rando you ask has seen bits of THIS:

Myth is full of war, murder, rape, torture, exploitation, and some profoundly dirty dealings. But here we are: people RELATE to that. It still happens, and as much as I’d love to be back in Mayfield with Ward and June telling me about Wally and the Beaver’s latest peccadillos, that world doesn’t exist now – it didn’t even exist then, for a lot of people. A wise lady once said, “Soft dreams are for soft times.” Or, as another wise lady once said:

A lot of card reading advice I see tells people to put a positive spin on the reading to the point of absurdity. And I totally understand not wanting to be the bearer of bad tidings – but our job is to deliver the message the cards give us. Once, when I told a man I was a card reader, he asked, “How can you lie to people like that?” I answered that I don’t lie – I’m paid to tell people what the cards say, and I do that.

We step aside, and we relay the information. That’s basically all that’s required. And even if you feel obligated to “fix” people (and that is not, and should not ever be, the function of a card reader), you owe them your honesty.

The Grand Jeu isn’t ALL carnage. Thee are some very lovely cards in there. But there are also cards that will keep us honest, in no uncertain terms.

“It’s too hard!”

OK. If you say so. Be a Barbie girl in a Barbie world, you do you.
But I just want to mention that a lot of people use the Thoth. Yeah, that’s right: do you think all of them can play around with the paths like this guy? And what of the Hebrew letters and astrological stuff?

I’m not saying that you should be an Angeles Arrien read-off-the-pictures-and-ignore-the-literature type. That woman made some regrettable mistakes. But as long as you understand the large and small illustrations, you can get answers out of this deck. The flowers, playing card insets, constellations, geomantic signs, and letters are different expressions of the same concept – just like the Thoth correspondences are. They are useful and not to be written off as unimportant. But everything in time. 😉 Are you game? Let’s do this!

Next: Part 1, a breakdown of the card images

Where to go?

OK, the picture doesn’t really express exactly what this is about. It’s Robert Johnson at the Crossroads, the place where all that stuff you labored at finally falls into place and you become badass. If you’re not a Lenormand badass by now you won’t be. But there’s a “Where to go?” element to it, too. That fits, so I used the image.

This has been primarily a Petit Lenormand blog. There’s been other stuff, sure, and lots of it, but it’s always come back to Lenormand. And a lot of us want to take a break from writing on that.

I feel that it is now safe to do so, since the 2011-2013 gangbang has come to an end long since and there ARE some of you out there who GET IT. As for the others, let them pound sand. Let them post bad readings on forums, let them sing the praises of the Dreaming Way and Under The Roses. What they do is nothing to do with me, or the Lenormand method, for that matter.

I’ve explained it many times over. I’ve told you to get Andy’s book, or, if that doesn’t do it for you, get Rana’s. I’ve had a Q&A going for years upon years, and it’s still open, but I just want to do something else.

I’m seriously considering going back to the Grand Jeu. It has issues, yes…the racial stuff that one finds in an 1840’s deck is appalling. But it’s complex and violent enough to keep the crowd with the veneer of new age white light away.

I guess that’s what it takes to keep the idiots away: complexity and violence. (A sad commentary, don’t you think?)

Don’t get me wrong, I will always USE Petit Lenormand. It just works too well. If you learn the system, the method, and the card essences, something that’s been explained many times over, nothing beats it.

But I don’t have any more to say about it at the moment.

What do you guys think? Do you want to do this for awhile?

Grand Jeu ~ King of Diamonds

It has been a busy time and regrettably, I haven’t been here much – apologies! But the work with the Jeu goes on – there’s no end to all this Grand Jeu! The depth and complexity, and the fact that it’s been so neglected in so many ways, make for a LOT of work, but it’s coming along, bit by bit.


The LWB says “Cadmus offeres a vase to Mercury”, but:

“Mercury” is obviously female
“Mercury” has no winged feet
“Mercury” has no caduceus, she has a shield and a spear – a warrior queen type

And – we have to find someone like this, a patroness to Cadmus. The following is from
Since Cadmus had lost all his men to the dragon, he needed more. Athena advised Cadmus to sow half the teeth of the dragon if he wanted companions. He planted half the teeth and gave the rest to the goddess. From the spot where Cadmus had planted each tooth a fully armed man sprang up, immediately. The new warriors posed a clear danger to Cadmus, so, on the further advice of Athena, he threw stones among the warriors. Each man who was hit thought one of the other sown men (sparti) had hit him, so they started killing one another. Only five of the sparti survived, albeit wounded: Echion, Udaeus, Chthonius, Hyperenor and Pelorus.
The remaining teeth, which Cadmus had given to Athena, she saved for Jason.

So – presumably those are the dragon’s teeth in the vase? (Thanks yet again to Peter – for that, for pointing out that she is more often than not syncretised with Minerva, and for doing the serious digging here.)

Athena depicted on a coin of Attalus I, ruler of Pergamon —c. 200 BC.

Similar, no? 😉

Grand Jeu Flowers

This post is a work in progress. Meanings and more translations will be added as time goes by, things will be tweaked, but in the meantime I at least wanted to get something up here to help identify the flowers!

It can be very difficult to find any information at all about the flowers on this deck, and when you finally do, well, it’s usually bogus. Many sources list only one flower per card…


…but as you can see, there is more than one. Victorian flower language is a study in itself, but here is my favorite link for looking some of the meanings up.

And here is the list. I’ve left some of the French names for now, rather than give a bad translation. In time I hope to have all of them done.

King of Clubs – Plumbago, basil, poppy
Queen of Clubs – Organes sexuels, honeysuckle, rose of four seasons
Jack of Clubs – colorful carnation, anagallis, menispermum
10 of Clubs – Bromelia, rassella, tobacco
9 of Clubs – Anthoseros, hellebore, red clover
8 of Clubs – Organes sexuels
7 of Clubs – Castanea, salix, China rose
6 of Clubs – Taxus, rhus, geranium
5 of Clubs – Organes sexuels – Gallium, tilia
4 of Clubs – Red Wallflower, mesembryanthemum, theobroma
3 of Clubs – White lilacs, willow, saponaria
2 of Clubs – Wheat, melia, statice
Ace of Clubs – Tremella, marguerite, bell

King of Hearts – Lily of the valley, marshmallow, cherry leaves and fruits
Queen of Hearts – Cistus, papaver, lilas varin
Jack of Hearts – Fuchsia, lemna, ryegrass
10 of Hearts – Violet, seringat, rose of May
9 of Hearts – Lilas, arum lily, immortal
8 of Hearts – Willow daphné, coltha bucida
7 of Hearts – Dahlia, belle-de-jour, snowdrop
6 of Hearts – Ivy wrapping a lily without flowers, Rose of France, flowery sage
5 of Hearts – Veratrum, lichen, rumex
4 of Hearts – Cartanus défleuri, potamogeton, scirpus effeuillé
3 of Hearts – Elder, ciperus, laurel
2 of Hearts – Fucus,double violets, mixed hyacinthe
Ace of Hearts – Buxus, musa, button of half-opened pink

King of Diamonds – Orange tree flowers and fruits, tea rose, larkspur
Queen of Diamonds – Balota, geranium, jonquil
Jack of Diamonds – Dodartia, balsam, cobaea
10 of Diamonds – Barega, red carnation, tulip
9 of Diamonds – Carthamus, convolvulus, juniper
8 of Diamonds – Chrysanthemum, gladiolus, silphium
7 of Diamonds – Hypericum, cardiospermum, colorful hellebore
6 of Diamonds – Rhododendron, strawberries and heather leaves
5 of Diamonds – Ochre clover, wallflower, paronichia
4 of Diamonds – Urtica, brionia, cercis
3 of Diamonds – Ivy embracing the thorn, seringat, rosemary
2 of Diamonds – Gentian, yellow violet, buttercup
Ace of Diamonds – Reed, lythrum, rose unique

King of Spades – Tulip, eliam, canna
Queen of Spades – Ruscus, polypodium, locust tree
Jack of Spades – Véronique, wallflower, periwinkle
10 of Spades – Saxifrage, flowers and fruits, berberis, garcinia
9 of Spades – Epilobium ; rose à cent feuilles, cornflower
8 of Spades – Orchis, taraspic, cardanus
7 of Spades – Oat, pione, rose bâtarde.
6 of Spades – Cotha, papaver, juniper
5 of Spades – Yellow carnation, raspberry, arum lily
4 of Spades – Sodum, sunflower, gossipium
3 of Spades – Cypress, box tree, laurel
2 of Spades – Sempervivum, ribes, melostoma
Ace of Spades – Paronichia, lycopodium, sweet pea


Grand Jeu Constellations

The constellations on this deck can be very confusing and there is a dearth of good information – many writers ignore them completely! Different sources will assign different constellations to the cards. Some of them might assign several to the same card! I can’t guarantee the accuracy of these, but they do look straightforward and user-friendly. They are from Le Livre du Grand Jeu de Mlle Lenormand by Jean Didier:

A of Clubs: Ophiucus
2 of Clubs: Altair
3 of Clubs: Les Hydrades
4 of Clubs: Cerbere
5 of Clubs:La Harpe et Georges
6 of Clubs: Arcturus
7 of Clubs: Orion
8 of Clubs: La Grande Ourse
9 of Clubs: Hercule
10 of Clubs: La Licorne
J of Clubs: Le Cheval
Q of Clubs: Les Pleiades
K of Clubs: La Gloire de Frederic*

A of Diamonds: Le Telescope
2 of Diamonds: Le Poissons
3 of Diamonds: Pollux
4 of Diamonds: Le Cygne
5 of Diamonds: Le Cameleon
6 of Diamonds: La Meduse (or possibly Medusa?)
7 of Diamonds: Le Vautour
8 of Diamonds: L’Abeille**
9 of Diamonds: Le Dauphin
10 of Diamonds: Le Petit Lion
J of Diamonds: Le Mat du Navire
Q of Diamonds: Le Dragon
K of Diamonds: Le Poisson Volant

A of Spades: Le Clocher
2 of Spades: Castor
3 of Spades: Le Petit Chien
4 of Spades: Le Poisson Austral
5 of Spades: La Dorade
6 of Spades: Le Serpent
7 of Spades: La Baleine
8 of Spades: Algol
9 of Spades: Alpha du Belier
10 of Spades: Le Renard
J of Spades: Persee
Q of Spades: La Croix du Sud
K of Spades: Ardens ou la Porte des Hommes

A of Hearts: La Voie Lactee
2 of Hearts: Le Bouvier
3 of Hearts: Pegase
4 of Hearts: Le Cygne
5 of Hearts: Le Lion
6 of Hearts: Le Belier
7 of Hearts: Le Sextant
8 of Hearts: Aldebaran
9 of Hearts: Regulus
10 of Hearts: La Coupe
J of Hearts: La Couronne Boreale
Q of Hearts: La Chevelure de Berenice
K of Hearts: Le Triangle

*Frederick’s Glory is an obsolete constellation by Lacerta.

** L’Abeille translates to “Bee”, but the constellation is now called Musca, the Southern Fly. They are one and the same.

And merci beaucoup to Chanah for helping with all this! 😀
And for this additional information:
Richard Hinckley Allen: Star Names — Their Lore and Meaning

Grand Jeu Shortcuts

Okay, we’ve seen that this deck can be like casting a horoscope, and if you’re doing an in-depth reading, you’ll want pen, paper and reference materials. Very good for important matters! But do you really want to do all that when you just want to know something minor, like whether the repair man is going to show up today, or something along those lines? Do you really need the geomancy, flower language, and everything else? Sometimes we not only don’t have time to do all that, it would be crazy to do all that! Oftentimes we just want a quick answer.

In these cases, you would just read the illustrations, and not worry about the other things on the card. The illustrations carry the basic message. Once you’ve made yourself familiar with them, you don’t even have to remember the names of the all characters on the cards. Just familiarise yourself with what’s going on in the pictures. You can lay them out – POP! POP! POP! – and get your answer, just like with the simple decks.

The categories I talked about in my last post are also very good for getting information at a glance. Categories can be confusing, though, not only if you’re just learning, but also if you haven’t used the deck for awhile and your mind has become something less than a well-oiled machine where this deck is concerned.

Here is Capricorn, for instance:


But the 2 of Diamonds also shows a goat, and its category is The Unexpected:


Some of the Unexpected cards look like they could be Trojan War cards, and vice versa. There’s a potential for confusion here. So I’m going to give you a very simple shortcut: mark your cards! Normally I wouldn’t recommend that, but it’s very practical in this case, and aesthetically it actually adds to the mystique of the deck, IMHO. It doesn’t make you any less of a reader – Mlle. Lenormand herself is said to have marked her cards with strange ciphers. Just a little mark in a spot where it won’t look ugly. Keep it tiny and neat, and do it on the bottom so that you can see it when you do those spreads with just the small illustrations showing.You can use a tiny dab of paint or colored nail polish if you’re into color coding – gold for the Golden Fleece, red for the Trojan War, etc., or you can just use letters. I used Z for Zodiac, B for Business, T for Trojan War, M for Marriage, and left the cards from the Unexpected category blank, since there’s so many of them. You can see a few here:


Happy reading! 😀