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Grand Jeu AstroMythological Lenormand


katrinka

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Hi all, I've started a blog series here https://fennario.wordpress.com/tag/series-on-the-grand-jeu/
If you have anything you'd like to see, post here and I'll certainly consider writing about it at some point in the series. While I do have a general structure in mind, I want to make this something that people find useful. So your questions and concerned will be addressed. It might not be right away - I'm starting with basics and gradually working through different aspects of the deck and how it's used. But I'll be bookmarking this thread and returning to it as I add to the series.

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That is, you will do it @katrinka!!

I read your previous article (will read the second today), but didn't know if you will decide to study the Grand Jeu Lenormand or not.

 

I have it around me with the decks I use (I focus more on the Sibilla currently). Even if I don't use it, it is around and not with most of my decks in the cupboard (it's a bit sad to think that most of them are in a cupboard though).

I didn't study it until now to be honest, its apparent complexity slowed me down. But I could study it, extensive traditional resources exist for this one!

Edited by Decan
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Well HELLO, @Decan.
I've had this book around since 2015 or so. And it seems to be mostly a book of spreads (ugh, I loathe that "dedicated spreads for various occasions" crap. EVERY occasion is different.) but there are some salient bits there and google translate is never quite adequate. 
Would you be willing to double check this stuff as it comes up? Like  partner in crime, lol. It's mainly the stuff with the flowers I need help with. I won't be getting to that for awhile, so no pressure. 

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Yes, I can. I likely have a digital version of this book (uploaded from the BNF, I must check). With Google it probably depends if the sentences are modern and simple or formulated in "old french" and a bit complex.

 

I saw a few German fortune tellers using it, in France probably some people use it too, but likely not much (of course I don't have any statistic on this).

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6 minutes ago, Decan said:

Yes, I can. I likely have a digital version of this book (uploaded from the BNF, I must check). With Google it probably depends if the sentences are modern and simple or formulated in "old french" and a bit complex.

 

I saw a few German fortune tellers using it, in France probably some people use it too, but likely not much (of course I don't have any statistic on this).

 

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It's a pretty old text, and likely roughly contemporary to the deck. Some of the illustrations in it are seriously weird. 

 

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So I'm guessing it's 19th century French. I know google translate has given me trouble on occasion and I've had to go to the Reverso dictionary and just....arrrrgh. 

I can't do this from here. I could take the 8 hour trip to New Orleans where people do speak French and it still wouldn't help. (It would be fun, though, lol.)

As for Germans, yes, it's strange. The lady who introduced me to it was German. And I have a "Revival Lenormand", which is a Grand Jeu with ugly Salish art like the Salish Kipper, and it's German. 

It's really becoming a German thing. But I'd like to get at the roots of it, as much as possible, anyway.

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14 minutes ago, katrinka said:

It's really becoming a German thing. But I'd like to get at the roots of it, as much as possible, anyway.

Actually if le Petit Lenormand is something German, this one is something French, so the roots are here! I have the book you referred in digital edition. Okay interesting, I will follow this!

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36 minutes ago, Flaxen said:

I’ve never delved into this deck but you might encourage me to give it a go.

Happy to have you along for the ride, Flaxen! 
It's such a classic deck, and from what I understand, it's been continuously in print since 1840.
That's not too shabby. 😉

 

22 minutes ago, Decan said:

Actually if le Petit Lenormand is something German, this one is something French, so the roots are here!

Yes, and possibly even closely related to La Lenormand's method! If Alexandre Dumas is to be believed. https://marykgreer.com/tag/madame-lenormand/
Dumas, of course, is known for spinning a great yarn. And there is talk that the Parlour Sibylle is closer to her method, since Grandville knew her personally and drew that one. 
Whatever the deck's potted history may be, it is very, VERY French.

Quote

have the book you referred in digital edition. Okay interesting, I will follow this!

Mine's not digital. It's  physical copy from here: https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/2713800781/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
So, translating = typing, for me. 😞

Edited by katrinka
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33 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Mine's not digital. It's  physical copy from here: https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/2713800781/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
So, translating = typing, for me.

It would be the same with the digital version since it is made from photos of an actual old book, so don't regret that!

ETA: available here  https://archive.org/details/b29295336/mode/2up

Edited by Decan
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19 hours ago, katrinka said:

It's mainly the stuff with the flowers I need help with.

At a glance, I would say that this part is likely culled from earlier works - many of the pre-tarot fortune-telling books included sections on dreams, flowers, colours, myths, cod-astrology and the like, and this one is no exception. Many such works also made liberal use of the pre-existing literature. The section on geomancy with the handwritten notes is a nice touch. (The last three words give the associated element - planet - sign.)

 

For a decent overview of this floral literature (in English), see this academic article https://www.academia.edu/4045198/The_Emergence_of_the_Tulip_on_Playing_and_Oracle_Cards

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Wonderful link, thank you, _R_.

The trouble I'm having (and have always had) with the flowers is identification. There are several lists I've seen that claim to name the flowers on each card, and they often match neither the pictures, nor each other. It all seems a bit arbitrary.

Years ago, three or four of us were trying to identify all of them by doing google image searches to see what matched - but there's a certain amount of artistic license in this deck. Laverne's wolves look like pigs, the panther at the mirror looks like a calf, and the dolphins look like fanciful pool floats. So it follows that not all of the flower drawings can be matched to actual flowers. 

 

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Consulting the 6th chapter on the floral aphorisms, we find that it does not refer directly to the plants depicted on the cards, at least, not in the first instance.

 

Once the cards have been placed into the boxes according to the spread, the diviner then asks the querent for some flowers they like the look or smell of, and so on, and then checks the table of flowers at the end of the book to find the numbers associated to those flowers. Then, a series of calculations are done using these numbers and cards to determine the final layout of the “horoscope.” These cards are then read relative to their position in the chart.

 

Some parts of these derivations and interpretations are not all clear to me but then I am not that familiar with this to begin with. That said, the second phase of the operation does make more explicit use of the floral attributions, which are interpreted by combining the meanings attached to the  flowers present on the cards (usually 3).

 

It would appear that the first phase makes use of the usual divinatory meanings relative to the position, and then secondly, the flowers’ meanings are used. I don’t know if any of this strikes you as being familiar. A couple of the flowers I checked for reference are missing from the list at the back, curiously enough. 

 

If I wanted to be cynical, I would say that the use of what is effectively a second set of divinatory meanings gives the reader a second bite at the proverbial cherry.

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I began to read the book. It is well written, it's not "old french" here. Maybe at times we will find an old fashioned way to express things, I don't know for now.

 

Otherwise it's possible that the illustrator took some liberties with the text. For example concerning the King of Hearts the text speaks about (main picture) an old man meditating beside an hourglass. Well, on the card I don't see an houglass but a clock. Actually it's along the same though. For the flowers there could be something like that too.

These flowers don't seem something "central" concerning a reading, maybe more about additional informations or an advice.

Edited by Decan
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15 minutes ago, _R_ said:

It would appear that the first phase makes use of the usual divinatory meanings relative to the position, and then secondly, the flowers’ meanings are used. I don’t know if any of this strikes you as being familiar. A couple of the flowers I checked for reference are missing from the list at the back, curiously enough. 

I've seen mention of "Mlle. Lenormand's" tables in the back of the Morel book: http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.php?p=603628&postcount=7
And I always dismissed it. But since what you mention corroborates the idea, it may be something worth pursuing.
 

15 minutes ago, _R_ said:

If I wanted to be cynical, I would say that the use of what is effectively a second set of divinatory meanings gives the reader a second bite at the proverbial cherry.

It's tempting. I'm actually quite fond of Occam's Razor. 😁

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17 minutes ago, Decan said:

Otherwise it's possible that the illustrator took some liberties with the text. For example concerning the King of Hearts the text speaks about (main picture) an old man meditating beside an hourglass. Well, on the card I don't see an houglass but a clock. Actually it's along the same though. For the flowers there could be something like that too.

It's also possible that there were several versions of the deck at one time, too. 
Here's a alternate version of the Petit Oracle des Dames: https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=1083245001&objectId=3261488&partId=1#more-views

 

I wouldn't doubt that the GJ was copied by other publishers. 

Edited by katrinka
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1 hour ago, katrinka said:

I've seen mention of "Mlle. Lenormand's" tables in the back of the Morel book:

It is not clear from that post whether the tables are reproduced in the Morel book (I have not seen it.). In any case, both the dictionary of flowers as well as the table of constellations are present in the book we are now discussing.

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I haven't seen the Morel book, either. I wonder if her tables are identical to these, or not?
Decan, have you seen it?

Edited by katrinka
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5 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Decan, have you seen it?

At the end of the Morel book (I have it) there are indeed tables regarding the flowers and what they mean.

I just compare the flowers for the King of Clubs. In the old book we are referring in this thread there are 3 flowers mentioned (plumbago, basil, poppy) and beside a few sentences concerning what they mean (p2).

 

In the Morel book for the King of Clubs she just noted 1 flower for this card (basil) and for the meaning just one word "enterprise"; indeed the old short explanation refers to an enterprise but in itself just "enterprise" isn't a summarize nor an explanation!

An enterprise that you are about to begin is fortunate, it will bring wealth and glory; you will succeed if you take precautions and listen the advices of a wise man. This could be a translation here. So okay as you can see it is about an enterprise but the word "enterprise" alone brings nothing.

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Thank you!
Well, then, we have the better tables. There is certainly more than one kind of flower on the card!

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4 hours ago, katrinka said:

Thank you!
Well, then, we have the better tables. There is certainly more than one kind of flower on the card!

I browsed a bit the book.

p 267 (the old book), at Basil there is indeed the word "enterprise" and that's all. So for the King of Clubs she (Morel) took the central flower/plant (i.e basil) and reported the word related to it from the old tables.

But for each of the cards there is a special meaning for the flowers that the cards depict, since each card represents several flowers, not one as you said.

You are courageous, there are a lot of information to deal with here!!

Edited by Decan
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Not courageous. Just foolish, or maybe a glutton for punishment. 😁

 

Something I've noticed is that people have different ways of combining the images.
I was taught to combine them straight across, like this:

 

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But some people crisscross them. Lord Ewin does that. http://learnlenormand.com/reading-grand-jeu-lenormand/

 

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I'm not asking which way is "right" - either will work. 
I just think it's interesting. I wonder how it started?

 

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I had a quick look at some of the entries on flowers in a couple of French books of divinatory parlour games of the 17th century: none of the keywords matched those given in the Lenormand book. The earlier ones are uniformly all of a romantic nature, and there does not seem to be any visible relationship between them and the later divinatory meanings.

 

There is another 19th century book on cartomancy which includes chapters on floral aphorisms, and whose meanings are somewhat halfway between both, and which also explains how to combine the flowers with colour symbolism, but this is more a separate discipline (writing/reading a symbolic language, creating magical knots, etc) than linked to reading the details on the cards themselves. One paragraph simply indicates that a bouquet/tree/bush means X, Y, or Z, and that is all. It is not specified whether this applies to the cards mentioned earlier in the book, or to real life encounters.

 

As we can see from this book here, authors (or publishers) attempted to cram in quite a bit into these books, to the point of including non-related material (physiognomy, geomancy etc etc) as an afterthought.

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9 hours ago, katrinka said:

Not courageous. Just foolish, or maybe a glutton for punishment.

You are too harsh on yourself Katrinka 🙂

Otherwise, that's nice that _R_ is interested in your thread because I noticed how knowledgeable he is on French decks particularly, it's not really my case (shame on me!!).

 

This old book isn't in old french as I said, but not a modern book too of course, and it can become as well technical I think. I didn't study it though (just began it and browsed it for now).

Well, you won't be able to translate it with Google translate alone, I prefer to be honest with you.

Actually you will need good materials in English and someone who knows very well his/her stuff to answer the questions you could have about it. But I don't say that it's the French thing to have a migraine LOL 😄

 

For the modern books (by modern authors) available in French, and there are a few, I'm afraid there aren't really good. I selected in the past the Morel book, but never finished it because I didn't find it good.

The Petit Oracle des Dames is a French deck with old instructions that you can refine and use (there are old fashioned expressions at times or you have to deduce/interpret when it's a bit vague or if there are typos).

 

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1 hour ago, Decan said:

Otherwise, that's nice that _R_ is interested in your thread because I noticed how knowledgeable he is on French decks particularly, 

I'm very happy when _R_ stops in. He's good. 

1 hour ago, Decan said:

Well, you won't be able to translate it with Google translate alone, I prefer to be honest with you.

That's a fact. 
Google translate has come a long way, but it's not THERE yet.

1 hour ago, Decan said:

But I don't say that it's the French thing to have a migraine LOL 😄

When I get into trying to use those star tables, I'll probably have migraines in places people have never had migraines before. 

1 hour ago, Decan said:

For the modern books (by modern authors) available in French, and there are a few, I'm afraid there aren't really good. I selected in the past the Morel book, but never finished it because I didn't find it good.

Andy's mentioned that Colette Silvestre has a chapter on it in her Grand Livre and also did a book on it with Linda Marr. Those won't have all the answers, either, but Andy speaks well of Colette. Those would be nice to have.

(It's odd how few translations there are of French and German books on reading cards. The market definitely exists.)

Edited by katrinka
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