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Women in History

How Le Normand Led Female Palmists into the 19th Century


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The 19th century saw women emerge as nationally trusted palmists to the French nobility. One such was Marie Anne le Normand, who was born September 16, 1768 at Alen§on. Her memoir, Souvenirs Prophetiues, relates how she became the cartomancer to a fashionable young widow by the name of Josephine de Beauharnais.

When Josephine married a short little man named Napoleon, Marie-Anne was well on her way to becoming the most important fortuneteller in the court. Her memoirs relate her prophetic powers, Napoleon’s interest in astrology and chiromancy, and her own relationship with the emperor.

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand
Click to enlarge photo

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand

Napoleon used to consult le Normand about his future between battles, and on his way to and from sieges, even before his rise to fame. She made far-reaching prophecies that kept the little man retuning. She would take his hand impression in ashes and predict great futures for his commands.

Her last advice to him was to beware of his pride, which apparently greatly unnerved the emperor.

The left hands of both Josephine and Napoleon are reproduced in le Normand’s Memoires historiques et secrets de L’Imperatrice Josephine. In it, she analyzes the outlines of both hands with great detail, including that Napoleon’s Jupiter finger revealed an inferiority complex which many others attributed to his height. She also claimed that Josephine’s Mercury finger indicated the fact that she had difficulty with relationships. Outside accounts verify both these reports.

Le Normand trained other women, who went on to practice after her, even working in the very cubicle she used to use. One such woman was Madame Moreau, who published L’Avenir Devoile - Chiromancie Nouvelle in 1869.

This volume has fascinated many, as it sheds light on the social and intellectual demands made on early 19th century palmists. Intimate accounts of clients are revealed, including their needs, reactions, and the outcomes of her predictions. Moreau’s lively, fresh approach is said to have laid the basis for one that Cheiro was later to pursue.

Batya Weinbaum reads palms over the email batyawein@aol.com and you can also mail her your Xeroxes and get a reading over the phone. Call 216-233-0567 to arrange yours.

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