Lenormand and Kipper cards: What’s The Difference?

Now for something a little different.

Lenormand, as you know, is an oracle deck. And although people sometimes like to treat Lenormand as if it’s a sort of sacred religion, (much like people treat Tarot) it’s actually only one among MANY different fortune telling Oracle decks that were being created for people to play across Europe in particular, especially from the mid-18th century onwards, and that became wildly popular as parlour games.

One of those oracle decks you may have heard of goes under the name of Kipper Cards, named, like the Lenormand cards, after a locally celebrated fortune teller, this time, the Bavarian Frau Kipper. 

The original Kipper cards were created towards the end of the 19th Century, so a little later than Lenormand or its forerunner, Johann Hechtel’s Game of Hope and that deck’s predecessors. They, as you will see in a later post, probably owe more to the popular Gypsy Oracle deck (also widely published as La Vera Sibilla in Italy) which were widely in use at the time, than Lenormand.

So Why Might I Want To Know About Kipper Cards?

Good question. Personally, I think it’s always good to experiment with new things, as well as exploring why particular decks and methods of divination become popular at different times, as well as how similar and different they are. As you may have guessed, I’m interested in the history of such things, and am curious as to how different decks fit into the grand scheme of things historically: what their connections are and how they all fit together.

I can also say, that if you’re a Lenormand reader, enjoy playing with Oracle cards, and want to try experimenting with your divination and oracle-reading skills, you’re likely to take to reading the Kipper deck and others like it like a duck to water! 


Kipper is, like Lenormand, a storytelling divination system, but it’s even more direct and everyday, and tends to be situational rather than symbolic. In that sense, it’s brilliant for fortune telling, and for getting to the bottom of issues in a really direct way; giving people and events.

Let’s take a closer look:

What’s In A Kipper Card?

As you can see from these three examples, Kipper cards are very simple and direct.

They contain only:

  • The card number
  • The card image, which is generally self explanatory and will either relate to a person or be situational
  • The title of the card.

So, for instance,  the three cards above respectively relate to Courtship (or a situation of courtship/flirtation/trying to get someone onside), a False Person (rather like the Lenormand’s Fox, someone or something who is deceptive, hiding something, or not to be trusted) and the self-explanatory Unexpected Income (a relatively small amount of unexpected money).

The Kipper Deck Itself

A standard Kipper deck has, just like Lenormand, 36 cards.

The below is a Bavarian-style version of the deck (although printed in English)

Pl note, here, the cards are printed with their very original directions. But in a subsequent printing of the same ‘Original” Kipperkarten deck, you’ll see they’re the other way round, and that is the one now most commonly used of this deck. Now, a lot of Kipper readers view the directionality of many of the cards as very, very important. Sadly, you’ll find that MOST of the most available decks differ from the most original directions below.

One of the more commonly and widely available popular decks in the UK and US now is Ciro Marchetti’s Fin de Siecle Kipper (below), which was created to have more of an English Victorian sensibility. Marchetti felt it highlighted some of the class and social differences inherent to the deck better and more obviously than the original Bavarian deck did.

And just as he did with his Gilded Reverie Lenormand, one of the decks I discussed in the post Let’s Talk About Decks, Baby,  Marchetti has added three additional cards to the original deck of 36.  In this case, he added Poverty, Toil & Labour, & Community cards.

So what are some of the similarities and differences between Kipper and Lenormand decks and how you read them?


  • A standard deck has 36 cards (the Ciro Marchetti Fin de Siecle Kipper, above, has an extra 3)
  • You can read in Grand Tableaus, although in Kipper, these are usually in the 9×4 format
  • Similarly, you can use “Kipper” Houses instead of Lenormand ones
  • Like Lenormand, the cards are intended as a storytelling divination system
  • You can use the same principles from Lenormand card combinations in terms of influence, although you are more ‘blending’ situations and people rather than concepts or symbols.
  • You can do three, five and 9-card readings just like in Lenormand, and in similar ways.
  • There are NO card reversals, just like Lenormand


  • The 36 cards bear little relation to the Lenormand cards; a few cards are the same(but with different numberings) , and there are some where you can see they’re kind of in the same ballpark in terms of concept. So for example, the Kipper Marriage card is quite similar in meaning to the Lenormand Ring, the Kipper Message to the Lenormand Letter, the Kipper False Person to the Lenormand Fox, the Kipper Journey to the Lenormand Ship, the Kipper Lovers to Lenormand Heart, Kipper Coffin to Lenormand Coffin and so on. However, they do tend to be far more direct and related to people and situations on the ground, and there are several cards you won’t be so directly familiar with from Lenormand.
  • Unlike Lenormand, the Kipper has MANY more people cards, although the Main Gentleman & Lady are still the default Querent cards to use. It’s just that you can get more specific or identify particular people more easily in the Kipper deck.
  • As well as what I’d call “Lenormand-type” readings, there are various additional “special methods” of Kipper-reading which are said to be more traditional and are, naturally, quite difficult to find info on in English (some might suggest purposely). These include the use of so-called Master Cards (where some cards are given special significance) and Stop cards, and particular layouts and methods of reading which include counting and other techniques..
  • One more basic difference is Directionality. In a Kipper spread, the direction the querent is facing impacts which cards are said to be ‘ahead of’ and which ‘behind’ them. You will see that usually the Main Gentleman card (who is the default male Querent) faces in one direction, and the default female querent, the Main Lady, faces to the other. So this is worth remembering in all layouts. Also, many Kipper readers view directionality of other cards as well to be fundamental to their readings.
  • Kipper cards are WAY more direct and situational, far less symbolic. As we know, Lenormand cards, because they are symbolic, take on more detailed and exact meanings only when applied to specific contexts in a story. With Kipper, the context is usually quite obvious and everyday.
  • As such, the Kipper deck is better for pure fortune telling, although it is also great for getting to the bottom of situations in direct ways; this person, that eventSo if you like specifics and think that even Lenormand can be a bit airy-fairy at times, Kipper might be the deck for you.
  • You’ll notice also that, unlike Lenormand, Kipper has no specific playing card equivalents.

Reading With Kipper

I’ll save the detail for a post another time, but you may be asking, “Okay, so if I’d pulled the three cards you showed above, in answer to a question, say, what would the meaning be?”

Say the question here was: “What should I look out for today?”

Well, much like in a a Lenormand three-card reading, you can  either read singly as past-present-future, or you can ‘blend’ the cards, starting with the one in the middle.  

Here, we see the cards are warning you of a false or untruthful individual or falseness in general, someone who is hiding something from you, or something that isn’t truthful.

What? The Courtship card suggests that they are ‘courting’ or flirting with you; not necessarily in a romantic way, but likely in a persuasive one. Some readers suggest that what’s ‘false’ is what’s behind them (here, behind the lady’s fan). So a hidden agreement or deal.

For what purpose? Well, that seems fairly obvious here. They are looking to gain a bit of money (Unexpected Income) – or it could be that giving you unexpected income may be part of their ‘courtship’ plan for you.  If you pair the first and last card around the centre, as you would do in Lenormand, you get “A courtship involving unexpected income around a false person or someone who’s hiding their motives.”

In an everyday reading, this may not be particularly sinister; it may just be the sort of common sales tactic you see from businesses all the time. Think money-off type deals in order to get you onside. Companies and salespeople do this all the time. The cards are telling you to recognise that for i what it is.

So, in summary:

What should I look out for today?

Someone sneakily trying to get you onside, or who offers you money as part of a process of getting you on-side.

See how it works? Nice and simple, eh?


 List Of Kipper Cards

I will cover Kipper card meanings in more depth in a future post, but for now, just take a look at the titles. Most of the meanings will, as you may guess, be fairly self explanatory.

1. Main Man/Male

2. Main Woman/Female

3. Marriage

4. Courtship

5. Mature Man/Good Lord

6. Mature Woman/Good Lady

7. Message/Pleasant Message

8. False Person

9. Change

10. Journey

11. Sudden Wealth

12. Privileged Lady/Rich Girl

13. Wealthy Man/Rich Man

14. Message Of Concern/Sad News

15. Lovers/Success In Love

16. Thoughts/His Thoughts

17. Gift/Receiving A Gift

18. Child/A Little Child

19. Coffin/Bereavement

20. House

21. Family Room

22. Official Person/Military Person

23. Court House/Court

24. Thief

25. High Honours

26. Great Fortune/Big Luck

27. Unexpected Income

28. Expectation

29. Imprisonment

30. Judication

31. Bad Health/Short Illness

32. Despair/Grief & Adversity

33. Concern/Murky Thoughts

34. Occupation/Work

35. Pathway/A Long Road

36. Distant Horizons/Hope/ Big Water


Other Oracle Decks

I’ve now put a page together where I’ve put info about Other Oracle Decks for those interested in exploring, and will be adding to it periodically.

In the meantime, take a look at a few of my other posts on the subject of other card reading systems here. Happy exploring!

Demystifying the Lenormand: Playing The Game Of Hope

How Is Lenormand Different From Tarot?

The Grand Jeu de Mlle Lenormand vs The Petit Jeu: What’s The Difference?


5 thoughts on “Lenormand and Kipper cards: What’s The Difference?”

  1. thank you for explaining the difference between these two decks. I had heard that Kipper was extremely hard to learn but this has made me change my mind about trying this system. That is after I get the hang of the Lenormand system. I have purchased your training course but issues have put study on hold for a while

    1. There are certainly some specific ‘additional methods’ you can use with Kipper, which are useful to know and are said to be more traditional in Germany, but I don’t think the system is that hard to learn once you realise that ALL of these, including Lenormand, are part of a big related family of oracle decks. I think you’ll see what I mean when we look at the Sibilla/Gypsy Oracle Cards.

      At the same time, I think people get overly caught up in wanting to know ‘the secret special thing that nobody else knows’ which tends to overcomplicate things (and of course, provides those who want to teach Special Secret Methods with a stream of willing buyers for them). On the other hand, you could argue that “What is the point of learning a system if you don’t learn all the traditions and different options that may have developed along with that deck?” I honestly don’t think for the average Lenormand learner, it’s that hard to learn the basics of the cards, but the additional methods you COULD use just add a bit more complexity to it.

    1. There really aren’t many, Valerie! It’s not like Lenormand, with loads of different decks. I like the Ciro Marchetti Fin de Siecle version above.

  2. Pingback: Lenormand and Sibilla Cards (La Vera Sibilla)/ Gypsy Oracle Deck: What’s The Difference? – Lozzy's Lenormand

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