Before I do the post on #34 Fish, King of Diamonds I want to mention that I was reading one of my vintage books on the ancient gypsy meanings of the regular playing cards (which is all tattered & without a cover) when I came across some very interesting information. In one of the chapters, the author (unknown) states that Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie ( 1763-1814) had her card reading done by an aging “Negro woman” – perhaps lady of color.
Keeping in mind, the women of that time maintained their milky white skin to distinguish the classes of people. The farm hands & servants who were exposed to the sun did have a deeper color of skin – a tan. Also, the terminology of that time leans to prejudicial terms as in the La Chalupa cards, there is a card of the Negro. In my view, growing up as a foreigner in this country I understand certain stigmas associated with certain words. Socially acceptable wording such as Asian instead of Chinese is another example.
It is one thing to speak in socially acceptable language
it is another thing to respect & believe in the socially acceptable language
What I found amusing is the fact that Madame Lenormand certainly was not given credit for being the cartomancer that foretold the young Josephine’s future with such astounding accuracy (or so the story goes). In fact the story is identical to all the other information that has been found on the internet & resource books. Guessing the age of this tattered book I have and knowing the approximate time when I got it – I would say that the information provided in this book is approximately 50 – 80 years old.
I think what might have happened is that somewhere along the line Madame Lenormand was identified as this “Negro woman” that was the card reader at the time. Any pictures I have seen, the Madame certainly was not a lady of color- personally it does not matter to me, but from a historical point of view.
Also, in this book (non-English) there is a list of ancient meanings for the playing cards which I have found intriguing because they would correspond to the Lenormand cards more so than the modern day meanings. Actually there is a list of meanings from probably 6 different countries.