The first known Sibilla Cards were created in 1827. Published by the French publishing firm, B.P. Grimaud, they were called “La Sibylle des Salons” or literally, ‘The Sibyl of the Salons.’ The first Sibilla cards were designed by renowned French illustrator, J.J. Grandville, who was commissioned by Grimaud to create the deck. This deck came into being at a time when Marie-Anne Therese LeNormand was a highly-celebrated seer and diviner in France. Madame LeNormand was consulted by a very select clientele. Grimaud, probably noticing her popularity, likely had the Sibilla deck created as a way of cashing-in on nineteenth-century society’s general desire for parlor games, and specifically those of a divinatory nature. This deck made it possible for those who didn’t have the means to consult Madame LeNormand, to do their own fortunetelling. I have no idea if Madame LeNormand herself used the Sibilla deck, but I think it’s highly-unlikely that she did.
Of course, an idea this great isn’t going to stay with just one publisher, and there have been a number of Sibilla decks issued in the nearly two centuries since Grimaud published the first Sibilla deck. If you go to Amazon.com and type in the search term, ‘Sibilla cards’, it offers at least thirteen different kinds of Sibilla decks for sale. Italians appear to have taken to the Sibilla cards so readily, one could be forgiven for thinking an Italian invented them; Italian publisher Lo Scarabeo alone offers several different Sibilla decks. But from what I’ve gleaned, the first Sibilla deck originated in France.
There are 52 cards in the Sibilla deck, the same number of cards as the standard playing deck. Unlike the standard playing card deck, the Sibilla cards aren’t divided-up into suits, with pip cards and court cards. Like the Lenormand and Kipper decks, each Sibilla card has a unique image and concept attached to it. Unlike the Lenormand and Kipper cards, they are not numbered. Like the Tarot cards, the Sibilla cards do have an upright and reversed meaning to each card. They are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the card. Let’s begin.