Introduction and History
Cartomancy is fortune telling using a simple deck of standard playing cards. Most people know of tarot card readings but did you know that it actually originated from cartomancy?
The standard 52-deck playing cards originated from China where they were first made in the 10th century.
When playing cards started being used in Europe in the 14th century, traveling gypsies began to fortune tell using these deck of cards and it became the most popular type of oracle reading at that time.
The 52 card deck represents the 52 weeks of the year, while the 4 suits represent the 4 seasons of the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter; or the 4 different parts of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night.
The 4 suits are the hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds, and each represent a certain meaning, as well as the court cards (Kings, Hearts, Jacks), and the numbers.
When tarot cards became popular, cartomancy took a back seat as the latter are easier to use and read due to the images on the cards. However, fortune telling using standard playing cards is still being practiced today by practitioners of psychic readings, with some even prefering to use them over tarot cards.
How to Read with Standard Playing Cards
Represents love, emotion, domestic matters, friendship
Difficulties in life, negative thoughts, represents bad omen for the seeker
Pentacles, Coins, or Discs
Business success, business opportunities, good fortune, travel
Wands, Rods, Batons, or Staves
Adulthood, inner peace, spirituality
Each suit, number, or court represent a certain meaning. You must know what each suit, number, or court means to be able to read them.
Individuals who want to have their fortunes read are called “seekers” and the one reading the card is called the “card reader” or the “psychic reader” or “the cartomancer.”
To start a reading, you must have the seeker shuffle and cut the card. You then ask them to focus on a question that they want to have answered. You then layout the card however you want to read them and it’s as simple as that.
Reading the cards actually start with reading how the seeker shuffles and cuts the cards. A person who shuffles only a few times is more likely to want to ask specific questions with quick answers. A person who shuffles for a longer time is more likely looking for answers for long-term issues or looking for long-term guidance.
A person who only makes a few cuts is usually reserved or reluctant to have a card reading or doesn’t want to reveal too much about himself. A person who makes many cuts is usually someone who wants to know a lot of answers and is more willing to reveal more about himself.
A person who hands out the cards close to the reader is more likely outgoing and a person who places the cards close to him is more likely reserved and shy.
Reading the person from the time he shuffles and cuts will give the reader an idea about the person’s personality and his intentions for the card reading.
When done with the shuffling and cutting, the reader makes a layout based on his own style or at the request of the seeker.
Because there are 52 cards, there can be thousands of different layouts to the cards and thousands of different interpretations.
The most basic are
- The Single Card Layout - for those quick answers
- Double Card Layout - usually for those looking for two answers such as his or her perspectives, or past and future guidance
- The 3-Card Spread - for past, present, and future answers
Most Common Interpretations
To interpret a card spread, you must have a basic understanding of what each card represents. Here are the basic interpretations of each suit, number, and court:
- Hearts - represents love, emotion, domestic matters, friendship
- Spade - difficulties in life, negative thoughts, represents bad omen for the seeker
- Clubs - adulthood, inner peace, spirituality
- Diamonds - business success, business opportunities, good fortune, travel
- Kings - stability and structure
- Queens - compassion and care
- Jacks - immaturity and changeability
CARTOMANCY (noun): fortune-telling by interpreting an array of playing cards
- Ace - beginnings and always means positive
- Two - balance, delays, waiting
- Three - connection or division, plans gone awry
- Four - stability
- Five - disturbance
- Six - harmony
- Seven - mystery
- Eight - movement or lack of movement
- Nine - growth
- Ten - completion or endings
Using these meanings, one can do a simple card reading. For example, a seeker asks if she should move to another country for work.
You can do a single card layout reading. If the seeker picks a Diamond Card with the Number Eight, the meaning of the card is as follows:
- Diamond = business success, business opportunities, good fortune, travel
- Eight = movement
Basing on these meanings, you can tell the seeker that moving to another country for work could be good fortune and a successful decision.
Cartomancy is a simple way of telling someone’s fortune and by using standard playing cards, one can easily read into a seeker’s past, present, and future, like you would with tarot reading. Its up to you which cards you want to use.