Ian Parkin is the author of this post.

Fortune Telling With Playing Cards Is The Art Of Cartomancy Divination

Fortune telling with playing cards, more commonly known as cartomancy, is a form of divination that has been practiced for centuries. This method of divination involves using a standard deck of playing cards to gain insights into the past, present, or future. While not as widely recognized as some other forms of divination, such as tarot card reading, cartomancy has its own unique appeal and advantages.

Almost everyone has access to a deck of cards, making cartomancy more accessible than some other divination methods that require specialized tools. A standard deck of playing cards has a structure that allows for various interpretations. The deck is divided into four suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades), each with its own symbolism. The numbered cards and face cards also add layers of meaning. This versatility allows readers to adapt their interpretations to different situations. The simplicity of using playing cards makes easier to get started for those who may be new to divination or spirituality.

Most of us grew up playing card games, and as a result, we have a familiarity and comfort with the symbols and images on the cards. This cultural connection can make cartomancy more relatable and engaging.

Playing Cards Used For Fortune Telling

FAQ Guide To Fortune Telling With Playing Cards

What is cartomancy?

  • The term used for fortune telling with playing cards is cartomancy. This differs from working with Tarot and Oracle cards that tell your future in certain ways but there are similarities. So just grab the regular deck of playing cards that you have laying around, follow these steps, and you will soon be telling fortunes like a gypsy.

Where did Cartomancy begin?

  • History indicates that regular playing cards originated in China, during the 9th century, subsequent to their invention of the “dotted card” (cardstock numbered with black or red dots). Contemporary decks of cards used by the Chinese maintained the suit of coins and strings of coins, probably inspired by Mah Jong’s bamboos and circles. Playing cards then mushroomed to India and on to the Middle East. But it was during the 14th century, when Gypsy travelers swept across Europe, doing fortune telling using a standard playing card deck as they went, that cartomancy reading generally began.

What is Cartomancy vs Tarot?

  • In the Tarot, you have TWO decks totaling 78 cards. The Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards). In Cartomancy you have one deck that should be of 52 cards. If using Tarot for cartomancy you would simply put the major arcana away and then remove the KNIGHT in each of the four suits in the minor deck. That done you have the same as a regular deck of playing cards. 

Older tarot card minors were originally like regular cards in that a ten of cups would simply display ten cups or chalices on the card. Other than having the knights the minor arcana in tarot decks were just the same as all the standard playing cards. That all changed with the Rider Waite deck, when full illustrations replaced the basic playing card format. 

Nowadays most fully illustrated Tarot Decks are inspired by the original Rider Waite deck. If you wanted to learn the Tarot, starting with the Rider Waite will make it easier to later understand all other decks because you would have a personal feel for the underlying imagery of later decks. (You will know where those pictures came from).

Can you do a tarot reading with playing cards?

To do a tarot card reading using playing cards use the correspondences below:

  • Playing Cards | Minor Tarot
  • Hearts = Cups/Chalices
  • Spades = Swords
  • Diamonds = Pentacles/Coins
  • Clubs = Wands/Rods
  • Jacks = Pages
  • [None] = Knights
  • Queens = Queens
  • Kings = Kings
  • [None] = Major Arcana
  • Jokers = Major Arcana Fools

For instance, if you have the queen of hearts, it is similar to the meaning of a queen in cups or chalices – as is an ace of spades to the ace in swords. A three of diamonds would be the same as a three in tarot’s pentacles or coins. That leaves the clubs representing the wands or rods used in the Tarot deck. The face cards are the same as the Minor Arcana, with the Kings and Queens being the same as the king in the Tarot deck and the Jack representing the Page. There is no knight, and the two jokers can relate to the Fool Tarot Card

What does the joker card symbolize?

  • Some people include the jokers when fortune telling with playing cards. The cartomancy joker is similar to the fool of the Tarot's major arcana and can symbolize being free to make your own choices and having the courage to take chances. 

When using a deck of ordinary playing cards to divine the future, if you want reverse meanings, you must make sure you make a mark to notate which is the top. Since most playing cards look the same no matter which side is up it's the only way to get all the important information from each type of spread.

What do the different suits of cards mean?

  • Modern decks consist of four suits, which correspond to the astrological elements, so when fortune telling with playing cards – hearts symbolize water, spades signify air, diamonds embody the earth and clubs denote fire. Also, each suit has a more down-to-earth meaning representing something different, just as they do with the corresponding tarot cards. Hearts have to do with affection, love the home and domestic life. It's a lucky suit that can represent success. Clubs also mean success, but in business ventures rather than at the home front. Of course, like any cards in the deck, they also have a reverse meaning based on the cards around them and the direction of the cards. Diamonds speak to materialism, abundance, marriage and career. Spades can forewarn about bad luck, life challenges and deceitful people. They are often warnings of upcoming events if changes aren't made.

The face cards are used to represent the people in our lives with the queens being women and the kings men, while jacks represent younger men. Spades include people with dark hair and dark eyes, clubs represent those with hazel eyes and brown hair. The face cards of hearts are people who have fairer complexions with green and auburn or darker blond hair. Diamond face cards are those with light brown, red or blond hair and blue eyes.

Fortune Telling With Playing Cards

The Cartomancy Guide For Fortune Telling With Playing Cards

Most readers use one of two type of spreads. One is based on the position of the cards and is called a positional spread, while the other lays out the cards in a line and is read much like you'd read a story. It's easy to understand why it's called a storybook spread. Within these two basic methods, there are a variety of techniques. The horoscope spread, for instance, combines the basics of astrology with the basics of cartomancy, with 12 cards spread in a circle and each one corresponding with the astrological signs. People often find that one type of spread, storybook or positional, suits them best.

A Popular Cartomancy Spread For Fortune Telling With Playing Cards

Celtic Cross Cartomancy SpreadCeltic Cross Spread For Playing Card Fortune Telling

The Celtic Cross Cartomancy Spread

1. Central card will represent your main issue

2. Horizontally crossing the vertical central card will represent your main challenge

3. Below (1) place your 3rd card which will represent what you should focus on as a solution

4. To the left of (1) place your 4th card which represents your past

5. Above (1) your fifth card represents your strengths

6. To the right of (1) your sixth card represents the near future

7. Below and to the right of (6) place 7th card to indicate a suggested way forward

8. Below and to the right of (6) and above (7) place 8th card which illuminates something you need to know

9. Above (8) your ninth card can indicate your hopes and/or fears

10. Above (9) your tenth card reveals your potential future.

Cartomancy Readings

You probably have at least a nodding acquaintance with the Tarot. However, with the art of Cartomancy readers use a regular deck for fortune telling with playing cards. Each suit and each card has a general meaning. By relying on correct training, earned experience, and guided by intuition, a non-psychic may become a skilled cartomancer. Of course, when psychics read and interpret the cards, answers and insights are potentially more meaningful.

Cartomancy Readings

Professional Cartomancy Readings

You can try out some professional fortune telling with playing cards by taking advantage of the Free Introductory Offers that are made available for new clients by some of the online networks who provide cartomancy readings.

Get a Live Cartomancy Reading Right Now

Cartomancy by a talented card reader can help guide you through tough decisions, help with love and relationship issues, and clarify matters of money, health, and the future. Get answers to your questions with an online card reading by the top-rated readers now!

If you feel an affinity to the cards, designate a deck solely for your own divination. Don’t let other people handle or shuffle them. Wrap your cartomancy deck in a silk or velvet cloth or store it in a wooden box for protection against negative energy.

There is more to learn about Cartomancy than just memorizing card meanings. Start with a simple cartomancy guidebook for reading playing cards. Like anything new, practice is the key to successful attainment.

My pick for Cartomancy products from Amazon, publishing affiliate may get a commission

Cartomancy - Speed Learning Fortune Telling With Playing Cards - by Julian Moore 

Playing Card Divination: Every Card Tells a Story - by Stephen Ball 

The Playing Card Oracles: A Source Book for Divination - by Ana Cortez 

The Cartomancy Workbook: How to Tell Fortunes with Playing Cards - by Emily Peach 

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Wiki - Cartomancy