Cartomancy: Playing Card Reading Guide
Did you know that you can attempt to tell the future and divine hidden information with the same deck of cards you use for poker night? The old tradition of interpreting the colors and suits of a deck of playing cards lives on today through cartomancy readings. This divination tool provides a practical, black-and-white approach to answering questions. We’ll go over the basics of cartomancy, how to do your own readings, and some common meanings for each card in the deck.
What Is Cartomancy?
Cartomancy is the use of cards for divination. Tarot cards are a subset of cartomancy, but the term is more often used for divination with ordinary playing cards. And they have a long history as tools for telling fortunes and divining information.
Playing cards are thought to have been invented in China during the 9th century AD. Over the years, various cultures have created their own decks of varying size and use. There are accounts of people telling fortunes and practicing divination with playing cards as far back as the 1400s. By the 18th century, Europeans were using standard playing cards to predict the future and answer their burning questions.
The popular English 52-card deck is a common set of cards people use to practice cartomancy today. Each color, suit, and number holds its own meaning, and the order in which they appear within a reading affects how the cards are interpreted.
Cartomancy Reading Versus Tarot Reading
Although tarot cards are used for similar purposes, they’re seen as a more intuitive, spiritual, and mystical tool. Tarot uses a deck of 78 cards full of illustrative symbolism, while cartomancy usually uses the standard simple 52-card deck. Cartomancy tends to be viewed as a more practical, straightforward approach to divination, with a focus on the polarity of the red and black colors and yes or no responses. Some people say that cartomancy provides more down-to-earth, applicable answers.
How to Do a Playing Card Reading
As with any card reading, it’s recommended that before beginning you should cleanse your deck. Cleansing can be as simple as tapping on the deck or as involved as smudging it with smoke. Once the deck is cleansed, it’s time to shuffle the cards using your preferred method. Think about your question while you shuffle and determine how detailed you would like the answer to be.
Similar to tarot readings, cartomancy readings use different spreads (a specific number and layout of cards) depending on the type of question being asked. For example, a yes or no question could be answered by pulling a single card, while a three-card spread is often used for past-present-future questions. There are even spreads using five or more cards that can give you a detailed answer, though interpretations can get complicated with larger spreads.
Reading the cards
The ability to interpret playing cards depends on how well you know the meaning of each element of the deck. Start with color: Red corresponds to positive and black to negative. If you ask a yes or no question and you draw a red card, the answer would be “yes,” while black would be “no.” Each suit and individual card is assigned a meaning as well. Let’s go over them below.
The suit of clubs corresponds to earth, work, business, the body, social life, luck, accomplishments, and growth.
|Ace of clubs||Good news, financial wealth and fortune, a new business venture, or a legal contractual process|
|Two of clubs||New personal or business-related social challenges that may lead to gossip|
|Three of clubs||A trio partnership with room for growth or advancement|
|Four of clubs||An unexpected betrayal or deceit, possibly from someone you thought was a friend|
|Five of clubs||Meeting a new friend, change of social situation, or newfound support|
|Six of clubs||Success or improvement regarding work or social goals, and prosperity|
|Seven of clubs||Change or success in business requiring a high level of attention|
|Eight of clubs||A potential difficulty in business or love|
|Nine of clubs||Luck, new opportunities, or a new admirer|
|Ten of clubs||Unexpected money or business-related travel|
|Jack of clubs||A hardworking, reliable, trustworthy friend with dark hair|
|Queen of clubs||A helpful and confident businesswoman or co-worker with dark hair|
|King of clubs||A strong, kind, and successful businessman with dark hair|
The suit of diamonds corresponds to fire, money, the spirit, intelligence, energy, financial status, success, recognition, and rewards.
|Ace of diamonds||A new message or beginning, a gift, or a letter|
|Two of diamonds||A denial and disapproval of a relationship|
|Three of diamonds||Lack of commitment, poor focus, legal troubles, or instability|
|Four of diamonds||New financial stability or an unexpected inheritance, payment, or gift|
|Five of diamonds||An improvement around self, home, or career|
|Six of diamonds||Problems in relationships around communication or jealousy|
|Seven of diamonds||Challenges around personal finance and investments|
|Eight of diamonds||A caution to prepare for an unexpected financial situation|
|Nine of diamonds||An unexpected monetary bonus or new business opportunity on the way|
|Ten of diamonds||A sign of prosperity, good fortune, or wealth|
|Jack of diamonds||A dishonest and unreliable young person with light hair|
|Queen of diamonds||A flirtatious, successful, wealthy person with light hair|
|King of diamonds||A wealthy and accomplished older person with light hair|
The suit of hearts corresponds to water, emotions, love, the soul, home, feelings, relationships, and family.
|Ace of hearts||A new beginning or relationship, positive energy, good news, or happiness|
|Two of hearts||Success and good fortune in love, affection, and relationships|
|Three of hearts||A warning to be cautious in a new relationship|
|Four of hearts||A possible next step in a relationship, incoming change, or return of a previous partner|
|Five of hearts||A feeling of jealousy, deceit, or resentment|
|Six of hearts||An unexpected but pleasant surprise around a new love interest|
|Seven of hearts||Broken promises or disappointment from a friend or partner|
|Eight of hearts||An unexpected visitor or invitation|
|Nine of hearts||Wishes and dreams coming true|
|Ten of hearts||Success, good fortune, and fulfillment on the way|
|Jack of hearts||A close young friend with light hair|
|Queen of hearts||A good-natured, kind, motherly person with light hair|
|King of hearts||A kind, caring, paternal person with light hair|
The suit of spades corresponds to air, mind, obstacles, challenges, setbacks, secrets, and conflicts.
|Ace of spades||A misfortune, a significant change, or the ending of something|
|Two of spades||A tough decision, a disagreement, bad news, or communication troubles|
|Three of spades||Relationship troubles, infidelity, lies, or betrayal|
|Four of spades||A broken promise, an illness, or an unhealthy situation|
|Five of spades||Facing obstacles, loss, abandonment, or depression|
|Six of spades||A completion, moving forward, or a small improvement of a situation|
|Seven of spades||An unexpected trouble, setback, grief, or loss|
|Eight of spades||A wound, anger, danger, or imbalance|
|Nine of spades||Failure, bad luck, sadness, or anxiety|
|Ten of spades||Misfortune, tragedy, darkness, or bad news|
|Jack of spades||An immature or unpleasant young person with dark hair|
|Queen of spades||A cunning and intelligent person with dark hair|
|King of spades||A controlling and ambitious person with dark hair|