Cartomancy is a little-known form of card reading. Most of us have heard of tarot, you may have even visited a psychic or foreseer who has read your tarot. These spirituality mediums have become incredibly mainstream recently and you may even own a deck yourself. Tarot is very similar to cartomancy even if it is more commonly known.
So what is cartomancy and how can you do it?
Cartomancy is an alternative divination method using a regular deck of standard playing cards in a similar way to using a deck of tarot cards. Using your intuition and deciphering skills to ‘tell your future’. Even better, cartomancy is far more accessible to many of us than tarot.
So get ready to dive into our beginners’ guide to cartomancy to begin your divination journey.
Table of Contents
What Is Cartomancy?
The word cartomancy actually refers to any form of divination that uses cards to give spiritual guidance or tell fortunes. However, as our world has progressed and moved on, many methods of divination that use cards have formed their own separate names, and the word cartomancy is now more commonly used as a narrower definition to the art of divination using a standard set of playing cards.
Yup, you heard me. Those cards you use to play poker, blackjack, or even childhood games like snap and crazy eights, can also be used much like their more graphically artistic counterparts.
The history of cartomancy is pretty hazy, as you will find is pretty common when it comes to many different spiritual practices. The use of playing cards had become an embedded part of human culture by the 14th century. Each country had different sets, images, and numbers of cards, and the variety of games played with these playing cards varied from country to country.
So it is almost impossible to discern exactly when we began to use a standard playing card deck to divine the future. Although there is a wonderful myth that Napoleon would regularly seek the wisdom and skills of cartomancers during his lifetime. It’s also believed by some, that cartomancy may have been used in courts to predict the outcomes of certain trials.
Although its history is pretty ambiguous, it can’t be denied that today the use of cards to figure out where your life may be headed has become a very popular and respected skill in the spirituality community.
What Is The Difference Between Cartomancy And Tarot?
In today’s society, the word cartomancy no longer refers to all forms of card-based divination but just to the use of a standard playing deck but the most common form of card divination and one you are probably at least a little familiar with is tarot.
Both cartomancy and tarot reading is fairly similar when it comes to reading. The decks themselves are actually very different.
A standard playing card deck has only 52 cards. Whereas, a tarot deck contains 78 cards. Tarot is undeniably beautiful to look at with delicate and artistic images that reflect their suits. Part of the charm of tarot for many is the intricate details on every single card.
As for a standard playing deck, it is a lot simpler with its unassuming images and basic details. There is also far less color, with half of the deck being red and the other black.
Tarot also relies far more on the readers’ intuition when it comes to divining what the pulled cards mean. Cartomancy on the other hand has far more defined card meanings which makes this the perfect divination method for beginners.
How Do Cartomancy Readings Work?
Cartomancy uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Each card has its own meaning which helps the reader to foretell your future. Having your cards read can be intimidating, especially if you don’t fully believe in the cosmic power of card divination. It can be helpful to know exactly how you’re reading will go, in terms of steps, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t like surprises.
This is a generalization, but below are common steps that may be involved in a cartomancy reading.
- Your card reader will lay their cards out in front of you and ask you to pull a card
- Upon you choosing a card your card reader will be able to discern what that pull means
Card reading is very simple in its steps but there are a few different ways that your card reading may go depending on the depth and intricacy of your questions.
For simple yes or no questions only a single card needs to be pulled.
For past, present, and future readings you will have three cards pulled.
Your reader may choose to pull more cards if you desire more details with 9 card spreads, and even 21 card spreads, being used for detailed divination.
Cartomancy itself draws on the energy of the universe to find the answers to our questions. If you are already familiar with certain spiritual beliefs like the universal laws and manifestation you will already have a basic understanding of the power ‘the source’ can possess. This link to energy forces also means that negative energies can affect the results of your readings.
If you are feeling tired or in a negative mood, or your client is feeling not quite right. It may be a good idea to postpone their reading until both of you are feeling more positive energy flowing.
How Do I Read Cartomancy Cards?
Much like tarot, every card in a cartomancy deck has its own meaning. Although, the interpreted meaning may alter a little depending on what the subject’s questions may be. As a beginner, you may struggle to find connections between card pulls but be kind to yourself, with time and practice the world of divination will open for you and you’ll begin to easily access your interpretations and their connections.
Each suit has its own different sets of meanings and then these meanings become more defined as we go through the varied cards in each suit. Although, as you will see, many of the meanings of the cards are open to the readers’ interpretation and this is where multiple card pulls will help you discover their true meaning.
So let’s get to it and discover what each card in your deck means.
This suit generally refers to challenges, obstacles, conflicts, setbacks, and secrets.
- Ace of spades – Represents death, but generally not a physical death. Representing endings and new beginnings. It can also indicate important decisions that may cause worry or anxiety.
- 2 of spades – tough decisions, resentment, separation, conflict, betrayal, or even bad news.
- 3 of spades – dishonestly, cheating, loss, confusion, deception, lies, and misunderstanding.
- 4 of spades – Broken promises, exhaustion, sickness, or an unhealthy situation or relationship.
- 5 of spades – Anger, abandonment, obstacles, and loss.
- 6 of spades – Small victories, permanent ends, moving on and growing.
- 7 of spades – Bad luck, the loss of a friend, grief, and unexpected burdens.
- 8 of spades – Disappointment, deceit, danger, illness, and the loss of social balance. Caution is advised when this card is pulled.
- 9 of spades – Failure, sadness, malice, serious injury, and fear of the future.
- 10 of spades – Misfortune, imprisonment, worry, unwelcome news, tragedy, and darkness.
- Jack of spades – A young person with dark hair, who may mean well but is emotionally immature or erratic.
- Queen of spades – A dark-haired woman or widow who is intelligent and cunning but may also be deceitful and controlling.
- King of spades – A dark-haired older man who may be divorced or widowed. Ambitious but selfish, controlling, and possessive.
This suit refers to passions, achievements, social life, luck, and growth.
- Ace of clubs – Happiness, good financial fortune, good news, and the possibility of a new business venture.
- 2 of clubs – Challenges, a new social or business correspondence that may lead to gossip from those who oppose you.
- 3 of clubs – successful marriage, advancements, growth, wealthy partner, or partner with a wealthy family.
- 4 of clubs – deceit or betrayal from a trusted friend, a change for the worse.
- 5 of clubs – New friendships, changes in work or social situation, support, marital success.
- 6 of clubs – Financial support, prosperity, Improvement, progress, or completion of a business or social goals.
- 7 of clubs – Business success, changes, potential trouble from a romantic partner.
- 8 of clubs – Trouble and turmoil in business relations, love, and personal relationships.
- 9 of clubs – New opportunities, new admirer, luck, but a warning against stubbornness.
- 10 of clubs – Good fortune, money from unexpected sources, travel that is possibly related to business.
- Jack of clubs – A dark-haired young person, generally male, who is reliable and trustworthy.
- Queen of clubs – A dark-haired woman, usually a colleague, who is charming, confident, and helpful.
- King of clubs – A strong, dark-haired man, commonly older, who is kind, honest, and loving.
This suit usually refers to personal relationships, love, peace, friendships, and passionate pursuits.
- Ace of hearts – New relationships, feelings of friendship, happiness, and positive energy.
- 2 of hearts – Good fortune in love and relationships, prosperity, Affection, lust, and success
- 3 of hearts – A new friendship or relationship, remain cautious and guarded with your words, Importance.
- 4 of hearts – Change is coming, possible travel, return of an old partner, or taking the next step in a relationship.
- 5 of hearts – Jealousy, resentment, loss of love, deceit, or illness.
- 6 of hearts – A pleasant surprise, a new love interest, Unexpected.
- 7 of hearts – Broken promises, second chances, emotional decisions.
- 8 of hearts – Invitations, surprise visitors, ending of a friendship or romance.
- 9 of hearts – The ‘wish’ card. Wishes, desires, and dreams are fulfilled.
- 10 of hearts – Good fortune, success, fulfillment, but the possibility of family issues needing attention.
- Jack of hearts – A young man you may be close with. Could be a friend, brother, or a romantic interest. May be blonde.
- Queen of hearts – A kind, good-natured blonde woman who may be a friend, sister, aunt, or even a girlfriend.
- King of hearts – Represents a man who is good-natured, loving, and gives good advice. Possibly a paternal life figure.
This suit refers to the loss and gain of material wealth and fortune. Not only success and recognition but also energy and work.
- Ace of diamonds – A gift, a new beginning, a message, improvement, and the beginnings of your energy work.
- 2 of diamonds – A disagreement within a relationship, disapproval of a relationship, an affair, and making or receiving payment.
- 3 of diamonds – Legal issues, family issues, teamwork, poor focus, and instability.
- 4 of diamonds – Unexpected gift or inheritance, gaining financial stability, trust, and improvement.
- 5 of diamonds – Positive energy, happy home, Improvements, and success in business ventures.
- 6 of diamonds – Troubles, disagreements, poor communication, jealousy, issues in a second marriage.
- 7 of diamonds – Confusion, challenges, and problems at work.
- 8 of diamonds – Surprise romance or a marriage later in life. Possibility of travel and planning with caution.
- 9 of diamonds – New business opportunities, success, surprise money, and changes.
- 10 of diamonds – Positive change, success, good fortune, financial prosperity, and good luck.
- Jack of diamonds – An unreliable and dishonest young person. Might be a family member.
- Queen of diamonds – An outgoing, successful, and reliable woman.
- King of diamonds – An accomplished older man who holds a position of authority, Stubborn but also reliable.
How To Care For Your Cartomancy Cards?
Caring for your cartomancy deck is an important part of reading cards. We are dealing with energy here and this also means the likelihood of readings being affected by bad energy. So caring for your cartomancy cards will be a little more than popping them back into their original box and hoping for the best.
Firstly, we recommend keeping your cards in a cloth bag or wrap when they aren’t in use. You can also place this into a wooden box for an extra layer of protection. As long as you are using natural fibers when storing your cards they will be well protected.
Many readers like to store their deck with a cleansing crystal, like a natural quartz stone, to help protect and cleanse the deck and the reader of any lingering negative energy. This negative energy can affect the result of your readings so it’s best to take as many precautions as you can.
Get Into Reading Cartomancy
Cartomancy is an excellent beginner’s doorway into the world of divination through the media of cards. So many of us who are beginning our journeys into spirituality and divination focus on methods that are already so popular, like tarot, that we forget they are not our only options.
The simplicity of cartomancy works better with more direct questions, making this a better fit than tarot if that is what you are using them for.
It can take a little while to really get into reading cartomancy, remembering all the meanings and calling on your intuition can feel overwhelming in the beginning. However, with a little practice, you’ll be reading to friends, family, and yourself with ease in no time.