Cartomancy and Tarot Reading:
One significant difference between reading the Tarot and reading playing cards is the strong emphasis put on card combinations when reading playing cards. Although the concept applies to the Tarot and is certainly used, the card spreads used and the addition of the Trumps (Major Arcana) makes large numbers of multiples less likely. There are some combinations shared by both decks, especially relating to the occurrence of multiple court cards.
Cartomancy is an old fortune-telling a divination method using a regular deck of playing cards. This method is very appealling because the cards were related to Astrology. In fact, the four suits were associated with the four elements (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water).
Long before people used cards to play games, they were used to foretell the future. In fact, playing cards were invented for divination purposes.
Although there are different ways to approach cartomancy, we will show you a simple method and lay out the basic meanings attached to each playing card below.
Once you know the basic meanings of the playing cards, you can choose a spread that is right for you. In fact, you can even choose to select only one card out of a deck to get a fast and easy “answer” to your problem, if you so desire.
First things first, the suits (Hearts, Clubs, Spades, and Diamonds) are associated with the four elements, as follows:
Hearts – Water
Clubs – Fire
Diamonds – Earth
Spades – Air
What Each Playing Card Means:
Ace of Hearts Love and happiness. The home, a love letter. This card is a particularly favorable card that indicates troubles and problems lifting.
King of Hearts A fair-haired man with a good nature; or a man with Water signs predominating in his chart. Fair, helpful advice. Affectionate, caring man. This man helps you out without much talk. His actions reveal his kindness and concern.
Queen of Hearts A fair-haired woman with a good nature; or a woman with Water signs predominating in her chart. Kind advice. Affectionate, caring woman. Sometimes, this card can indicate the mother or a mother figure.
Jack of Hearts A warm-hearted friend. A fair-haired youth; or a young person with Water signs predominating in his or her chart. Often this points to a younger admirer.
10 of Hearts Good luck, success. This is an important card that suggests good fortune after difficulty.
9 of Hearts The card of wishes. A wish/dream fulfilled. Look to the card just preceding this one to determine what the querent desires.
8 of Hearts Unexpected gift or visit; an invitation to a party.
7 of Hearts Someone whose interest in you is unreliable; someone with fickle affections for you. This card can indicate lovesickness.
6 of Hearts A sudden wave of good luck. Someone takes care of you, takes warm interest in you.
5 of Hearts Jealousy; some ill-will from people around you.
4 of Hearts Travel, change of home or business.
3 of Hearts Love and happiness when the entire spread is generally favorable. In a difficult spread, this can indicate emotional problems and an inability to decide who to love.
2 of Hearts A warm partnership or engagement. This is a very favorable card that indicates strength and support coming from a partner.
Ace of Clubs Wealth, prosperity, unexpected money/gain. However, in a difficult spread, this money may disappear almost as quickly as it appears.
King of Clubs Dark-haired, kind-hearted man; or a man with Fire predominating in his chart. A generous, spirited man.
Queen of Clubs Dark-haired, confident woman; or a woman with Fire predominating in her chart. She may give you good advice.
Jack of Clubs A dark-haired or fiery youth. Popular youth who is good-hearted and playful. Can also indicate an admirer.
10 of Clubs Business success. Good luck with money. A trip taken now may result in a new friend or love interest.
9 of Clubs Achievement; sometimes a wealthy marriage or a sudden windfall.
8 of Clubs Work/business problems that may have to do with jealousy. This is generally thought to be quite unfavourable.
7 of Clubs Business success, although there may be problems with the opposite sex. A change in business that may have been expected or earned, such as a promotion.
6 of Clubs Financial aid or success.
5 of Clubs New friendships, alliances are made.
4 of Clubs Beware of dishonesty or deceit; avoid blind acceptance of others at this time.
3 of Clubs Love and happiness; successful marriage; a favourable long-term proposition. A second chance, particularly in an economical sense.
2 of Clubs Obstacles to success; malicious gossip.
Ace of Spades Misfortune; sometimes associated with death or, more often, a difficult ending.
King of Spades Dark-haired man; or a man with Air predominating in his chart. An ambitious man, perhaps self-serving.
Queen of Spades Widowed or divorced woman; or a woman with Air predominating in her chart.
Jack of Spades A youth who is hostile or jealous.
10 of Spades Worry; bad news.
9 of Spades Illness, accident, bad luck. The querent is at his/her personal low.
8 of Spades Temptation, misfortune, danger, upsets.
7 of Spades Advice that is best not taken; loss. There is some obstacle to success, and this indicates that obstacles may be coming from within the querent.
6 of Spades Small changes and improvements.
5 of Spades Opposition and obstacles that are temporary; a blessing in disguise. Sometimes indicates a negative or depressed person.
4 of Spades Small worries, problems. Financial difficulties, personal lows.
3 of Spades Breaks in relationships. Sometimes indicates that a third person is breaking into a relationship somehow.
2 of Spades Breaks in relationships; deceit. A break in an important process in the querent’s life. If the question concerns a particular romantic interest, this is considered a warning card – infidelity or separation is quite likely.
Ace of Diamonds Change; a message, often about money, and usually good news.
King of Diamonds Fair-haired or graying man, or a man with Earth predominating in his chart. A man of authority, status, or influence.
Queen of Diamonds Fair-haired woman; or a woman with Earth predominating in her chart. A gossip.
Jack of Diamonds A youth, possibly in uniform. Or, a jealous person who may be unreliable. A person who brings news, generally negative, but relatively minor.
10 of Diamonds A change in financial status, often for the better.
9 of Diamonds A new business deal; travel; restlessness; a change of residence.
8 of Diamonds New job; change in job situation. The young or the old may find love on a trip.
7 of Diamonds An argument concerning finances, or on the job. Generally expected to be resolved happily.
6 of Diamonds Relationship problems, arguments. Separation.
5 of Diamonds Happiness and success. A change for the better. A birth, or good news for a child. A good time to start new projects.
4 of Diamonds Financial upswing; an older person may give good advice.
3 of Diamonds A legal letter. Be tactful with others in order to avoid disputes.
2 of Diamonds A business partnership; a change in relationship; gossip.
The basic idea for laying out a spread is to shuffle the cards as you think of your question or problem, and then draw cards in a particular order and lay them out on the table before you. You can make your own “fortune telling” session as simple or as complex as you please:
- Draw only one card for a simple and fast answer to a burning question.
- A common spread involves drawing three cards — the first represents the past, the second shows the situation in the present, and the third reveals the outcome, or future of the matter.
- Some will do a larger spread when looking for a general outlook for a person. For this method, draw three cards for each of these categories: Yourself, Your Family, Your Friends, What You Expect, What You Don’t Expect, and The Outcome.
- Use your own categories, tailored to your question.
Interesting Notes About Playing Cards
There are thirteen cards in each of the four suits, corresponding to the 13 lunar months in a year. Fifty-two cards correspond to fifty-two weeks in a year.
Hearts correspond to the element of water, and signify love, friendship, happiness, and domestic concerns. Generally speaking, they are “happy” cards.
Clubs correspond to the element of fire, and generally signify business, ambition, and achievement issues. They generally indicate success and happiness.
Diamonds correspond to the element of earth, and generally signify career, and money issues.
Spades correspond to the element of air, and generally signify gossip, challenges, messages, and upsets.