By D. J. McAdam.
Most of us use playing cards for - well, for card-playing, which seems rather
obvious. But playing cards have other uses, including divination, and
telling fortunes by playing cards is a fairly popular area of interest.
Telling fortunes by cards is technically termed "cartomancy," a useful term,
but one that includes telling fortunes with any type of cards.
Thus, cartomancy would encompass three related, but separate, areas of interest:
- Telling fortunes with standard playing cards, i.e., the usual 52-card
- Telling fortunes with tarot cards
- Telling fortunes with specially-designed fortune-telling cards
This article will deal only with the first area. If you are interested
in tarot cards, please visit our tarot page. If
you are interested in specially-designed fortune-telling decks, you can find an
interesting article on that subject here.
The first thing one must realize, when using a standard deck of playing cards
for divination, is that there is no "official" correct way of doing so.
There are books on the subject (we'll list some later), and some of these books
agree with each other; but not all are in agreement. The reason for this
situation is that divination by playing cards developed independently in
different areas at different times.
Divination is accomplished by establishing a set meaning for each card.
Theoretically, one could do this oneself. Here's how:
- Keep a notebook or journal strictly for playing card divination.
- Each day, and preferably at the same time each day, write a note in the
journal stating what your predominant mood is at that moment. Keep it
simple, like, "sad," or "happy," or "slightly frustrated." Also make a
quick note about what's going on in your life, like, "I'm about to take a
short trip," or "I've just fallen in love."
- Shuffle the deck of playing cards, and draw one card face down.
Record the card you've drawn.
- After you've accumulated enough data, you should be able to draw some
correlations. For example, you might see that every time you draw a
club, your mood is something close to "slightly frustrated." (This is
just an example; I'm not suggesting that this is what the suit of clubs
means.) Do this long enough, and even individual cards will take on
This isn't a bad method, but it is a slow one. If you're anxious to get
started on a slightly faster track, consider purchasing one or more of the books
- The Fortune Telling Book: Reading Crystal Balls, Tea Leaves, Playing Cards, and Everyday Omens of Love and Luck.
Obviously, this book covers a lot more than playing cards, but it does
include playing card divination, and all of the subjects are of interest.
- The Oracle of Love : How to Use Ordinary Playing Cards to Answer Your Relationship Questions, Predict Your Romantic Future, and Find Your Soul Mate.
On the other hand, this book is very specific; it deals with the use of
playing card divination as it relates to romance.
- The Fortune Teller's Deck: Predict Your Future With Playing Cards,
by Jane Lyle. A book on playing card divination, and a special deck of
Here's hoping the cards predict wonderful things for you!