Cartomancy: Unlocking Mysteries with Playing Cards

Cartomancy: Unlocking Mysteries with Playing Cards

Cartomancy, often overshadowed by its more famous cousin, tarot, is an ancient practice that uses regular playing cards for divination. Unlike tarot cards, which boast elaborate imagery, cartomancy relies on intuition, symbolism, and interpretation. Let’s explore this hidden gem and learn how to read the cards intuitively.

What is Cartomancy?

Cartomancy encompasses various divination practices that utilize cards to provide spiritual insights or predict future events. Over time, distinct methods of card-based divination have emerged, each with its own unique name.

The term cartomancy is now more commonly used to describe the art of divination using a standard set of playing cards. Yes, you heard me right. 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.

A Brief History

The history of cartomancy is pretty hazy, as is common with many different spiritual practices. By the 14th century, playing cards had become an embedded part of human culture. Each country had different sets, images, and numbers of cards, and the variety of games played with these cards varied from place to place. So it’s almost impossible to discern exactly when we began to use a standard playing card deck for divination.

However, there’s a wonderful myth that Napoleon sought the wisdom and skills of cartomancers during his lifetime. Some even believe that cartomancy was used in courts to predict trial outcomes. Regardless of its ambiguous history, today, using cards to explore our life’s direction has become a popular and respected skill in the spirituality community.

Difference Between Cartomancy and Tarot

In today’s society, the word cartomancy no longer refers to all forms of card-based divination but specifically to the use of a standard playing deck. The most common form of card divination—one you’re probably at least a little familiar with—is tarot.

Tarot Cards

Tarot consists of a deck of 78 cards, which serves as a versatile system for both predictive and holistic readings. The images on a Tarot deck depict the card’s meaning, making it relatively easy to master. Depending on the subject you’re reading, the emphasis of the card’s meaning can vary. For example, the love Tarot meanings of Tarot cards slightly differ from the general meanings.

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How Does Cartomancy Work?

How Does Cartomancy Work: Photo by Pavel Danilyuk
How Does Cartomancy Work: Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Cartomancy involves an alternative method of divination that relies on a standard deck of playing cards. Here’s how it works:

  1. Card Selection: Ask a question or focus on a specific aspect of your life.
  2. Intuition and Interpretation: Trust your inner wisdom as you draw one or more cards. Interpret their messages based on your gut feelings. You can choose a single card or perform a three-card reading (past, present, and future).

Reading Cartomancy Cards

The Four Suits

  1. Spades: Associated with challenges, obstacles, and difficult situations.
  2. Clubs: Symbolize creativity, inspiration, and growth.
  3. Hearts: Represent emotions, love, relationships, and intuition.
  4. Diamonds: Connect to material matters, finances, and practical aspects of life.

Caring for Your Cartomancy Cards

  • Keep your cards in a special pouch or box.
  • Regularly cleanse them energetically (e.g., smudging with sage or placing them under moonlight).
  • Handle them with respect and intention.

Expanding Your Intuition

  1. Practice: Regularly engage with your cards. The more you connect, the stronger your intuition becomes.
  2. Meditate: Quiet your mind and allow insights to flow.

Cartomancy invites us to trust our inner compass. As you shuffle the cards, listen to their whispers—they hold secrets waiting to be revealed.

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