Monday, February 23, 2015

Cartomancy II

When using cards to divide the unseen and unknowable, one starts by giving each card a symbolic meaning. These meanings differ from country to country and time to time, so you can choose which ever meaning that fits you best. After all, divination is reading the symbols. The cards themselves have no magical, mystical powers. :-D

But - that being said - there are beliefs associated with reading the cards.

There are the spreads, that are about the same as with tarot cards.

The card combinations have a meaning as well as individual cards and their placement.

Serena Powers says this:

Interpretations from Shuffling and Cutting

Who would have thought that a reading can begin from the cards even before that first card is laid out. Look carefully and note how the cards are shuffled and cut. Every person is different and has their own style, but this can even differ between readings.

When a person shuffles only the bare minimum number of times, this of course shows how eager they are to get straight to the point.

 When cards one or a few cards fall out during shuffling, take note of what they are because they are important to the reading.

When a lot of cards fall out, the querent is either not used shuffling cards, or they are reluctant or ambivalent about the reading.

When a person cuts only the top few cards from the deck, or leaves a tiny little pile, then they are reluctant to do the reading. This shows they do not really want to reveal too much or find out the true answer.

When cards fall from the deck as a person cuts the cards, this also shows a certain ambivalence or reluctance about the reading.

Shy and impressionable people cut the deck with their face virtually inches from the cards. They also tend to take any interpretations extremely literally despite their avowed scepticism.

Troubled querents also cut the deck with their faces inches from the deck and may take some time to do it. I also find these people tend to cut the deck dead centre if they can manage it and are most concerned to be doing it "right". These people tend to demand exact predictions and interpretations but this is because they are so troubled by their question.

Complex people tend to cut into multiple piles. These people cannot decide if they want to take the cards seriously or not.

Querents who are confident of the answer they think they will receive cut with their arm fully extended, often with a smile on their face.

There are people who barely glance at the cards when cutting them and expect you to shuffle and replace the cards in one pile. These people do not expect anything from the cards and are majorly sceptical or simply do not really want a reading.

When querents sit right back in their chairs and cross their arms you know they are feeling defensive. When the cards get right to the heart of the issue, you notice them lean forward and the arms are uncrossed. This simple body language reveals so much, and can be useful when the querent is determined to say only the bare minimum.

The next time you do a reading for yourself, notice how you cut the cards. Often you can pick up from the cut if you are secretly reluctant to know the answer (usually because your intuition/subconscious already knows the answer won't be what you want to hear).

Special Combinations to be aware of

    Ace of hearts next to any other heart – Friendship
    Ace of hearts with another heart on each side – Love affair
    Ace of hearts with a diamond on each side – Money
    Ace of hearts with a spade on each side – Quarrels
    Ace of diamonds with the eight of clubs – Business proposal
    Ace of spades with the king of clubs – A politician
    Ace of spades with the ten of spades – A serious undertaking
    Ace of spades with the four of hearts – A new baby
    Ten of hearts – Cancels adjacent cards of ill fortune; reinforces adjacent cards of good fortune.
    Ten of diamonds with the two of hearts – Marriage bringing money
    Ten of spades – – Cancels adjacent cards of good fortune; reinforces adjacent cards of ill fortune.
    Ten of spades next to any club – Business troubles
    Ten of spades with a club on each side – Theft, forgery, grave business losses
    Nine of hearts with the five of spades – Loss of status
    Nine of clubs with the eight of hearts – Gaiety
    Nine of diamonds next to any court card – Lack of success, an inability to concentrate
    Nine of diamonds with the eight of spades – A bitter quarrel
    Nine of spades with the seven of diamonds – Loss of money
    Eight of hearts with the eight of diamonds – A trousseau
    Eight of hearts with the five of hearts – A present of jewelry
    Eight of spades on the immediate right of the client card – Abandon your current plans
    Four of hearts next to any court card – A loss, injustice
    Two of clubs with the two of diamonds – An unexpected message


Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. Forms of cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century. Practitioners of cartomancy are generally known as cartomancers, card readers, or simply readers.

Cartomancy is one of the oldest of the more common forms of fortune-telling. It is similar to tarot card reading in that various card spreads are used, such as single card, "Destiny Square," and 3 cards. The tarot is actually a form of cartomancy, as is oracle decks and other divination forms using cards.

Cartomancy using standard playing cards was the most popular form of providing fortune-telling card readings in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
In English-speaking countries, a standard deck of Anglo-American bridge/poker playing cards (i.e., 52-card, four-suit set) can be used in the cartomancy reading; the deck is often augmented with jokers, and even with the blank card found in many packaged decks.
In France, the 32-card piquet playing-card deck was, and still is, most typically used in cartomancy readings, while the 52-card deck was, and still is, also used for this purpose. (A piquet deck can be a 52-card deck with all of the 2s through the 6s removed. This leaves all of the 7s through the 10s, the face cards, and the aces.)

Harry Roseland; Reading the Cards, 1899

 Cartomancy by an unknown artist... looks Russian to me.

Playing cards were invented in China. There are cards as old as from the 9th century and it was in teh 9th century a writer referenced to playing cards, calling them "the leaf game". It is probably associated with the development of books, from rolls to sheets of pages.
The Chinese cards have four suits - coins; strings of coins (which may have been misinterpreted as sticks from the crude drawing); myriads of strings of coins and tens of myriads...

Here two of these cards; 1 of strings and 3 of coins. The myriads were usually depicted as people.

By the 11th century, playing cards were spread throughout the Asian continent and later came into Mamluk Egypt.[9]:309 The Mamluk pack contained 52 cards comprising four suits: polo sticks, coins, swords, and cups. Each suit contained ten spot or pip cards (cards identified by the number of suit symbols or "pips" they show) and three court cards, called malik (king), nā'ib malik (viceroy or deputy king), and thānī nā'ib (second or under-deputy). The thānī nā'ib is a non-existent title so it may not have been in the earliest versions. The Mamluk court cards showed abstract designs or calligraphy not depicting persons (at least not in any surviving specimens), though they did bear the names of military officers. Nā'ib would be corrupted into naibi (Italian) and naipes (Spanish), the latter still in common usage. The pip cards in two suits had a reverse ranking, a feature found in many old European card games.

mamluk cards - highly ornamented, no depiction of people.

Playing cards first entered Southern Europe in the 14th century, probably from Mamluk Egypt, using the Mamluk suits of cups, coins, swords, and polo-sticks, and which are still used in traditional Latin decks. As polo was an obscure sport to Europeans then, the polo-sticks became batons or cudgels.

Playing card symbols
The German symbols of acorns and leaves should be reversed 

- swords, leaves, piques, spades and batons, acorns, trèlles and clubs/clover

As cards spread from Italy to Germanic countries, the Latin suits evolved into the suits of Leaves (or Shields), Hearts (or Roses), Bells, and Acorns, and a combination of Latin and Germanic suit pictures and names resulted in the French suits of trèfles (clovers), carreaux (tiles), cœurs (hearts), and piques (pikes) around 1480. The trèfle (clover) was probably derived from the acorn and the pique (pike) from the leaf of the German suits. The names "pique" and "spade", however, may have derived from the sword of the Italian suits. In England, the French suits were eventually used, although the earliest packs circulating may have had the Italian suits. This may account to why the English called the clovers "clubs" and the pikes "spades".

"Coeurs, Hearts - denotes the Church.
Carreaux, Diamonds - denotes the arrowheads which are symbolic of the vassels from whom the archers were drawn.
Trefles or Clover, Clubs - signifies the husbandmen.
Piques, Spades - denotes the the points of Lances, symbols for the knights themselves."
- History of playing cards

 As you see the coins in the Chinese cards, they have a clear diamond figure in the middle.

When using cards to divide, one may choose to use the joker(s) and/or empty cards and give them a meaning. The Joker usually is interpreted as the Fool of the tarot deck, even though it has a different background story.

In the 19th century, people were playing the game of Euchre [from German Juckerspiel, (Jucker is a carriage horse, which is why I believe the game was called Junkerspiel. Junker is a young nobleman.)]. This Juckerspiel most likely developed from Karnöffel, a game where the jack is the "best" card. In USA the name of the game was Juker (originally pronounced as ewe-ker, not as jew-ker), and they added an extra jack, the best jack, unsuited, called Juker and later Joker. It was because of this, the depictions melted together with the tarot Fool.