Divinatory Meanings for the Whole Deck

N.B. The story of the my search for the oldest set of traditional meanings for the cards is to be found in the preceding posts covering parts 1 and 2 of ‘Tradition’ in Playing Card Meanings. In the post below, I explain why I made certain changes to the original set of meanings and describe what those changes are. A.T.

‘Tradition’ in Playing Card Meanings, part 3

The card meanings I employ myself bears a distinct relationship with those in Madame Fabia’s book (The Book of Fortune Telling: (2) How to Read Signs and Portents, republished 1974). Finding that these meanings go back to those published by Sepharial (The Art of Card Fortune Telling) and A.E. Waite (A Manual of Cartomancy and Occult Divination, 1909) or to a tradition they both drew on, caused me to reconsider my position. I asked myself this question. If these meanings constitute the oldest British tradition regarding playing cards, ought I not to take them on, in the spirit of returning to basics? Although I tended in the direction of answering that question with a ‘yes’, it was obvious to me that the Waite/Sepharial meanings didn’t suit the modern age as well as they presumably had suited the time when they were committed to print. They are angled towards women interested in discovering the coloring and character traits of prospective suitors and estimating their prospects in matrimonial stakes.

In short, I encountered the same problem as others had when attempting to work with Madame Fabia’s 1934 delineations in the latter part of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first when social conditions are utterly different from what they were before World War Two, let alone, in respect of the Sepharial/Waite versions (c. 1909 – 1913), prior to World War One. I therefore set about tweaking the Sepharial/Waite meanings, replacing those applicable only to marriage (e.g., 3 Clubs – ‘indicates a second marriage’ and 6 Diamonds – ‘early marriage and widowhood’) with more apt and broader delineations. Borrowing from my forerunners on the Net, I coopted ‘Love and happiness; successful marriage; a favorable long-term proposition. A second change, particularly from a monetary angle’ as the meaning for the 3 of Clubs and ‘Relationship problems, arguments. Separation’ for the 6 of Diamonds. And so on.

With the single exception of Sepharial saying that the Ace of Spades reversed can indicate a death, the Sepharial/Waite leave reversals severely alone. Following an internal tussle, I elected to stay with the original concept. No reversals recorded. If a card was reversed, it might be interpreted, depending on the cards surrounding it, as (i) the same as when upright, (ii) the same but to a lesser degree or (iii) the opposite of what it is when upright. In the last instance, the 5 of hearts, whose upright significance is ‘a change for the better’, would indicate ‘a change for the worse’ – but only if situated between very negative cards.

The important thing about a method of divination is that it must encompass all facets of human experience – love, hate, birth, death, promotion, redundancy, martial brake-up, etc., etc. The adjusted list does that. It covers scandal, loss of friends, reverses, quarrels, sickness, invitations, travel and temptation. This in addition to the indications one would expect to find on the list: happiness (four mentions), success (two mentions), marriage (four mentions), love (one mention) and change (four mentions). I regard it as fit for purpose – certainly it is fitter for purpose in current circumstances than the original.

Here then is my ‘new and improved’ list of divinatory meanings. I have adopted it myself and I recommend it to others.

The Heart Suit

Ace. – This indicates your home, and if Spade cards touch it quarrelling is foretold. If other Hearts are next to it they foretell friendships and true affection. If Diamonds, money and distant friends – and if Clubs, feasting and merry making.
King. – A fair man, of good natured disposition, but hasty and rash.
Queen. – A fair woman, faithful, prudent and affectionate.
Jack. – A close friend or a good-natured, fair-haired youth.
Ten. – Is prophetic of happiness and many children; is corrective of the bad tidings of cards next to it, and confirms their good tidings.
Nine. – Money and position. Also, where the cards are consulted about one single question or wish, the nine of Hearts is the key card upon which all depends.
Eight. – Pleasure, companions. Invitations and festivities.
Seven. – A fickle and false friend, against whom be on your guard.
Six. – A generous person. Someone takes care of you, takes warm interest in you.
Five. – Troubles caused by unfounded jealousy.
Four. – Changes, delays and postponements (especially of marriages).
Three. – Sorrow caused by your own indiscretion.
Two. – Success, but it will need care to secure it.

The Club Suit

Ace. – Peace of mind, happiness; a success card.
King. – The influence in your life of a dark man, upright, faithful and affection.
Queen. – A dark woman, gentle and pleasing.
Jack. – A generous, sincere, and constant friend whose devotion is never in question.
Ten. – Unexpected good.
Nine. – Achievement; sometimes a wealthy marriage or a sudden windfall.
Eight. – Trouble in relationships, business and personal. Jealousy and greed.
Seven. – Promises good fortune and happiness but bids a person beware of the opposite sex.
Six. – Business success.
Five. – New friends and a successful marriage. Help from friends.
Four. – Be careful when making changes to your plans or mode of life.
Three. – Love and happiness; successful marriage; a favorable long-term proposition. A second chance, particularly from a monetary angle.
Two. – A disappointment, but not a serious one, unless other prophetic cards are bad.

The Diamond Suit

Ace. – A letter – but from whom and what about must be judged by the neighboring cards.
King. – A fair man, hot tempered, obstinate and revengeful.
Queen. – A fair woman, fond of company and a coquette.
Jack. – A near relation who considers only his own interests. Also a fair person’s thoughts.
Ten. – A change in financial status, often for the better.
Nine. – Travel.
Eight. – Ups and downs, particularly of a financial nature.
Seven. – Unpleasant rumors, scandal.
Six. – Relationship problems, arguments. Separation.
Five. – A change for the better. A birth, or good news concerning a child. A good time to start new projects.
Four. – Trouble through friends, a secret betrayed.
Three. – Quarrels, legal trouble and domestic disagreements.
Two. – A love affair attracting disapproval from others. A business partnership.

The Spade Suit

Ace. – Great Misfortune. Death when the card is reversed.
King. – A dark ambitious man.
Queen. – A dark woman, or her thoughts.
Jack. – A dark young man, or his thoughts.
Ten. – Grief and trouble.
Nine. – Sickness and misfortune, a most unlucky card.
Eight. – Temptation, misfortune, danger, upsets, false friends.
Seven. – Loss of a friend, attended with much trouble.
Six. – Money through hard work.
Five. – Reverses and anxieties, but eventual success.
Four. – A brief illness, temporary financial reverses, and warns against the petty jealousy of others.
Three. – A marriage that will be marred by the inconstancy of the inquirer’s wife or husband; or a journey.
Two. – Separation, scandal, gossip and deceit. Difficult changes.

‘Tradition’ in Playing Card Meanings, Part 2

diamonds-Jack-fancyAs Madame Fabia’s researches into playing card divination were so extensive, it is impossible to pin-point exactly the sources she has drawn upon. Minetta may have been one (Card-Reading: A Practical Guide, 1916). Either Sepharial’s The Art of Card Fortune Telling, a book that appears to date from after the publication of the Waite-Smith Tarot in 1911, or A.E. Waite’s A Manual of Cartomancy and Occult Divination (originally published under the pseudonym Grand Orient in 1909) was possibly another. In all probability both were consulted, judging from the thoroughness of Madame Fabia’s research into other subjects. But if not these particular two books then a source common to both will have been consulted. For Madame Fabia agrees with the Sepharial/Waite meanings more often than not. How closely Sepharial’s meanings parallel Waite’s can be seen from this compilation, in which the Sepharial meaning is placed first.

The Club Suit
Ace. – Peace of mind, happiness, a success card.
Ace. – Wealth, happiness and peace of mind.

King. – The influence in your life of a dark man, upright, faithful and affection.
King. – A dark man, upright, faithful and affectionate in disposition.

Queen. – A brunette, gentle and pleasing.
Queen. – A dark woman, gentle and pleasing.

Jack. – The thought of the King for the questioner.
Jack. – A sincere but hasty friend. Also a dark man’s thoughts.

Ten. – Unexpected good.
Ten. – Unexpected riches, and loss of a dear friend.

Nine. – Disobedience to the wishes of friends.
Nine. – Disobedience to friends’ wishes.

Eight. – A warning against speculation.
Eight. – A covetous man. It also warns against speculations.

Seven. – Good fortune and happiness if you are careful in your dealings with someone of the opposite sex.
Seven. – Promises good fortune and happiness but bids a person beware of the opposite sex.

Six. – Business success.
Six. – Predicts a lucrative business.

Five. – A prudent marriage.
Five. – A prudent marriage.

Four. – Be careful of changes in your plans or mode of life.
Four. – Cautiousness against inconstancy or change of object for the sake of money.

Three. – Indicates a second marriage.
Three. – Shows that a person will be more than once marriage.

Two. – A disappointment, but not a serious one, unless other prophetic cards are bad.
Two. – A disappointment.

The Heart Suit
Ace. – This indicates your home, and if Spade cards touch it quarrelling is foretold. If other Hearts are next to it they foretell friendships and true affection. If Diamonds, money and distant friends – and if Clubs, feasting and merry making.
Ace. – The house. If attended by Spades it foretells quarrelling – if by Hearts, affection and friendship – if by Diamonds, money and distant friends – and if by Clubs, feasting and merry making.

King. – A fair man, good natured but rash.
King. – A fair man, of good natured disposition, but hasty and rash.

Queen. – A fair woman.
Queen. – A fair woman, faithful, prudent and affectionate.

Jack. – This covers the thoughts of the dearest person of the one who consults then cards.
Jack. – The dearest friend of the consulting party. Also a fair person’s thoughts.

Ten. – Refers to children. It also softens the bad tidings of the cards near it and increases the good.
Ten. – Is prophetic of happiness and many children; is corrective of the bad tidings of cards next to it, and confirms their good tidings.

Nine. – Money and position. Also, where the cards are consulted about one single question or wish, the nine of Hearts is the key card upon which all depends.
Nine. – Wealth and high esteem. Also the wish card.

Eight. – Pleasure, companions.
Eight. – Pleasure, company.

Seven. – A false friend.
Seven. – A fickle and false friend, against whom be on your guard.

Six. – A generous person.
Six. – A generous but credulous person.

Five. – Troubles caused by jealousy.
Five. – Troubles caused by unfounded jealousy.

Four. – A person near you, not easily convinced.
Four. – A person not easily won.

Three. – Sorrow caused by your own indiscretion.
Three. – Sorrow caused by a person’s own imprudence.

Two. – Success, but it will need care.
Two. – Great success, but equal care and attention needed to secure it.

The Diamond Suit
Ace. – A letter. You must look at the surrounding cards to judge the result.
Ace. – A letter – but from whom and what about must be judged by the neighbouring cards.

King. – A fair man.
King. – A fair man, hot tempered, obstinate and revengeful.

Queen. – A fair woman.
Queen. – A fair woman, fond of company and a coquette.

Jack. – Thoughts as before. [This covers the thoughts of the dearest person of the one who consults the cards.]
Jack. – A near relation who considers only his own interests. Also a fair person’s thoughts.

Ten. – Money.
Ten. – Money.

Nine. – Travel.
Nine. – Shows that a person is fond of roving.

Eight. – A late marriage.
Eight. – A marriage late in life.

Seven. – Unpleasant rumours, scandal.
Seven. – Satire, evil speaking.

Six. – Early marriage and possible widowhood.
Six. – Early marriage and widowhood.

Five. – Unexpected news.
Five. – Unexpected news.

Four. – Trouble through friends, a secret betrayed.
Four. – Trouble arising from unfaithful friends; also a betrayed secret.

Three. – Quarrels and legal trouble.
Three. – Quarrels and law-suits and domestic disagreements.

Two. – An engagement, but against the wishes of friends.
Two. – An engagement against the wishes of friends.

The Spade Suit
Ace. – Great Misfortune. Death when the card is reversed.
Ace. – Great Misfortune, spite.

King. – A dark man, or his thoughts.
King. – A dark ambitious man.

Queen. – A malicious dark woman, generally a widow.
Queen. – A dark woman, or her thoughts.

Jack. – A dark young man, or his thoughts.
Jack. – An indolent, envious person; a dark man’s thoughts.

Ten. – Grief and trouble.
Ten. – Grief, imprisonment.

Nine. – Sickness and misfortune, a most unlucky card.
Nine. – A card of very bad import, foretelling sickness and misfortune.

Eight. – A warning to be careful.
Eight. – Warns a person to be cautious in his undertakings.

Seven. – Loss of a friend, much trouble.
Seven. – Loss of a friend, attended with much trouble.

Six. – Money through hard work.
Six. – Wealth through industry.

Five. – A bad temper that causes trouble.
Five. – Shows that a bad temper requiring correcting.

Four. – Sickness.
Four. – Sickness.

Three. – A journey.
Three. – A journey.

Two. – A removal.
Two. – A removal.

‘Tradition’ in Playing Card Meanings, Part 1

Over on my other blog, Tony Willis has written about the traditional meanings of the tarot cards. He has concluded that whatever tradition exists in this area has a relatively short history. There was also a period, he notes, where, among the Anglophone nations, a new tradition overtook the older ones in popularity; whether it has managed to oust them completely remains to be seen. Studying Mr. Willis’s exposition of how the meanings of the tarot cards have altered over the past two centuries prompted me to research the history of playing card meanings to see whether anything of the kind had occurred in that field too. The quest has taken up most of my free time recently and that is why I have not posted any thoughts of my own on the blog for a while. I hope my readers will forgive my absence.

As we live in the age of the World Wide Web, the Internet is for us a treasure trove of information. Or it would be were it not for the amount of incorrect information, not to mention disinformation, uploaded on to it. Thankfully, we don’t have to weed out disinformation in the context of playing card meanings. What we have to deal with chiefly is watered down information and the indiscriminate passing on of ‘personal meanings’.

Any cartomancer who has been reading the cards regularly for two years or more will have discovered something momentous. They will have realized that sometimes the textbook meaning assigned to a card, for example “inconstancy, a small success” (which is what Minetta says of the 7 of Hearts in her book Card-Reading: A Practical Guide, Rider & Son, 1916), doesn’t work for them as the instruction book implies it should. It may become apparent, over the course of many readings, that to this person the 7 of Hearts regularly signifies success, great or small, and never ever prefigures inconstancy. This slight sideways calibration produces a ‘personal meaning’ – a meaning that is true for that single exponent of the cartomantic art but is personal to them, not universal. A personal meaning is a ripple on the surface of the ocean of divination; it comes and it goes. Until, that is, it is written down in a book, or handed on as a treasured discovery to a younger relative, who may in time record the meaning on a blog not realizing that it is a personal meaning and that, however relevant it was to their mentor, it is nevertheless personal and will not apply universally.

The Internet has a good many personal meanings for individual cards on record. I often receive e-mails from those wishing to learn the art of cartomancy asking for guidance as to which set of Internet or book-sourced meanings they should use. The question is asked because the various sets of meanings rarely agree; a card positively oriented according to one source may be of negative import by the rules laid down by another authority. Also the Internet meanings will be at odds with many of those found in books on card reading.

Amid this multitude of witnesses, what authority can we use as a yardstick?

The bad news is that, at the end of my researches, I have uncovered no ultimate yardstick. But I have found an author whose work makes an excellent starting point from which to set off on our journey of discovery. That starting point is The Book of Fortune Telling by Madame Fabia (Daily Express, 1934). (The book was reprinted in two volumes in 1974. Information on card reading is in the second volume, The Book of Fortune Telling: (2) How to Read Signs and Portents. Copies of the 1974 edition are still available.) Madame Fabia’s text appears to be the source on which many later authors have relied when compiling their own meanings for the cards. She may have found favor among fellow cartomancers on account of her superb skill in collation. From the chapters on numerology, it is clear that Madame has consulted all the notable numerologists such as Cheiro and Kozminski and from her research produced an outstanding, and more importantly, an eminently workable fusion of their ideas. So far as I can tell (for my knowledge of the state of British cartomancy before 1934 is scant to say the least), she has performed the same service for the art fortune-telling with cards.

Madame gives several sets of meanings. I have listed two together below.

All the sets of playing card meanings I have encountered on the Internet show signs of being heavily influenced by the contents of these two lists of Madame Fabia’s. Some sets of Internet meanings have been adapted better than others. And only where Madame’s list is too centered on marriage prospects (e.g., Six Diamonds. An early marriage and speedy widowhood. A warning with regard to second marriage is also included), or where her delineation is too diffuse (Seven Diamonds: This card has various meanings. It enjoins the need for careful action. It may imply a decrease in prosperity. Another reading connects it with uncharitable tongues) do later authors tamper with Madame’s pronouncements. Otherwise they stick to them pretty closely.

Here are the two lists presented side by side.


Ace: An important card, whose meaning is affected by its environment. Among hearts it implies love, friendship, and affection; with diamonds, money and new of distant friends; with clubs, festivities, and social or domestic rejoicing; with spades, disagreements, misunderstandings, contention, or misfortune; individually, it stands for the house.
Ace: A love letter, good news; reversed, a removal or a visit from a friend.

King: A good-hearted man, with strong affections, emotional, and given to rash judgments, possessing more zeal than discretion.
King: Fair man of generous disposition; reversed, a disappointing person.

Queen: A fair woman, loving and lovable, domesticated, prudent, and faithful.
Queen: Fair, good-natured woman; reversed, she has had an unhappy love affair.

Knave. Not endowed with any sex. Sometimes taken as Cupid; also as the best friend of the inquirer, or as a fair person’s thoughts. The cards on either side of the knave are indicative of the good or bad nature of its [his] intentions.
Knave: A young bachelor devoted to enjoyment; reversed, a military lover with a grievance.

Ten. A sign of good fortune. It implies a good heart, happiness, and the prospect of a large family. It counteracts bad cards and confirms good ones in its vicinity.
Ten: Antidote to bad cards; happiness and success; reversed, passing worries.

Nine. The wish card. It is the sign of riches, and of high social position accompanied by influence and esteem. It may be affected by the neighbourhood of bad cards.
Nine: The wish card, good luck; reversed, short sorrow (sorrow of short duration).

Eight. The pleasures of the table, convivial society. Another meaning implies love and marriage.
Eight: Thoughts of marriage, affections of a fair person; reversed, unresponsiveness.

Seven. A faithless, inconstant friend who may prove an enemy.
Seven: Calm content; reversed, boredom, satiety.

Six. A confiding nature, liberal, open-handed, and an easy prey for swindlers; courtship, and a possible proposal.

Five. Causeless jealousy in a person of weak, unsettled character.

Four. One who has remained single till middle life from being too hard to please.

Three. A warning card as to the possible results of the inquirer’s own want of prudence or tact.

Deuce. Prosperity and success in a measure dependent on the surrounding cards; endearments and wedding bells.


Ace. A ring or paper money.
Ace: A letter, an offer of marriage; reversed, evil tidings.

King. A fair man, with violent temper, and a vindictive obstinate turn of mind.
King: A very fair or white-haired man, a soldier by profession, and of a deceitful turn of mind; reversed, a treacherous schemer.

Queen. A fair woman, given to flirtation, fond of society and admiration.
Queen: A fair woman, given to gossip and wanting in refinement; reversed, rather a spiteful flirt.

Knave. A near relative who puts his own interests first, is self-opinionated, easily offended, and not always quite straight. It may mean a fair person’s thoughts.
Knave: Subordinate official, who is untrustworthy; reversed, a mischief-maker.

Ten. Plenty of money, a husband or wife from the country, and several children.
Ten: Travelling or a removal; reversed, ill-luck will attend the step.

Nine. This card is influenced by the one accompanying it; if the latter be a court card, the person referred to will have his capacities discounted by a restless, wandering disposition. It may imply a surprise connected with money, or in in conjunction with the eight of spades it signifies cross swords. (the crossing of swords?)
Nine: Vexation, hindrances; reversed, domestic wrangling, or disagreement between lovers.

Eight. A marriage late in life, which will probably be somewhat checkered.
Eight: Love passages (??); reversed, blighted affections.

Seven. This card has various meanings. It enjoins the need for careful action. It may imply a decrease in prosperity. Another reading connects it with uncharitable tongues.
Seven: Unkindly chaff, cynicism; reversed, stupid and unfounded slander.

Six. An early marriage and speedy widowhood. A warning with regard to second marriage is also included.

Five. To young married people this portends good children. In a general way it means unexpected news, or success in business enterprises.

Four. Breach of confidence. Troubles caused by inconstant friends, vexations, and disagreeableness.

Three. Legal and domestic quarrels, and probably unhappiness caused by wife’s or husband’s temper.

Deuce. An unsatisfactory love affair, awakening opposition from relatives or friends.


Ace. Wealth, a peaceful home, industry, and general prosperity.
Ace: Good luck, letters or papers relating to money, pleasant tidings; reversed, short-lived happiness, a tiresome correspondence.

King. A dark man of upright, high-minded nature, calculated to make an excellent husband, faithful and true in his affections.
King: A dark man, warm-hearted and true as a friend, straight in his dealings; reversed, good intentions frustrated.

Queen. A dark woman, with a trustful, affectionate disposition, with great charm for the opposite sex, and susceptible to male attractions.
Queen: A dark woman, loving but hasty, and bearing no malice; reversed, harassed [plagued] by jealousy.

Knave. A generous, trusty friend, who will take trouble on behalf of the inquirer. It may also mean a dark man’s thoughts.
Knave: A ready-witted young man, clever at his work and ardent in his love; reversed, irresponsible and fickle.

Ten. Riches suddenly acquired, probably through the death of a relative or friend.
Ten: Prosperity and luxury; reversed, a sea voyage.

Nine. Friction through opposition to wishes of friends.
Nine: An unlooked for inheritance, money acquired under a will; reversed, a small, friendly gift.

Eight. Love of money, and a passion for speculating.
Eight: Love of a dark man or woman which, if accepted and reciprocated, will bring joy and well-being; reversed, an unworthy affection calculated [guaranteed] to cause trouble.

Seven. Great happiness and good fortune.  If troubles come they will be caused by one of the opposite sex to the inquirer.
Seven: Trifling financial matters; reversed, money troubles.

Six. Success in business both for self and children.

Five. An advantageous marriage.

Four. A warning against falsehood and double-dealing.

Three. Two or possibly three marriages, with money.

Deuce. Care is needed to avert disappointment, and to avoid opposition.


Ace. It may concern love affairs, or convey a warning that troubles await the inquirer through bad speculations or ill-chosen friends.
Ace: Emotional enjoyment; reversed, news of a death, sorrow.

King. A dark man. Ambitious and successful in the highest walks of life.
King: A widower, an unscrupulous lawyer, impossible as a friend and dangerous as an enemy; reversed, the desire to work evil without the power [to do any].

As the Queen is almost without exception a widow so there is a strong likelihood that the King can on occasion represent a widower. A.T.
Queen. A widow, of malicious and unscrupulous nature, fond of scandal and open to bribes.
Queen: Widow, a very dark woman; reversed, an intriguing [i.e. given to intrigue], spiteful woman.

Knave. A well-meaning, inert person, unready in action though kindly in thought.
Knave: Legal or medical student, wanting in refinement of mind and manners; reversed, a treacherous character, fond of underhand measures.

Ten. An evil omen; grief or imprisonment. Has power to detract from the good signified by cards near it.
Ten: Grief, loss of freedom; reversed, passing trouble or illness.

Nine. An ill-fated card, meaning sickness, losses, troubles, and family dissentions.
Nine: A bad omen, news of failure or death; reversed, loss of one near and dear by death.

Eight. A warning with regard to any enterprise in hand. This card close to the inquirer means evil; also opposition from friends.
Eight: Coming illness; reversed, an engagement cancelled or a rejected proposal, dissipation.

Seven. Sorrow caused by the loss of a dear friend.
Seven: Everyday worries, or a resolve [resolution?] taken; reversed, silly stratagems in love-making.

Six. Hard work brings wealth and rest after toil.

Five. Bad temper and a tendency to interfere with the inquirer but happiness to be found in the chosen wife or husband.

Four. Illness and the need for great attention to business.

Three. A marriage that will be marred by the inconstancy of the inquirer’s wife or husband; or a journey.

Deuce. A removal, or possibly a death.

Cartomancy 101.17 – Do This Or Do That?

hearts_king_specialSometimes a problem is more complex than ‘Should I make this change to my life or stay as I am?’ The classic situation is a choice between two apparently equally alluring options – job A or job B, man X or man Y. When an inquirer has this kind choice to make, I lay out two Cross spreads next to one another; the first five cards dealt from the deck form the first spread, the next five cards constitute the second spread. Here is an example of a choice between two jobs. The inquirer had been interviewed by two companies and both had offered him a position. This left him, he felt, with the dilemma of which would be the best career-path for him to take.

The spread for Company A contained these cards:

Position 1: 9 of Hearts. Position 2: 7 Clubs.

Position 3: 2 Spades. Position 4: 7 Diamonds

Position 5: 8 Spades

Although the 9 of Hearts tells of a wish or dream fulfilled, we should not give it undue emphasis. It falls in the first position, which relates to the way the inquirer sees the situation. If we want to know how matters will proceed, we must look to the cards in positions 3, 4 and 5. The 9 of Hearts in position 1 reveals only that the inquirer sees the job offer as an opportunity to succeed.

The card in position 2 gives us two key issues to contemplate. On the one hand the 7 of Clubs indicates a change in the inquirer’s business situation. This may be a promotion, but moving over to work for a new employer fits the bill also. On the other hand the card is associated with relationship problems in the work environment. The first of these meanings we can consider valid in the context of the reading as the interpretation fits the prospective outcome, assuming the inquirer accepts the job offer from Company A. To ascertain the validity of the second meaning we must examine the other cards in the spread.

With the 2 of Spades falling in position 3, we can see the likelihood of the inquirer struggling to find his feet in Company A. But also he will encounter scandal and gossip, which, linked back to the 7 of Clubs’ second meaning suggests trouble with a female co-worker of a highly disruptive nature.

What are we to make, then, of the 7 of Diamonds in position 4? It denotes disagreements or contentious issues in the workplace, but the interpretation from the list informs us that such disagreements are ‘generally expected to be resolved happily’. In this instance the happy resolution is to be considered cancelled. The 7 of Diamonds is preceded by the bothersome 2 of Spades and followed by the disturbing 8 of Spades. The effect is the same as would be the case if the 7 of Diamonds was sandwiched between two Spade cards in a storybook spread.

The 8 of Spades in position 5, indicating the final outcome, tells its own sad story. The card forecasts trouble and disappointment for the inquirer, a period during which plans go awry and allies let one down. Worst of all, the keyword ‘cancellations’ is applied to this card, suggesting that, in a worst-case scenario, the inquirer might not keep his job.

This is the layout covering the offer from Company B.

Position 1: 10 Hearts. Position 2: Ace Clubs.

Position 3: 6 Spades. Position 4: King Hearts.

Position 5: Ace Hearts.

This spread immediately looks more hopeful: it contains three Hearts and two Aces, with Aces, so long as they are not reversed, signifying attainment.

The 10 of Hearts falls in position 1 and has much the same meaning as that borne by the 9 of Hearts which occupies the same position in the previous spread. It too must be treated with caution for, unless its promises are backed up by other cards in the spread, they may never attain substance outside the inquirer’s mind.

The rest of the indications are good, however, starting with the Ace of Clubs in position 2. It signifies prosperity and unexpected gain. It also signifies good luck in the venture inquired about. The next card, the 6 of Spades, supports these meanings, for it denotes small improvements and developments in the inquirer’s life.

The card in the fourth position is the King of Hearts. When a court card is encountered, it almost invariably indicates a person who will advance the inquirer’s hopes or attempt to frustrate them, according to the nature of the card. Therefore, our inquirer is counseled to be on the lookout for a fair-haired man with an even-handed nature, temperamentally warm-hearted but with a strong sense of justice. This man will be in a superior position to inquirer in the company’s hierarchy, and he is destined to play the part of good friend or mentor to the inquirer.

The final card hardly requires interpreting. The Ace of Hearts represents things like romance and a love letter, but these meanings do not apply to this reading. In the context of business, the Ace of Hearts signifies happiness, usually deriving from the inquirer’s attainment of some significant career goal, a change for the better.

Of the two job offers, that from Company B is to be preferred. But not all two spread readings work out that way. I have on my records two instances where the implications of spread A and spread B were almost equal, with one or the other winning by no more than a whisker. In one case, the inquirer worked for the British National Health Service. She wanted to know if would be more advantageous for her to accept a promotion at the hospital for which she was working and where she had been happy for the past six years or whether it would be in her better interests to accept a post in a hospital in the next county. The spreads showed a slight inclination towards the latter option. But I privately wondered if it would make any significant difference in the long run which option she chose.

She decided to go to the other hospital on the grounds that it was better for her to have as wide an experience as possible of how the Health Service ran in different areas. She kept in touch with me and I learned that, three years after moving to the second hospital, a prized administrative position was advertised at the hospital where the inquirer used to work. She applied for the job and found her old colleagues welcoming her back with open arms. Now, she was a good worker, efficient, unflappable and thorough, so she would probably have gotten the promotion anyway. However, I happen to believe that her decision was the right one, for she did return with a broader experience in fields such as man-management and good practice, giving her a more rounded perspective.

I just wanted to flag up the fact that a two spread reading doesn’t always give a clear cut answer. And sometimes less hangs in the balance than the inquirer imagines.

Cartomancy 101.16 – Making Decisions

The five card Cross spread is well-suited to questions involving decision making. The key to getting a clear answer is to ask a clear question. Take the example of Andrea (not her real name). She had long hankered after a certain type of job. It involved work in her area of expertize but of a more specialist kind than she was accustomed to handling. Andrea doubted whether she would even be considered for an interview and was agonizing over what she should do. The question, then, was: should she apply for this job or not? The cards that formed the spread were: –

Position 1: 9 Diamonds.  Position 2: 9 Spades.

Position 3: 4 Clubs reversed. Position 4: 8 Diamonds

Position 5: 10 Clubs

Note the presence of two cards from the suit of Diamonds and two from the suit of Clubs. They form a join majority of Diamonds and Clubs and describe the field of interest covered by the question, for the former touches on realized ambitions outside the sphere of home and family and the latter is associated with all types of advancement in a business setting.

The 9 of Diamonds in position one confirms that the question in revolves around the practical, mundane side of the inquirer’s life. Indeed, the card is wholly apposite as it denotes a new business opportunity. Its additional meanings – the possibility of travel or a change of residence and, from a psychological angle, an underlying restlessness disturbing the inquirer’s mind – we can put on the back burner while we examine the remaining cards in the reading.

Position two is held by the 9 of Spades. Although it is an unfortunate card, we must take into account the fact that if falls early on the reading and judge it in the light of what the cards in positions three, four and five have to say. As these are all positively oriented cards, the probability is that 9 of Spades refers to Andrea’s anxiety that she may not get as far as being offered an interview. In the context of the other omens in the spread, however, it is highly improbable that in this instance the 9 of Spades stands for ‘Bad luck in all things; destruction and the ruination of hopes.’

The 4 of Clubs occupies position three and when reversed it signifies success after setbacks. It is therefore a benign symbol and I advised Andrea (position three frequently refers to advice) to lay her fears aside and send off her application for this job.

A new job or at the very least a change to her job situation is promised by the 8 of Diamonds in position four, while the final card, the 10 of Clubs, forecasts success or good luck in business matters. One could predict that Andrea would either get the job she craved or that, in applying for that job, she would be giving Fate a nudge and by attracting the fickle goddess’s attention cause that august lady to smile upon her, realizing it was high time she splashed a drop or two of good luck in Andrea’s direction. My intuition told me she would secure her dream job, and so that is what I told her.

The first and last cards in the spread both reference travel. There can be times when a coincidence such as this means nothing. At other times it is most significant. Once again, my intuition said that the new job would involve a fair amount of travelling, and I shared that thought with Andrea too. She confirmed that, if she got the job, she would be visiting branches all over the country as a matter of course. If I had been in any doubt about Andrea securing the post, this information would have tipped the balance for me. As it was, my intuition had already spoken.

Two months later Andrea returned to tell me that she had got the job and had been working in her new position for a week, loving every minute. She thanked me for helping her to overcome her fears and make the decision to apply for the job. I, in turn, praised the cards and the versatile, no-nonsense five card Cross spread as an invaluable tool whenever choice lies at the heart of an inquirer’s question.

Cartomancy 101.15 – The Unrevealed Question

In my experience, a good many inquirers prefer not reveal the question they want the cards to answer. When that is the case, the Cross spread, consisting of five cards, can prove a useful tool.

I will describe one reading of this kind that I made to illustrate my point. The inquirer, whom I shall call Jeff, while admitting he had a problem, didn’t feel he could name his problem to me. Sometimes inquirers do this because they have a genuine phobia about revealing what is troubling them. Sometimes they see it as a test – If she can work out what my problem is, I might be willing to take notice of whatever else she says. It makes no odds to me what the motive is. Either way, I give it my best shot, and where I do get feedback (not all inquirers offer it), I’ve generally hit the bullseye, or somewhere very close to it. I advise you to adopt the same attitude.

Jeff, as I said, had a problem. And he wanted the cards to answer the question he had in his mind but couldn’t articulate. I used the Cross layout and the cards fell as follows:

cross 2 spreadPosition 1: 4 Diamonds.  Position 2: 7 Spades.

Position 3: 3 Hearts. Position 4: 2 Clubs reversed

Position 5: 2 Diamonds

On those occasions where the inquirer has chosen not to reveal their question to me, I look over the entire spread before speaking a word. This enables me to assess various possibilities and assemble a coherent scenario in my head. I went through this process with Jeff’s spread.

The card in position one indicates the way the inquirer sees his problem. Most often it will describe the form the problem takes – Hearts, love; Clubs, career; Diamonds, finances; Spades, misfortunes and hindrances. Jeff’s problem very likely concerns money as there is a Diamond card in first place. This interpretation   seemed even more probable to me because the suit of Diamonds predominates in the reading.

On the list, the meanings for the 7 of Spades, the card in position 2, are given as: ‘Loss of friendship or loss of a friend. An unexpected burden. A warning of losses and sorrow.’ I homed in on the two latter meanings. Jeff, I speculated in my head, had either suffered a financial loss recently or found himself saddled with an unexpected financial burden.

Moving to the next card, the 3 of Hearts, we may note that its meanings, according to the list, are: ‘Love and happiness when the entire spread is generally favorable. In a difficult spread, this card can indicate emotional problems and an inability to decide where to place one’s affections.’ However, we must adjust this delineation because the question is not about love or a relationship. Furthermore, we should take into account the opposing natures of Hearts and Diamonds. Hearts stand for a person’s domestic life, Diamonds for life outside the home, for the world of work and the earning of money. I imagined that Jeff’s financial problems, though they originated in ‘the world of work’, were having repercussions in his home life.

The 2 of Clubs falls in fourth place and is reversed. It indicates that for Jeff obstacles will be overcome, and his present disappointments put behind him. The advice the card are offering is: ‘Do not listen to tittle-tattle, for while the scuttlebutt may point in one direction, actual events will tend in another direction entirely.’

In fifth position lies the 2 of Diamonds, a portent of success. But since it is a card of low denomination it possibly points to a small success. Should we let that bother us? I would say: not in these circumstances. There are no cards in the reading higher than 7 and the problem itself is denoted by another card of low denomination, the 4 of Diamonds.

Having weighed up the pros and cons of the reading, I delivered my judgment of cards to Jeff. I began by stating that his problem appeared to revolve around money. Because the 4 of Diamonds represents monetary gain or an improvement in a person’s financial situation, I told Jeff that I could see he had been doing fairly well in that area, but that he had now hit an unexpected obstacle (7 Spades). I went on to say that the opportunity to earn some extra money would present itself. That was my interpretation of the 3 of Hearts (Hearts are associated with luck) followed by the 2 of Clubs (Clubs representing, as I said above, the world of work and the earning of money). The 2 of Clubs points to obstacles surmounted, but Clubs are cards of self-help, so Jeff will have to graft for the extra money. If he is willing to put in the effort, however, he can get himself out of the financial hole in which he now finds himself. I explained that he should not listen to rumors suggesting he wouldn’t be able to find more work, as those rumors were likely to be unsound.

Jeff then told me his story. He worked in the steel industry and had been receiving good pay with the opportunity to collect a sizeable bonus each month by working overtime. He had spent money assuming that his situation was fixed for the foreseeable future. A slump in the industry had ruined his plans. Overtime had been cancelled, leaving Jeff with a shortfall in his wage-packet and only just managing to keep up with his higher purchase agreements by drawing on the family’s meager savings. At the plant, there was talk of overtime being out of the question for another three months. Being a resourceful man, Jeff told me that, if the cards said there was money to be earned if he looked around for extra work, he would try for a part-time job that he could do in the hours he had previously allocated to overtime at the steel works. Although jobs in his area were scarce as hen’s teeth, Jeff went off feeling that, since the cards had promised it, he would find part-time work with little difficulty. In fact, once the initial three months period without overtime at the steel works was up, despite all the rumors to the contrary, overtime was reinstated. This happened a week or two after Jeff consulted me. Thus, his financial problems were solved at a stroke, and all in line with what the cards had predicted.

Cartomancy 101.14 – A Simple Positional Spread

positional spread is read by a method unlike that used to interpret the storybook spread. In a positional spread, one links a card’s meaning not to the card ahead of it but to the significance assigned to the position in which it is located. Below is the layout for a simple positional spread using five cards set out in the form of a cross.

equal armed cross spreadThe card falling in the first position (at the top of the cross) describes the way the inquirer sees the problem. The card in the second position (the bottom card in the diagram) reveals further details about the inquirer’s problem but from a more objective standpoint. The significance of these cards taken together generally sum up the degree of control the inquirer has over the situation in which she finds herself. Outside influences also need to be taken into account, naturally, and these are depicted by the card in position three. These outside influences may have a personal or impersonal source. A letter calling the inquirer to jury service comes from an impersonal source, as does a minor illness or a win on a lottery. The actions of someone known to the inquirer are often represented by a court card in this position, and the type of action by the suit of the card and whether it is upright or reversed.

Position four can relate to advice the cards want to offer the inquirer. At other times, the card in the fourth position describes a forthcoming event in much the same way that the card in position three does. The outcome – how things will turn out – is denoted by the card in position five, the central card in the diagram above. Occasionally – and particularly where the answer to the inquirer’s query is no – the card in the fourth position will deliver the bad news of the outcome and the card in position five will have something upbeat to add, along the lines of ‘better luck next time’ or ‘another, more attractive proposition lies ahead, so don’t feel too downcast that today’s answer was ‘no’.’

From my files, I’ve chosen a question pertaining to a new job the inquirer was hoping to attain within the organization for which she worked. She was an attractive, well-dressed woman in her early thirties. She told me that she worked in finance and was married. Having been with the company for five years, she felt ready for advancement and had applied for a position with more responsibility in-house. She had heard on the grapevine that this promotion was being hotly contested and this news had prompted her to come to me for a reading. What were her chances of securing the promotion?

She shuffled the deck; I cut it and dealt off the top five cards.

Position 1, 9 Diamonds. Position 2, Ace of Spades.
Position 3, Queen of Hearts reversedPosition 4, 8 Spades.
Position 5, 4 Hearts.

The spread is composed of two Hearts, two Spades and one Diamond. No suit predominates . . . but there is a lack, a missing element, and it is a significant one. There are no Club cards in the layout. The cartomancer can take this as a hint that matters to do with business are probably not well-starred for the inquirer at this time. The positive trend currently running in her life concerns the affections and the home (two Heart cards). There is also a negative trend associated with obstacles, setbacks and disappointed hopes (two Spade cards). This negative trend, in combination with the absence of any Club card, alerted me to the fact that the message in the cards was unlikely to be as cheery as the inquirer hoped.

In position one, we find the 9 of Diamonds. It represents new opportunities in business, and also a restless state of mind. (The card can show travel, too, but as this meaning is not backed by other factors in the reading, I discounted it.) The card in position one tells us what the inquirer thinks or feels about the problem inquired about. It can be extremely useful when the inquirer is reluctant to say what the problem is. Then, the 10 of Hearts falling in position one reveals that her concern is love, the 7 of Diamonds trouble with money, the Ace of Spades some specific misfortune.

When we already know the inquirer’s question, however, the card in the first position will usually simply confirm what we have been told. That’s what happens here. The inquirer wants to learn about the promotion she has applied for and is ready for change in the context of her professional life. We should read no more into the combination of card and position than that. The next four cards could be Spades or Diamonds in reverse, so we should make no predictions based on the significance of the card in position one until all elements in the spread have been considered.

The Ace of Spades, denoting misfortune and possibly an unhappy ending, lies in position two. It already begins to look as though the inquirer will not get her promotion, and with a reversed court card and another Spade to follow, I could be fairly certain by this point in the reading that her hopes were going to be dashed. Position two sheds light on the externals of the situation: not what the inquirer hopes will happen, but, often, the harsh realities in play. In terms of trends, this isn’t the moment for the inquirer to shine or to stand out in any favorable sense.

A fly in the ointment appears to be a female co-worker. The Queen of Hearts is in position three and she is reversed. In all probability this woman is big-hearted, dependable, sympathetic and genial, but for some reason she is not well-disposed towards the inquirer. The card being reversed also indicates that this woman represents a barrier to the inquirer’s hopes of promotion. When we discussed the spread later, the inquirer told me that I had described her boss, confiding that they had never got on from the minute they started working together. A recommendation from one’s superior was a vital element of the promotional process, and the inquirer felt that she would be given a less than glowing report by the woman she called Godzilla.

Of the various meanings assigned the 8 of Spades, the card in position four, I selected ‘disappointments’ and ‘plans not working out’ as the most appropriate to the scenario I was reviewing. The inquirer would naturally be disappointed when her plan to move ahead fell through.

The final card, in position five, is the 4 of Hearts, which can mean a change of home or changes in business. For the purposes of this reading the latter meaning is the most apposite. Because the card is upright I could predict a change for the better. I floated the idea that the inquirer might consider taking a position with another company. I was prompted to veer in this direction because another meaning for the preceding card, the 8 of Spades, is ‘trouble ahead’, suggesting that matters are likely to worsen for her at her present place of work. The inquirer agreed, saying that she had a premonition that her ‘good years’ with that company were over and that if she stayed she would enter a trough. She had applied for the vacant post because she felt the time was right for her to spread her wings and because she had ‘had a ball’, as she put it, during the five years she had worked for her present employers. If she didn’t get the promotion, she informed me in businesslike tones, she would apply for a job with a rival company. As I never saw her again, I can’t tell you how things turned out.


While the delineations above are not formed in the way they are for a storybook spread, there is an aspect of the storybook method that applies to positional readings. Its separate sections – the subjective and objective views of the problem, the outside influence, the advice and the outcome – do usually link together to form a narrative. When you first work with this spread, you may feel that you end up holding five disparate pieces of information that don’t easily arrange themselves into a rational storyline. If so, do your best to weld them into a unit, or if that is beyond your powers, into two or three units. Then wait for events to bring coherence to what at first felt like a jumble of unrelated data. Facility comes with practice, and without practice you won’t improve your cartomantic skills.

Cartomancy 101.13 – Contra-Indications in a Story

joker_museumInterpreting a run of cards all predicting good (or ill) fortune is hardly taxing. It is the mixture of significances, where blithely beneficent and darkly threatening omens alternate, that test the cartomancer’s powers. To illustrate the way such alternations may be approached, I have invented a spread out of my imagination that is full of contradictory implications. I have assembled the cards into a format one hardly ever sees in practice, where the meanings alternate throughout, a card of positive signification followed by one of negative signification, another that is positive, another negative and so on to the end. This gives me the opportunity to demonstrate the technique of interpreting contra-indications from several angles.

I am using the seven card storybook spread and I have invented an inquirer and assigned to her a question. As it is a question cartomancers are asked over and over again, study of this spread will be advantageous to students from that standpoint too. The preamble behind us, let us begin.

A female inquirer has met someone she describes as ‘the man of her dreams’. The relationship is in its early stages and the inquirer wants to know if matters will proceed along the lines she hopes they will. We will imagine that her spread reads thus:-

2 Hearts, Jack Diamonds, 7 Clubs, 5 Hearts, 10 Clubs, 7 Spades, 8 Diamonds

The 2 of Hearts right at the beginning of the spread describes the relationship as it stands at the time of the reading. It symbolizes success in love but, as it is a card of low number, it most often signifies small success.

The second card in the line points to a disruption of the status quo. The Jack of Diamonds has two possible meanings. It can represent a jealous young man who is not to be relied on, or it can indicate the bearer of distressing or discouraging news, though the news is unlikely to affect the inquirer’s situation significantly. It is up to the cartomancer to decide which of these alternatives pertains for any given reading. Let us assume that, for this spread, the cartomancer reads the Jack as the significator of a man whom the inquirer will find unreliable, and whose motivation is jealousy. A thumbnail sketch of the young man’s personality – a Diamonds-type – may allow the inquirer to identify him among her acquaintances.

Card number three is the 7 of Clubs, and according to the list of meanings, it is associated with some material success in business, possibly a raise or promotion. When the question is specifically about romance, one must adjust the given meaning so as to have it apply to matters of the heart. In this instance, then, the 7 of Clubs will forecast a much anticipated change taking place in the relationship. In other words the relationship will deepen.

The 7 of Clubs also speaks of problems initiated by a member of the opposite sex. Falling next to the Jack of Diamonds, it reinforces the Jack’s message that a young man from among the inquirer’s circle of friends will attempt to cause trouble for the lovebirds.

Nor does the step-change indicated by the 7 of Clubs (which probably coincides with the couple deciding to start dating seriously) see the inquirer onto a straight and obstacle-free path. The 5 of Hearts, the next card in the reading, stands not only for the kind of jealousy that is animating the Jack of Diamonds but also for a frosty and inharmonious atmosphere within which the inquirer will be forced to function.

Thankfully, this condition is short-lived. The next card is the 10 of Clubs, representing a much brighter phase in the inquirer’s life. We must modify the meaning of this card as we did that of the 7 of Clubs. On the list of meanings, the card is said to indicate success in business or good luck with money, but nothing is said about romance. Basically, the 10 of Clubs signifies success and/or good luck whatever type of question is asked. As we are dealing with a love query, the card represents success in a relationship, with the promise of a touch of good luck also.

Sadly, there is a downside. The 7 of Spades tells of the loss of a friendship. The young man denoted by the Jack of Diamonds, his nose well and truly out of joint, will decamp in search of fresh fields and pastures new.

The 8 of Diamonds is the last card in the lineup. Once again, we must adjust the meaning as given on the list. There it is said to signify a new job or a change of employment. In terms of romance, it can signify that momentous change from the single state to that of marital harmony, a fitting note on which to end the reading.

Essentially, we have been reading a story with two threads to it. The main thread told of the growing affection between the inquirer and the gentleman she is inquiring about. The subsidiary thread concerned a disaffected young man with a Diamonds-type personality who tried to stir up trouble for the couple, particularly for the inquirer. His machinations come to nothing and the lovers marry or start co-habiting. Out of the apparent jumble of meanings, the spread, when correctly interpreted, makes perfect sense.

Cartomancy 101.12 – Simple Storybook Spread

Shuffle and cut the cards. Deal off the top seven cards in a line from left to right as shown in the illustration.
story book spreadThis is a ‘storybook spread’. In this type of spread, the cards are read one at a time in the order in which they were laid down. Each card represents an event, and these events are assumed to occur in time in the order in which they appear in the spread. Be aware, however, that any two cards can combine so as to describe a single incident. For a woman hoping for news from her boyfriend, currently overseas, the Ace of Hearts next to any King will indicate that she may expect a loving letter from the gentleman. Whereas the Ace of Clubs reversed beside the 3 of Diamonds predicts the receipt of documents of a legal nature that will cause the inquirer some anxiety. It could be an official letter about unpaid parking tickets or, at the other end of the scale, it could be a letter from a legal representative threatening to sue for libel depending on the inquirer’s situation at the time of the reading, their standing in the community and other variables.

There is a skill to linking the seven cards together to produce a coherent story, and some readers are more adept at it than others. I will demonstrate the method by taking the first seven cards from the pack I have beside me. Before I do so I must think of a question. If one lays the cards out first, one might be tempted to frame the question to fit the implications one recognizes as being described in the cards the spread is composed of. I imagined a young man about to take on work in a distant town. He hopes to marry and wonders whether his lady-love will be willing to join him or whether her own career prospects will incline her to stay put. These are the cards I laid out.

10 Hearts, 9 Diamonds, Jack Spades, 3 Spades, 6 Clubs reversed, 7 Hearts, 8 Spades

As sometimes happens, the spread answers the inquirer’s question . . . but not in a way he was expecting.

Spades being in the majority flags up a warning. In relation to matters covered by the question asked, the inquirer is likely to suffer loss, worry, and a severance more permanent than the brief separation between himself and his girlfriend that he had in mind when he came for a reading. There might also be the possibility of some underhand dealing if the cards in the spread tend in that direction – which sadly in this case they do.

The first card, the 10 of Hearts, is a symbol of romance and deep emotion. Bear in mind, however, that it is the leading card in the spread. As such it tells us the starting position – and that only. Other cards in the reading will reveal whether or not the course of this young man’s love will run smoothly.

The first and second cards sum up between them what we have already been told by the inquirer. The 9 of Diamonds speaks of a business opportunity involving relocation. The 10 of Hearts stands for the woman he must leave behind. So far so true. But what is to come?

A false friend is revealed by the presence of the Jack of Spades, a young man who is not all he seems. His card falls next to another Spade card, the 3, denoting estrangement and a third party entering the picture, disrupting a relationship. This third party is described by the cards as having a predominantly Spade-type personality – reserved, self-contained and radiating energy, though his normal demeanor is one of measured, deliberate movement. (This is the Spade temperament with a dash of Diamond-nature, as the Jack has a Diamond card on one side, a Spade on the other. The Spade influence is the strongest because the Jack itself is from the suit of Spades.) Our description may enable the inquirer to identify the person represented by the Jack of Spades.

We should not be tempted to interpret the 6 of Clubs reversed as material ambitions quashed. The cards on either side obviously refer to the inquirer’s relationship with his girlfriend and so the 6 should be accepted as part of that scenario. It is the inquirer’s romantic aspirations that will be cast into the dust. The 7 of Hearts coming next tells of fickle affections – his lady-love will find consolation elsewhere while the inquirer is away attempting to lay a solid foundation for his career hopes. It is an old story, oft repeated, and neatly summed up in the meanings associated with the 8 of Spades: troubles, hopes disappointed, plans unraveling and friends who can’t be trusted.

Although I prefer not to end readings on a negative note, sometimes that isn’t possible where the answer to a question is an out and out ‘no’. Should an inquirer ask if she will be given a certain promotion, one possible answer to her question is ‘no’, plain and simple. As the focus of her attention is on the promotion, being told that she is about to inherit a sizeable amount of money or that the man of her dreams is about to walk into her life is unlikely to be seen as an acceptable consolation prize. Nevertheless, one should try to conclude on an upbeat note where possible. In a situation like that found in the example spread, the reader can draw a further card to take the story another step forward. I reached for my deck and dealt off one more card: the Ace of Hearts. The inquirer will find love and happiness once the incident with his current girlfriend has passed. We can leave him with that hopeful thought, at least.

As with the previous spread we studied, the middle card, the 3 of Spades, is crucial to the narrative the cards are spelling out, and the final card gives an overview of the whole story. With the seven card spread that pattern doesn’t always occur, but it occurs often enough, so keep an eye out for it.

There are two cards in the reading that can carry cheerier interpretations than those I’ve allowed them. I’ll explain the reasons for my decision to take the bleaker view of these cards. The 10 of Hearts is strongly beneficent. It stands for success in a general sense as well as love and ‘good fortune after difficulty’. Might this card’s influence not countermand that of the baleful omens in the spread, you might ask. No, it does not. The card’s perspective is backward looking; it relates to the past not the future. We might, therefore, use it to look at the inquirer’s past, in this instance his past before he entered the room seeking a card reading. The 10 of Hearts tells us that, at the present time, he is experiencing good fortune in love, though previously he has had only limited success with women.

Another card that can take on an upbeat significance in certain circumstances is the 7 of Hearts. The list tells us that it can sometimes indicate some small success or other. But it is not capable of doing that here, where it is trapped between the negatively oriented reversed 6 of Clubs and the 8 of Spades. As always in cartomancy, context is everything.

Cartomancy 101.11 – Summary

Let us make a tally of what has been learned so far.

spades_kingYou have learned the meanings of the fifty-two individual playing cards and how to shuffle and cut the deck. You also know what to do if two cards are dealt off together. You are aware that there are basically two kinds of spread, which I have called positional spreads and storybook spreads. You know what a significator is and how to choose one, and if you have studied the post on court cards you should have a good understanding of how those cards are to be interpreted. The subject of reversed cards has been reviewed. You have learned one particular spread, which you may have noticed contains elements of both the positional and storybook types of spread. And I hope you have experimented with this spread for yourself as well as extracting teaching from the expositions I have made of a short series of example readings.

With all this under your belt, you are ready to move on and learn a storybook spread. And this we will do once the holiday period is over. My other blog, on the Tarot, will continue for another week before taking a holiday break.