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 101.7 – More on the Simple Spread

The simple spread we learnt in the last post can be used to answer questions such as: ‘In what direction is my love affair going?’, ‘What are my career prospects?’ or ‘What can I expect of the holiday in Sweden I’ve booked for myself?’

Here is an example of the spread used in this way. It comes from the notebook of a student of cartomancy, male, heterosexual. You need to know these facts as, had the inquirer been female or homosexual, the reading might well have suggested a romance rather than, as was the case, a friendship. From the account below, you will learn that the fourth card and the final card can each have an additional meaning. Recourse to these additional meanings can deepen your reading. The example demonstrates very well ways in which this can be done. Note it well.

One question I asked using this spread concerned attendance at a party. I had an uneasy feeling but was unsure whether this was due to a genuine intuition or a false one. The cards fell like this:-

5 Clubs       2 Hearts, Jack Clubs, 6 Diamonds, 5 Diamonds, Queen Hearts

No suit predominates but there are no Spade cards in the spread to darken its prevailing mood. Moreover, there are no reversals either. Taking account of all these factors, I felt that the party would, on the whole, be a pleasant experience for me.

Taking the cards one by one, they can read as follows:-

The meaning given to the 5 of Clubs is ‘A new friend or a successful marriage; alternatively, help from friends.’ Whichever card falls in the first place tends to denote the querent. We must, therefore, interpret this card in relation to the way I was feeling when I asked the question. I was unsure how well the party would go from a personal perspective. The 5 of Clubs indicates a friendly atmosphere and suggests that, if I did start to feel uncomfortable in the course of the evening, someone would intervene amiably and smooth things over. In addition, if other cards in the reading agree, I could make a new friend.

The 2 of Hearts has the significance: ‘Success and prosperity. Success in love or in business.’ Obviously, neither of these options apply in this instance, as the question is not about business or romance. In such a case, it is wise to fall back on the general meaning of the suit. Hearts signify, among other things, sociability and conviviality, all of which bodes well for a party atmosphere. Thus I assumed that, by and large, the evening would go off well.

The Jack of Clubs represents ‘a reliable friend or an admirer.’ The latter meaning does not apply in my case but I did make a new friend at this party (as hinted at also by the 5 of Clubs – see above).

The 6 of Diamonds falls at the heart of the subgroup of five cards, in position number four. The card in this position can indicate an anomaly, or some issue that needs to be cleared up before an equitable solution can be found to some problem or other. The meaning associated with the 6 of Diamonds is: ‘Relationship problems, arguments. Separation.’ A quarrel did break out at the party but it was quickly and deftly smoothed over by the hostess – as predicted by the remaining two cards.

The 5 of Diamonds denotes: ‘Happiness and success. A change for the better. A birth or good news concerning a child. A good time to start new projects.’ Most of these meanings do not apply. The one that does is: ‘A change for the better.’ A truce was arranged and happiness and amiability reigned at the party once more.

The Queen of Hearts is ‘a woman with a good nature; a kindly, trustworthy, affectionate female.’ This card represents the hostess, who was charming and urbane, and who separated the quarrelers, indicating firmly that she would not have her party disrupted.

We could also read the Queen of Hearts as a comment on the reading as a whole. As a Hearts card she is a good omen for a party going off well, with much good feeling or contentment and jolly socializing. Which, the single disturbance excepted, it did.

Cartomancy 101.5 – Court Cards & Significators

Court Cards
The court card meanings I have supplied you with are traditional. The coloring assigned to individual cards – a medium-fair woman, a dark-haired youth, and so on – were useful once. When I started to learn how to read the cards, these descriptions helped distinguish one person in the inquirer’s life from another. This was in a Britain where almost everyone was Caucasian and few women dyed their hair. Things are different today. I would suggest you discard the parts of the descriptions relating to coloring and concentrate on the descriptions of personality and other indicators given. The Jack of Clubs, for instance, can indicate an admirer for a female inquirer. If upright, his intentions will be honorable but if reversed he may play the lady false. The King of Diamonds is a man of influence, which he may use to aid the inquirer’s interests should the card be upright or to block their progress should it be reversed.

Familiarize yourself with the temperaments or personality types associated with the suits as this will stand you in good stead when you come to interpreting the court cards in a reading.

Temperaments of the Suits
Hearts denote persons of affectionate disposition, home-loving and genial, fond of entertaining, given to hospitality, sympathetic, but sometimes weak and pliable.

Clubs denote persons of constancy, reliability, integrity. They are generally intellectual, or follow pursuits that are mental. Even when not an out-and-out intellectual, a Club person will be a good speaker, clever with words, often blessed with the power of persuasion.

Diamonds indicate persons bright and breezy in their approach to life, with buoyant, optimistic outlooks, but easily distracted. They incline to inconstancy, following one fad after another. They are hardly to be depended upon, yet are often inspiring to others.

Spades show persons with melancholy minds, reserved, introverted, self-contained. Some Spades subjects are quietly persevering; others are easily discouraged and give up on projects or ambitions at the first sign of serious opposition.

Interpreting the Court Cards
The courts can be interpreted in a variety of ways. On our list, the Queen of Spades has the meaning: “A very dark-haired woman. A widowed or divorced woman. An unscrupulous woman.” For reasons already discussed, we can set aside the first of these. In its place, we can rely on the Spades temperament as a basis for the Queen’s description. That would make her reserved, self-contained, possibly hard to fathom. The second meaning of the card makes the Queen a widow or divorcee. This may help identify her to the inquirer. Where the card is upright, the woman denoted by the Queen of Spades will further the inquirer’s aims or be supportive of them. The third meaning, “an unscrupulous woman”, may point to an individual who will damage the inquirer’s cause; as such she is not to be trusted. At times, the card-reader’s intuition will indicate when the third meaning comes into play. For those lacking in intuition, the best way of assessing the card is through the signification of other cards in its vicinity. Trapped between the 5 of Hearts (Jealousy) and the 2 of Clubs (Malicious gossip), we see the Queen of Spades functioning as a deceitful woman whose envy prompts her to spread untruths intended to harm the inquirer’s prospects.

Apply this principle to the interpretation of all court cards. As a further example, I will treat the Jack of Diamonds in the same manner as the Queen of Spades has been treated above. The card has three distinct meanings: “A medium-fair youth. A person who brings news, possibly negative, but if so of relatively minor importance. Alternatively, a jealous person who may be unreliable.” Which of these meaning should we choose when the card comes out in a reading? At times it can simply represent a person in a neutral sense. When this is the case, the cards around it will signify events happening to, or concerning, that person. We can ignore the “medium-fair” part of the description but the card will stand for a young person, a child or a teenager, who may be male or female. Sandwiched between the 8 and 7 of Hearts, the Jack of Diamonds might indicate that a young person with a Diamonds-type personality will be coming to stay with the inquirer. (8 Hearts: an unexpected visitor.) The young guest’s attitude toward the inquirer may fluctuate – 7 Hearts: someone with fickle affections. This may be due to any number of reasons, including, with an adolescent, hormonal changes.

(In practice, the cards would be read in order: 8 of Hearts, an unexpected visitor; Jack of Diamonds, the visitor will be a child or young adult who is naturally of a hopeful disposition but finds it hard to concentrate; 7 of Hearts, the visitor is likely to prove something of a handful. However, she (or he) is essentially good-natured (as the Jack has Heart cards either side of him) and so any playing-up will be due to outside factors, such as the young person finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings or being separated from their customary playmates/associates.)

Put the Jack of Diamonds between a reversed Ace of Clubs and the 3 of Diamonds and the cards tell another story entirely. Now the Jack is a messenger (see above) and he brings disturbing news. (Ace of Clubs reversed: unsettling communications.) His message may start, or exacerbate, a dispute or it may concern threatened legal proceedings. (3 Diamonds: contention, quarrels, and potential lawsuits.)

The third possible meaning the Jack of Diamonds can bear is: “a jealous person who may be unreliable.” This aspect would be accentuated were the Jack to stand between the 8 of Clubs and the 8 of Spades. The former underlines the “jealousy” aspect while also encompassing “opposition” and “disappointment”. That is to say: the Jack’s jealousy prompts him to oppose the inquirer’s aims in some way. This leads to disappointment for the inquirer. All of which is backed up by the testimony of the 8 of Spades, forecasting trouble and disappointment, plans going awry and being let down by a supposèd friend. (Note the recurring themes. Where two cards agree, as they do here on “jealousy”, the likelihood of this meaning being relevant is increased.)

Keep these illustrations in mind when we come to try our hands at reading an actual spread.

The Significator
In the parlance of cartomancy, the card that stands for the inquirer is called the Significator. A male inquirer will be represented by a King, a female inquirer by a Queen. Adolescents and the very young are indicated by one or other of the Jacks.

Choose as significator the card that best describes the person wanting to have their cards read. If the inquirer is a genial woman with an attractive personality who is fond of socializing, her significator will be the Queen of Hearts. In which case her spouse or partner will be represented by the King of Hearts no matter what his personality-type is. The King of Diamonds appearing in this lady’s spread denotes a man other than her husband/partner. The same for the other two Kings.

By the same token, a male inquirer who is reliable and something of an intellectual will take the King of Clubs as his significator. His wife/fiancée/whatever will be represented by the Queen of Clubs, again no matter what type of personality the lady actually possesses. Should the Queen of Spades be part of this man’s reading, the card denotes a woman who is not his wife or partner. The implied connection does not have to be romantic, of course. The Queen of Spades could stand for a business associate. Everything depends on the question asked and the tone of the other cards making up the reading. Thus when the Queen of Spades stands between the 3 and 5 of Clubs, a clear scenario emerges. This Queen is likely to be a firm friend (5 of Clubs); the more so because the cards either side of her are from the suit of Clubs. There is no more reliable or honest individual than the Club person. The card on the Queen’s other flank is the 3 of Clubs whose meanings are wholly positive, even when the card is reversed. The picture we are presented with is of an amiable, reliable woman who may help with business dealings (being as the 3 of Clubs is associated with “a favorable long-term proposition” or “a second chance” where financial matters are concerned).

General Suit Significance
Before we make a start on some actual readings, it is worth bearing the following in mind. A preponderance of one particular suit in a spread carries a message of its own. Diamonds accelerate the fulfillment of events signified in the reading. Spades invariably delay it. Clubs, with their special reference to ability and merit, intimate that the fulfillment of events signified in the reading is dependent on the inquirer’s innate talents and the extent to which they are directed by will-power. Hearts are associated with affection and favor. When this suit is in the majority, events are most often fulfilled due to the inquirer receiving assistance from those who love them – friends and family – or from a superior or person of influence who has taken a shine to them.

In an earlier post, it was stated that the suit of Clubs signified success with money or in business. This is not at odds with what is written above because success of that sort will be rooted in competence, proficiency and merit. A preponderance of Clubs in a spread points to one who ‘makes their own luck’. A preponderance of Hearts indicates the person to whom luck happens, sometimes providentially but usually through the medium of other people.

Cartomancy 101.4 – Suit of Spades


Ace of Spades: Misfortune. The card is sometimes associated with death or, more often, a difficult ending. Reversed: Serious misfortune, loss of something or someone dear to the inquirer.

King of Spades: A very dark-haired man. An ambitious man, perhaps self-serving. Reversed: He is the inquirer’s enemy or rival.

Queen of Spades: A very dark-haired woman. A widowed or divorced woman. An unscrupulous woman. Reversed: Plots and scandal.

Jack of Spades: A very dark-haired youth. A spiteful and prying young person, who only pretends to be a friend.

10 of Spades: Misfortune and worry. Unwelcome news. Reversed: Sickness, mourning.

9 of Spades: Bad luck in all things. Destruction, ruined hopes; death. Depression and low energy. Extreme anxiety. The same when reversed.

8 of Spades: Trouble and disappointment ahead. Plans go awry. Friends let you down. Cancellations. Reversed: A still more serious state of affairs – deceit, plots, even immorality.

7 of Spades: Loss of friendship or loss of a friend. An unexpected burden. A warning of losses and sorrow. Reversed: Accident or upset.

6 of Spades: Small changes and improvements. Reversed: Bigger changes, significant improvements.

5 of Spades: Reverses and anxieties, but eventual success. Reversed: Eventual success is not guaranteed.

4 of Spades: Illness. Business or money worries. Broken promises. Reversed: A turn of events for the better.

3 of Spades: Severance or separation in love or marriage. Sometimes indicates a third person intruding on a relationship. Reversed: Confusion; a confused situation or confusion of mind.

2 of Spades: Separation, scandal, gossip and deceit. Difficult changes. Reversed: An uncongenial atmosphere.

Cartomancy 101.3 – Suit of Diamonds


Ace of Diamonds: Change; a message, often about money, and usually good news. Reversed: Unless between very unfortunate cards, the meaning remains the same.

King of Diamonds: A medium-fair man. A man of authority, status, or influence. Reversed: He is no friend to the inquirer.

Queen of Diamonds: A medium-fair woman. She is enterprising and vivacious. Reversed: She is flirtatious.

Jack of Diamonds: A medium-fair youth. A person who brings news, possibly negative, but if so of relatively minor importance. Alternatively, a jealous person who may be unreliable.

10 of Diamonds: A change in financial status, often for the better. Reversed: A journey.

9 of Diamonds: New business opportunities. Travel; restlessness; a change of residence. Reversed: Troubled journeys, delays.

8 of Diamonds: New job or change in job situation. Reversed: Spite, rebuff, insult.

7 of Diamonds: An argument concerning finances, or on the job. Generally expected to be resolved happily. Reversed: Financial worries.

6 of Diamonds: Relationship problems, arguments. Separation.

5 of Diamonds: Happiness and success. A change for the better. A birth or good news concerning a child. A good time to start new projects. Reversed: Profligacy, extravagance.

4 of Diamonds: An inheritance. Improvements in finances. Reversed: Socializing, happiness.

3 of Diamonds: Disputes, quarrels, and potential lawsuits.

2 of Diamonds: A happy card of good fortune in both love and business. Reversed: A surprise that may be welcomed or not according to the tenor of other cards in the vicinity.

Cartomancy 101.2 – Suit of Clubs


Ace of Clubs: Wealth, prosperity, unexpected money or gain. Letters, papers, luck. However, in a difficult spread, any money coming in may disappear as quickly as it appears. Reversed: Delayed letters, unsettling communications.

King of Clubs: A dark-haired, kind-hearted man. An honest, generous and affectionate man. Reversed: He is worried or depressed.

Queen of Clubs: A dark-haired, self-confident woman. She is occasionally temperamental, but can always be relied upon to be loyal in love and in friendship. Reversed: She may be responsible for some setback or disappointment for the inquirer, sometimes in an oblique or accidental way.

Jack of Clubs: A dark-haired youth.  A reliable friend. Can also indicate an admirer.

10 of Clubs: Business success. Good luck with money. Travel abroad. Reversed: Distant travel.

9 of Clubs: Achievement; sometimes a wealthy marriage or a sudden windfall or legacy. Reversed: Financial assistance does not materialize.

8 of Clubs: Trouble in relationships, business and personal. Jealousy, opposition, disappointment. Same meaning either way up.

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. Reversed: Work-related worries.

6 of Clubs: Financial aid or success. Reversed: Ambitions thwarted.

5 of Clubs: A new friend or a successful marriage. Help from friends. Reversed: The law, legal proceedings.

4 of Clubs: Fortunes changing for the worse. Danger, a sudden misfortune or failure. Reversed: Success after failure or discouragement.

3 of Clubs: Love and happiness; a successful marriage; a favorable long-term proposition. A second chance, particularly in an economic sense. Reversed: Elevation, going up in the world.

2 of Clubs: Obstacles to success; disappointments and opposition. Malicious gossip. Reversed: Obstacles surmounted.

Cartomancy 101.1 – Suit of Hearts

We must next look at the meanings of the individual cards. In coming posts I will set out the meanings of all 52 cards for use in divination.

These will be the meanings I use myself. I claim no primacy for them. There are umpteen sets of meanings in existence, a good many of them available through the Internet. As far as I can tell, one set of meanings is as good as any other. The point for beginners to grasp is this. Choose one set of meanings and stick to it. Do not chop and change as by doing so you risk confusing yourself. Do not bother your head about which set of meanings is right or will give more accurate results than the others. No ‘right’ set of meanings exist. If you have any talent for cartomancy, you will gain solid results even if you are using a list of meanings that has been put together in a ham-fisted way. The magic ingredient lies within you; it is not in the cards. They only act as a catalyst for your own inborn talent to divine future trends.


Ace of Hearts: The home, a love letter. Love and happiness. This card is a particularly favorable one, indicating the passing of troubles or problems. Reversed: A change of residence.

King of Hearts: A fair-haired man with a good nature. A just man, noted for his fair play and generosity. Reversed: He is fickle.

Queen of Hearts: A fair-haired woman with a good nature. A kindly, trustworthy, affectionate woman. Reversed: She is revengeful.

Jack of Hearts: A fair-haired youth. A close friend. Often points to a younger admirer.

10 of Hearts: Great affection; success. This is an important card that suggests good fortune after difficulty. Reversed: A birth or a change of direction that will ultimately benefit the inquirer.

9 of Hearts: A wish or dream fulfilled. Look to the card immediately preceding this one to determine what it is the inquirer desires. Success. Reversed: Success is to be expected but it is likely to be delayed.

8 of Hearts: An unexpected gift or visit (or you yourself receive visitors to your home); an invitation to a party or function.

7 of Hearts: Someone whose interest in you is unreliable; someone with fickle affections for you. This card can indicate lovesickness. In certain combinations, the card may signify a small success.

6 of Hearts: Unexpected good luck. Someone takes care of you, or takes warm interest in you.

5 of Hearts: Jealousy; some ill-will from people around you.

4 of Hearts: Travel; change of home or in business. Reversed: Discontent – a desire for change that cannot at this time be realized.

3 of Hearts: 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.

2 of Hearts: Success and prosperity. Success in love or in business. An engagement or partnership. Reversed: Opposition. Either opposition to success in business or to a burgeoning relationship.