Understanding Cartomancy

Understanding Cartomancy

Cartomancy is divination that is done with a standard deck of playing cards.  Dating back to 10th century China this practice spread along the Silk Road into the Middle East and then across Europe in the 14th century due the influence of the gypsies.  These gypsy “seekers” became skilled at readings and helped countless of people stuck at a crossroads in their life.

Few people today understand that as they play Bridge, Poker, Blackjack or Go Fish, they are using the original tart deck.  In the Middle East, playing cards were call “Mamluk,” and the suits we know as Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades correlate to the elements of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.  In a deck of 52 cards, there are less images than in the ensuing tarot cards.

Card Spreads

Cartomancy can be read in an array of layouts or spreads.  You can have quick simple reading, or a longer and more nuanced reading.  Each card contains a special meaning and when revealed in a spread produce a deeper interpretation.

  • Single Cards = “Quick Answers.”
  • 3 Card Spread = “Past, Present, Future”
  • 9 Card Spread, 3 Rows = “Past, Present, and Future Layers.”
  • 21 Card Spread (3 Rows of 7 Cards) = “Gypsy Spider Web.”

How to Interpret

There are a number of layouts one can use for a myriad of readings.  Readers much understand both the surface meanings of each cards, more nuanced lessons when they appear in certain places in the reading, and how to relayed messages from the spirit realm.

4 Suits:

  • Hearts: issues of the heart and home.
  • Diamonds: issues of work and external affairs.
  • Clubs: issues pertaining to money and finances.
  • Spades: indicate hurdles you must overcome to find success.


  • Ace:  Love. Joy. Home. Friendship.  The blush of new romance.
  • Two:  Prosperity. Success. Union.
  • Three:  Time to pump the breaks and be more cautious.
  • Four:  Transition. Travel in the form of a trip or move.  Second chance at love.
  • Five:  Jealousy people are nearby.  Make informed decisions.
  • Six:  A happy coincidence. Unexpected blessings in love or life.
  • Seven:  Someone may betray you.  Keep your eyes open to avoid broken promises.
  • Eight:  Time for gathering.  Expect an invitation or visit.
  • Nine:  Universal YES!  You will see your desires achieved.
  • Ten:  Ample blessings, joy, health and good luck.

The Royal Image cards signify important people.  They may identify a key person in your life.

  • Jack: Younger person who is happy and blonde. A dear friend.
  • Queen: An amicable woman with fair hair.
  • King: A receptive who freely gives helpful advice.


  • Ace:  A gift, possibly jewelry, especially a ring.  Receiving financial information.
  • Two:  Forbidden love affair.  Tension between business partners.
  • Three:  Legal issues. Fighting between family members.
  • Four:  Financial gain like an inheritance.
  • Five: Success in business and family.
  • Six:  Problems with relationships, especially a second marriage.
  • Seven:  Surprises.  Trouble at work, or unexpected gifts.
  • Eight:  Late in “season” surprises. Late in life family.  Winter vacation. Inheritance.
  • Nine:  Money surprises.  Business growth.  Desire for new opportunities.
  • Ten:  Money. Travel. Blessing entering your life.
  • Jack:  Young family member.  Blonde, but unreliable or untrustworthy.
  • Queen:  Female socialite.  Blonde, attractive and flirty woman.
  • King:  Influential, yet obstinate blonde man.


  • Ace:  Ample health, wealth, and mirth.  News about money.
  • Two:  Two-faced. Disagreeable. Opposition.
  • Three:  Union with a wealthy partner.  Marrying into an affluent family.
  • Four:  Devesting changes including lies and betrayal.
  • Five:  New relationships.  Loved ones helping you find success.
  • Six:  Business success. Getting financial aid leading to self-growth.
  • Seven:  Prosperity and success.  Be wary of troublesome members of the opposite sex.
  • Eight:  Trouble with business and personal relationships.  Jealousy and greed around you.
  • Nine:  Achievements.  Attracting new suitors.  Don’t be stubborn.
  • Ten:  Unexpected money and blessings.  Foreign travel.
  • Jack:  Young reliable person. A dark-haired friend.
  • Queen:  Attractive, self-assured dark-haired woman.
  • King:  Honest, loving, generous dark-haired man.


  • Ace:  Obsession, conflict.  Transition.
  • Two:  Separation due to betrayal.  Difficult adjustments.
  • Three:  Fractured unions.  Sudden departures.
  • Four:  Illness.  Trouble with business or money. Broken promises.
  • Five:  Prepare for tension in your home.  Reversals of fortune that will be resolved.
  • Six:  Small steps forward. Minor victories.
  • Seven:  Ending a friendship. Unexpected burdens or loss.
  • Eight:  Troubles and disappointments.  Unsuccessful plans. Cancellation.
  • Nine:  Bad luck abounds.  Depression, anxiety, and low energy.  Destruction.
  • Ten:  Misfortune and worry. Imprisonment. Negative news.
  • Jack:  A well-intentioned but unreliable dark-haired youth.
  • Queen:  A corrupt and dark-haired widow.
  • King:  An ambitious and imposing dark-haired man.

New developments. Risky. Novel beginnings.

Interpreting the shuffle and cut

Notice how the seeker shuffles the deck and cuts the cards.  Every person has a unique style and can differ between readings.  People who shuffle very little are more apt to desire questions to posed quickly.  People who shuffle more are more deliberate are looking for long-term guidance.

Cards accidentally turned during shuffling, have “reversed” meanings in the reading.  If a card falls out of the deck during shuffling, it means it is important.

Many readers ask the “seeker” to divide the cards into piles before they create the spread.  If someone makes very small piles, they may be reluctant to do a reading.  This also may signal a hesitancy to reveal too much of themselves.  They may be resistant to hearing true answers.

Outgoing people typically push the cards towards the reader.  Shy people draw them close to themselves after the cut.  Complicated or disorganized people use 3 or more piles.

The specific meanings of each card and the way they are cut before layout is only the beginning.  The real power rest in the reader’s intuition. If you are a reader be confident in your instincts, your first thoughts are typically the most correct.

About Ruth Delossantos

Psychic Cards Blog Moderator

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