i'll never look at the symbol for cancer the same way again

Introduction to Cartomancy

What is Cartomancy?

Cartomancy is the act of divination with regular playing cards. It is similar to Taromancy in that respect but the meanings are different and each individual card has it’s own meaning. Cartomancy has existed for quite a long time, since about the 14th century.

What Is Required for Cartomancy?

A deck of cards only used for your work with no leisure activities involved and the willingness to learn the meaning of the cards and practice. You may want to get a deck that appeals to you in terms of how it feels in your hand and the design of it. There are many you can choose from!

Is It The Same As Tarot?

Yes and No. The meanings of tarot cards vs. cartomancy cards are entirely different and have their own meaning, so you can’t use the meaning of tarot cards to do a cartomancy reading or vice versa. Each style has their own uniqueness.

Can You Divine With Both Tarot and Playing Cards?

I don’t see why not. Depending on the situation, tarot cards might be better to use than playing cards and playing cards may be better to use than tarot cards. Work with different kinds to see which appeals to you.

Do Spreads For Cartomancy Work The Same As Tarot Spreads?

The structure is the same, yes. You can use one card for a quick reading, the Past-Present-Future Spread, and even The Celtic Cross Spread, you may also make your own spreads that appeal to you as well, as many card diviners do.

Can You Give Yourself a Reading?

Again, I don’t see why not. Starting out, I gave myself card readings to practice so it is a good way to begin before you start reading for others. 

How Do I Begin Cartomancy?

  • Find a deck that appeals to you via aesthetic and feel.
  • Learn, with time, the meaning of the cards. As you learn the cards, think of a key word that will make you remember the meaning of the card. The breakthrough to which will give you that meaning.
  • Cleanse and Bless that deck to give you accurate and insightful readings.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Become accustomed to your own handling of the cards. 
  • Never stop practicing and always refresh yourself on the meaning of the cards.
  • Remember to cleanse and bless your cards after numerous practice and readings.

Cleansing & Blessing Your Cards:

My method of cleansing and blessing my cards ‘ritually’ lies in rubbing my hands with florida water, lighting frankincense and cupping the cards in my hand, passing it through the smoke of the incense until I feel it is blessed and cleansed of previous energies.


Assemble a satchet that is slightly bigger than your deck of cards and place sage and camomile in said satchet, then place your deck of cards in said satchet if you take your cards on the go. You may put as many different blends of herbs in the satchet that suits your purpose.

Beware of…

Beware of those that are skeptical if you offer them a reading, and beware of those that will judge cruelly. I was known for giving readings to my friends for free and with that came backlash from a stranger, saying my satchet as mentioned above was ‘creepy’. Distance yourself from those people and stay strong!

Storing Away Your Cards For Later

You may use my method of assembling a satchet as I mentioned earlier to store your cards away, or place them– if you have one– in a proper card case that is clean.

The Suits and What They Represent:

Diamonds are representative of the Earth Element and the Zodiacs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. It represents romantic, financial and material relationships. They explain the now, the goals, and what a person must do to get where they want to go. It’s direction is North. Diamonds are representative of Spring.

Clubs are representative of the Fire Element and The Zodiacs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. It represents the root and sacral chakra which represent inspiration and positive life changes. As Fire is cleansing and all inspiring, you listen to your inspiration and desires. It’s Direction is South. Clubs are representative of Summer.

Hearts are representative of Water and the Zodiacs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.  It represents all the ways we feel and know. It can also stand for intuition and trust. It’s Direction is West. Hearts are representative of Autumn.

Spades are representative of Air and the Zodiacs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Spades are seen as genuinely ‘omens’– ones you need to look out for and warnings you must heed. It represents thought and memory as well as communication. Not all Spades are bad but most you need to keep a watchful eye on. It’s Direction is East.  Spades are representative of Winter.

Joker cards are usually not used in a deck, but has it’s representation. The Joker is a  character which includes all and nothing, seriousness and jokes, happiness and sorrow, wisdom and stupidity. A joker may symbolize the potential of a person which lies dormant and that isn’t fully matured. It can come off as childish innocence, deep wisdom, stupidity or naivety, but whatever shape it may come to be, it has the power to fool others and catch them off guard. The Joker usually means that there is a surprise in store for the Questioner as well, or a situation which was thought to be stable, may suddenly become unstable.

*If a Joker card finds it’s way into your deck even if you are certain you took it out, it may be very important for the reading you are doing.

[Information is from my own knowledge and pages from my grimore.]