Cartomancy refers to the form of divination achieved through reading cards. It is an ancient practice and although there are conflicting opinions as to the origin of the practice, many believe that this divination practice was popular in ancient China, India, Persia and Egypt. In Europe, cartomancy reading has remained popular since the middle ages. At first, readings were done using regular playing card decks. However, over time, different methods have emerged along with their corresponding decks and their array of symbolisms.
Today, some of the popular cartomancy systems include Tarot, Oracle cards, Lenormand, Kipper and others. For all that though, the practice of making predictions using regular playing decks hasn’t fallen entirely out of fashion, either.
Cartomancy Reading: Source of Knowledge
As many other forms of divination, card reading is often seen as an occult practice. Different readers or psychics have different ideas about how cards are dealt in an order that addresses a particular situation (the question, concern, or difficulties of the subject). Some believe that a spiritual force or a supernatural agency (or God if you like) is in play during a card reading session.
However, there are others who are of the opinion that the cards do not contain any innate power at all, but act as a trigger for the psychic’s intuitive talent and his ability to comprehend a subject’s situation and thus arrive at an interpretation that is relevant to the subject’s query. There are also talks about a psychic’s ability to tap into a “universal wisdom”, “collective consciousness”, etc.
And then there are readers who acknowledge that they have little idea of exactly how a card spread works and so they refrain from proffering any explanation at all. All the same, based on their experience, they affirm that card reading DOES work as an effective form of divination.
Now, anybody willing to learn cartomancy must first decide what form or subset of cartomancy he wants to learn. Of all card reading decks, Tarot is arguably the most popular and as such, it often becomes an obvious choice for amateur or aspiring cartomancers.
There is nothing wrong with that, either. Moreover, the popularity of tarot ensures that you have enough easily accessible information on the subject that can aid your learning. However, one must also take into consideration the fact that a tarot deck (consisting of 78 cards) and the meanings and symbolisms of its various cards are more difficult to master compared to some other decks, the Lenormand, for example.
A Lenormand deck consists of 36 cards and the imageries contained in the cards are more simple and straightforward compared to tarot card imageries (especially those belonging to the Major Arcana section). It is often said that individual Lenormand cards can be treated as words and a spread or a chain of cards as an individual sentence.
Take the card House (4th card in a Lenormand deck) for example. Now, think about the ideas that may emerge by association with the concept of ‘house,’ such as family, home, home country; order, regularity, tradition, conventionality, conservatism; intimacy, familiarity, settling down; fear of the new or the innovative, Xenophobia, inflexibility; etc.
Now, you can use all these different associations or ideas as ‘Keywords’ for the card House and depending on the subject or the seeker’s context, interpret the card when it appears as part of a spread or singly. For example, if the card comes paired with the card Ship (3rd card in Lenormand), the House-Ship combination may mean moving to a different place or the necessity to do so; imminent loss of family member; inability to commit to responsibilities; conflict between the comfort of a home life and a desire to explore the unknown; and so on.
So, you can see that although the Lenormand cards are apparently straightforward in their meanings, there is enough room for flexibility. And everyone who is serious about mastering the art of cartomancy must cultivate one’s flexibility of mind. And this will stand one in good stead no matter what form of cartomancy one chooses to practice in future (Tarot, Kipper, Oracle cards and else).
Learning Divination Using Playing Cards
For many centuries, cartomancy in Europe was practised using playing cards alone and as a beginner, regular playing decks can act as a good tool to hone your cartomancer skills. In fact, as we’ll find later in the article, the four suits of playing card decks correspond in meaning to the four suits found in the Minor Arcana of a Tarot deck. The court cards, the aces and the cards 7-10 also contain special meanings and familiarizing yourself with this system and deriving cartomancy meanings from it will help you if in future you want to master the art of tarot reading.
Lenormand Tarot Spreads
In a Lenormand reading, readers commonly use four different spreads. These are:
Decision-making: This spread consists of 7 cards. The cards 1, 3, and 5 in the spread offer clues to future potentials or possible outcomes whereas the cards 2, 4, and 6 provide clues as to what might occur should you get a negative response to your query. However, the most important card in this spread is the 7th card that represents the main influence or theme of the query.
Three Cards: The three cards drawn in this combination suggest temporal development—the past, the present and the future of a particular person or event.
The Cross: This is a 4-card spread where the cards 1 to 4 represent the Theme, the Right way, the Wrong Way and the Destination, respectively.
Grand Tableau: This is the most complex Lenormand spread where all 36 cards are used for purposes of interpretation. The cards are either laid out in a simple 4 x 9 grid or sometimes, in a 4 X 8 grid with the last row making place for the extra four cards.
Apart from these spreads, just as in Tarot, Lenormand cards are also drawn singly for monthly, weekly or daily consultations.
Tarot Card Decks
When it comes to tarot decks, many readers also prefer to put special emphasis on choosing the right deck for oneself. No matter whether you are an expert or an amateur psychic, it is said that all tarot readers must feel a personal connection with one’s own deck and draw special energy from it.
As for different tarot decks, there are many varieties available in the market. Most decks come with traditional imageries but some also include pop culture or other trendy imageries, especially in the Minor Arcana section. There are also thicker and slimmer decks as well as oversized decks, normal decks or travel sized decks. Just choose one you feel comfortable with.