I thought it might be helpful to take another look at my thought process for evaluating the court cards in a cartomancy reading. I have already posted several articles on how to read the face… More
In traditional cartomancy, the Ace of Clubs is the card of marriage. In olden days, marriages were often arranged based on money and prestige. You could lift your social status by marrying your daughter off to noble family, or to a wealthy landowner. In many cultures the girl was expected to bring along a dowry as well, to add to the husband’s holdings. Based on the marriage contract she was usually considered to be the property of her new husband.
Today very few marriage are arranged this way in the western world. It is perhaps for this reason that the Ace of Clubs in modern cartomancy has lost the meaning of marriage. These days, most marriages are based on love, and may be better represented by cards in the suit of Hearts.
The Ace of Clubs does retain its meaning as a “binding contract.” The primary meanings for this card include important papers, a legal document, and a contract to be signed. With the Ace of Hearts, the Ace of Clubs can denote a contract to buy or sell a home. With the 10 of Clubs, it would show signing papers on a business. With the 2 of Hearts, representing a child, it would show a legal adoption.
The Ace of Clubs also retains the meaning of “property,” and it’s the card that represents “a building” in Modern Cartomancy. The Ace of Hearts is the home, but the Ace of Clubs can represent anything from a friend’s house, to the workplace, to a commercial establishment, to a large institution.
Here are a few fun combinations to consider…
Ace of Clubs + 2 of Hearts = elementary school, nursery school, or dance studio
Ace of Clubs + 3 of Hearts = beauty salon, flower shop
Ace of Clubs + 5 of Hearts = furniture store, clothing store, department store
Ace of Clubs + 4 of Spades = a hospital, or jail
Ace of Clubs + 7 of Spades = a bar (with the 2 of Hearts to show dancing = nightclub)
Ace of Clubs + 8 of Spades = doctor’s office, dentists office, medical clinic
Ace of Clubs + King of Spades + any other King = police station, also joining the military
Ace of Clubs + Ace of Diamonds = the post office
Ace of Clubs + 2 of Diamonds = a restaurant
Ace of Clubs + 4 of Diamonds = a bank
Ace of Clubs + 5 of Diamonds = the courthouse, shopping center
Ace of Clubs + King of Diamonds = a college or university
Ace of Clubs + 3 of Clubs = garden center, barbershop
Ace of Clubs + 6 of Clubs = a bookstore, a factory (manufacturing plant)
Ace of Clubs + 7 of Clubs = a shoe store
Ace of Clubs + 8 of Clubs = the building where you work
Ace of Clubs + 9 of Clubs = a passport, but it can also represent a hotel
Ace of Clubs + 4 of Clubs = a car garage
Another way to look at it would be to consider that the Ace of Clubs refers to a service organization, whether it’s a retail shop or a large corporation or a staunch institution. In fact, this card can even represent the military. Two Kings falling together would generally indicate a police officer. If the Ace of Clubs is nearby, the combination could refer to a soldier. The combination Any King + King Spades + 4 of Spades would show someone being arrested. The combination Any King + King of Spades + Ace of Clubs would show someone joining the military. If the Ace of Clubs falls first, it would show being conscripted into the military. The King of Spades must appear in the combination to show “duty.” Queens in place of the Kings would indicate that it’s a female.
The Ace of Clubs can represent a legal will, and it can also represent one’s personal power of will. This card shows a personal choice backed by determination. When the Ace of Clubs falls in a reading about someone’s intentions, it shows that they have already made up their mind on a course of action, and have no intentions of deviating from their chosen direction. The surrounding cards will usually offer a clue about the choice. If the Ace of Clubs is surrounded by Spades, it can show someone who is weak-willed, and unable to follow-through on their plans.
I drew a random card today for contemplation and study. I got the King of Diamonds. Who is he?
Here are some of my musings on the King of Diamonds…
The King of Diamonds has a quick wit and a keen mind. He is very intelligent, and he isn’t afraid to use his mind to his own advantage. He might be a scientist or an inventor. He may be a mathematician. Perhaps he’s a techno-wizard. He could be psychologist or a social worker. He may be surrounded by money like a banker or even a millionaire. He may be a government official or civil servant. Whatever his line of work, he is independent and dynamic. He is always cultured and professional in his dress and demeanor.
The King of Diamonds brings positive energy to a reading. He has a sunny disposition. He is the eternal optimist. He is generous with money and his expertise. He’s edgy and innovative, and he is filled with energy and enthusiasm. He enjoys the luxuries of life, but is always tasteful.
When surrounded by negative cards, he may display his more unfavorable characteristics. He may be shy and withdrawn. He can become restless and impatient, and filled with nervous energy. He can be overly extravagant and self-indulgent on the one hand, and selfish and miserly on the other. When crossed he may become aggressive, and his behavior can be impulsive and unpredictable.
I associate the suit of Diamonds with the element of fire. Diamonds are quick moving, and restless and represent both physical and spiritual energy. Specifically, the suit of Diamonds represents both the spark of a flame, and the spark of life. If you are familiar with astrology, you can consider the King of Diamonds to be a fire sign: Aries, Leo or Sagittarius, both in nature and literally speaking.
The King of Diamonds is a scholar. This is important because he can represent formal education in a reading. Whereas the 3 of Clubs can indicate taking a class or receiving training, the King of Diamond would show pursuing a degree, usually from a college or university.
The other important meaning of the King of Diamonds is that he can represent government in a general sense. For example, the K♦️+ 2♦️shows receiving a payment from the government (social security check, tax refund, etc.). But be careful if the same combination appears reversed. 2♦️+ K♦️can show a payment made to the government, but it can also represent paying tuition to a college or university.
In a daily draw, the King of Diamond may represent a man who will play an influential role in your day. He may also represent the general trends you can expect to unfold. When I see the King of Diamond in my daily cards, I know it will be a busy day filled with energy and opportunity. If I take advantage of this positive energy, I can take the next step toward reaching my goals.
I’m excited to discover Hessler’s Enhanced Playing Card deck. For a long time I have been searching for a custom four-color playing card deck for divination. My ideal would be a deck with the suit of hearts colored red, clubs colored green, diamonds colored yellow, and spades kept traditionally black. Hessler’s enhancements meet all of my expectations except for the black spades. In the Hessler deck the spades are colored blue, but I find I don’t mind that at all. In fact, I rather like the blue spades. So I’ve finally found my soul deck.
Hessler’s deck has also given me the opportunity to experiment finally with adding the jokers to my divination deck. The deck does not actually have any jokers, but it does contain two specialty cards, the Black Maria and the Omnibus Knave, which are used specifically in the game of Hearts. I’m in love with these two cards, and have decided to use them for my jokers.
The Omnibus Knave will serve as my red joker. For me he symbolizes an angel, and will bring an angelic presence to my readings. He will represent blessings and magic and divine protection. The Black Maria will serve as my black joker. For me she symbolizes a shadow of negativity. She will represent bad luck and black magic and evil intentions. These are basic meaning which I’m sure I will expand on over time.
The Hessler is a top-of-the-line Bicycle deck with a luxurious feel and sturdy card stock. It is somewhat more expensive than the standard Bicycle cards, but the enhancements are well worth the added cost.
There are two schools of thought regarding the origin of the playing card Joker. Some scholars believe that the playing cards were derived from the Tarot, and that the Joker was the only trump to have survived the transition. In the Tarot he is known as The Fool, and he carries the numerical value of zero. He symbolizes the Alpha and Omega, or beginning and end of the cycle of life and death.
Most playing card scholars believe that the playing cards evolved separately from, and may predate, the Tarot. Hence, the more generally accepted belief is that the Joker is a modern invention.
The first documented use of the Joker in the Unites States was during the second half of the 19th century as part of a playing card game called Euchre. The game was originally brought to the U.S. by German or Dutch settlers, and the name “Euchre” was derived from the old German “Juker,” meaning “Jack.” The game rules were modified in the 1860s with the addition of an extra trump called “The Best Bower.” It is believed that the Best Bower card may have been referred to as the “Juker card” which eventually evolved into our modern day ”Joker.”
Perhaps due to the Joker’s early association with the Tarot Fool, or perhaps based on the archetypal symbolism of the Jester/Joker/Fool, the interpretation of the Joker bears close resemblance to that of the Tarot Fool.
Like The Fool, the Joker can denote folly, eccentricity, and poorly considered actions. He can represent originality, or the beginning of an adventure or quest. He is an independent spirit, complete within himself. He is guided by the forces of nature, and the wisdom of The Universe.
Most cartomancy methods do not utilize the Joker. In the systems that do include the Joker, he is interpreted in various ways.
- The Joker can be used as a significator card to represent the seeker (person requesting the reading). Wherever the Joker falls in the reading, special emphasis is placed on the surrounding cards which would indicate what is closest to the seeker’s heart, or most important in the seeker’s life.
- The Joker can represent surprises and unexpected events outside of the seeker’s control.
- The Joker can represent foolish behavior or immaturity.
- The Joker can indicate secrets, hidden agendas, or that not everything is as it appears to be in the area where it falls.
- There are actually two Jokers in the deck of playing cards, and some systems utilize both. One can be used to represent life, and the other to represent death. Or one can be used to represent where the seeker’s energy is focused, and the other to represent the seeker’s emotions. The two Jokers can also be used to represent any duality or polarity such as sun & moon, Yin & Yang, active & receptive, positive & negative, good & evil, ego & id, zero & infinity, light & dark, etc.
My grandmother did not read with the Joker, so I have never included the Joker in my readings either. The decision to utilize one or both Jokers is a matter of tradition or personal preference. Most playing card readers choose to use 52 cards only. I find that many Tarot readers who are used to working with the Fool often like to include the Joker in their playing card readings.
Some cartomancers believe the Joker should be used since he’s a natural part of the modern playing card deck. Others argue that he was not an original member of the pack, and cartomancy predates the Joker’s invention. Perhaps the Joker is not popular in modern cartomancy because he’s discarded in most of the popular modern card games.
I was asked to post an example reading where the answer based on the ratio of red to black cards contradicts the answer based on card meanings. This can happen when the querent has the power and ability to influence the situation. The cards have taught me that we all come into this life with a blueprint of our destiny, but along the way we have the freewill to influence how we fulfill that cosmic contract. The following reading illustrates this idea nicely.
The reading is for Marcella, a high school senior who has applied to a prestigious college across the country where she hopes to continue her education. The school in question is her primary choice, and she is anxious about getting accepted. Marcella asks, “Will I be accepted to the College?”
My first impression is of the predominance of black cards in the spread, immediately suggesting that acceptance is unlikely. I quickly peruse the cards to determine why. The 10 of Spades shows insecurity and fear. I also take note of the self-sabotaging Queen of Spades in the center of the spread. I see the queen as Marcella, and determine that it is her own fears creating a block in the situation. What does Marcella fear?
If we keep in mind that the main columns holding the reading together are the first, middle and final cards (1, 3, and 5), the source of the fear becomes clear. The 9 of Clubs reflects the fear indicated by the 10 of Spades, and the nine represents travel and movement and distance. Marcella has never been away on her own for any length of time, and the thought of leaving home makes her feel uncomfortable and insecure. This trio of cards will usually provide a concise answer to the question. With the 9 of Clubs as the outcome card, the reading suggests to me that if Marcellla can overcome the block (10 of Spades) by resolving her fears, there is potential for her to move forward (9 of Clubs) with her desire to attend the College.
This outcome is confirmed for me by the red cards in the spread. I always look for the cards to reflect the theme of the reading. The King of Diamonds is one of the cards that represents school and education for me, so I know that the cards are tuned into my question. So I take the King to represent the College, and the King reflects the 5 of Hearts which is an offer or opportunity. This five is one of the best cards in the deck because it can denote a dream come true. Unless it is accompanied by very unfavorable cards, it almost always gives a yes answer in a spread. In this case, surrounded by Spades, I read it as a strong maybe.
It looks to me that despite the predominance of black cards, there is excellent potential for Marcella to be offered a position by the school. This is one of those freewill situations that will depend on whether Marcella can resolve her fears. Otherwise she runs the risk of self-sabotaging this opportunity. Often when two red cards and three black show up in a spread, it will suggest that the querent has some power over the situation to affect the final outcome. That seems to be the case with this situation. The cards can indicate the current trends and probable outcome, but only Marcella can create her own future.
This reading was originally posted as an exercise on my Facebook page, Art of Cartomancy. Check out the post for additional insights into these cards. Most of the participants agree with my final answer, but also offer varied perspectives that are equally valid based on the card meanings and combinations.