One of my favorite characteristics of working with the playing cards is that the cards rarely mean only one thing. I learned with other oracles that the cards should stick to answering the question, and… More
I received the following question about the King and Jack combination in reference to my recent post titled Who Is Who in My Love Reading? I think it’s an excellent question which can be applied to any set combination, so I decided to respond publicly as a blog post.
Thank you for continuing to educate students of playing card divination with your online articles. They are great!
I hope you could shed some light on a reading technique you recently incorporated in an article.
In your article entitled “who’s who in my love reading?” you interpreted the Jack of spades and King of Hearts (with 7 of spades between them) as two different people. Regina Russell’s book explains that a king or Queen with the Jack of Spades can be a person from the past returning, but the book is silent (as far as i could tell) on whether the cards must be back to back in order for this interpretation to apply. I mention Russell’s technique because I understand you incorporate some techniques from her reading method into your own.
In your reading system, are there situations where these two court cards – with one pip card between them – could represent one person?
I want to start off by stating that it is my strong belief there are no hard and fast rules in cartomancy. Given that, I do believe that there are important guidelines that have proved tried and true by many cartomancers over many years.
I also believe that intuition trumps any and all guidelines. When my gut tells me that a certain combination of cards means something totally different from its standard set meanings, I always go with my gut, and I’ve never regretted it.
In light of these basic beliefs, my simple answer to your question is… yes, there are situations where two court cards with one pip between them could still represent one person. But… in my experience, the intervening card will almost always describe a relationship between two people represented by the two court cards.
Another point to keep in mind is that distance bewteen card combinations can also indicate distance in the situation. For example, let us say that you got a King and a Jack, but they appear a distance apart in the spread. This can indicate that you will hear about someone from the past, although that person may not be physically returning to your life.
I will often see the combination Ace of Clubs and 8 of Spades appear in a spread. This is the classic combination for a hospital. When these two cards appear side by side, it is usually the querent or someone very close who will be hospitalized. When a Face Card touches either card in this combination, it will almost always represent the person hospitalized.
But when the Ace of Clubs and 8 of Spades appear at some distance apart in the spread, it often turns out that the querent will hear of someone going into the hospital– most often a distant acquaintance rather than family or a close friend.
As an example, let’s take a look at the following combination of cards which turned up in a real-life reading recently….
The Ace of Clubs and 8 of Spades fall nearby to indicate a hospital visit. The Queen touches the Ace of Clubs, suggesting that a woman will have the hospital visit. But there is also the Jack of Hearts which touches the 8 of Spades, indicating a young loved one. Could there be two people who will be hospitalized? It is possible, but then it dawned on me…
The Queen and Jack are separated to give a sense of distance. These cards suggested to me that the querent would hear of a woman known from the past (perhaps an ex with the Jack being a Heart) who will be hospitalized. The 10 of Clubs suggests a problem with bodily fluids, perhaps edema. The heart card falling last is a good indicator that the problem is not too serious, and can be easily remedied with proper medical (8 of Spades) treatment.
And that is almost exactly what happened. The querent heard through the grapevine that an ex-girlfriend (Queen of Spades) from his college days was hospitalized for a severe gallbladder attack due to a blocked bile duct, the 10 of Clubs of course referring to the bile. In retrospect it struck me that the 8 of Spades actually represents the gallbladder. I was so focused on this card representing the doctor (which is its primary meaning) that I missed the opportunity for a truly spot on diagnosis!
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 cards when they don’t represent people, but what about when they do?
Almost every question is influenced by one or more people other than the querent. In fact, I find that nine times out of ten the appearance of a face card in a reading will represent a specific person who is somehow involved in the situation.
I did not always interpret the interactions of the people in a reading based on the directions of the court cards in the spread. But over the last 10 years, I have found this practice to be strikingly accurate in determining the subtle dynamics of the players in any given situation.
The following relationship reading provides a nice example of how multiple face cards that represent real people can be highly revealing in a card spread.
The querent is a 24 year old woman who is in a long-term relationship. She is worried because her man has begun to act distant and casual. She asks if he has lost interest in her.
I immediately register the three black cards which suggest that the answer is “probably no.” The specific card meanings should tell me why. Then I note that three of the five cards in the spread are face cards. In order to understand the specific message in the cards, I need to determine who is who in the reading.
My eye is drawn at once to the King of Hearts situated in the important center position of the spread. He is a man who is loved. I instantly identify him as the querent’s boyfriend because he is the primary focus of the inquiry.
So who are represented by the two Jacks? How do two young men play into this picture? Like the Pages in Tarot, the mustachioed Jacks are gender fluid. They can sometimes represent young females (particularly when they are powerless in a situation), and in the context of this reading it makes more sense that they do.
This idea immediate suggests to me that one of them is likely the querent. But which? And more importantly who is the second woman? The 3 of Spades suggests deceit and a possible love triangle… best try to get clarification from the querent.
“I see another woman around your guy, ” I say.
The querent responds, “Oh, yeah. That’s probably his wife.”
Ah huh! I neglect to mention how this piece of information might have been helpful to know up front. Anyway, now the cards begin to make sense to me.
The Jack of Spades is often a rival in love readings, but who plays the rival? The wife is a rival for the affections of the querent’s lover, but the querent is also rival to the wife’s marriage.
Let’s take a look at the other jack, the Jack of Diamonds. The suit suggests a financial influence– someone who is tied financially to the King of Hearts. The 3 of Spades reveals deception around her. My impression is that the Jack of Diamonds represents the wife.
As I already mentioned, the focus of the reading is the man’s interests, so it also makes perfect sense to me that he would see the querent as a rival to re-establishing a connection with his wife (the wife falls directly next to him in his future).
Now that we have determined who is who in the reading, it is easy to see the dynamics of the situation. The 7 of Spades falling between the querent and her man shows a reversal in their relationship. The cards confirm the querent’s sense that the romance is cooling down.
The 7 of Spades is also the Card of addiction and dependence. This card falls between the querent and her man indicating an unhealthy codependent relationship between them. Notice the direction that the King faces. Despite trying to re-establish a connection with his wife, he is looking back toward the querent and his codependent connection with her. She stares longingly back at him.
So what to tell the querent? I prefer to give the unfavorable news first because once the querent hears what she hopes to hear, she is unlikely to register anything else I say.
I warn the querent that the relationship with this man is unhealthy– never mind the fact that he’s married! She admits that they are bound together by a sexual addiction from which neither can break free.
I suggest that she seek counseling to help her detach from this difficult situation. I also recommend the outstanding books by Melody Beattie that deal with breaking the bonds of codependency.
Now to answer the specific question… I advise the querent that the cards confirm this man is attempting to pull away in order to salvage his marriage which is in deep trouble. The 3 of Spades shows problems and deceptions in the future.
The wife looks away from the 3 of Spades. Her focus is on the man. She is either ignorant of the deceptions, or she chooses to ignore the marital problems.
Whatever the case, the man is motivated by financial concerns, and the wife is motivated by her love for her husband.
Despite these motivations, the cards confirm that the man is unable to break free from the affair with the querent. The simple answer is: no, he has not lost interest in her.
Oddly, the news lifts the querent’s mood considerably.
I get a lot of questions about how to read the Diamond suit in relationship readings. This article is an expansion of comments I posted on the Art of Cartomancy Facebook page in answer to some of these questions.
I find that in most cases when Diamonds appear in a relationship reading, they will still talk about money and power and energy. Money and power are often at the root of relationship troubles– marital problems in particular, so I always take the Diamond cards at face value first, before I consider alternate meanings.
It’s important to keep in mind that Diamonds do not represent sentimental feelings. Even the most positive of the Diamond cards cannot assure you that you’re going to meet the man of your dreams, or tell you if your crush loves you, or confirm that your lover will return to you.
For the most part the Diamond suit represents energy– all types of energy including electricity, magnetism, nuclear fission , solar power, light, fire, heat, money (which is energy in motion), consciousness, mental energy, physical energy, sexual energy, and the body’s nervous system which controls everything we do.
Diamonds also rule how we perceive energy through our sensory apparatus: eyes, ears, nose, the senses of touch and taste, and of course the extra-sensory abilities such as intuition and psychic awareness. Diamonds represent how we communicate, and how we process information. Diamonds represent information itself.
In general, the Diamonds represent all of the activities associated with left-brain thinking such as analysis, computation, numbers, mathematics, science, logic, speech, language, information technology, computer technology, etc. In other words…
Diamonds are emotionally detached.
Despite this emotional detachment, the Diamond cards play an important role in defining relationships. They show us how we communicate with each other. They can highlight physical and sexual attraction. They can offer clues about the true motives of a prospective partner. They can show us a relationship based solely on financial interests, or one that is based on sex alone. What the Diamonds cannot do is tell us whether or not we will fall in love.
The Ace of Diamonds is a card of communication. It represents a message or an invitation. This Ace can also relate to a new beginning, or to the renewal of an existing situation. In relationship readings, the Ace of Diamonds can also represent a ring. With the right combination of cards from the suit of Hearts, it can represent an engagement ring specifically, and indicate that an engagement is taking place. But unless surrounded by Hearts, this Ace says nothing about love.
Generally, the 2 of Diamonds is a card of self-sufficiency, and the desire for independence. It can define a relationship based on financial interests. It is also the card that represents the imagination. If you are asking about the strong vibes you’re picking up from your new office crush, the 2 of Diamonds can warn that it’s all in your mind. If you suspect your lover of cheating, the 2 of Diamonds can assure you that you’re imagining things.
The 3 of Diamonds talks about stalled growth. It describes relationships that run hot and cold. It can show a lack of commitment in love. One or both parties is unwilling or unable to invest the necessary effort for the relationship to succeed. This card will often show up when the relationship has been on again/off again for a long period of time.
In relationship readings, the 4 of Diamonds represents an energy connection, or good chemistry, which is the foundation for any strong relationship. It is not necessarily sexual, although with love cards the 4 can indeed denote sexual chemistry. This card also shows an intellectual connection. It’s a great card for friendship as well.
The 5 of Diamonds is more about sexual attraction, but not necessarily reciprocal. This card reminds us that sex is not love. The 5 is also the energy that surrounds charismatic people and draws others to them. When it falls with a Face Card, the 5 of Diamonds can reveal someone who is attracted to you. Surrounding cards will usually show the nature and degree of the attraction.
The 6 of Diamonds is another card of communication. With spades it shows stubbornness, a lack of communication, withdrawal or holding back. With Hearts it may indicate shyness and timidity. With other Diamonds it usually shows nervousness or an unsettled situation. When it falls in a combination with Hearts and Spades it will highlight feelings of jealousy and possessiveness. The possessive husband or lover will usually show up as the King of Spades with the 6 of Diamonds.
The 7 of Diamonds is a card of earned success. It is about being rewarded for investing time, energy or money. In a love reading, this card can show that a motive other than love is driving romantic interest. It can show what you expect to get out of a relationship. It can show whether or not you are getting what you deserve. With other Diamonds, it can describe a financially convenient arrangement. With Clubs it can be about companionship or the services the partner provides. With Spades it can show co-dependency and the fear of being alone. With Hearts it will indicate investing emotion. The thing to remember is that some kind of a payoff is almost always assumed or expected.
The 8 of Diamonds will describe someone who is guarded and wary. It can represent the need to take things slowly. In relationship readings it can indicate making careful plans for the future. This card is cautious, and lacks any kind of spontaneity.
The 9 of Diamonds is often a person card in relationship readings. It is a card of strong attraction, and will usually represent someone who is attracted to you. This can be your husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend, or it can be someone with a secret crush on you. This is also the card of thoughts, and it’s an important card to look for if you’re asking about what someone thinks of you. Pay close attention to surrounding cards. This person wants something from you.
The 10 of Diamonds can be tricky because it is such a great card. It’s big money and security and success and victory. But it is not about sentimental feelings. In relationship readings it can show a union based on financial security. It often shows up as the reason a couple stays together despite serious problems in the relationship.
The Diamond Face Cards can represent people you are attracted to, whereas the Heart Face Cards are people you love. Remember, if you use the suits to describe the Face Cards, they will reflect your (the querent’s) perception of them, and not their true state or character. With other Diamonds they are attractive and intelligent and optimistic, restless, nervous and chatty. With Clubs they are helpful, and may offer both advice and financial assistance. With Hearts they can be thoughtful, quiet and shy. With Spades they can be taciturn and stubborn and jealous.
Just because a super positive card appears in a reading, it does not automatically mean that you get your wish. You have to read the card. When in doubt I always ask myself, why did this particular card fall in this position instead of any one of the other 51? There is always a good reason. If you have to fudge or stretch, chances are the cards are not saying what you think (or hope) they are saying.
The 7 of Spades in Modern Cartomancy can warn of a challenging situation. It is not a card we hope to see, particularly in a love reading. Generally the 7 of Spades represents a setback or a reversal of fortune, and in relationship readings it invariably shows a cooling off of affections.
For example, the 4 of Hearts with the 7 of Spades would show a marriage or partnership on the rocks. There is a cooling of affections, and one or both parties feel frustrated and unfulfilled. This combination can also suggest that the partner drinks too much.
The 7 is Spades is the “drinking” card. It can denote imbibing alcohol or partaking of any kind of intoxicating substance including both prescription medications and illegal drugs. The combination 7 of Spades and Ace of Spades (the mind) can show intoxication. If the 4 of Spades is nearby, it can denote a hangover.
When surrounded by positive or neutral cards, the 7 of Spades can refer to social drinking or recreational drug use. With cards indicating a party or social interaction, the 7 of Spades will usually indicate that liquor will be a part of the celebration. The combination 7 of Spades with the 3 of Hearts can denote a cocktail party.
When the 7 of Spades falls between two Face Cards it shows the two people going out for drinks. If the 7 of Spades appears surrounded by multiple Face Cards, it shows a night out on the town with a group of people. A predominance of Clubs would indicate celebrating with co-workers. A predominance of hearts would show a night out with friends.
When falling with cards from the Club suit, denoting career or profession, the 7 of Spades can describe someone who works as a bartender, a barback, or a cocktail server. If the 2 of Diamonds is nearby, it would indicate that they work in a restaurant where liquor is also served.
The 7 of Spades is also the Card of addiction. Alcoholism or drug addiction is commonly represented by the combination 7 of Spades and 9 of Spades. The 9 of Spades shows something harmful (although this combination can also indicate that your prescription medication is causing you harm). If the 5 of Spades is nearby, it will show that others (family members, friends, etc.) can be hurt as well by the substance abuse.
The 7 of Spades is also a “water” card, but usually only in a negative sense.* It can predict anything from a faucet drip to a leaky pipe to an inconvenient rainstorm.
If you’re looking to purchase a home, and the cards show the 7 of Spades near the Ace of Hearts along with a money card, you can be sure that you’ll find a problem with the plumbing that will be costly to repair.
The absence of a big money card may simply indicate that the water heater needs replacement, especially if the 7 of Hearts is also present.
With Diamonds, the 7 of Spades will show financial setbacks. The surrounding cards will usually indicate the cause. If the 3 of Spades (loss) is nearby with a money card, it would show a gambling or trading losses.
In a general sense, the 7 of Spades is a card of stagnation and frustration.
When this card begins a line of cards, it indicates a long delay before the events outlined by the following cards can play out.
When the 7 of Spades ends a line of cards, it can show a lack of progress, or a stalled situation. It will usually indicate that events will not play out as you hoped.
When it appears in the middle of a line of cards, the 7 of Spades indicates that the preceding cards are blocked, and the following cards are delayed. If the subsequent cards are positive, the situation will require patience and perseverance to achieve the predicted outcome.
Whenever and wherever it appears, the 7 of Spades is rarely a welcomed sight. You can bet that patience and perseverance will be required to overcome a difficult period of setbacks and frustrations.
* The card that represents water in a positive sense, such as swimming or boating, is the 10 of Clubs.
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.