Mastering Modern Cartomancy

So you want to master Modern Cartomancy… where do you begin? There are 52 playing cards, and each card carries a multitude of meanings. The playing card suit symbolism must also be understood because the suits determine how the cards interact in a spread. Then there is also the number symbolism which can add important significance to the overall interpretation of a cartomancy card layout. Other than the suit symbols, there are no images to help with memorizing all of this information. It can be overwhelming for the beginning cartomancer.

Do not be discouraged. There is an easy way I’ve found to master the playing cards through regular practice by analyzing the simple three-card spread. I advise drawing three cards every morning for insight into the coming day. Analyze the cards for all the possible meanings that come to mind. Contemplate the cards individually and in combination. Suit interactions and overall intuitive impressions should also be noted. Get a feel for what the cards mean before referring to a book or your notes. Record the resulting interpretations in a cartomancy journal including significant internal and external influences such as time of day, weather, moon phase, moon sign, mood, etc.

You will discover that mood can have an effect on the cards you draw. You may find that your readings are clearer during certain times of the moon phase or when the moon is in a particular zodiac sign. You might be surprised by how often the weather will appear in your daily cards.

Shuffle the cards while you focus on your question. I like to ask, “What will I experience today?” If you prefer a more structured reading, you can decide ahead of time to apply special significance to each card position, such as “morning, noon, night” or “past, present future” or “premise, situation, outcome.” I prefer to keep the reading fluid and allow the cards to speak to me freely.

Then at the end of the day examine your cards to determine how they reflect the energies of your day, and which of your predictions prove accurate. When something occurs in your day that was clearly predicted in the cards, but you missed seeing that morning, consider it a valuable learning experience. The next time this card combination appears, you will automatically remember the new interpretation.

If you find that you are unable to relate the events of your day to the cards, keep referring back to the reading over the coming week. Sometimes the predictions in a cartomancy daily draw can take up to a week to manifest in your life. Meditate on the particularly challenging combinations. Your Higher Self is fluent in the language of the cards.

As you continue this practice, you will easily assimilate the card meanings, and the subtle ways the cards interact in a spread. The experience you gain will enable to you tackle larger card spreads with ease. In time this daily practice will help you build new card associations. You will move beyond the meanings you learned in a book, and begin to develop your own personal meanings for the cards (To get you started, my two favorite resources for Modern Cartomancy card meanings are It’s Written in the Cards by Dr. Leo Louis Martello, and The Card Reader’s Handbook by Regina Russell).

An Example of a Daily Card Analysis from My Own Cartomancy Journal

Date: January 19, 2015
Time: 8:34 a.m.
Moon Phase: waxing (one day away from new moon)
Moon Sign: 15° Capricorn
Weather: chilly and clear
Mood: feeling calm and creative

Question: What will I experience today?
Daily Card Draw:
10 of Clubs, 6 of Spades, 2 of Clubs



Predominately clubs = active day, dealing with practical matters.
Clubs + Spades = service and sacrifice… taking care of work responsibilities and social obligations. 10C and 6S are both cards of movement—travel, making progress.

10C = travel, business, commerce, boat, water, sink, beach, rain
6S = progress, cleansing, moving forward, transportation, car, move, ending, relocation, bathroom, garbage, responsibilities
2C = help, benefits, service, work, employee, wheels, and tires

10C + 6S = a trip by car, a boat, bathroom sink, bathtub, drain, garbage disposal, rain storm, beach erosion, business responsibilities, a business trip, a business move/relocation, moving forward with a business deal, plumber, car dealership, hardware store.

6S + 2C = car mechanic, car tires, bicycle, motorcycle, bathroom work, plumber, sanitation worker, moving forward/making progress brings benefits.

10C + 6S + 2C = a plumber provides service, cleaning the bathroom, help with a car trip, car tire dealership, trip by bicycle or motorcycle, cruise ship employee, moving forward with a business plan brings benefits. I receive help with moving my business forward.

Immediate Impressions:
Today is a good day to move forward with practical plans, and take care of any work responsibilities or social obligations. I already plan to scrub the bathroom tub today, so perhaps that will be the highlight of my day. Yes, the daily cards can really be that mundane.

End of Day Observations:
Well, I did end up scrubbing my bathtub today as planned (the 10C represents water and also the bathtub, the 6S is the bathroom and also cleaning, and the 2C is benefits, or a service provided).

I also had a phone client ask me if I offered distance cartomancy mentoring. Up until now I’ve only ever offered classes and mentoring in person. The request got me thinking about the possibility of expanding my cartomancy mentoring service outside of my local area. I would say that qualifies as receiving a helpful (2C) suggestion about moving forward (6S) with a business plan (10C). It’s not an earth-shattering validation (daily cards rarely are), but it is certainly relevant based on the cards.

It’s not unusual for the cards to mean more than one thing, and for two or more interpretations to prove valid and accurate. I will stay alert over the next few days for any experiences or events that may also be predicted by today’s cartomancy card draw.


Cartomancy Health Reading

This spread is from a practice exercise previously posted on the Facebook group Kapherus’ Blog Alumni. The source material is from an actual phone reading for a client who was kind enough to permit me to share the reading for instructional purposes.

The querent is a 57 year old male. He asks how he can facilitate the healing of a chronic health issue that has been plaguing him for some time. He did not specify the health issue, but I was able to identify the problem from the information in the cards.

For reference material regarding the cartomancy health meanings, please see the page titled Cartomancy Body Connection where I have compiled a list of health meanings from various sources including Dr. Leo Louis Matello, Regina Russell, and meanings derived from my own experience with the cards. The article also includes an additional example of a health reading.

Question: How can the querent facilitate the healing of his chronic health problem?

8 of Spades, 6 of Clubs, 2 of Diamonds
6 of Diamonds, King of Clubs, 7 of Clubs


In this spread the cards are read in vertical pairs, and each column deals with a specific aspect of answering the question.

The first column sets the premise for the reading, and reveals that the chronic health problem (8 of Spades) is caused by nervousness and stress (6 of Diamonds). Notice that there are no hearts in the spread, and the 6 of Diamonds suggests holding things in. My impression is that the querent stuffs his emotions. With the 2 of Diamonds also in the spread (the stomach), I suspect that as a result of not expressing his feelings, the querent suffers from a chronic stomach ulcer. The querent confirmed that this is indeed the case.

The second column answers the question, and advises the querent to seek practical advice from a helpful gentleman. The 6 of Clubs + club shows sound, helpful advice. With the 8 of Spades (doctor card) in the spread, my impression is that the King of Clubs represents the querent’s physician. The best way for the querent to facilitate the healing of his stomach ulcer is to heed and follow the advice of his doctor. The querent stated that his doctor had prescribed medication, but it did not seem to be helping.

The final column deals with contributing factors, and addresses dietary concerns. The 2 of Diamonds represents “eating,” and the 7 of Clubs is “disagreements.” There is something the querent is eating that does not agree with him, and is exacerbating the problem. The 7 of Clubs also advises that the diet should be evaluated by his doctor to determine which foods he is eating that may be aggravating the ulcer, and preventing the medication from bringing the desired effect. The 7 of Clubs can refer to social drinking, and I wonder if alcohol consumption might be irritating the ulcer.

The querent admitted that the doctor had prescribed a special diet, but he had not been following the diet carefully.

The problem is not too serious with only one spade appearing in the reading. If the querent will follow the dietary restrictions suggested by his doctor, and continue to take all other measures and medications prescribed, his chronic health problem should improve.

Cartomancy Court Cards: Who Are All These People?


A question I hear often from students is, “How can I make sense of a small spread that is dominated by face cards?” Almost one quarter of the 52 card deck is comprised of court cards, and so this is a very common complaint.

In my personal experience the court cards primarily represent the people we encounter in our daily lives: family members, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Even the most retiring wallflower will interact with a multitude of different people every day, both directly and indirectly, and the cards will pick up on these interactions. But what about when it makes no sense within the context of the reading for a court card to represent a person? What about when a cluster of court cards appear that don’t seem to address the question?

Interpreting the Court Cards when they don’t represent specific people can be tricky. There are general guidelines that I follow, but I also use a healthy dose of logic and a good pinch of intuition to make sense of the court card combinations.

First, it helps to have a good understanding of the suit meanings, because the suit will set the mood or the theme for the Court Card. Here is a list of the common meanings I use, but please keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add to these meanings, or subtract from them, or switch them around based on your own intuitive feelings for each suit.

negativity, problems, responsibilities, obligations, challenges, obstacles, mysteries, deceit, decisions, Karmic debts, addictions, setbacks, confinement, anxiety, sadness, failure, fear, illness and loss.

desire, hopes, emotions, love, happiness, compassion, sharing, relationships, relaxation, laziness, pleasure, entertainment, creativity, soul connections, religion, and healing.

good luck, growth, goals, conversations, verbal communication, learning, activity, work, business, organization, friendships and social interactions.

energy, electricity, power, science, technology, language, written communication, higher education, independence, optimism, intellect, imagination, spirituality, psychic energy, money, possessions, rewards, success, and legal judgments.

I combine the suit meanings with the archetypal meanings I associate with the Court Card ranks.

The Jacks represent children and young people. Therefore they can denote something small or the start of something. In the days before the invention of the telephone, young boys were employed as messengers, so the Jacks can be the messengers for their suits. Jacks can also represent thoughts, so they carry the idea of movement. It’s important to note that Jacks can represent young males or young females; although in my own readings they almost always represent a male.

The Queens represent women and the divine feminine. They represent motherhood and love, and are nurturing, creative, receptive and introspective. They denote growth and personal power. They bring healing and emotion and intuition to their respective suits.

The Kings are grown men, and the highest ranking court card. They denote mastery, authority, control and leadership. The Kings are protective and commanding, but they can be demanding and even overbearing based on their suit.

As an example, let’s combine the Jack with the Suit of Diamonds…
Jack of Diamonds
a small sum of money, the start of a financial venture, a written message, a message about finances, a check, a receipt, a message from your spirit guides, a place for higher learning, etc.

How about the Queen with the Suit of Spades…
Queen of Spades
traditionally, she is the widow, and she can represent loneliness, separation, sterility, female health issues, blocked emotions, blocked creativity, criticism, a sharp tongue, etc.

Now we’ll look at the King with the suit of Clubs…
King of Clubs
traditionally, he is the business man, and he can represent success in business, moving up the social ladder, attaining one’s goals, mastering a physical skill or ability, excelling at a hobby, etc.

Finally, let’s take a look at how to approach a small spread dominated by court cards…
This is a quick mini reading for a querent who had recently interviewed for job promotion. Her question was: Will I be hired for the position?


Queen of Hearts, King of Spades, Jack of Clubs

I drew three cards for the question, and since all of the cards in this small spread are court cards, I need to dig a little to find a meaningful answer.

My first impression is that the grouping of face cards indicates strong competition for the job. At least two males are being considered along with the querent (Queen of Hearts) for the position.

The querent is represented in the spread by the Queen of Hearts. She is a woman with hopes and desires; she very much wants the promotion. Sadly, her desire (heart) is overshadowed by a spade, and we know that the spades bring obstacles and failure and disappointment. The answer is clear to me: her heart’s desire is blocked. The querent will not get the promotion. The job will be awarded to a male colleague (Jack of Clubs—notice how the King of Spades looks away from the Queen of Hearts and toward the Jack of Clubs).

Next I need to look at why. It’s not enough for me to simply tell the querent that she failed. I feel obligated to also offer constructive advice to help her turn this failure into a future success.

The King of Spades can represent a man in authority, and the Jack of Clubs is a card of communication—perhaps the job interview. I asked the querent if her interviewer had been a gentleman, and she confirmed that she had indeed interviewed with a gentleman.
The King of Spades is dissatisfied based on his suit. He stands between the querent (Queen of Hearts) and the new job opportunity (Jack of Clubs) showing that he is blocking the promotion. Since the Jack of Clubs can also represent the interview, my feeling is that the querent did not make a positive impression on this man during the interview process. The combination of King Spade + the Jack of Clubs suggests to me that the querent’s interviewing skills may require some work. The King of Spades suggests a lack of mastery.

My answer to the client was that she would not get the promotion because she had not made a favorable impression on her interviewer. The querent admitted that she had felt nervous and intimidated. I advised her that there are techniques she can learn to improve her interview skills, and suggested she take a class or find a good book to help her brush up on these skills so that her next interview will be successful.

As predicted, the querent did not get the job promotion. She took my advice and found a couple of good books on the art of job interviewing, and now plans to utilize her improved skills in finding a better paying job.

As you can see, it is possible to get a good amount of information from a cluster of court cards. The better you get to know the suit influences, the easier it will be to find meaning in a spread dominated by court cards. Also, it’s important to remember that each card can be read in several different ways. In the above example, I read the Queen of Hearts to represent the querent, but also her desire for the promotion. The King of Spades represents failure and disappointment in the reading, but also the gentleman interviewer, and the querent’s lack of mastery. Finally, the Jack of Clubs serves to represent the job interview, the new position, and the colleague who ultimately received the promotion. All of these interpretations are meaningful within the context of the question, and proved to be equally accurate.

Reading Between the Lines…uh, Cards

As readers we sometimes find that the questions people ask the cards are not always the questions they most want answered. The seeker may feel shy or embarrassed about asking directly what they truly wish to know. I find this especially true with new clients, or during the more casual readings in public venues, such as at a psychic fair. I’ve learned that I must sometimes read between the cards to discover how best to serve my client’s needs.

For example, this is an actual reading done during a psychic fair in which a married woman asks, “Is my husband happy?” A quick look at the cards reveals that her husband’s happiness may not be the seeker’s primary concern.

To answer this question I used The Answer Spread. Six cards are drawn and laid out in two rows of three. The cards are read in pairs vertically only. The first column represents the premise of the question. The middle column provides the answer to the question, and the final column provides additional information to support the answer.

These are the playing cards that the seeker drew:
• King of Spades
• 10 of Spades
• 3 of Clubs
• Queen of Clubs
• King of Clubs
• Ace of Hearts


The two cards on the left represent the premise of the question. The King of Spades and Queen of Clubs in this position would represent the woman, her husband and their strong relationship together. The interplay between the two court cards can provide clues about the dynamics of the relationship between these two people. The woman is represented by the Queen of Clubs. She is outgoing and friendly. She likes to talk and enjoys socializing with other people. The husband is represented by the King of Spades. He is more quiet and reserved. He likes to take charge of a situation and handle things on his own. The querent mentioned that her husband was a police officer, which could be another reason why he is represented by the King of Spades. The queen covers the king, showing that she controls the dynamics of the relationship. He is a loner. She draws him out and makes him more sociable.

The middle two cards answer the question. I was a little surprised to find another man represented here along with worries and deception. The King of Clubs matches the queen’s suit, indicating a relationship between the two. The 10 of Spades represents worries, suspicion, secrets and lies. It suddenly occurred to me that there was another man in the middle of the seeker’s marriage, and she was worried that her husband would find out.

It’s always a little awkward when delicate information appears in a reading, but the woman quickly admitted that there had been someone else. It had happened only once, it had been a mistake, and her real question was, “Will the husband ever find out?” In the Answer Spread, a predominance of black cards will usually indicate a negative response—unless the cards themselves indicate otherwise. In this case, the answer to her question was “no,” the husband suspects (10 of Spades), but he would not find out.

Again, we can look at the interplay between the court cards for more details. The King of Spades looks toward the 10 of Spades. He may suspect, but he does not know for sure. The King of Clubs looks toward the Queen of Clubs. He is still interested in continuing the secret liaison. But the queen looks away from the King of Clubs, showing disinterest. She is telling the truth that for her the indiscretion is over.

Secrets like this always find a way of surfacing, but the two cards in the position of Contributing Factors confirm that the querent’s secret is safe for at least the time being. This pair of cards shows positive growth and a fresh start in love. Although the husband suspects (10 Spades) an affair, the cards indicate that she has been lucky (3 of Clubs) and that her home and family life will not be adversely affected by the tryst (Ace of Hearts).

The Clubs falling on Spades indicate “working through” difficulties or problems, and suggest good communication between the married couple. The Ace of Hearts as the pivot card of the layout suggests a strong marriage and a happy home. Even if the husband’s suspicions were proved true regarding the affair, I believe the strong marriage would survive.

The Lost Man Spread – Discovering the Baby’s Gender

This is a reading that I originally posted as a practice exercise on the Kapherus’ Blog Alumni Facebook group.

The querent is a 40 year old woman who is pregnant for the first time. She contacted me for a reading to help address her concerns regarding her high-risk pregnancy due to her age and general health. I was happy to note that the cards showed no problems or complications for the mother or the baby. For her final question the querent wanted to know if I could successfully predict the gender of the baby. She was only 10 weeks pregnant, too soon for a sonogram image to determine the baby’s gender.

For this question I used The Lost Man Spread. I learned this spread from The Playing Card Oracles book by Ana Cortez. For this spread a card is chosen to signify the theme of the question. For me, the Two of Hearts represents a child, so that is the card I chose as Significator. Then the cards are shuffled while focusing on the question. Finally the cards are spread face-up on the table to reveal the location of the Significator. The two or three cards appearing before the Significator, and the two or three card following the Significator are read for the answer to the question. Here are the cards that appeared with my chosen significator, the Two of Hearts…


The cards falling closest to the Significator will carry the most significance in answering the question. The 6 of Diamonds represents science and data and electronics. In health readings, this card will often represent a machine for medical diagnostics. The 7 of Spades is a card of problems, delays and a need for patience. I felt that in time the gender of the baby would be revealed by an imaging test, such as a sonogram. The 6 of Hearts represents all things masculine. To me it was a clear indicator that the baby is a boy. The King of Diamonds is a professional man. He could be a scientist or doctor or technician or spiritual leader. In health readings he will usually represent a doctor or medical technician.

Two weeks later, due to the high-risk nature of the querent’s pregnancy, her doctor advised a chromosome spectral analysis to ensure that the baby is not at risk for developing a genetic defect. The test returned normal and included information about the baby’s gender: It’s a boy!

In retrospect it occurs to me that the 7 of Spades could refer to a possible defect as the cause for the chromosome analysis (6D). The positive diamond following the spade hinted of a happy outcome.