Basic Cartomancy Skills: Number Meanings

Part 2: Number Meanings

I think the biggest problem most new cartomancers encounter is how get the card meanings to fit together and tell a story.  The beginner will memorize all of the various meanings and the important combinations for each card. In actual practice, those special combinations don’t always show up in a layout to make things easy.  That’s when a good foundation in the symbolism of the suits and numbers becomes so important.

Once you have a good understanding of the Suits and how they interact as outlined in Basic Cartomancy Skills: Part 1, the basic number meanings can be used to delve more deeply into the symbolism of each card.

In the system that works for me, each number has two opposing meanings.  The appropriate meaning applied to each card will be determined by it’s suit symbolism.  The first meaning listed (positive meaning) usually applies to a red card, and the second meaning (negative) will most often apply to a black card.  It’s important to note that the card falling to the right will always influence the final meaning, and it’s always best to allow your intuition to make the final determination.

Basic Number Meanings:

1 – beginning or ending

2 – cooperation or conflict

3 – expansion or loss

4 – foundation or instability

5 – activity or restlessness

6 – communication or ignorance

7 – improvement or stagnation

8 – Health or illness (balance/imbalance)

9 – wish or disappointment

10 – success or failure

11 (Jack) – thoughts/message, also young helpful person, or troubled youth

12 (Queen) – receptivity/intuition, also female friend or rival

13 (King) – action/force/mastery, also male friend or rival

The basic Suit Interactions combined with the Basic Number Meanings are all you need to produce accurate, insightful Cartomancy readings.  You can add additional meanings to each card to broaden the scope of your readings, but you’ll find that you’ll return to the basic information again, and again when the more detailed meanings don’t seem to jive in your card layout.

Example Reading with Basic Number and Suit Meanings:

To illustrate this basic method of Cartomancy, I shuffled the cards while focusing on my question.  When I felt the shuffling process was done, I cut the cards into three piles from left to right using my left hand.  Finally I flipped over the top card of each pile to reveal the three cards for my reading.

Question: Will I be hired in the new job position I’m pursuing?



  1. 9 of Clubs
  2. 6 of Diamonds
  3. Queen of Hearts


Since I asked a “yes/no” question, the first thing to take note of is the balance of red vs black cards in the layout.  In this spread we find a predominance of red cards indicating that the basic answer to the question is “yes.”

Next, let’s take a look at the Suit Interactions:


Club + Diamond =   an increase in money, rewards, or power.


Diamond + Heart = rewards, positive attraction, and sharing money.

The suit combinations confirm the good news, and suggest that the new position will bring a raise in pay, and emotional well being.

Now let’s dig for more information by taking a look at the Basic Number Meanings:

The number 9 represents a “wish or disappointment.” Because the 9 is followed by a red card, I would read it to represent a wish.  The 9 is a club, and if we look to the basic suit meanings, we find that clubs represent business and work, among other things.  So the 9 of clubs is the perfect card to represent my wish for a new job.

The number 6 represents “communication or ignorance.“  Since this number 6 is a red card, and it’s also followed by another red card, I would go with the positive interpretation of “communication.”  The basic suit meanings tell me that diamonds represent energy, power, rewards, money, etc.  So the 6 of diamonds would indicate some good news (followed by ) regarding money, and could represent the forthcoming news that I am hired for the new position.

The final card is number 12 (or Queen) which represents “a female friend or rival,” and may also denote the qualities of “receptivity and intuition.” Either or both of these meanings could apply.  In either case, I would interpret the Queen of hearts as a friendly influence since hearts indicate love, friendship, peace, happiness, and pleasure.

The Queen of hearts falls in the end position of the layout which represents the final outcome. Therefore, I can read this card in a general sense to mean that the new job brings (I receive) pleasure and happiness.  Or I could read this card to represent a kind-hearted female who will be instrumental in helping me secure the new position.  Either way, this card denotes a happy outcome to the question.

As you can see, with just these simple meanings it is possible to get a lot of detailed and accurate information from the cards.  When you encounter a card in a layout that doesn’t seem to make any sense, you can fall back on the basic symbolism of suit and number. You’ll be amazed by how the reading will suddenly come together and make sense.  Give it a try, have lots of fun, and happy readings!


Basic Cartomancy Skills: The Court Cards As People

Part 3 – The Court Cards As People:

When Court Cards appear in a reading, they will most often represent actual people in the querent’s life.  When I first learned to read the cards, I had a terrible time trying to sort out “who was who” in my readings.  I found it helpful to familiarize myself with the personality attributes associated with the four suits, and then apply that information to the basic physical attributes for the specific Court Card.

Basic Physical Attributes:

Jack – Young person of either sex usually under 35 years old.  Can represent a child.  May also represent an older person who is immature, or just young at heart.

Queen – Traditionally a mature female, but the queen may represent a female of any age.

King – male, usually mature, or in a position of authority.  May also represent a younger man who is mature for his age, or is burdened by responsibilities.

Basic Personality Attributes Based on Suit Correspondences:

Hearts:  emotional, creative, romantic, compassionate, generous, sensitive, nurturing, dependable, protective, moody, lazy.

Clubs: practical, friendly, reliable, trustworthy, helpful,  ambitious, enthusiastic, sensible, stable, stubborn.

Diamonds: independent, extravagant, impulsive, impatient, optimistic, dynamic, restless, analytical, intelligent, high strung.

Spades: Powerful, intense, demanding, controlling, secretive, possessive, spiteful, charming, mysterious, calculating, detached.

Traditional  Attributes and Descriptions Associated with the Court Cards:

The following table lists the traditional physical attributes used for choosing a significator to represent the querent in certain layouts.  Alternatively, the significator may be based on the personality attributes listed above, or stereotypical correspondences outlined further below.

Blond or red hair & blue or green eyes Sandy hair with brown, blue or green eyes Brown to dark brown hair, brown eyes Dark brown to black hair, dark brown eyes
Male under 35 years old Jack of Diamonds Jack of Hearts Jack of Clubs Jack of Spades
Male over 35 years old King of Diamonds King of Hearts King of Clubs King of Spades
Female under 35 yrs old Queen of Diamonds Queen of Hearts Queen of Clubs Queen of Spades
Female over 35 years old Queen of Diamonds Queen of Hearts Queen of Clubs Queen of Spades
Female under 18 yrs old Jack of Diamonds Jack of Hearts Jack of Clubs Jack of Spades

Basic Court Card Stereotypes:

I found it also helped me tremendously to think of the Court Cards as stereotypes, or cardboard cutouts.  It’s a natural psychological function to sort by archetype, and I found that when I described a Court Card as a stereotype, the querent had an easier time placing that person in their life.

Of course real people are shades and combinations of all of these and many other “types,” but if you focus on a predominate personality feature, it’s not too difficult to pick a card to represent any real person in your life.  When I was learning, I found excellent practice in assigning a playing card Court to each real person in my life.  Then when that card would come up in a reading, I would describe some of the major characteristics of the person I knew.  I was amazed at how often this description rang true for the querent.

Below I suggest two stereotypes for each Court Card.  Once you are familiar with the Suit meanings, you’ll think of many more on your own, and eventually you’ll flesh out the Court Cards into real people. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a starting point for developing your own associations for each Court Card.


Jack of Hearts The Dreamer:  He or she is also The Lover, and he can represent a loved one, or family member of the querent. He is sensitive and romantic, but can be moody or lazy.

Jack of Clubs ♣ – The Athlete: He or she is also The Trusted Friend, or helper, and can represent someone who admires the querent. He is helpful and sincere, but he can be stubborn.

Jack of Diamonds The Student: He or she is also The Letter carrier or The fashionista, and can represent someone who is related to the querent through marriage. He is intelligent and optimistic, but he can be restless and impatient.

Jack of Spades ♠ – The Charmer: He or she is also the The Soldier or the Spy, and may represent any young person in uniform. He is dynamic and perceptive, but he can be spiteful and controlling.


Queen of Hearts  The Homemaker:  She is also The Nurturer, and may represent the wife, mother, or quality of “motherhood.”  She is sensuous and loving, but she can be self-indulgent.

Queen of Clubs ♣ – The Trusted  Friend:  She is also The Business Woman, and may represent a female work associate. She is logical and organized, but she can be headstrong.

Queen of Diamonds  The Socialite:  She may represent a woman with money, or who works in finance. In love triangles she may represent The Other Woman.  She may also represent a woman related to the querent through marriage. She is intelligent and independent, but she can be extravagant and highstrung.

Queen of Spades ♠ – The Widow:  She is also  The Divorcee, and although certainly not true today, prior to the 1950′s there was a social stigma attached to the divorcee who was not to be trusted.  This idea is reflected in the symbolism of the Q♠, and she may also represent a rival in business or love. She is decisive and fearless, but she can be secretive and controlling.


King of Hearts The Family Man: He is also The Protector, and may represent the querent’s husband or father or any  paternal influence. He is dependable and kind, but he can be temperamental and self-absorbed.

King of Clubs ♣ – The Advisor: He is also The Businessman, and may represent an executive, a business owner, or a work associate.  He is ambitious and practical, but he can be tenacious.

King of Diamonds The Entrepreneur:  He may have wealth, or work in finance. He is also The Magistrate, and may represent a politician or government official. He is intelligent and enthusiastic, but he can be aggressive or fussy.

King of Spades ♠ – The controller:  He is also The Man of Authority, and may represent the querent’s boss or landlord, or a policeman or military officer or judge.  He may also represent a divorced or widowed male in the querent’s life. He is charismatic and astute, but he can be jealous or possessive.

The Court Cards in Groups:

When the Court Cards fall in groups they will indicate the interactions between the people in the querent’s life.  A cluster of Court Cards may denote a social function.  The final Court Card in the series will generally indicate the mood of the get-together.
Hearts = partying, having a good time, or a family function.
Clubsa practical function such as a class, or a work engagement.
Diamonds =intellectual pursuits, or earned or reward celebrations.
Spades = a gathering out of obligation, or necessity.

In a cluster of Court Cards, the direction they face can reveal much about the dynamics of the group. The direction a Court Card faces will usually indicate where that person’s interest is focused.   Here are some additional suggestions for interpreting Court Cards based on their  direction :

  • Traditionally, the querent’s position is to the left of a row of cards.  Therefore a Court Card that faces left is generally showing interest in the querent, and a Court Card that faces right is generally not focused on the querent or his/her needs, and may indicate disinterest, disagreement or estrangement.

  • A Court Card facing toward another court indicates interest in that person. If the second Court is looking away, it can indicate a one-sided relationship, or unrequited love.

  • Court Cards of the same sex facing each other indicate agreement or  friendship.

  • Court Cards of the same sex facing each other with heart between them can indicate a same-sex relationship.

  • Court Cards of the opposite sex facing each other indicate marriage or a strong relationship.

  • Court Cards facing away from each other indicate a disagreement, argument, or estrangement.

  • The pip the Court Card looks to will reveal what is on the person’s mind, or may refer to  an event or circumstance  influencing this person directly.

Basic Cartomancy Skills: Suit Interactions

Part 1: Suit Interactions

I first learned to read playing cards from my paternal grandmother, who was professional reader in New York City back in the 1950′s and 60′s. She had learned to read the cards from an aunt back in Italy before immigrating to the U.S. I remember, as a young child, eavesdropping on my grandmother’s readings with fascination, and when I turned 12 years old, she agreed to teach me her method.

The first thing I learned was to read the cards based on the symbolism of the four suits only. At the time, I was feeling restless and disappointed because I desperately wanted to learn the “meat and potatoes” of card reading. Now in retrospect, I appreciate my grandmother’s immense wisdom. My ability to perform a complete, in-depth reading using only the symbolism of the four Suits, and how they interact, has contributed greatly to my success as a reader.

The cards will speak to you in a unique and personal way if you are willing to open your heart and mind to their wisdom.  These are the basic suit meanings that work best for me:

Basic Suit Meanings:

Spades – negativity, problems, challenges, failure, illness and loss.

Hearts – emotion, love, happiness, sharing, pleasure, and healing.

Clubs – good luck, growth, activity, work, business and social interactions.

Diamonds – energy, power, imagination, money, rewards, success and legal judgments.

Basic Suit Interactions:

Each Suit is influenced by the Suit that tops or falls to the right of it. Here is a table of suggested meanings for the interactions of the Four Suits that work for me. This list only scratches the surface, so don’t be afraid to work out your own interpretations based on your own unique understanding of the four suits.






serious trouble, illness, possible harm physical or emotional healing actively working through problems imagined problems, improved finances


hurt feelings, emotional pain joy, happiness, love, romance, enjoyment creativity, service to others & good luck happiness & success, comfort & security


increased difficulties, problems with work happy outcome, developing emotions action, increased activity, taking control increase in power or money, rewards from work


energy block, money problem, spending money rewards, positive attraction or sharing money applied power or investing money great success or acquiring and saving money

With just the basic meanings to the Suits, it’s possible to provide an accurate, insightful reading. And a good understanding of the four suits and how they interact is an excellent jumping off point for delving more deeply into the symbolism of the individual cards.

In Part 2, I’ll review the basic cartomancy number meanings, and how to combine them with the suit interactions to provide a surprisingly detailed and accurate cartomancy reading.

Overview Spread: School Days

What follows is a spread I did for a mother who was concerned about her daughter who was leaving at the end of the month to begin college across country. Mom wanted to know that her daughter would be safe, and that she would have a successful winter semester.

I thought this proved to be a good example of a classic Overview Spread, giving a general overview of a specific situation, and so with Mom’s permission I am sharing it here…

Question: How will the daughter fare during her first semester away at school?


General Impressions

What struck me first about this reading is the beautiful symmetry in the suits and numbers. There are two Spades, two Clubs and two Diamonds. There are two Aces, two 5′s and two Face Cards, not counting the Queen of Hearts which I chose as significator to represent the daughter.

The two Spades indicate the challenges that the daughter will face, and the two Clubs show that she is willing to put forth the work to achieve success. The two Diamonds represent intellectual pursuits, and foretell a successful outcome for the situation.

The Heart suit is conspicuously missing from this spread. This can be interpreted as a good sign since the Hearts can represent laziness and a lack of initiative. On the other hand, the girl may need reminding that school should also be fun, and that it’s okay to take some time away from her studies to relax and enjoy herself.  The mother confirmed that her daughter is a serious student, and not prone to either laziness or frivolity.

The two Aces represent a major change in the daughter’s life– a pair of Ace bring new people, situations, and places!  The two 5′s indicate that the daughter will take things in hand. Her future is literally in her own hands, and this new experience will be whatever she makes of it. The two Face Cards represent the new friends that the girl will encounter living on campus.

Now for an analysis of the individual cards…

The Two Cards on the Left

The two cards on the left represent the premise of the question, the recent past or present influences on the situation. The Ace of Spades is a life transition. It is the ending of one phase of life, and the start of another. It also represents the anxiety associated with any major life change. The Ace of Diamonds is a new phase of life beginning, and brings a sense of adventure. Going off to school is clearly a significant event in the daughter’s life. The mother confirmed that the girl has never been away from home for more than a day or two, and both mother and daughter are feeling anxious about the separation.

The Ace of Spades and Ace of Diamonds can also indicate some anxiety over a letter, and there had been some concern over whether or not the girl would get into the school of her choice before the letter of acceptance finally arrived last month.

The Card Above

The card directly above the significator represents what is on the person’s mind regarding the question, or what the person hopes to achieve in the situation. The 5 of Spades is a card of movement, separation and loss. The daughter is obviously thinking about being away from her friends and family, and relocating to unfamiliar surroundings. The 5 of Spades can also indicate independence and the fear of striking out on one’s own. No doubt the daughter is feeling some anxiety, but she also looks forward to being on her own for the first time in her life.

The Card Below

The card below the significator represents what the person fears or dreads regarding the situation surrounding the question. The Jack of Clubs is a young person– usually male. The mother confirmed that the daughter has a boyfriend she has dated through high school. The Ace of Diamonds suggests that there may have been some talk of an engagement, and the upcoming separation from the boy is the single dark cloud in an otherwise happy situation.

Often the Card Above and the Card Below will refer to a single situation. It becomes obvious that it is the separation from the boyfriend that weighs heavily on the girls mind.  She does not dread the separation itself– which would have been the message if the 5 of Spades had fallen below. Instead, she’s looking forward to the change, but dreads how the move will affect her relationship with the boy. The Ace of Diamonds also suggests that they have promised to stay in touch through written correspondence.

The Two Cards on the Right

The cards on the right reveal the future influences or outcome of the situation. The 5 of Clubs brings good luck, and it is a card of self-sufficiency. The daughter will manage very well on her own, and the experience will build confidence and self-esteem. The Queen of Diamonds represents the personality traits that the girl will foster and develop through this experience– she is studious and energetic, intelligent and quick-witted, confident and independent.

The Queen of Diamonds may also represent is an influential woman who will play a significant role in the successful outcome of the situation. The daughter will be moving into a dorm on campus, and perhaps the Queen of Diamonds represents a roommate who will motivate the girl, and help distract her from pinning for the boyfriend.

The Outcome

Symbolically, the Queen represents personal power and growth. The Diamond as the final card in the spread indicates optimism and success, and foretells good marks in her classes. There can be no doubt that the daughter will come into her own at school. She will perform well, and her first semester will be a very beneficial experience for her.