Playing Cards Are Multidimensional

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 only the question. I was taught that any divergent interpretation will invariably lead to an inaccurate reading. I don’t know if that is true of Tarot, but it is the way I was taught to read Lenormand.

The playing cards are multidimensional. They always provide a straightforward answer to any question, but with their diverse meanings they will almost always provide additional information not at all related to that question. In my experience this additional information is unfailingly valid and accurate. I find the same thing can happen when I read the Italian Sibilla, which is one reason why I love the Sibilla so much.

Poker Faces by Zach Abel

The advantage of using a multidimensional oracle is that you can get a lot of general information from just a few cards. In the 1990’s I worked the monthly psychic fair at a metaphysical bookstore. Client expectations were somewhat different from today. Back then people expected me to dive in immediately and tell them about their lives. Questions would come later, based on the initial reading. Now clients tend to be much more focused on a specific question or area of life they want to explore. Anyway, back in the day I could give a life reading in 20 minutes with only eight or ten cards on the table. Each card would function two or three different ways in the layout and cover a lot of detailed information– most of which was immediately meaningful and valid for the client.

The following reading is an interesting example of a multidimensional spread that I did for a female client recently. Let’s call her Jan, and thank her for allowing me to post her reading publicly for educational purposes. Jan is a 42 year old female who has taken the first steps toward creating her own business. She contacted me for a 5-Card email reading to ask how I see the new business developing in the next few months. Here are the cards that appeared in her reading…

The Fortune Teller’s Deck by Jane Lyle

I first review the number of cards from each suit, and their interactions, to get a general feeling for the energy surrounding the question. The Spade jumps out immediately. It’s a small value Spade so I know it’s not a big obstacle, but it can definitely show delays or slow progress. The Spade is surrounded by Diamonds, which represent spirit, energy and optimism. The Diamonds show me the energy and enthusiasm invested in the business, and help to mollify that nasty Spade. The remaining cards are Clubs which represent progress and growth and good luck. I already have a good impression of how the business will develop just by analyzing the card suits.

In a Line of Five I next look to the center card, which I like to call the pivot card, or hinge pin of the reading. This one card alone will often answer the question, and the surrounding cards will help fill in the details surrounding the matter. The Jack of Diamonds is a good card in financial readings. It can be about profits and cash flow. But the Jack is the face card with the least value in a suit of cards. It indicates the start of something, or a small increase. The Jack of Diamonds confirms the answer. It shows a good financial start, and some small but solid progress over the next few months.

Now let’s dig into the surrounding cards to get more information…

The 4 of Spades is a card of restrictions and slow movement. It confirms a slow start for the business. The 9 of Clubs is a great card for business. It shows forward movement, and gives a sense of heading in the right direction. There can be no doubt that progress will be slow at first, but the client is definitely on the right track with her new business, and on the right road to eventual success.

Finally let’s look at the first and last cards in the spread. The first card represents the premise of the situation in question. The Ace of Diamonds shows a new beginning. It confirms the theme of the reading, and let’s me know that the cards are responding accurately to the question. The final card represents the outcome, and it shows change– all of the fives represent change in one form or another. The 5 of Clubs is a change in a social or work/business situation. It’s always a change for the better, unless followed by an unfavorable card. In this case, the 5 of Clubs ends the row of cards, showing the continued progress and growth of the business into the future.

The cards have satisfactorily answered the question. But something else jumped out at me about this reading. The Jack of Diamonds with the 4 of Spades suggests a young person who is not feeling well. The 4 of Spades can be a card of illness, and it always grabs my attention when it falls in a spread. The surrounding Diamonds suggest a nervous problem, stress, or low energy. That felt right to me. I saw a young person, probably male, who was feeling depressed or exhausted. I saw this person taking a trip (9 of Clubs) to the country (5 of Clubs)– perhaps a camping trip. This person needs to get away, and recharge (Ace of Diamonds). The 5 of Clubs promises that the trip will bring a positive change to both his social and work life.

I always share the alternative interpretations I see in a reading. I’ve learned that this additional information can be important to the client. In this case the client confirmed that her son was feeling burned out from school and his job, and had developed some health issues related to stress. He had not mentioned any plans to travel, so I advised the mom to suggest a trip for the son to spend some time in nature. I assured her that the cards suggested that the trip would be beneficial for her son, and that the young man would be fine.

When the cards show a problem, they invariably also indicate one or more solutions. The client was grateful for the alternate interpretation because she was worried about her son. The cards, in their multidimensional and helpful ways, answered the client’s question, and also addressed a matter that had been stewing in the back of her mind.

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Who Is Who in My Love Reading?

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.

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Jack of Spades, 7 of Spades, King of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, 3 of Spades.

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.

Cartomancy Five Cards: College Admission

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?”

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Sophia’s Fortunetelling Playing Cards

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.

The Devastating Dusting Disaster

Early Sunday morning I received a frantic telephone call from my good friend Heidi. She was devastated by a dusting disaster. While tidying her altar in the early hours she had accidently smashed her treasured porcelain angel figurine. She immediately took the mishap as a sign that the angels were displeased with her, or that someone had cast the evil eye against her spiritual work.

Heidi begged me to throw down a few cards to see why the angels are angry with her. In my experience these kinds of mishaps are rarely the work of dark forces, so I agreed to draw a few cards to help ease her mind– despite not yet having my first cup of coffee…

dusting-disaster

I asked the cards, “What caused Heidi to drop and break her porcelain angel figurine?”

My immediate impression of the cards was that there were no dark forces or celestial anger afflicting Heidi or her porcelain figurine.

I always look first to the center card of the Line of Five Spread. I call this card the linchpin because it will usually provide a succinct answer to the question. The 3 of Diamonds points to carelessness and a lack of focus. The next cards to catch my eye were the first and last, which reflect each other and will usually provide supporting information about the answer. The combination Ace of Hearts and 5 of Clubs can indicate housework— in other words, cleaning and sweeping and dusting, etc.

It never fails to impress me how the playing cards will reflect back to us the theme of the question to confirm that the spread is focused on the correct issue.  The answer seems clear: Heidi was careless with her dusting of the figurine, and that was what caused it to slip from her fingers and crash to the floor.

“So then who’s the Queen of Spades?” Heidi wanted to know. Well, we could interpret her in several different ways– none of which are truly sinister since she is surrounded by relatively good cards. My first impression is that the Queen represents the broken angel figurine. She appears as a spade to represent her damaged condition.

I found myself drawn to that pair of fives in the spread. A pair of fives will often represent “the hands” in a reading. We see the angel (Queen of Spades) in the hands (between the two fives) along with the card of carelessness (3 of Diamonds). The symbolism is hard to ignore. Alternately, we might see the Queen as Heidi in her role as the unlucky or clumsy woman. More likely Heidi would be represented by the 5 of Hearts, which when next to the Ace of Hearts shows the woman of the house. The 5 of Hearts mirrors the Queen indicating the connection between Heidi and the damaged statue. The 3 of Diamonds in between would represent the scattered energy that caused the mishap. Or in a general sense the Queen as a spade may simply refer to the misfortunate accident. Whatever the case, what I don’t see are any malevolent outside influences to blame.

I asked Heidi if the damaged figurine could be fullsizerenderrepaired. I wondered because that 5 of Clubs ending the row is a work card that can indicate fixing or repairing something.  Also, the 5 of Hearts is one of the best cards in the deck. It reveals opportunity and truth and wishes fulfilled. When the cards reveal trouble, they invariably also show a possible remedy or solution. Perhaps the hands that had unintentionally caused the damage to the statue might also be able to repair it.

“Maybe,” Heidi tells me, “there’s a clean break at the torso, but one wing is shattered, and the halo is chipped.”  Heidi had already recovered the larger pieces, but she was not sure she could successfully glue them back together. I advised her to carefully collect all of the broken pieces, and that I would do my best to help.

In the end, there were splintered pieces which could not be restored, but the repaired angel does not look half bad.  Heidi and I both agreed that since the piece has so much sentimental value for her, it was worth restoring. I suggested that she display the angel with her damaged wing hidden. I took a picture from an advantageous angle, and from a distance you can’t even tell that the angel was broken.

Cartomancy Reading: The Aspiring Bartender

I originally posted this reading on my Art of Cartomancy Facebook page as a group exercise. I decided to also post the reading on the blog with a very detailed break down because this particular spread provides an outstanding example of how the cards when read in context go to the very heart of an issue or problem.

The reading was done on June the 2nd of this year, 2016. The querent is a young woman who has been applying at various bars and restaurants for a position as bartender. She is currently working as a server in a hotel restaurant. The querent asks, “Will I be successful in procuring a job as a bartender in the next three months?”

I shuffled the cards while focusing on her question. Then I spread the deck face-down on the table, and randomly drew the following five cards…

bartending

 

The first thing I notice about the spread is the predominance of black cards. The three black and two red cards suggest a probable “no” in answer to the question, but the querent may have the power to positively influence the final outcome.

Next my attention is drawn to the middle card in the spread which I call the “hinge,” and on which the rest of the reading hangs. I’m pleased to see the 10 of Clubs because it confirms the theme of the reading: business, career and work experience.

The pillars of the reading stand out for me. The pillars are first, middle and final cards which are read in combination, and provide a brief summary of the reading. The 9 of Hearts is the wish card, and it reveals the querent’s desire. The 10 of Clubs and 7 of Spades is the classic combination that represents a bar or nightclub. The querent desires a career tending bar, and these cards suggest that she has the potential to achieve her wish, although perhaps not within the desired time frame. Now we need to look deeper into the cards to discover why.

I’m drawn next to the 9 of Hearts to investigate the influences affecting the querent’s desire to become a bartender. The combination of the 2 of Diamonds and 10 of Clubs represents a restaurant. We know the current has restaurant experience which is confirmed by the 2 of Diamonds with the 10 of Clubs. The querent confirmed that she would prefer to tend bar in a restaurant rather than in a bar or nightclub.

Unfortunately the 2 of Diamonds is not in harmony (does not reflect or mirror) with the 7 of Spades. If these cards were in harmony they could be combined with the 9 of Hearts to show that the querent would get her wish. Also notice that the 2 of Diamonds is in harmony with the 3 of Spades which suggests a block or obstacle. The wish card is in harmony the bar/nightclub card, showing that the querent will have better luck finding a bartending job in a bar or nightclub.

So then why will the querent fail to find work as a bartender within the next three months? When the cards tell us “no,” they should also tell us “why,” and offer one or more possible solutions. Let’s take a look at the middle three cards which usually carry the most significance.

We know that the 10 of Clubs represents the querent’s career. The action in the spread moves from left to right so we can confirm with the 2 of Diamonds that she has past experience working as a server in a restaurant. The cards following the 10 of Clubs will show future career portions. The 7 of Spades follows to indicate that a bartending job is in the future, but it is blocked by that inauspicious 3 of Spades.

The 3 of Spades represents confusion or a lack of understanding (among other things), so we can infer that it is a lack of knowledge or skill or experience that has prevented the querent from being hired for her dream job. We can further infer that if the girl can acquire some knowledge or experience in bartending, she can remove the block and manifest her wish.

I’m intrigued by the 7 of Spades as the outcome card because it is generally a very negative influence, and can show setbacks and frustrations. But the 7 of Spades is also the drinking or alcohol card, and based on the context of the reading, it perfectly represents and confirms the querent’s desired outcome of a position tending bar and mixing drinks.

I advised the querent that she needs to set her sights on acquiring more knowledge and experience in bartending in order to make herself more attractive to potential employers. I suggested that she offer to volunteer on her days off at the bar in the restaurant where she currently works. Her manager may be grateful for the extra help. I also suggested that she look into attending a bartending class. Such classes may be offered inexpensively through an adult education programs in her local area, or she could investigate an actual bartending school. The querent promised to follow up on my suggestions, and then let me know what happens.