Split Combinations in Cartomancy

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.

Hi Kapherus,

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….

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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!

 

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The Diamond Suit in Relationship Readings

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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.

 

7 of Spades

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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.

Cartomancy Technique for Answering Yes-or-No Questions

When I was a fledgling card reader in that long-ago age before the invention of the internet and psychic phone lines, most psychic readings were done locally and in person. The dynamics of the psychic reading were different in those days. There was  little interaction between reader and client prior to spreading the cards. Once the cards were on the table, and the cassette recorder was flipped on, the reader would begin to describe important events in the client’s life. The client might grunt approval or groan in surprise, but for the most part questions and comments were saved for the last few minutes of the session. Today, in our modern world of chat readings and per minute charges, psychic readings have become much more focused, and the guiding force behind the modern reading is the question.

Perhaps the most common type of inquiry heard from clients today is the yes-or-no question…

  • Will I get married soon?
  • Is my spouse cheating?
  • Does he love me?
  • Will the business deal go through?
  • Will I get the job I just interviewed for?

I suppose it is not surprising. Today’s clients come to a reader with specific questions, and expect definite answers.

Questions that are phrased in this way can be challenging for the reader because yes or no answers are not always so clear-cut in the cards. The reader is forced to make a judgement call based on the combined influence of all of the cards in the spread, in conjunction with intuition  Not all readers are comfortable with this process, and many choose to avoid answering predictive questions that require a definite yes or no response.

The yes or no questions have always been popular with my querents, and over the years I have experimented with various spreads designed to answer these specific type questions. I have tried spreads that include techniques for divining yes or no by way of card number combination, or card suit designation or suit color predominance.

I’ve discovered that, for me, the most successful technique is to draw an odd number of cards, and base the answer on the predominance of red or black cards. The red cards are considered affirmative, and the black cards are negative. I find that drawing five cards work best for me. I think three cards are too few, and seven are too many.

I use the following guidelines for interpreting the answer based on predominance of card color:

  • 5 red and 0 black = definitely yes, the outcome is predetermined
  • 4 red and 1 black = most likely yes, there could be free will involved, or the querent may be able to influence the matter
  • 3 red and 2 black = probably yes, there is definitely free will involved, or the querent may be able to influence the matter
  • 2 red and 3 black = probably no, but the querent may be able to influence the situation for a more positive outcome
  • 1 red and 4 black = most likely no, there is small room for change, but the situation is not hopeless
  • 0 red and 5 black = definitely no, it is not meant to be

Once I determine the answer based on card coloring, I then interpret the line of cards to provide more information about why the answer is affirmative or negative.

On the subject of the predictive reading, I think it’s important to note that the cards can foretell the most likely outcome of a situation based on the current influences surrounding the matter. I believe that it is a mistake to ignore the influence of free will in a reading. In the end we create our experiences with our expectations and our choices and decisions. I believe very little is preordained, and that  for the most part, we write our own destiny.

Example Yes or No Spread

In order to provide an example of this type of reading, I just drew five cards off the cuff as I’m writing this post. I asked the question: Will Barack Obama be re-elected president of the United States?

This example was originally posted on September 19, 2012, on my old blog, prior to the election.

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The three red cards, and two black, tell me “probably yes.” The outcome may not yet be determined, but the situation looks hopeful. Obama has more work to do to convince the American public to award him with another presidential term.

Now we can look at the specific meanings of the cards to glean more information from this spread. The 9 of Hearts and 5 of Hearts show that Obama was the hope for a bright future. The 10 of Diamonds and 10 Spades show that his financial plan for the country fell short, and the 8 of Spades shows that this caused a general sense of disappointment for the American people.

We could delve even deeper into this spread say that there is dissatisfaction (10 of Spades) with both the financial (10 of Diamonds) and the Health care (8 of Spades) agendas. I also have the impression from the predominance of red cards at the start of the line that expectations were high when Obama was first elected president. It may have been nearly impossible to meet those exaggerated expectations. The 8 of Spades as the outcome shows that his accomplishments and failures are being carefully analyzed, and a final decision is pending.

I have had tremendous success using this yes-or-no method. I suppose you could say it’s because in most cases the answer could go either way, and in a sense this allows me to hedge all of my bets. But in practice this spread has been very rewarding because it can show where the querent may have the power to influence the outcome of a situation, and the cards will usually offer advice on how to turn the tide for a more favorable outcome. I find this to be infinitely more practical and useful than simply telling a querent “yes or no.”

How I Shuffle the Cards For a Reading

In response to several questions from readers of my blog about how I shuffle and draw the cards for my readings, I decided to write an article about my process…

I think it’s important to point out that my method works for me, but it may not work for everyone. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what process works best for you. I also want to mention that what follows is my approach for handling the playing cards specifically. My process varies with other oracle cards.

Which Hand?

When I first learned to read the cards I was taught to always cut the deck from left to right using my left hand. I was also instructed to draw cards with my left hand. The rationale is that the left side of the body is the receptive or spiritual side, and that the left hand is closest to the heart. Because I am right-handed, this feels unnatural to me. So before long I switched to using my right hand exclusively for the cut and draw. That was many years ago, and my readings have only improved over time. For this reason, I’m convinced that it’s best to use whichever hand feels most natural to you.

Shuffling the Deck

When I started reading professionally, almost all of my readings were done face-to-face in person. For an in-person reading I always allowed my querent to do the shuffling in whichever way felt most comfortable. I have watched clients riffle the deck like a practiced card shark. Others clumsily mash the cards together, bending  the corners, and leaving me thankful that good quality playing cards are reasonably inexpensive. Most clients prefer a smooth over-hand shuffle. A few like to slide and scramble the cards on the table like they’re tossing a big salad. And on more than one occasion I have witnessed a client merely cut the cards once or twice in hand before returning the deck for the reading without shuffling at all. In every case, the quality of the reading did not seem to be affected by the technique used or the time spent on the shuffle. I decided over time that the shuffle is spirit-guided, and always perfect.

Over the last few years my readings have shifted almost exclusively to phone or email, requiring me to do the shuffling for my clients. Prior to beginning a new reading I riffle shuffle the deck because I believe this breaks up any residual energy from the previous reading. If I utilize multiple layouts during a session, I prefer the smooth overhand shuffle between laying out the cards in order to avoid scattering the energies.

Drawing the Cards

I have discovered through trial and error that I get a higher rate of accuracy when I draw the cards randomly for a reading. For this reason, I almost never deal a reading off the top of the shuffled deck. I will spread the cards out face-down on the table, and as I draw each card I focus on the querent’s question. I have the impression that my hand is divinely guided to choose the appropriate cards. This is what works best for me. You might find you get better results drawing from the top of the deck. I suggest you practice both techniques to see which gives you the most reliable results, or “feels right” for you.

Card Spreads

I prefer smaller card spreads. In fact, other than the Answer Spread, I rarely use structured spreads any more. Most often, I will draw no more than three or five cards to answer a specific question. For a general reading I use a process for drawing the cards that  my grandmother taught me whereby I deal every third card looking for the Aces and other meaningful cards which serve as significators in the reading.  This process allows me to fall back on a structure if I need to answer specific questions from the cards already on the table.

I have discovered that I am able to keep focus, and provide a more accurate reading with fewer cards. I never draw more than 12 or 15 cards for a general reading. In my experience, more cards do not necessarily mean more relevant information. So much of the meaning in a card reading is derived from how the cards influence each other.  It’s easy to become muddled when having to account for too many cards in a spread– especially when answering a simple question.

Clarification Cards

When I do use a structured spread, such as the Answer Spread for specific questions, I am not a fan of drawing additional cards for clarification. I find that if I’m not able to piece together the meaning of a small grouping of cards, drawing one or two additional cards is not likely to help, and only serves to further muddy the interpretation.  The one instance when I may employ a single clarification card is when a spread or group of cards end in a court card. I sometimes use an additional card to clarify the influence this person will have on the matter in question.