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.

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The Star Spread: Will I Find True Love?

I wanted to share the following reading because it provides a good example of how I approach a small spread that is dominated by Court Cards. I recently posted two articles on how to read the Court Cards: The Court Cards As People and When Court Cards Do Not Represent People. I hope the following example reading will help further showcase these ideas in action.

For this reading I used the Star Spread. I have encountered several versions of the Star Spread from various sources. The version I prefer comes from the book, The Way of Cartouche by Murry Hope.

This example Star Spread was part of an actual reading done on 4/21/06 for the daughter of a good friend.  You’ll notice that 4 of the 5 cards pulled for this layout were Court Cards which provide psychological insight into the interactions between the people involved in the situation.  

Question: Will I find true love?

tru_luv_star

Cards In the Order They Were Drawn:

King of Hearts
Queen of Spades
King of Spades
5 of Diamonds
King of Clubs

The King of Hearts at the first point of the star represents the nature of the question.  As a member of the suit of hearts, this card confirms that the question deals with an emotional matter.  The King would specifically represent the ideal partner the querent is wishing for– family man, good provider, protector, faithful husband, etc., which are all of the characteristics associated with this card.

The Queen of Spades at the 2nd point of the star represents the cause or basis of the question, the reason for the wish, or the cause of the problem.  The suit of Spades represents sadness and loneliness, which are obvious reasons for searching for true love. Specifically, the queen represents the querent in her current aspect of sadness and loneliness.  The Queen of Spades can also represent a divorced woman, and the querent was in fact divorced.

The King of Spades falling at the 3rd point of the star represents a contributing factor, or additional information to be considered in the situation. It’s easy to see that he represents the querent’s ex-husband, as the King of Spades would denote a divorced or widowed man. As a spade falling in this position, he represents an obstacle to the successful outcome of the situation.

If we look at the dynamics of the cards in this layout, we see that the Queen of Spades (the querent) is looking away from the King of Spades (the ex-husband), but the ex-husband is looking directly at the querent.  These interactions suggest that although she is finished with the relationship, and is ready to move on, he is still holding on.  The querent confirmed that this was the case.  The ex-husband had continued to pursue her even after she made it clear to him that she was not interested in a reconciliation.

Despite her desire to move on, the queen’s stance also suggests that the querent still harbors anger and hurt feelings from the past relationship.  These negative emotions as represented by the Queen of Spades may be holding her back from finding new love.  Interestingly, the Queen of Spades is  turned away from all of the men in the layout, including her ideal man, the King of Hearts.  This further suggests that she has closed herself off emotionally.

At the 4th point of the star we find the only pip in the layout.  This position answers the question, or provides advice for finding a solution to the problem or concern.  The 5 of Diamonds is the card of “physical and mental attraction,” and it reminds us that we create our experiences based on the energy we project out into the the world.  This card can be a warning to be more aware of how we present ourselves to those around us.

The 5 of Diamonds in this position advises that a change is needed in the way the querent is perceiving herself, and presenting this image to the world–and in particular to potential partners.  This card suggests that in order to move forward, the querent must release her anger, forgive the ex, and drop the Queen of Spades persona as the sad, lonely, hurt, angry, wronged woman.

The card in the final position at the 5th point of the star represents the final outcome if the advice of the card in position 4 is heeded.  Here we find the King of Clubs.  He is the actual man, as opposed to the ideal (King of Hearts), that the querent can potentially attract (5 of Diamonds) into her life.  The King of Clubs is friendly, reliable, trustworthy and stable, the very qualities the querent needs.  It is interesting to note that the King of Clubs also looks away from the Queen, which suggests disinterest in her current aspect as the hurt, angry woman.

For this yes-or-no question I set the intention that the answer could be derived by the ratio of red to black cards in the spread. The predominance of black cards would suggest a “no” answer.  It’s important to keep in mind that the “no” does not mean “never.”  It simply means “no” for the duration of the whatever time frame is set by the reading.  In the case of the Star Spread, the time frame is usually between 3 to 6 months.

The King of Clubs represents a new man coming into the querent’s life, but the encounter could be delayed by her inability to release the negative emotion from her past relationship with the ex.  It’s also possible she may meet the new man within the time frame of the reading, but the relationship may not develop right away.

Feedback:

The querent took the advice to heart, and worked at forgiving and releasing the baggage from her failed marriage.  She did meet someone new about year after the reading, and eventually remarried.

How to Interpret Multiple Court Cards in a Reading

A common question I get from students is, “How do I handle multiple court cards in a reading. I derive meaning based on how the cards interact with each other, so I prefer to use a structured layout. But that’s just my personal preference. It’s perfectly fine to deal out seven or ten cards in a row and read them in sequence. In fact, I know some very successful readers who don’t ever use a structured layout.

Second, I’ve learned through experience that court cards almost always represent people in the querent’s life. But of course there are exceptions.

The following Line of 7 was submitted by a student:

multiple_courts1
When a group of court cards fall together, it usually means a party, a get together, or a group outing with friends is coming up. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I look at your grouping of cards because the Ace of Diamonds can represent an invitation.

Your interpretation also makes perfect sense. It could be an engagement party coming up that you’ll either hear about, or be invited to (Ace of Diamonds could indicate all three possibilities).

There’s another possibility if we pair off the court cards. Two Kings can represent a policeman or judge, and the Queen + Jack combination can represent a old female friend from the past. You have two such combinations in your spread. So another possible interpretations is that you’ll run into a female friend you haven’t seen in a while (Queen of Diamonds + Jack of Clubs) who will bring news (Ace of Diamonds) about another old female friend you’ve not seen in a while (Queen of Hearts + Jack of Spades) who has been in trouble with the police (King of Spades + King of Diamonds). The Queen of Hearts shows it was probably a close friend or even a family member and the Jack of Spades shows trouble.

Well, those are some basic ideas without even considering the direction that each card faces. Court cards that face toward each other can indicate collusion or conflict, and those that face away indicate anger or indifference. Cards that face toward the left usually have the querent’s best interests in mind. Those that face to the right are more concerned with their own interests.

For example, the King of Spades and King of Diamonds are interested in each other. We could assume they know each other and are probably friends. The Queen of Hearts is interested in what’s going on with the King of Diamonds, she could have romance on her mind (Heart), but his focus is elsewhere. The Jack of Spades is engaging the Queen of Diamonds. The Jack of Clubs is focused on the invitation, so the invitation is most likely coming from him.

You can find more information about reading the court cards in groups in the Cartomancy Court Cards Category.

A student asks:

Kapherus, I would like to know if there is more to understand when reading court cards. I realize there are suit interactions here that will help the reading to make more sense. Another site states that kings are power/ ideal partners; queens are, truth and jacks are messages in addition to being people in our lives. When I draw court cards I see them so literally as people but perhaps I am missing their broader meanings. Could you write some about this.

Sure, here’s some more information on how I approach the court cards:

The Kings

In card combinations, a king will almost always represent a mature man either in age or behavior. For example, the King of Spades can represent a divorced or separated man who often appears as an ex-husband, ex-lover, or ex-friend in the cards. He can also be read according to his “Spade” nature. His positive traits are sexy, charming, intense, mysterious, determined, and powerful. On the negative side, he might be aggressive, secretive, demanding, etc.

Because the King of Spades is a natural born leader, he may often represent a man in your life who is in a position of power over you. This could be your father, employer, landlord, professor, or even husband. I know that all of these levels of meaning can seem overwhelming to the beginning card reader, but you’ll find that soon enough your intuition will kick in to help you choose the most appropriate interpretation. (Please see my article on The Court Cards As People for specific information on how to identify the other face cards in your reading, and suggestions on how to read the directions they face.)

In a card spread where the individual positions carry specific meaning, the King can sometimes be read as a quality. The King is top man on the totem pole. He represents influence and authority. The King can represents the querent’s authority in a reading regardless of whether the querent is male or female, or young or old. The specific suit will usually give a clue as to the area of influence. For example, the King of Spades can indicate that the querent is being overbearing in a situation. The King of Hearts can show protectiveness. The King of Clubs shows taking full responsibility for resolving a problem or issue. The King of Diamonds can denote taking financial or intellectual control of a situation.

In combination, the Kings can be read as men interacting with each other. Two Kings is symbolic of a handshake, and can indicate some kind of partnership or mutually beneficial deal. Two Kings can also represent a man in uniform–the first King would represent the man, and the 2nd his uniform. For example, the two Kings could represent a policeman, a fireman, a rescue worker, or a military officer. As a side note, two Jacks can also represent a man who wears a uniform for work, but not necessarily as a symbol of authority. Groups of Kings would indicate an event or organization consisting of mostly men.

The Queens

The Queen is ageless (meaning she can represent a female of any age) and the Jack is a young male or female, so this pairing is wide open to a multitude of possible interpretations. In other words, there is not a general meaning I can give you that will always apply to any Court Card pairing.

Here are some guidelines that work for me:

When two or more Face Cards of any matching suit appear together, they can represent a family connection. Therefore, the Queen + Jack could be mother and son, or sister and brother, or older sister and younger sister, or even a young married couple.

The combination of Queen + Jack can also be read as an old female friend coming back into your life. The Queen of Hearts might indicate old love interest returning. The Queen of Spades could be an old rival. The Queen of Clubs could be an old work associate, and the Queen of Diamonds could be a long lost relative returning.

Two Face Cards of the same suit can also denote compatibility. For example, the King and Queen with matching suit will usually indicate a married couple, or at the very least a compatible relationship. The Jack of the same suit often represents their offspring.

Sometimes the Queen + Jack can indicate a woman who is involved with a younger man.

The Queen can also represent the subconscious. or something happening behind the scenes. In a reading she can reveal the subconscious motivations that are influencing the situation. For example, the Queen of Diamonds could denote someone subconsciously motivated by money and/or power.

Then on top of all of that, you can also figure in the specific personality traits associated with each suit. So as you can see, the possibilities are almost endless. Your intuition is always your best guide when interpreting the Court Card combinations.

The Jacks

I’ve found in my own readings that the Jacks almost always represents young men, although they can also represent young women or children of either sex. The specific suit can be used to determine interests or personality traits to help place the person in the querent’s life.

Jacks almost always represent people for me, but in layouts with individual spots that convey a specific meaning (such as the Celtic Cross or 5-Pointed Star) the Jacks do often represent thoughts or ideas. Of course a card almost never means only one thing, so it’s also possible to read a Jack first as a specific person in the querent’s life, and then again as an important thought or idea.

I use the Jacks in two ways to represent thoughts or ideas. First, if the King or Queen of the matching suit appears in a reading, the corresponding Jack could represent that person’s thoughts, and the surrounding cards would describe what was on this person’s mind.

Secondly, the Jacks can represent the querent’s thoughts, or an idea being contemplated, particularly if no other Face Cards appear in the spread. In this case, the Jack of Hearts could represent thoughts of love or family, the Jack of Diamonds = thoughts of money or power, the Jack of Clubs = thoughts of work, business or study,
and Jack of Spades would denote thoughts concerning a challenge or problem– often negative thinking. 
The Jacks can also be read as something new or something offered, but this has rarely been the case for me.

When the Jacks appear in pairs, I use the one falling on top (to the right) to convey the mood of the union or encounter. If a heart falls on top, it would show cooperation, and a friendly interaction such as two good friends sharing a mutual experience. If a Club falls on top, then the interaction is more practical, such as shaking hands on a business deal. If a diamond falls on top, there is probably money or scheming involved. A Spade on top almost always denotes a problem or challenge, and can indicate trouble or conflict between the two young persons.

I have had the pair of Jacks (most often the Jack of Diamonds + Jack of Spades ) indicate a lawsuit in my readings. Usually the 5 of Diamonds is also somewhere in the spread indicating a court case. The Jack of Hearts + Jack of Spades would clue me in to a disagreement. Of course the surrounding cards would also influence the final interpretation, and any pair could denote a quarrel with Spades.

When Court Cards Do Not Represent People

courts

In most cases when a Court Card† appears in a reading, the card will represent the querent or an important person in the querent’s life. But every once in a while you’ll come across a Court Card that doesn’t seem to make sense within the context of the reading, and your gut tells you that the card is not meant to represent a specific someone.

So how to interpret a court card when it’s not a person?

It can be tricky. I don’t have a canned set of meanings that I use for face cards when they don’t represent people, but I do have general guidelines that I follow with reliable results. 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 for the suits, 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 feeling for each suit.

Spades
negativity, problems, responsibilities, obligations, law enforcement, challenges, obstacles, mysteries, decisions, Karmic debts, obsessions, addictions, resentment, anger, setbacks, confinement, anxiety, failure, fear, illness and loss.

Hearts
emotions, love, romance, happiness, comfort, compassion, sharing, family matters, relationships, intimacy, rest, relaxation, amusement, fun, laziness, pleasure, peace, calm, creativity, soul connections, religion, and healing.

Clubs
good luck, growth, goals, conversations, verbal communication, paperwork, learning, action, physical activity, sports, exercise, work, construction, clubs and organizations, business, friendships and social interactions.

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

I combine the suit meanings with the archetypal meanings that I associate with the Court Cards by rank.

Jacks
The Jacks represent children and young people. Therefore the Jack can denote something small or the start of something new. 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 there is the idea of movement connected with these cards.

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

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

With the above meanings in hand, and with a healthy dose of logic and a good pinch of intuition, it’s not too difficult to determine what a court card is trying to say when your gut tells you it isn’t meant to represent a person.

As an example, let’s combine the Jack with the Suit of Diamonds…

Jack of Diamonds
traditionally he is the letter carrier. He can represent a small sum of money, the start of a financial venture, a written message, a message about finances, a financial statement, a check, a receipt, money transfer, 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. She can represent loneliness, separation, an ending, sterility, miscarriage, female health issues, blocked emotions, loss of personal power, blocked creativity, etc.

Now we’ll look at the King with the suit of Clubs…

King of Clubs
traditionally, he is a man of business. He can represent success in business, moving up the social ladder, attaining one’s goals, mastering a physical skill or ability, taking ownership of a project, an exclusive men’s club or organization, etc.

Your own intuition and the surrounding cards will help add color and flavor to your interpretation of the Court Card.

The real trick is in knowing when a Court Card is meant to represent a person, and when it is not. If you fall into the habit of interpreting all of your face cards as qualities and characteristics rather than as people, you’ll miss out on the important roles other people play in the querent’s life. This would create a blind spot in your readings which could be a serious detriment to your querent’s understanding of the true factors influencing his or her life experiences.

†Court Card Images:
Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Playing cards, Legendary Irish Playing Cards, Sophia’s Fortune Telling Deck, Jane Lyle’s Fortune Teller’s Deck, Bicycle Playing cards.

Cartomancy Daily Draw – A Happy Visit

I drew exceptionally good cards this morning…

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9 of Hearts – dream, wish, desire, victory, success
King of Hearts – father figure, protector, good counsel
4 of Clubs – a vehicle, a telephone call, a visit

The King of Hearts is my significator card, but I have the impression that he represents someone else in this spread since the 4 of clubs falling last shows that I receive a phone call or visit from this man. He could be a family member or a good friend. So wish fulfillment comes  from a man and a phone call, or the man will bring something I desire in his vehicle.

Now I need to tone the message down a good bit since daily cards are never as dramatic as a full reading. My brother is supposed to drop by today for a visit, and these cards could simply refer to good companionship with my brother during his visit.

Update 10:29 pm

I was surpised that my brother (KH) did not come by for a visit today, but I did speak with him on the phone (4C). He confirmed that he will have Christmas dinner at my place instead of spending the holiday with his ex-wife and children. He will visit with his kids in the morning, and then head over to my house in the afternoon for dinner. This was happy news, and something I was hoping (9H) to hear, so I’m sure that’s what today’s cards were about.