Whether you don’t have a Tarot deck to hand or you simply want to try something else, this is a quick guide on how to do fortune telling with playing cards.
The same way specific cards in the Tarot allow us to paint a picture from a combination of their meaning, if we assign meaning to their playing card alternatives we can do a Tarot spread with a normal deck of playing cards.
Cartomancy refers to the general practice of divination with a set of cards. When most people think about telling the future with the help of cards, they’re going to immediately picture the Queen of Pentacles or something. The actual imagery of the Tarot might help us to remember the meaning of the cards, but as long as we understanding the meaning the artwork doesn’t really matter.
Doing a Tarot Reading with Playing Cards
The first step (and this is a good habit to get into) is to cleanse your deck. Just because it isn’t a Tarot deck it doesn’t change why or how we should be treating the cards with respect.
The second step is to be clear on your question before starting. One of the biggest mistakes I see from beginner readings is they pull the cards and pick (or change) their intent as the spread develops so they’re getting the answer they want.
Be very clear of your intent before beginning. The cards might lead you to have further questions or give you advice in a direction you weren’t expecting but you need to know your intent before beginning.
Interpreting Playing Cards Like Tarot Cards
Just like the suits in a tarot deck (wands, cups, goblets and swords) refer to the four elements, so do the suits in a set of playing cards. Hearts relate to water, clubs to fire, diamonds to earth and spades to air. They also align with four aspects of life: the emotional (hearts), mental (clubs), material (diamonds), and physical (spades) aspects.
The Suit of Hearts
The cards in this suit are generally happy and positive cards concerning friendship and family.
- Ace of Hearts: A very positive card that is usually read as a sign that problems come to an end.
- King of Hearts: This card refers to a family member or a loved one like a father or father-figure. He is affectionate and caring and gives fair, loving advice.
- Queen of Hearts: As the female counterpart of the King of Hearts, the Queen refers to a mother or maternal figure.
- Jack of Hearts: A warm-hearted younger person. This can be a helpful friend or even a younger admirer.
- 10: Luck and success, especially the eventual success after a period of difficulty.
- 9: This card is about wishes and dreams and their fulfillment. The card drawn just before this one can refer to what exactly this wish might be.
- 8: A surprise, for example, an unexpected gift, visit, or invitation.
- 7: Is there someone whose affections you can’t trust, someone who seems caring but is likely to be unreliable? This card can also indicate lovesickness.
- 6: Good luck will come to you! Someone will care for you and support you.
- 5: Someone around you does not have your best interests at heart. Jealousy might be the reason for this.
- 4: This card indicates change. This can be a journey, a move to a different place, or a new job.
- 3: The reading of this card depends on the spread as a whole. If the spread is generally good, this confirms the good fortune. If the spread is full of conflicts, this card refers to emotional conflicts, like being torn between loving different people.
- 2: A supporting partnership.
The Suit of Clubs
The suit of clubs indicates mostly good things when it comes to business and achievement – ‘business’ here can have also sexual and romantic meanings.
- Ace of Clubs: Unexpected financial gain. But be careful: if the spread is generally more negative, this money might disappear quickly unless you are very careful!
- King of Clubs: A married businessman who is usually generous.
- Queen of Clubs: A businesswoman or socialite. This well-connected woman can give very helpful advice.
- Jack of Clubs: A popular young person or admirer who is reliable and genuine.
- 10: Luck with money and business. A trip you take now can find you a new friend or lover.
- 9: Sudden or unexpected achievement.
- 8: Conflicts at work that might have to do with jealousy.
- 7: At your job, your hard work pays off and you might get a promotion or a pay raise, but in your love life, difficulties may appear.
- 6: Financial aid or success will come to you.
- 5: Expect new friendships or a business partnership.
- 4: Don’t trust people blindly, they might want to deceive you.
- 3: This card announces long-term success in your job or a romantic relationship. If you made some questionable decisions in the past, it indicates a second chance to make things right.
- 2: There is an obstacle to your success. Is someone spreading gossip about you?
The Suit of Diamonds
This suit refers to career and finance.
- Ace of Diamonds: Change, but usually of the good sort.
- King of Diamonds: A wealthy man or male authority figure.
- Queen of Diamonds: A wealthy woman in a position of authority who sometimes is quite gossipy.
- Jack of Diamonds: A young person, often in uniform. Can bring bad news, but those are usually not of great importance in the overall scheme of things.
- 10: A change in your financial status, usually for the better.
- 9: Restlessness, travel. Might indicate a move or a new business deal.
- 8: A change in your employment situation.
- 7: An argument on the job or concerning finance that will likely be resolved well.
- 6: Relationship problems or even separation.
- 5: A change for the better. Now is a good time for starting a new project!
- 4: An older person may give good advice. There may be a financial improvement in the near future.
- 3: A reminder to be tactful and polite towards the people around you. Might indicate legal trouble.
- 2: A change in a relationship or business partnership.
The Suit of Spades
Cards from the suit of spades often suggest gossip and messages and the challenges these bring.
- Ace of Spades: Often associated with death, but more likely to be about a difficult ending.
- King of Spades: A widower or divorced man, or a foreigner. He is ambitious, powerful, and usually self-serving, so he may be deceitful.
- Queen of Spades: This widow, divorced woman, or woman from a foreign country. can be quite cold and manipulative.
- Jack of Spades: A younger person who is hostile or jealous.
- 10: Bad news.
- 9: A personal low.
- 8: Temptation, danger
- 7: There are obstacles to your success, maybe from within yourself. Beware of bad or deceptive advice!
- 6: This card prefigures small changes or improvements.
- 5: You are faced with difficulties that are temporary or even a blessing in disguise.
- 4: Small troubles.
- 3: Breaks in relationships, there might be a third person intruding.
- 2: An important process in your life might be interrupted. If the spread is overall concerned with questions of romance, this might indicate deceit or separation.