From ArticleWorld

The branch of divination dealing with fortune telling with the aid of a deck of cards is known as Cartomancy. A standard 52 card deck comprising the 4 suits is used for readings. The practitioners of this form are known as Cartomancers. It has many similarities with Tarot, which is rich in symbolism. An elementary difference is that while Tarot uses a 78 card deck, cartomancy uses only 52.


An ordinary 52 card deck serves as the medium but it requires special care. The deck should not be used for any other purpose and stored in an exclusive place. Some cartomancers believe that any person other than the reader should not even touch it. Cartomancy is often confused with Tarot but both are different in many fundamental aspects seeking similar goals. There are different types of layouts signifying diverse things. Layouts maybe of one card only or may go upto 30 cards.

An oft-followed method of readings is that the seeker is asked to select a court card (which is said to represent him) and then return it to the deck. The cards are then shuffled and spread out. A specific count inclusive of backward and forward passes is followed to select 14 cards. These cards are read out to reveal the fate of the questioner.


Some believe that cartomancy dates back to the Egyptian times (encompassing the ancient Egyptian wisdom given by the God Thoth), whereas most hold it to be a product of the 14th century, when playing cards were first introduced.


The 4 suits comprising hearts, spades, diamonds & clubs have a parallel in Tarot and each is symbolic of certain attributes. Hearts = Cups which stand for emotion and love, Spades = Swords symbolizing might and intellect, Diamonds = Coins signifying riches, education and Clubs = Wands meaning hard work.

For example, selection of the 2 of Diamonds followed by the Queen of Hearts or vice versa discloses that happiness shall be achieved by the seeker in the form of a fair lady (symbolized by the Queen of Hearts).