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Fortune Telling and Playing Cards

My grandmother reads tarot cards. And, from what I understand, she is pretty popular in Italy with those who like their tarot read, so I guess she’s good at it. She’s read cards for me on a few occasions, and I have to say that I think the cards do have some value. Perhaps not as mysterious devices that predict the future, but more as a way to help a person sort out the things going on in their head. My grandmother also says that she and her cat talk to spirits sometimes, so make of that what you will. I’m not joking about this. I was very interested, though, in the general idea of cards being used to predict the future, or give a person insight into their life. I knew that tarot cards were exceptionally popular in many esoteric circles, but had also heard that it was, in fact, standard playing cards that were used for this purpose, long before tarot cards were conceived. I decided to read up on it.


Cartomancy is a word I learned while doing research, and I have to say I really like it. It’s a pretty mysterious sounding term, and I’m almost certain it can get me some brownie points, if I throw it around in one of those stores that sell crystals and dream catchers. The word refers to reading fortune from cards, a practice that has been around for centuries. Much longer than I would have thought. It was in the 1400s, to be exact, almost immediately after playing cards were invented in France. Actual tarot cards didn’t come about until much later, and generally only appeared in English-speaking countries. Playing cards are still used in many parts of the world. In France, it is usual for a 32-card deck to be used, the piquet deck, although a standard deck may also be used if removing certain cards. There is, though, a number of different ways to use playing cards for the purpose of fortune telling, and I decided to set out to try to find the earliest method that I could. I did, and put it into practice.

The Precision of Playing Card Cartomancy

I mentioned earlier that tarot cards are a good way to sort out thoughts, and this comes down to the cards being very vague in the information they impart. This, I assume, is for much the same reason that horoscopes are vague. Namely, an individual can turn vague information into specific information, thus making it useful. The truly astonishing thing I learned when reading up on Cartomancy with playing cards, the earliest form I could find, was how amazingly specific the information provided was. I’m guessing this has something to do with the Cartomancy of this type being much older in its origin, when fortune-tellers were not afraid to give specific readings. These days, with people being a lot more sceptical, things have to be left a little more up to interpretation, lest the cartomancer be accused of shenanigans. Either way, I got out my deck of playing cards and started laying them down, in a classic “wheel of fortune” format.

My Fortune

The cards told me that a woman, over 18, her hair red or light blond, her eyes green or grey, would enter my life. She would be wealthy, or in a position of authority. This is the Queen of Hearts, in case you are wondering. Upon entering my life, if I’m reading this right, and I’m not entirely sure I am, she would bring with her an unexpected gift or a spontaneous visit, perhaps an invitation to a party. Plus, apparently, some sort of financial aid or success. Plus, last but not least, some sort of obstacles, and opposition, but apparently those are only temporary, so phew. Now, I obviously didn’t take this very seriously going in, but I’ll be damned if there aren’t a few interesting things going on here. I’m not lying to make this more interesting, but I did indeed go on a date with a lady a few weeks ago, and her hair is indeed red and eyes hazel. That’s a pretty interesting coincidence. It does fall apart a bit saying she’s wealthy, or in a position of authority, because she certainly isn’t either of those things. At least not that I know of. Her invitation to go out was also unexpected, and very spontaneous, so that’s also fairly interesting. Now, she is an editor, so in terms of financial aid or success, I do happen to be a writer and… I’ll say this in all seriousness: as a first-time ‘playing cards reader’, I have to admit I was caught off guard by how many of the things they said being significant. I won’t read the cards again, though, mostly because they might be far less accurate the second time round, and that would ruin things just a bit, wouldn’t it? 

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