Cartomancy: Using Playing Cards For Fortune Telling

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We usually associate fortune telling with dedicated decks of cards, like tarot, Kipper, Lenormand or Sybilla. Of course, each of these fortune telling decks are great tools for divination.

But you can also use a standard deck of playing cards for fortune telling. In fact, you’ll find out that it can be easy to use a regular deck of playing cards for divination. We’ll talk about a few tips and tricks so you can read playing cards like a divination pro.

The suits and the elements

The regular playing card deck has four suits: hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds.

There’s a correspondence between these suits and the tarot deck suits: cups (hearts), clubs (wands), spades (swords), and diamonds (coins/pentacles). As a result, we have the following elemental associations and meanings:

- hearts – water element – emotion, intuition, connections, interactions

- clubs – fire element – inspiration, action, passion, desire, tension

- spades – air element – ideas, thoughts, decisions, analysis, higher education

- diamonds – earth element – abundance, productivity, apprenticeship, growth

Keeping in mind these elemental associations, it will be easier to pinpoint the meaning of each card. To the elemental associations, we’ll add the meanings of the card numbers and court cards.

The card numbers

When it comes to the card numbers, we’re talking about the cards from 1 to 10.

Using some basic numerology, when you see a particular number you’ll be able to immediately associate it with a meaning:

1 – new beginnings, potential

2 – connections, interactions, choices

3 – evolution, large(r) numbers, gatherings

4 – stability, steadiness, stagnation

5 – trying and testing times, scarcity

6 – rewards, consequences

7 – growth, development, variety

8 – direction, purpose, loops

9 – abundance, excess

10 – cycles ending, completion

Combine the elements associated with the suits with the numbers on the cards and you’ll understand the cards in a whole new way.

The court cards

The court cards include three ranks: Jacks, Queens, and Kings.

Some find them intimidating to read when you’re using playing cards for fortune telling. But you can read them keeping in mind their succession of ranks and applying to any attribute. For instance:

Jack – young

Queen – young adult/adult

King – adult/mature


Jack – beginner

Queen – advanced

King – expert


Jack – small

Queen – medium

King – large


Jack – faint

Queen – moderate

King – intense


Jack – short-term

Queen – medium-term

King – long-term

And so on. When you apply the suit element to each court card rank, the meaning of the card will come to mind easily. For instance: King of Clubs = mature passion, intense crush, expert player-type, long-term affair; or Jack of Diamonds = small business, new commitment, faint profit, beginner at a job/practice, and so on.

You can also read the court cards as characters. Jacks would be young people, often younger men. Queens would be adult women. Kings would be mature/experienced men.

Using spreads

Once you’ve decided on the meanings you’ll attribute to the cards, keep a cheat-sheet in front of you as you practice. The best way to learn to read the cards is to practice at it. Spreads are a great way to do that.

One of the simplest spreads involves the three cards spread of Past, Present, Future. You ask a question, shuffle the cards, and pull three. The first one is the Past card, the second one is the Present card, the third one is the Future card. Let’s take an example:

Question: Will I get a raise this year?

Cards: (Past) Five of Diamonds, (Present) Two of Clubs, (Future) Ten of Wands.

Interpretation: In the past, you had issues with your funds. You weren’t rewarded accordingly for your efforts.

In the present, there are two exciting options before you. You need to decide what you’ll choose to take on in terms of responsibilities.

In the future, you might become overwhelmed with how much you’ll have to do.

Getting the raise might turn out to be a good thing in the moment, but a source of a lot of stress later on.


Using playing cards for fortune telling might seem complicated and intimidating to a beginner. But if you approach the process by using a cheat-sheet of meanings and you practice at it, the cards will soon convey messages to you.

With enough practice, they’ll take on personal meanings for you. You’ll come up with your own set of meanings and symbols for each card. You’ll help your intuition grow. The messages of guidance and support you’ll receive will help you grow and make the best decisions for your greater good.

It’s easy to try your hand at fortune telling with the help of playing cards. Don’t believe it? Just print out the cheat-sheet in this post and try it out for yourself. If it doesn’t turn out to be a fun thing to do, you can always decide on playing cards instead!

Last update date: 10/12/22


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