Playing Cards Divination

This article is not relevant to Hekate's cult, but since modern witches like myself, use cartomancy to help themselves and others by understanding situations better and seeing the future in a way, I decided to write a blog post about the French system of playing card divination, which was very popular and valid in the 18th and 19th century.

Many witches, if not all, read the Tarot and they read it successfully. The most famous deck is the RWS for various reasons, but mainly because the minor arcana has scenes from everyday life and because Eden Gray in the 1970s and Rachel Pollack in the 1980s wrote very practical books about this system of the Engish school. But again, the oldest Tarot system is the Tarot de Marseille, the French school, which has non-scenic illustrated pips. I prefer to read with TdM and I follow the French school. Besides the Tarot, there are other methods of cartomancy, classical methods like Le Petit Etteilla, Le Petit Lenormand, Kipper, and La Vera Sibilla. And we have the playing card divinatory systems, which vary, as there are many schools of interpretation, mainly based on each country's tradition.

I am going to talk about the French tradition of using the 32 cards of piquet, for cartomancy, sharing some thoughts and information, that I hope you will find useful. 

Playing cards come to Europe from the Mamluks, who were slaves of the Arabians in Egypt. The cards started to change, by having persons in them, our well-known figures. The French added a woman, the queen, and removed one of the officers, the knight. The suit images that we use today, are the French suits. In Tarot's minor arcana we have Italian suits. Germans used bells, leaves, hearts, and acorns. So, today's playing cards are heavily based in the French system. 

In all countries of Europe, we see books of using the playing cards for divination, from the 16th century. Painters also liked to depict card players and some times, card oracles. The cartomantic books started to flour in the 18th century and at the end of it, Etteilla appeared and changed card divination forever. But, let's drop the history lesson and see the system.


We have the cards from an ordinary set of playing cards. All the figures and the numbers 7-10 plus aces. The suits have a general suit meaning and they are:

♠ piques, spades

♥ coeurs, hearts

♣ trèfles, clubs

♦ carreaux, diamonds

Each card has normal and reverse meanings. We mark the cards to know which side is the reverse one. The system uses 11 cards for signification. Each of those cards describes a person from his age, profession, hair color, and marital status. The French system provides detailed cartomantic descriptions for each of the 32 cards. They are relevant and they don't take much time to learn. Half of the cards are positive and half are negative, just like we see in all classical cartomantic methods. The beginner uses a study set of cards, in which he writes the meanings of the cards, just like Mlle Lenormand did to her own. The challenging part is the spreads. We have two complex spreads, which provide a lot of information. As you guessed, they are based on card combinations, like other French methods. The reading is very practical in everyday things and common life problems. The spreads demand time of effort to learn how to lay the cards and an excellent level of remembering the cartomantic meanings of each card. It is a system that can be learned and practiced at a very low cost. It may seem challenging because we don't have an image to help us with the meanings and so we are based on memory and how well we know the card meanings, but its practical application in the reading makes it worthwhile.

If you have studied a different system of playing cards divination, you may want to stick with your system, as they vary significantly.

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Theurgy and Philosophy are two different methods which lead to the union with God.


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