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Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. Forms of cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century.[1] Practitioners of cartomancy are generally known as cartomancers, card readers or, simply, readers.

Cartomancy using standard playing cards was the most popular form of providing "fortune telling" card readings in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. In English-speaking countries, a standard deck of Anglo-American bridge/poker playing cards (i.e., 52-card, four suit set) can be used in the cartomancy reading; the deck is often augmented with jokers, and even with the blank card found in many packaged decks. In France, the 32-card piquet playing card deck was, and still is, most typically used in cartomancy readings, while the 52-card deck was, and still is, also used for this purpose. (For a piquet deck, start with a 52-card deck and remove all of the 2s through the 6s. This leaves all of the 7s through the 10s, the face cards, and the aces.)

The Tarot can also be used in cartomancy.[2]


The most popular method of cartomancy using a standard playing deck is referred to as the Wheel of Fortune.[2][3] Here the reader will remove cards at random and assign significance to them based in the order they were chosen.[2] Though the interpretation of various cards varies by region, the common common significators for the future are as follows:

Most Common Interpretations in Cartomancy[2]
Card Significance
King of Hearts A Fair Man
King of Clubs A Dark Man
King of Spades Widower
Queen of Hearts An Unmarried Woman
Queen of Hearts (alt) A Blonde Woman
Queen of Diamonds A Red or Light-Brown Haired Woman
Queen of Diamonds (alt) Young Married Woman
Queen of Clubs Dark-Brown or Black Haired Woman
Queen of Clubs (alt) Older Married Woman
Queen of Spades Widow


The interpretations of the meanings of different cards even within the same deck varies greatly among cartomancers. This raises doubt in the idea that there is some objective message coming directly from the cards, as might be necessary for amateur cartomancers to derive use from them. Most parapsychologists would argue that the card reader's psi faculties ought to play a significant role in determining both how the cards land and how they are interpreted[citation needed] - making the lack of an objective standard irrelevant. The lack of a shared understanding of card meanings hinders both verification of cartomancy's effectiveness and communication between practitioners.

Cartomancy has also been criticized for not providing a proposed physical mechanism by which cards could be used to predict one's future. Additionally, there have been no tests to date that show that cartomancy does any better than chance in either predicting the future or determining traits about individuals, despite large incentives to cartomancers who can show a successful test, such as the Randi challenge.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. Huson, Paul (2004). Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage. Vermont: Destiny Books. ISBN 0892811900
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Knight, Jan (1980). A-Z of ghosts and supernatural. Pepper Press. pp. 15–6. ISBN 0 560 74509 5. 
  3. "Cartomancy". The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World. Harper Element. 2006. pp. 99. 


de:Kartenlegen et:Kartomantia fa:فال ورق fr:Cartomancie it:cartomanzia mk:Картомантија pl:Kartomancja pt:Cartomancia simple:Cartomancy sv:Kartomanti

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