From Casanova’s Russian Mistress to Mlle Le Lenormand the “ordinary” playing cards have long been a favoured tool for fortune-tellers. There is something special in their starkness.

Despite this long association for most Anglo-Americans, it is all Tarot. Yet when I was young, few fortune-tellers had Tarot cards. Those using cards – other methods were more common – invariably had those used to play Șeptică.

However, it is essential to remember that both the Tarot cards and the Petit Lenormand are playing cards. In fact, when reading the 52-card deck, I use the same associations as I do with the Marseille pips. For this reason, the first playing card programme is also available in an adapted version for those wanting to learn how to read Tarot’s pip cards.

Programme # 01

In this course, you will perform a total of twelve readings of various sizes (3-cards, 5-cards, and 7 – cards) using the traditional poker deck (52-cards). Each reading is in response to a question formulated by you. However, I set the context: career, money, well-being and relationships.

I will critique each assignment.

You will be introduced to three classical spreads:

  • The Line of Three
  • The Cross
  • The Dragon’s Head

Throughout the course, you become familiar with essential interpretive principles: colour, suits, and the regard and function of court cards. You will find that you develop a more tangible understanding of the four suits.

This course is also open to tarot readers struggling with traditional pip cards, such as in the Marseille. Those students will read with lesser arcana (56 cards).


Programme #2

Cartomantes using playing cards have favoured several layouts, such as carrés of 9 or 25 and stars of varying sizes. However, it was the Grand Tableau most fortune-tellers fell back on. It was this (four rows of eight) that I saw more than any other spread.

In programme 2, it is all about the grand tableau. As we are using 52 cards, we will use the 5 x 9 + 7 outlined by Robert Chambers and Charles Platt. But we will use many of the traditional techniques of the fortune-teller used when using the 32-card deck.

In all, you do four tableaus. For each one the student will focus on a specific area of life: career, finances, well-being, and relationships. These help the reader understand the master cards and their functions.

The reader will learn the following interpretive techniques: time, counting, intersection points. By cultivating such an understanding, the student will then understand each method is different and thus how and when to use them.

Each reading is critiqued by me.


Dame Fate’s Picturebook © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020

Students will require a traditional 52 card deck. Due to the need for direction, it is recommended that students invest in the standard Anglo-French pattern. The Bridge-sized Bicycle deck is recommended.

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