Forums Forums Tarot and Other Cartomancy Interesting link on reading regular playing cards

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    Pam B

    My first introduction to cartomancy was at the age of 10, when my dear Gran handed me a book titled “How to tell fortunes with playing cards”. Even at that age, my friends and I were amazed at the card’s accuracy.

    This is a cool link that I stumbled upon while looking up something else (I have ADD this always happens to me, LOL)

    Our experienced card readers will see that the following poem agrees with the most basics of teachings about the cards…

    The Wise and Subtle Arte of Reading Cards
    …as examined by a Witch who practices said Arte

    Reading cards to discern the future or answer questions has been a practice of witches, gypsies, and fortune tellers for several hundred years. It is true, of course, that the regular playing card pack is not so charming or erudite as her mother, the Tarot. Nonetheless, we have often found ourselves willing to trade the mother’s unvoiced, wisdom-filled glances for the child’s forthright and honest speech. Thus, it is well worth bearing in mind that finery and age are not inevitably marks of wisdom and knowledge, nor plainness and youth marks of foolishness and ignorance. It all depends on what you want to know. If you wish to discuss philosophy, approach the front door and ask for the philosopher. But should you wish to know what transpires in the philosopher’s house, approach the back door and ask for the scullery maid.
    The reading of playing cards has another advantage…because they are so common, most people seeing them in your desk, on your table, or in your possession will not suspect the use to which you put them. Thus you shall follow a long-held tradition of witches: hiding in plain sight.
    Many systems of card reading, both of regular playing cards and Tarot cards, are generally too rigid in their meanings and methods. This does not allow the reader to give full play to intuition, and consequently, detailed predictions, such as come only through the use of intuition, are lacking.
    The following method is presented in three parts. A person studying it may stop at any part, although the Witch of exceptional memory will have more predictive material at her fingertips than the Witch of poor or middling memory.
    To begin, we shall present the bare bones of the method for the witch of poor memory. Those with middling or exceptional memories must also study this material and practice it before moving on to greater tasks and abilities.
    A standard deck of playing cards should be procured for this study. Please note that there are no “reversals” in the system. A card has the same meaning upright as reversed.

    For the Witch of Poor Memory

    The firstmost rule is easily had:
    Red cards are good and black cards are bad.
    The secondmost rule shall bring greater fruits:
    It deals with the meanings of each of the suits.
    The Hearts count as love, family, and friends.
    Diamonds are money, wealth, means, and ends.
    Clubs shall mean work, callings, and plans,
    And Spades are the troubles that plague every man.
    The thirdmost rule toward number inclines;
    Just note the card’s pip and read here their signs:
    An Ace brings beginnings,
    And Two gives exchange,
    Three shows things growing,
    But Four does not change.
    Five is the body,
    Its health and its stead,
    Six shows a path
    That the Seeker shall tread.
    Seven brings troubles
    That Fate has assigned,
    While Eight shows ideas
    And thoughts in the mind.
    Nine heralds changes,
    And Ten is the end,
    While Kings are the symbols
    Of power and men.
    Queens are the emblems
    Of women and truth,
    A Knave is a message,
    A girl, or a youth.

    Even a witch of dismal memory may assimilate these rules over time, and having done so, shall have a serviceable oracle at her disposal.

    Deeper examination of each of the rules follows on her site…


    (((Pam))) This witch of dismal memory thanks you for posting the rules in rhyme! :hearts:


    How interesting.

    I know I have mentioned before that my mother was very involved with tarot cards. But this post reminded me of some early memories.

    Every Halloween my mother read regular cards at an evening Halloween celebration. Her hair was down past her knees and she was quite gypsy looking anyway, so her card reading always had the longest lines.

    It’s odd. I never asked her how she read them.

    Also, I am now curious which was read first for purposes of divination. Were regular cards used prior to tarot cards? I think I need to do some research.


    Pam B

    Our Friend Robert Lancaster is an EXPERT on the history of playing cards! So is Stuart R. Kaplan of USGAMES inc, the current distributor of most of the tarot cards on the market.

    Tarot cards are the great grandmother of today’s “poker” deck. The history is obscure but what we do know is that they originated in Europe in the 14th century.

    The deck we have today descended from that earlier deck :) Kaplan has written several large volumes on the history of the playing cards which were originally called ““carte da trionfi”.

    Check this out, it’s a pretty good wiki of tarot:


    Very interesting indeed! Thanks for posting this Pam :thumbsup:

    The earliest mention of the Tarot anywhere in history that has been discovered so far was in an edict banning their use. The edict was issued in the city of Bern, in 1367, and banned the use of cards for gambling purposes, and then in 1376 in Florence, another edict was issued to ban the Tarot altogether. During this time period, it is believed that they may have consisted only of the cards we consider Minor Arcana now.

    I have read that the Major and Minor Arcana are thought to have originally been two separate decks, as anyone could legally own the minor arcana cards at that time. Card readers would discreetly hide their Major Arcana cards as they were illegal, and added them to their clients minor arcana cards in order to conduct readings. This way, the person who owned the minor arcana cards could only face the “crime” of gambling, and the reader risked being accused of practicing withcraft if their Major Arcana cards were discovered by authorities…a much heavier crime.

    We’ve come a long way, baby!:cool:


    Sadly, the past year or more has put me out of touch with my hobby of collecting unusual playing cards, and AOL deleted my web site on the subject. Just one more thing for me to catch up on, but I will concentrate on learning to walk again first…

    RSLancastr;140945 wrote:
    Sadly, the past year or more has put me out of touch with my hobby of collecting unusual playing cards, and AOL deleted my web site on the subject. Just one more thing for me to catch up on, but I will concentrate on learning to walk again first…

    Robert, I’ve been meaning to ask you about your card site. I’m sorry they deleted it. It was a beautiful site and it was obvious that you had spent many, many hours creating it.

    Yes, learning to walk again would seem to be a priorty. But please put the card site on your ‘To Do’ list.


    Hey all: this is a post I made on another forum I frequent. Some of it refers to that other forum. sorry for any confusion.

    Where oh where is Robert Lancaster? I kinda miss the guy.

    Sorry for referring tp myself in the third person (ala Bob Dole), but it really fits the situation. by the end of this post, I hope it will seem less like a hackneyed literary device, and more like the way I think of myself these days.

    When I think of how I define myself (as I’ve done often of late), I tend to think of the things about myself of which I am most proud. And I find that, post-stroke, many/most of those things no longer apply to me.

    Singing ability

    As I discussed in a previous “poor me” thread, I no longer have the decent singing voice I used to. This is something of which I was very proud. It may come back in time, but for now, thanks to operations and a year of disuse, my singing voice is nowhere near where it used to be.

    My sense of humor

    I have always had an ability to make folks laugh. Usually, anyway. This is something that seems to have remained largely intact. Score one for the home team.

    My knowledge of playing card history

    I’ve been collecting unusual decks of playing cards for more than ten years, and have more than 1,000 decks in my collection. About ten years ago, i started a little web site devoted to the hobby. It was one of the first of its kind on the web, which resulted in my being very well-known among other such collectors, and my being thought of as an expert of sorts. I got tons of email from around the world on the subject, got articles published in National magazines on the subject, and supplied paying card props to a few films. While I was in hospital from the stroke, AOL evidently deleted my web site when they cleared out their Hometown section. My lack of income has prevented me from adding to my collection for some time now. I am so out of touch with the hobby that I have forgotten much of what I knew. So, even if I still had the site, I would be unable to help anyone who emailed me with a question on the subject.

    My Skeptical Endeavors

    I am proud of the help I have given people, and whatever other positive impact that my Stopsites have had. Due to the stroke and some other problems, I have not updated the sites in more than a year, and don’t know when I will be able to again.

    Being a good father

    Not a great one, but a good one. I have three kids, all in their 20s. Up until the stroke, I had a good relationship with all of them.

    After the stroke, I rarely see or hear from two of them, and the third, not at all. I get the impression that I am less their Dad now than I am a frightening reminder of their Dad’s mortality.

    My physical presence

    Evidently, some folks found RSL’s size and mien somewhat imposing. at present, I feel that I am a pitiable-looking shlub in a wheel chair. I never enjoyed frightening people, but it was better than the looks I get from people now: the same look they would probably give to a three-legged puppy they found in the street.

    Being a good programmer

    I made a living programming computers for more than thirty years before the stroke. After, my employer payed six months’ of short-term disability, and i have had zero income since then (Feb 2009). Even if my employer wanted me back, I don’t know how useful I would be, nor how long it would take me to get back into the saddle again.

    Being a good provider

    See above.

    Being a good husband

    Susan and I have only been married for a little over two years now, but I have always tried to be there for her. to be supportive and loving and protective.

    Since the stroke, the whole dynamic between us has changed. She met and fell in love with RSL, and married him in 2007. Fourteen months later, the stroke hit. RSL should have died. Twice. Spent six weeks asleep/in a coma, and 11 months in rehab. Susan spent all of that time fiercely protecting RSL, and looking out for his health care, seeing that he was prepared to go home. After all of that, she took him home, only to find that the person she took home was no longer RSL.

    He was now me.

    I compare it to this: remember, as a child, telling your parents what you wanted for Christmas – some new toy you really longed for – then Christmas morning, you excitedly open the present, only to find that your parents inadvertently got you something similar to what you asked for, but not quite right. Maybe they couldn’t find what you wanted (a Cabbage Patch Kid) , and got you sme cheap knock-off imitation instead (A Lettuce Leaf Baby). It was nice that they got you something, but it just wasn’t – right. Or, perhaps a better analogy: As a child, you were crushed when your dog Sparky, your pet of many years, died. Trying to help, your parents buy you another dog “just like” Sparky – same breed, markings and size. You appreciate it, and might even name the new dog Sparky II, but he just isn’t Sparky. In time, you may grow to love Sparky II even more than you loved Sparky, but Sparky is gone for good.

    Now, we all change over time. We wake up every morning a slightly different person – physically, mentally and emotionally – than we were the day before. So, nobody married for more than a day still has the same spouse that they married. But the events of the past year have left Susan with a far different husband than she had.

    But wait, there’s more!

    I can’t say that I was ever proud of my abillity to stand up, walk across a room, get to the toilet, drive a car, open my left hand, or dozens of other seemingly inconsequential things. But now that I can no longer do them, they all seem like wonderful abilities that I should have been proud of, and I will certainly be proud of them as I regain them.

    One thing which petrifies me: what if some of those things I listed above – things of which I am proud, but are now mostly gone – what if some of them were part of why Susan fell in love? Where does that leave us now?

    We are struggling, trying to make sense of it all, and to make sense of who we are as a couple.

    And I am trying to make sense of who I am, period. I am struggling to rethink how I define myself. But man, it is hard.

    Thanks for reading this. My apologies if it was too self-indulgent.


    -“RSL II”


    No Robert, you don’t sound self-indulgent at all. You sound like someone who has been through a type of hell that many of us here have never experienced, and come out the other side feel emotionally raw. And understandably so.

    There are so many things that I take for granted. We may all know that life as we know it can change in a heartbeat, yet that knowledge really does little to prepare us when it happens. I simply can not imagine experiencing what you have and still having a solid sense of humor intact. And you do.

    I don’t mean to put words in your mouth but your post sounds as if you don’t feel like a whole person because of your limitations. It must be frustrating as well as challenging. But look at how far you have come. You have already defied the odds. You will again.

    It’s strange how our adult children can turn their backs on us when they don’t want to see any hint of the line between their own mortality blurred. It is something I have experienced with both of my adult sons and it is beyond hurtful. But I do believe that as they get older, and their children get older, a time will come when they reflect and wish they had done things differently. As I did with my father. And the circle continues.

    And you are the same person that Susan fell in love with and married. Yes, her vows of “in sickness and health” have been put to the fire. I won’t say that she walked through the fire unscathed. But I will say with absolute certainy that she loves you as much if not more then before the stroke.

    I’m sorry if I sound like I am lecturing, it is not my intent. But I feel that you need to know that there are people who truely love and care about you, in or out of a wheelchair, singing or not, website or no website. And I’m one.

    I’m sorry if I sound like I am lecturing, it is not my intent. But I feel that you need to know that there are people who truely love and care about you, in or out of a wheelchair, singing or not, website or no website. And I’m one.

    Thanks, Julia. your love and friendship continue to mean so very much to me. If nothing else, this past year has shown me how fortunate I am to have so many friends in so many places. And you are definitely near the top of the list.

    Pam B

    I’m so happy this thread got bumped, even if it was by a spammer!


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