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Cartomancy is a type of divination using a regular deck of playing cards. Through the cards you can foretell the future and understand human feelings. It is believed that cartomancy has been in practice right from the times the playing cards came to be used in the 14th century Europe. There is unsubstantiated view that the practice of cartomancy originated during the ancient Egyptian times. Those who subscribe to this view believe that the art of cartomancy was derived from the wisdom of the ancient Egyptian god, Thoth.  

People who practice cartomancy are known as cartomancers, or simply card readers, or readers. One look at the cards, and the cartomancers are able to gain an understanding of the querent.

The Cards

In the 18th, 19th, and the 20th centuries, and now in the 21st century, a standard 52-card deck – commonly used for playing bridge or poker in the English speaking countries – is popularly used for fortune telling. In France, though, a 32-card deck, used for playing piquet was used, and still is used for cartomancy, while the 52-card normal playing card deck is also in use. In the piquet deck, all the 2s up to all the 6s are removed from the normal 52-card deck, leaving the others in use.

The earliest playing cards were primarily used for the purpose of divination. The following were supposedly the unique meanings of the cards:

• 52 cards in the deck represented 52 weeks of the year.
• The four suits symbolized the four seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter; or the four divisions of the day (Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night); or the four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire and Water).  
• Of the four suits - the Diamonds signify youth, career, money, and travel; the Clubs signify adulthood and business; the Hearts signify maturity, love, friendship, and domestic matters; and the Spades signify old age, difficulties in life, sorrow, treachery, and infidelity.
• The thirteen cards in each suit represent the thirteen lunar months in a year, as well as the thirteen weeks in each quarter of the year.
• The twelve court cards – Kings, Queens, and the Jacks – probably symbolize the twelve months of the year, or the twelve houses of the Zodiac.
• The Kings represent power and strength, and sit in judgment. They give advice, and it would do well to heed it. They indicate structure and stability.
• The Queens can be compassionate and caring, and always there when needed. They are the mother of all cards and can be swift and painful in anger. They represent deep love, and when rejected can be vindictive.
• The Jacks are immature and changeable, and can change their views rapidly.

Each card of the cartomancy deck corresponds to your, or another’s past, present, and future, and can predict matters of love, health, wealth, happiness, as well as answer any questions put forward by the querent.

Certain cartomancers believe that the deck used for cartomancy should only be used for that purpose. According to certain traditions, cartomancers do not even allow others to touch their cartomancy decks. However, with the popularity of Tarot cards, cartomancy readings have lost a little sheen.

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