Discover Cartomancy, The ancient art of using a standard deck of playing cards for divination and fortune telling — TarotArts Skip to content
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What is Cartomancy ?

Cartomancy is the art of using playing cards for divination or fortune telling. For centuries a standard deck of 52 playing cards was considered the standard go-to deck for consulting the cards. Today’s cartomancers are rediscovering this ancient art and breathing new life into the age-old tradition.  

 


What is special about a deck of playing cards?

There is something universal about a traditional deck of playing cards. 52 cards represent 52 weeks in a year. Red and black symbolize night and day. The four suits relate to the four seasons. There are 13 cards in a suit to match the number of lunar cycles and 12 court cards that represent the 12 months of the year. Using playing cards for a reading can allow you to tap into these universal designs and reveal the patterns that are hidden in the cards.


Is it difficult to read playing cards?

Cartomancy is not difficult at all. Much is revealed just in the colors and suits that show up in a card reading. Court cards usually represent people in your life, their "energies" and their relationship to you. Numbers represent key concepts like beginnings or endings. TarotArts has a selection books that will get you started reading playing cards in no time at all.

 


Picking a Deck ?

TarotArts offers a collection of beautiful modern and historic decks selected to inspire today's cartomancers. We suggest you pick a deck that resonates with your senses and speaks to your intuition. This will greatly enhance your connection to the cards and allow them to speak more directly to you.

 

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Decks for Cartomancy


The Vaxa Deck is a lovingly crafted, hand-painted, single-print-run playing card deck. Each of the 52 cards in addition to two jokers are all uniquely illustrated.

The flora in the Vaxa Deck are organized into themed suits that correspond to climate regions.

Clubs (Wands): Forests/Mediterranean Flora
Hearts (Cups): Rainforests/Aquatic Flora
Spades (Swords): Alpine/Tundra Flora
Diamonds (Pentacles): Grassland/ Savannah/ High Desert Flora


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The Hermes Playing Card Oracle is the latest oracle deck designed by Robert M. Place. It is a standard game deck of 52 cards plus two jokers, but with the addition of symbolic images on each card, each providing a divinatory meaning. It can be used for card games, or laid out in the traditional pattern, known as the Grand Tableau, and used for divination.


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Making magic, changing lives. At the stroke of midnight, a new day begins and for those attending the award-winning magic programmes of Breathe Arts Health Research, it makes the beginning of a literally life-changing experience.

Court cards and selected pips feature unique detailing in striking elegant colour schemes. The tuck box features a midnight blue interior, silver foiling detailing to the exterior and is finished in a soft lamination. Midnights are luxurious to look at, and as beautiful to handle as they are to see.


Watch the video at www.breatheahr.org to see how purchasing this deck helps fund the incredible work.


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The Squared Faro #366 was first produced by Russell & Morgan Co. in 1887. The name comes from the game Faro which was a popular at that time. TarotArts recommends this deck for divination because the full figure court cards create spreads alive with interaction.


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Alis Luminis or "Wings of Light" is a hand-drawn playing card deck that celebrates the dream of taking to the sky. The beautiful artwork works exceptionally well for users looking for a gentle and welcoming 52 deck to use for fortune telling.


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Influenced by the images in the Tarot de Marseille of medieval France. The pips are simple and vibrant, and the court cards reveal countless stories. Notice the eyes: they are looking somewhere. Notice the hands: they are doing something. Shuffle the cards, lay out several in a row, and simply ask, "What are they saying?"


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This delightfully wicked playing card deck presents devilish boys and ghouls and all manners of ghastly creatures. Inspired by vintage transformational decks, Royal Mischief’s suit marks are mischievously hidden in the aberrant artwork by infamous tarot artist Patrick Valenza. Warning: Not for sensitive souls and delicate dispositions—this little deck bites!


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The colorful and intriguing cards in the Kadar deck draw inspiration from a long history of playing cards and fortune decks.  The design of the cards reflects the strange fortune telling cabinets that lurk in the shadows of old amusement arcades. Based on a traditional 52 card poker deck, The Kadar deck is a perfect deck for creating a whimsical fun and relaxing atmosphere for fortune readings..


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Used as a deck for Cartomancy and Divination the The El Reino de los Muertos - Expert Edition can help connect youto ancestors and heroes, to Guadalupe Posada and to the great Mexican engravers; to Death, to Life - you'll find iconic characters from Mexican culture, from classics like La Catrina, to revolutionary heroes and pre-Hispanic gods.


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Inspired by Jane Austen's well-loved novels and characters, and rich in authentic period detail, the Jane Austen Playing cards are full of romantic energy and create an excellent atmosphere for Cartomancers interested in Love and Romance readings.

Illustrated by John Eric Ligon and printed by the United States Playing Card Co. Packaged inside a beautiful letterpress-printed tuck box featuring gold foil accents and embossed scrollwork.


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Welcome to the Freakshow! Celebrate the UNUSUAL and the exotic with Freakshow Playing Cards, a unique and inspired creation taking a standard 52 card deck to the edge: perfect for the self-made nonconformist.  

Cartomancers can use this unique deck to liberate readings from memorized interpretations and explore modern archetypes in their readings.


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The Evernia Playing Cards were created to combat gender and racial inequality. The 52 card playing deck features 6 male face cards, 6 female face cards, a female joker, and a male Joker. All of the royalty cards are race-inclusive, creating perfect harmony within the deck.

The Evernia Playing Cards are an excellent choice for Cartomancy users looking for a traditional style deck with balanced gender and race representation.


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What would a deck of cards look like if it survived over a century?

Weathered and abused, exposed to the elements, left to experience every second for over a hundred years. The Red Bicycle 1900s Deck looks like a deck that been handed down from generation to generation with stories to tell.

An excellent choice for Cartomancy readers who want to work with a traditional deck that evokes a sense of the past.

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Open Portals is comprised of 56 playing cards by Artist James Eads the creator of Prisma Visions. The fully illustrated deck comes beautifully housed in a two part box that holds the deck decks and includes two manuals. One a fold out manual with detail descriptions of each card to use when reading the cards as an oracle and another "How to Open Portals" explains how to play a unique multiplayer game.

Available in Lightside or Darkside version


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Cabinetarium is a collection of 55 original works hand-drawn by award-winning illustrator Armando Veve.

Veve's fantastic creatures, absurd objects, and exotic fantasies combine to create a singular vision-a mythic assemblage of ideas that will stir the imagination and quicken the pulse. Browse through the illustrations and marvel at a mastery of craft that evokes echoes of Bosch, Escher, and Dali.

Cabinetarium is prefect for the intuitive image inspired Cartomancer.  


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Cartomancy Books


The Complete Tarot Kit Tarot Deck

This brief-but-richly drawn book explores the practice of divination by playing cards. It reveals the “secrets in plain sight” which hide within the pips, kings, queens, and jokers of a standard deck. Explore one method of divination in-depth as you meet the “fifty-four devils”—the symbolic spirits of each card—and learn about invoking ancestral blessings for card readings, the folklore of playing cards, and how to relate fairy tales to a spread along the way.


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Easy Tarot Tarot Kit

An easy to read guide on how to use an ordinary deck of playing cards for fortune telling and giving accurate readings. Cartomancy was one of the most popular forms of fortune telling in Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times. Many people still love to get their cards read and this book gives a step-by-step approach to giving playing card readings for yourself, your family and your friends.


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Tarot for Everyone Kit Tarot Deck

The Ultimate Guide to Divination is a modern seer’s handbook to techniques used throughout the ages for fortune-telling and prediction: learn how to read playing cards, tarot cards, tea-leaves and coffee grounds; cast runes and crystals; and discover scrying, numerology and palmistry. With this guide, you’ll learn time-honoured methods for developing your intuition and tarot skills.

 

 


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