Methods of Fortune-Telling with Cards

What are all of the different methods of fortune-telling using cards? Would you like to know how you can use cards for divination? What are all of the similarities and differences between all of both common and uncommon methods of cartomancy?

As you probably already know, the correct name for fortune-telling using cards is cartomancy. Cartomancy is divination using cards. If you’re new to cartomancy, you may not have decided yet which method of cartomancy is right for you. Alternatively, if you want to learn another way of card reading, you might be looking for options. 

Below you can discover more about the different types of cartomancy. I hope this list helps you to make an informed choice about which method of reading is right for you. 

An an example of a Tarot card deck - The Rider Waite deck.

An an example of a Tarot card deck - The Rider Waite deck.

Tarot

Tarot is one of the most popular methods of cartomancy. It is pretty easy to purchase Tarot cards as they are available in most book stores and new age shops. Therefore, Tarot is often where most diviners begin their cartomancy journey as it is pretty easy to get started with Tarot reading. 

There are seventy-eight cards in a Tarot deck; twenty-two of which are what are known as the Major Arcana and these include cards such as: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Tower, The Devil, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, and The World

Other than The Major Arcana, the other fifty-six cards of Tarot are known as The Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana are further divided into four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles). Each of the four suits has cards numbered Ace to Ten and four Court cards. For example, the suit of Pentacles has cards numbered from Ace to Ten plus a Page of Pentacles, Knight of Pentacles, Queen of Pentacles, and King of Pentacles

Tarot is an excellent divination system for answering specific questions. Diviners read cards in spreads, and you can adapt a spread to serve pretty much any purpose. You can ask Tarot questions about your career, business, friendships, love life, the sky is the limit. 

If you’re just getting started with cartomancy, then Tarot is an excellent place to start because it is an accessible system and there is lots of information available on Tarot. However, because there are lots of Tarot card meanings to learn, it can take some people years to master the system. 

An Alice in Wonderland themed Playing card deck by British artist Dominic Murphy.

An Alice in Wonderland themed Playing card deck by British artist Dominic Murphy.

Playing Cards

You can use regular playing cards for divination. You do not require any special decks to divine with playing cards; just a regular deck will do. Sometimes, fortune tellers refer to playing card divination as just ‘cartomancy.’ 

As with Tarot, many diviners begin their cartomancy journey learning how to read playing cards. Reading fortunes with playing cards used to be a rather prevalent form a card reading, but it has fallen out of favor in recent years, possibly because other systems (Tarot, Lenormand, and oracle cards) have more visually appealing decks. However, there are some pretty fine looking playing card decks currently on the market (such as the Alice in Wonderland one pictured).

Two examples of Oracle card decks highlight their differences. The first is The Arcana of Astrology by Black and the Moon, the second is The Earthbound Oracle by skull Garden.

Two examples of Oracle card decks highlight their differences. The first is The Arcana of Astrology by Black and the Moon, the second is The Earthbound Oracle by skull Garden.

Oracle Cards

In some countries, oracle card divination surpasses Tarot for popularity. As with Tarot, oracle cards are readily available for purchase in mainstream bookstores (such as Barnes and Noble or WHSmith). The vast majority of people who have an interest in spirituality have dabbled in oracle card reading. 

Unlike other methods of cartomancy, there is not a standard system for interpreting oracle cards because all oracle card decks are different. For example, one deck may include a card called Love Yourself and another deck might contain a card named after the planet Mercury.   

Oracle cards are typically used by diviners to answer self-help styled questions. For example, instead of asking your oracle cards a predictive question such as, “When is John coming back”? You would ask, “What steps can I take to get over John”?

Because they are easy to buy, a lot of diviners start with oracle cards, but they do pose their challenges. Every time you purchase an oracle deck, you have to start again with a new system; this can be off-putting, and many people do not delve too far into serious oracle card study.  

An example of a traditional Kipper card deck.

An example of a traditional Kipper card deck.

Kipper Cards 

A lesser-known (and not very popular) method of cartomancy is Kipper divination. In some countries (such as Germany) it is easier to purchase a Kipper deck than it is in others. 

In recent years, there was an effort by the cartomancy communities to boost the public awareness of Kipper and bring it into the mainstream. New Kipper decks were designed and published by Tarot artists, and publishers translated books into English.

Sadly, however, Kipper does not appear to have ‘caught on’ as a popular method of cartomancy. I am unsure why this is, but from what I can gather it is because the number of available decks, books, and instruction is off-putting to many diviners. Also, the system does not really provide anything which other card systems do not - if diviners want advice, they turn to their oracle cards, if they have specific questions, they turn to Tarot, and if they want to make predictions they start reading Lenormand cards.

An example of a Lenormand deck - The Seeker’s Lenormand by Skull Garden.

An example of a Lenormand deck - The Seeker’s Lenormand by Skull Garden.

Lenormand 

Lenormand is another lesser-known, but a brilliant form of divination. While it is rare to find Lenormand cards for sale in bookstores or mind, body, spirit shops, sometimes you can get lucky. The vast majority of Lenormand readers purchase their decks online. 

A Lenormand card deck has thirty-six cards which are named after everyday objects such as mice, scythe, clouds, man, and woman. Each of these cards has a meaning which is parallel to its symbolism. For example, in Western culture, snakes are symbolic of enemies and temptation - this is also the interpretation for the Snake Lenormand card. Therefore, if you are already familiar with symbolism Lenormand will be easy for you to master. 

Lenormand is the ideal system for reading predictive styled readings. It is very, very easy to perform general readings with Lenormand, and most readings are done using a Grand Tableau spread. Each position of the Grand Tableau looks at different areas of your life, including everything from letters you will receive to who you’re going to fall in love with next. I have an e-reference which reveals what each of the cards mean when they land in the houses of a Lenormand Grand Tableau here.

You can discover how to read Lenormand cards on this website. In fact, you can learn the basics of Lenormand card reading by downloading my free Lenormand beginner’s e-guide here: 

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Five different methods of divination and fortune telling using cards. Cards included in this post are Tarot, Lenormad, playing card cartomancy, oracle cards, and kipper.

Five different methods of divination and fortune telling using cards. Cards included in this post are Tarot, Lenormad, playing card cartomancy, oracle cards, and kipper.

Art Illustration: Five different methods of divination and fortune telling using cards. Cards included in this post are Tarot, Lenormad, playing card cartomancy, oracle cards, and kipper.

Art Illustration: Five different methods of divination and fortune telling using cards. Cards included in this post are Tarot, Lenormad, playing card cartomancy, oracle cards, and kipper.