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Cartomancy, also known as Card Reading, embraces a broad range of fortune telling methods in which meanings are given to various game-cards, oracle cards, trade cards, or postcards that are assembled in a pack or deck. The deck is held or placed so that the faces are down, or unable to be seen. They are then shuffled by hand or swirled on the table, and then sortilege is applied to select cards, turn them face up, and produce a reading for the client.

Learning cartomancy from cigarette cards: This is card No. 9 in the 25-card Edwards, Ringer, and Biggs "How To Tell Fortunes" set issued by the Imperial Tobacco Co. of Great Britain & Ireland, Ltd. in 1929.


The number of cards in a sortilege pack may range from 6 to 78 or more. The sortilege itself may result in the selection of one card; a set number of cards being arranged in a chosen pattern, which is called a layout or spread; or all of the cards in the pack being laid on the table or floor, which is called a grand tableau.

Read all about playing card divination and magic in "A Deck of Spells" by Professor Charles Porterfield.

"A Deck of Spells" by Professor Charles Porterfield, 2015 (Lucky Mojo Curio Co.)



catherine yronwode
curator, historian, and docent
Your Wate and Fate

Special thanks to my dear husband and creative partner nagasiva yronwode for illustrations, scans, and clean-ups.

Pages in category "Cartomancy"

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.