Playing cards are a wonderful divination device, with just as much potential as tarot if taken seriously.
Ive had a few people message me about my yearly forecast spread, asking me both how and why I combined both tarot and playing cards in the reading.
When Tarot and Playing cards are used in combination, we get a whole new dimension of divinatory meaning.
Standard Tarot spreads such as The Gypsy, The Horseshoe and even the Celtic Cross can be enhanced by the combining tarot with playing cards.
Here is a very simple example of divination using both tarot cards and playing cards simultaneously.
A friend of mine posed this straightforward question:
I'm having trouble in work, can you please shed some light on the situation?
To answer this question I'm going to lay out a simple spread.
3 tarot cards are laid out left to right representing past, present and future.
A fourth card is placed face down above these, this face down card is the advice card, it is turned over at the end of the reading.
Next, I take my playing cards and give them a shuffle, cut the deck and remove the first card. The 10 of hearts, so I place this card over the tarot card representing the past.
Because it is a 10 I then count 10 cards into the deck and turn over the next card. It is the 7 of clubs, this goes in the position of the present and the process is repeated with me counting out 7 cards for the future.
Now the spread looks like this:
The Tarot cards give an overall background to the situation, whereas the playing cards represent more specific actions and events.
First we look at the overall spread.
2 Major Arcana and 1 Court card, this indicates the situation is largely abstract and calls for an emotional or mental shift rather than a physical one as a solution to his problems.
2 black playing cards and 1 red playing card, the overall situation is negative, however there is hope.
The recurrence of the Number 10 in the playing cards is significant, the number 10 occurring twice in a card reading represents a change of circumstance (is this a new job? has there been some change in the work place? perhaps a new colleague or a new manager?).
After the brief overview to see where the reading is heading, we can fully interpret the cards.
Ive provided textbook meanings of the cards here to help you along if you'd like to divine also, but remember text book meanings are only a guide, interpretation of the cards should lie fore mostly in the intuition of the diviner:
The King of Swords; Power, command, authority etc, etc. Intuition is pointing towards a stern male manager within the workplace.
The 10 of Hearts; Good Luck and Happiness, due to the recurrence of another 10 in the reading also a change.
Interpretation: A male manager who was quite stern and had your back in work, you felt happy working underneath him, you are no longer working under him and since he has left not only have you felt less happy in work but also feel as though misfortune has crept into your professional life.
Judgement; Change of position, renewal, outcome, also exactly what is intimated by the card.
7 of clubs; Prosperity and success, be careful of trouble coming from a person of the opposite sex.
Interpretation: Since changing managers you have lost sight of your personal potential for success and prosperity in the workplace, you must overcome your fear and believe in yourself that nothing has really changed. Also be wary of a judgemental female colleague who is scrutinising this behaviour and perceiving it as weakness.
The Lovers; partnership, love, trials overcome.
10 of clubs; Unexpected money coming in, good luck, travel abroad. Also the recurrence of 10 indicates a change.
Interpretation: After a holiday with your partner, expect returning to work to bring a new perspective. You will be happier and more positive in work, promotion and a good relationship with your new manger is on the horizon.
Now the Advice card is turned over.
The numbers of the playing cards already laid out in the spread are added together:
9 cards are counted from the deck, the ninth card is flipped over and placed over the Advice card like thus.
Advice for the querent:
Strength; Power, force, courage etc
9 of Clubs; Don't be stubborn, achievement, a new admirer
Interpretation: Stop being so negative, things are not as bad as they seem, your negative attitude is brought on by fear of change, which is causing you to court misfortune. It takes a bigger a man to accept and adapt than what it does to fight change.
OK, that's all well and good, a very simple reading for a very simple question.
But combining decks can give more complex readings.
For example here is a spread of my own design, I like to call this one of my "compass rose" spreads.
4 Tarot cards are placed in the middle at the cardinal points, each one representing a point of the compass.
Playing cards are counted out again using the method given above (jokers are given the value of 1, Aces are low, also having the value of 1.) And spread clockwise, 3 at each cardinal point of the compass starting in the East ending in the North.
This spread is very useful as it can be interpreted in a manner of ways, for example it could be used like a calendar to give someone a yearly forecast reading. I.e East could represent spring-time, the Hierophant here giving an overall feeling to the season and the three playing cards representing the months of March, April and May each card representing a specific event in these months when read in conjunction with the Hierophant.
Another way of reading it would be in a psychoanalytical way. Each cardinal point representing an aspect of the querents psyche, for example the tarot in the East might represent how the person thinks and communicates, the 3 cards specific thoughts and expressions, South their creative outlets and endeavours, west their Emotions and dreams etc....
If you where of the mystical bent and wanted to be really clever, you could read the whole thing in relation to astrology. This would give the reading a whole new dimension.
For example North might represent the element of Earth and the 3 cards the astrological Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, East the element of Air and the 3 cards Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, etc.
So in this case, The Jack of Diamonds, is in the position of Taurus, under the influence of the 8 of Wands which is in the position of Earth. This might represent a home loving, affectionate fair haired young man who is enthusiastic about doing creative pursuits at home, which in turn is meeting with the disapproval with the people he lives with...
Have fun and good luck with your readings!