How to Use Playing Cards As Tarot Cards

Asia's Tech News Daily

You have questions—and a simple deck of playing cards might have all the answers. Using playing cards to tell your fortune might seem like a slumber party trick, but it’s actually called cartomancy and dates back to the 1700s. It only takes a few minutes to do a simple card reading, and it’s really fun to interpret the cards. We’ll walk you through the essential steps for using playing cards as tarot cards. There are several ways to interpret the cards, but we’ve kept it simple so you can get right to the good stuff.


Method 1 Method 1 of 11:Clear your mind before you start your reading.

Jumbled thoughts make it hard to interpret your cards. Before you begin, take a moment to breathe deeply and release any thoughts circling your head. When you feel ready, dive into your reading.

  • For instance, you might close your eyes and take a deep breath. As you let out your breath, imagine your thoughts going with it.


Method 2 Method 2 of 11:Ask the cards a question to guide your reading.

Always form a question before you get started. Be specific about your topic so you can get clear direction from the cards. You might ask about your relationship, work issues, life choices, or your spiritual path.

  • You might ask, “Where is this relationship going?” “How will this career field work out for me?” or “How would relocating affect my life?”
  • It’s okay to ask more than 1 question, but do a separate card layout for each one.

Method 3 Method 3 of 11:Shuffle your cards and cut the deck.

Ask for guidance as you prepare the deck. Shuffle the cards a few times to make sure they’re really mixed up. Set the deck on a flat surface, then cut it once. Restack the deck so it’s ready for the reading.

  • Think about your question as you shuffle.
  • If you’re planning on using your cards for yes/no questions, you might not want to think about a specific question while you shuffle. Instead, you might think, “Give me the answers I seek.”
  • “Cut the deck” means to separate the shuffled deck into 2 smaller decks.


Method 4 Method 4 of 11:Draw 1 card for yes/no answers.

Red cards mean “yes,” and black cards mean “no.” Simply ask your question, then pick the top card. The cards will give you a clear “yes” or “no” answer. You can keep asking questions for as long as you like. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • “Will I find love soon?”
  • “Is this career path right for me?”
  • “Should I trust this person?”
  • “Am I on the right track at school?”
  • “Should I move to a new city?”
  • “Will this project be a success?”

Method 5 Method 5 of 11:Lay out a spread for open-ended questions.

Typical spreads for playing cards include 1, 3, 6, 9, or 12 cards. Just pick 1 card if you’re short on time or are new to reading cards. If you need more clarity, lay out cards in increments of 3 so you get a fuller picture. You don’t need to use a special layout to read your cards. Just follow your intuition.

  • A typical 3 card spread represents the past, present, and future. Additional cards can provide more guidance.
  • As you get more into tarot, you might learn how to do traditional tarot spreads. However, this isn’t necessary for reading playing cards.


Method 6 Method 6 of 11:Interpret the card suit first.

Each card suit has a special meaning that relates to the tarot deck. The suit’s meaning will guide your interpretation of the card. Here’s how each suit connects to the tarot:

  • Hearts: Like the cups suit in the tarot, hearts represent your feelings, relationships, and home.
  • Spades: Like the swords in the tarot, spades connect to obstacles, loss, planning, and intellect.
  • Clubs: Like wands in the tarot, clubs represent future actions, travel, and creative thinking.
  • Diamonds: Like pentacles in the tarot, diamonds connect to work and money.

Method 7 Method 7 of 11:Use the card number to deepen your interpretation.

Number cards are called “pip” cards. Like in the traditional tarot, each card number means something different. When you interpret the card number, relate the number’s meaning back to the suit’s meaning. Here are the general interpretations for each number:

  • Ace: Beginning, attributes of the card suit
  • 2: Relationship, balance
  • 3: Connections, growth
  • 4: Foundation, stability
  • 5: Change, challenge, imbalance
  • 6: Harmony, success
  • 7: Wisdom, spirituality, choices
  • 8: Organization, movement, stagnation
  • 9: Realization, understanding
  • 10: Completion, transition to something new


Method 8 Method 8 of 11:Treat face cards like number cards.

Face cards are called “court” cards. In general, they reflect real people, though knaves (jacks) can also reflect a situation. These cards may mean someone is coming into your life. Here’s how to interpret them:

  • Knave (jack) of hearts: Romantic partner; confidant
  • Knave (jack) of spades: Focused, clever
  • Knave (jack) of clubs: Adventurer, risk-taker
  • Knave (jack) of diamonds: Grounded, serious
  • Queen of hearts: Kind, nurturing woman
  • Queen of spades: Honest woman
  • Queen of clubs: Passionate, ambitious woman
  • Queen of diamonds: Practical, helpful woman
  • King of hearts: Wise, calm man
  • King of spades: Calculating man
  • King of clubs: Inspirational man
  • King of diamonds: Hard-working, rich man

Method 9 Method 9 of 11:Interpret the joker as a surprise waiting for you.

The joker represents the person being read, similar to the “fool” in tarot. When it appears in a reading, it may mean a situation you’re facing is going to suddenly change. It’s not really positive or negative on its own. Connect it back to the other cards in your spread and use your intuition to figure out what it means to you.

  • For example, let’s say you’re doing a reading to find out if you’re going to meet someone special soon. In that case, the joker could mean that you’re about to have a sudden change in your love life.


Method 10 Method 10 of 11:Set a meaning or intention for each card for a simpler reading.

Follow your intuition for a truly personal reading. Traditional card interpretations can provide a lot of guidance for your readings, but they’re not necessary. If interpreting your cards feels difficult or constricting, just go with your gut.

  • The key is being consistent. If you assign special meanings to your cards, always interpret them that way.

Method 11 Method 11 of 11:Rely on your intuition to interpret your cards.

Tarot reading isn’t about rules—it’s based on intuition. Do what feels right for you, and allow your gut feelings to guide your interpretation. You already have the answers you seek inside of you!

  • Play around with different card spreads to see what feels right to you.


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