I think the biggest problem most new cartomancers encounter is how get the card meanings to fit together and tell a story. The beginner will memorize all of the various meanings and the important combinations for each card. In actual practice, those special combinations don’t always show up in a layout to make things easy. That’s when a good foundation in the symbolism of the suits and numbers becomes so important.
Once you have a good understanding of the Suits and how they interact as outlined in Basic Cartomancy Skills: Part 1, the basic number meanings can be used to delve more deeply into the symbolism of each card.
In the system that works for me, each number has two opposing meanings. The appropriate meaning applied to each card will be determined by it’s suit symbolism. The first meaning listed (positive meaning) usually applies to a red card, and the second meaning (negative) will most often apply to a black card. It's important to note that the card falling to the right will always influence the final meaning, and it’s always best to allow your intuition to make the final determination.
Basic Number Meanings:
1 – beginning or ending
2 – cooperation or conflict
3 - expansion or loss
4 – foundation or instability
5 – activity or restlessness
6 – communication or ignorance
7 – improvement or stagnation
8 – Health or illness (balance/imbalance)
9 – wish or disappointment
10 – success or failure
11 (Jack) – thoughts/message, also young helpful person, or troubled youth
12 (Queen) – receptivity/intuition, also female friend or rival
13 (King) – action/force/mastery, also male friend or rival
The basic Suit Interactions combined with the Basic Number Meanings are all you need to produce accurate, insightful Cartomancy readings. You can add additional meanings to each card to broaden the scope of your readings, but you’ll find that you’ll return to the basic information again, and again when the more detailed meanings don’t seem to jive in your card layout.
Example Reading with Basic Number and Suit Meanings:
To illustrate this basic method of Cartomancy, I shuffled the cards while focusing on my question. When I felt the shuffling process was done, I cut the cards into three piles from left to right using my left hand. Finally I flipped over the top card of each pile to reveal the three cards for my reading.
Question: Will I be hired in the new job position I’m pursuing?
- 9 of Clubs
- 6 of Diamonds
- Queen of Hearts
Since I asked a “yes/no” question, the first thing to take note of is the balance of red vs black cards in the layout. In this spread we find a predominance of red cards indicating that the basic answer to the question is “yes.”
Next, let’s take a look at the Suit Interactions:
♣ + ♦
Club + Diamond = an increase in money, rewards, or power.
♦ + ♥
Diamond + Heart = rewards, positive attraction, and sharing money.
The suit combinations confirm the good news, and suggest that the new position will bring a raise in pay, and emotional well being.
Now let’s dig for more information by taking a look at the Basic Number Meanings:
The number 9 represents a “wish or disappointment.” Because the 9 is followed by a red card, I would read it to represent a wish. The 9 is a club, and if we look to the basic suit meanings, we find that clubs represent business and work, among other things. So the 9 of clubs is the perfect card to represent my wish for a new job.
The number 6 represents “communication or ignorance.“ Since this number 6 is a red card, and it’s also followed by another red card, I would go with the positive interpretation of “communication.” The basic suit meanings tell me that diamonds represent energy, power, rewards, money, etc. So the 6 of diamonds would indicate some good news (followed by ♥ ) regarding money, and could represent the forthcoming news that I am hired for the new position.
The final card is number 12 (or Queen) which represents “a female friend or rival,” and may also denote the qualities of “receptivity and intuition.” Either or both of these meanings could apply. In either case, I would interpret the Queen of hearts as a friendly influence since hearts indicate love, friendship, peace, happiness, and pleasure.
The Queen of hearts falls in the end position of the layout which represents the final outcome. Therefore, I can read this card in a general sense to mean that the new job brings (I receive) pleasure and happiness. Or I could read this card to represent a kind-hearted female who will be instrumental in helping me secure the new position. Either way, this card denotes a happy outcome to the question.
As you can see, with just these simple meanings it is possible to get a lot of detailed and accurate information from the cards. When you encounter a card in a layout that doesn’t seem to make any sense, you can fall back on the basic symbolism of suit and number. You’ll be amazed by how the reading will suddenly come together and make sense. Give it a try, have lots of fun, and happy readings!