Ever wonder what’s in the cards for you? People have been asking the same question since the 14th century, when playing cards first appeared in Europe. It didn’t take long for card games to turn into fortune-telling, a practice known as cartomancy.
A regular 52-card deck would be shuffled and laid out in a particular order called a spread. Each card would hold its own meaning for the reader to interpret. This remains the basis for most card readings practiced today, although each brings its own unique twist.
If you’re seeking a card reading or looking to buy a pack of your own, you’ll discover there are a wide variety of divination cards, each able to offer insight, clarity and inspiration. To help you figure out which to choose, we’ve got the basics covered on the most common types of cards out there:
If you know anything about card reading, you know about the Tarot. These 78 cards are often used when seeking guidance on your life’s path or answers to a specific question.
The most popular style of Tarot are Rider-Waite cards, with artwork depicting the 22 Major Arcana Cards like the Fool, the Empress, and the Wheel of Fortune. These represent major life events and big decisions. The remaining 56 cards are the Minor Arcana comprised of four suits: Wands, Pentacles, Cups and Swords.
During a typical reading, the reader will ask you to ruminate on a question while you shuffle and cut the deck, then they’ll lay the cards out in a spread. Different spreads exist for different questions and readings. The reader will then interpret the meaning of the cards based on their prescribed symbolism, their position in the spread, how they appear in relation to each other, and the question you asked.
There are two common variations on the Tarot, Crowley Cards and Osho Zen Tarot. Crowley Cards were developed by occultist Aleister Crowley, who chose his own artwork, symbolism and interpretation for the cards. The Osho Zen deck is based on Zen Buddhism with one extra Major Aracana card for the deck’s creator, Osho himself.
Developed in France in the 1800’s by fortune teller Mlle. Lenormand, Lenormand Cards are based on the 36-card set of French playing cards known as Piquet. Lenormand Cards use symbols in place of suits.
Unlike Tarot, the imagery on the card bears no significance in a reading, only the symbol. But like Tarot, the card’s position in a spread is of utmost importance and should be carefully considered in relation to the question at hand. Lenormand spreads are usually a single line read from left to right, almost comprising a sentence., which should reveal the answers you seek.
Kipper Cards are based on Germany’s version of the Piquet deck. These 36-card decks are usually simple yet artful and their meanings should be taken quite literally, with cards like Marriage, Journey, and Success. Where other decks leave much to interpretation, Kipper Cards are straightforward, which makes them easy for a beginner to read and a popular deck when inquiring about complicated situations and relationships in need of a direct answer.
Skat is a popular three-person card game. But, like many card decks, it has come to have a use beyond competitive play. Like Kipper Cards, this deck is German in origin and based on Piquet cards. Unlike Kipper Cards, Skat Cards are very open to interpretation. Every fortune teller assigns their own meaning to their deck so no two readers offer the same reading and the experience is always unique.
Where the Tarot is defined and predictable, Oracle Cards are unstructured and each come with their own rules. Decks tend to have anywhere from 36 to 64 cards and often follow a theme represented in their artwork, like animals, life events, people, and more. Some decks are straightforward where others are symbolic. Decks usually come with their own unique guidebooks for interpretation.
Oracle Cards can be used in Tarot-style spreads or, if you have your own deck, you may choose one at the start of each day to help guide you.
Angel Cards are similar to Oracle Cards but depict angels, with each angel representing something different. They’re a common choice for anyone wishing to tap into their guardian angels or spirit guides. Angel cards can be used in a spread to seek advice on relationships, work, and your life’s path.
From Tarot to Lenormand, Angel to Oracle, every variety of divination cards has its unique traits and abilities with all offering guidance and answers. If you’re not sure which cards are right for you, listen to your heart and see what you’re drawn to most. No matter which cards you choose, find a skilled reader on Zodiac Psychics ready to give you expert reading you’re looking for!