Cartomancy: Choosing a Deck

Written by: Melanie Clarke / WinterMeudwy

Melanie has used the tarot for many years but recently discovered and developed a love for all things Cartomancy. Here she shares her exploration of this Art with us in monthly instalments.

There is an endless selection of playing card decks out there, everything from Harry Potter cards to more traditional reproduction decks. This really makes using them fun, but for a beginner it would be easier to choose a standard deck until you familiarise yourself with them as the images on the novelty cards themselves are usually for decoration and could cause distraction away from your card meanings. I picked up a pack of cards for £ 1 and wrote a few key words on them when I first started out, this is a great way to learn as you have few other visual clues to cling to! I personally only used them for a short time before trying to move away from the annotated cards, as I felt I was relying on the notes too much rather than simply remembering them.

Choosing a new deck purely for cartomancy readings is ideal, keeping them exclusively for this purpose. I treat playing cards in the same way as a tarot deck, keeping them in bags and building up a connection through shuffling and cleansing. The fun part about playing cards is the fact that they are overlooked as simply a game and don’t draw the same attention when used in public as the tarot, so you can be performing a read out in the open without anyone batting an eyelid.

There is an incredible array of deck types, shapes and sizes. I personally have a tiny set of Cupido Patience in my bag which I carry around, they are a great traditionally style little deck which can fit on most surfaces to do a reading anywhere! They are a little more difficult to effectively shuffle at first but you get used to them. It depends on your tastes but it’s worth looking around eBay, charity shops and antique shops for old sets of playing cards. I have some across some gems for a few pounds, as to anyone else they’re just cards. After some cleansing they make great reading decks, though it would be worth having a quick look through if possible in the shop, I once bought a deck without checking and oddly it contained only the red suits, 2 of each card!

If you prefer something a little more modern and quirky, there is a boom in the production of artsy decks at the moment, especially from Russian artists. You can check out some limited edition decks and a wide selection of the themed Bicycle decks on Rare Playing Cards.They have pretty much every theme you can imagine!

I hope you have found this introduction to Cartomancy interesting and feel inspired to give it a try, it’s definitely a fun way to read and most people enjoy receiving a reading with something they are very familiar with. Please do share any feedback you have and your experiences with using playing cards to read with!

Next month: Card Meanings

You can read more on Melanie’s blog at: The Cartomancy Witch

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