There are many parallels between playing cards and nature or astrology.
The four suits represent:
The thirteen cards in each suit represent the thirteen new moons in each year; the fifty-two cards stand for the weeks of the year; and twelve face cards (court cards) are the twelve signs of the zodiac or the twelve months of the year.
The four suits are also tied to the time of day and the timing of events. Diamonds are morning, clubs the middle of the day, hearts the evening and spades night. Diamonds mean things that happen right away, clubs things that arrive on time, hearts slow-moving events and spades delay or something that never arrives.
People represented by the four suits are:
Diamonds - Very fair people with light blond or sandy hair and light eyes.
Clubs - People with medium complexions and brown hair and eyes.
Hearts - Light-skinned people with brown or dark blond hair and blue, gray or hazel eyes.
Spades - People with dark complexions, dark hair and dark brown or black eyes.
Many diamonds falling together mean good business or money received. Many hearts are a good sign for home or social happiness. Clubs are excellent for business and friendship and using your talent to advantage, while spades warn of illness, bad luck, your failure or the failure of others and show how you may be able to avoid misfortune. More red cards showing always means much better luck than a majority of black cards.
Remember, the cards should be shuffled by both the reader and the querent, but the querent should cut the cards with the left hand only and cut them away from himself always.
There are many layouts suitable for a regular deck, but here are three rather simple ones that offer variety and a chance to step up to increasingly difficult readings as you go along.
1. TRICK OR TREAT
If you just want a very quick -yes- or -no- to a specific question, keep your query in mind and shuffle the cards thoroughly. The entire deck may be used or the thirty two-card stripped one with cards below the sevens, except for aces, eliminated. When the cards
are shuffled, cut them with your left hand three times away from you to form three stacks. Turn the stacks over. Note the color of the three cards on top of each pack. Two out of three red cards means -yes-, two out of three black cards, -no-. If you have cut three red top cards, the answer is a positive, firm -yes- and of course there's -nothing doing- if they are all black.
2. THE HORSESHOE
Select a significator card to stand for the querent and put it in the middle of the table. Then fan the cards out face down and ask the querent to select nine cards and hand them to you, still face down. Then turn them over and place them in a horseshoe shape,
starting on the left side of the significator and ending up on the right . The cards should be read starting on the left and running through to the last card on the right. The first three cards represent the past, the three beneath the significator what is going on in the querent's life now, and the three on the right are what is coming in the future.
3. THE HOROSCOPE
Have the querent shuffle and cut with the left hand away from him, and then replace the three stacks backward and hand them to you. You then fan them out and have the querent select twelve cards and hand them to you. You put the significator again in the center, but this time put the cards in a circle around the center card and they will represent the twelve houses of the zodiac. The meanings of the houses are:
(1) the querent himself, (2) his money and possessions, (3) relatives, short trips and study, (4) home, (5) love and children, (6) service to others, (7) partnerships or marriage, (8) other people's money, sex and death, (9) religion, philosophy, long trips, wisdom, (10) the profession and public honor, (11) friends, hopes and wishes, (12) secrets, large institutions, self-undoing.
You then read the twelve cards placed in a horoscope circle not only in the light of their own meaning, but coupled with qualities of each astrological house.
Many meanings have been ascribed to playing cards over the years of cartomancy, and this outline represents the sense of most systems of interpretation. If some of the meanings seem strange to you, remember they must blend in with the surrounding cards in order to weave a complete story.
HEARTS - Primary message: Love, joy, marriage and the home.
ACE, The love card. Some good news concerning romance. Maybe a love letter or you will move soon into a home you love. House guests may arrive soon.
KING. A blond, probably light-skinned, middle-aged man who is generous to all. He will try to help you, but he may be too impetuous.
QUEEN. A warm and friendly blond, who may be a man's true love or a woman's friendly rival. She is motherly, loving and joyful.
JACK. A romantic young man, or sometimes a woman, or a close pal from school days. He or she likes to have a good time and you enjoy his or her company.
TEN. An excellent card, and it helps overcome bad cards. Maybe a proposal coming. Successful future and plenty of money.
NINE. The WISH card. The answer is definitely "yes" to your wish. Extreme happiness for you.
EIGHT. A light-eyed person loves you and wants to marry you. You will go to a party soon and may also receive a delightful gift.
SEVEN. Other people are unreliable now. This is a bad omen for marriage. You will be quite busy in the near future, but be careful not to talk too much.
SIX. Your plans are taking shape, but beware of people taking advantage of you.
FIVE. You will have to make up your mind and end something - soon. Don't cry.
FOUR. Someone who has put off marriage because of being too hard to please and too set in his or her ways. Unselfishness is rewarded.
THREE. A warning not to be too impulsive. Avoid mistakes through planning.
TWO, Good things are coming to you soon, more than you thought possible.
CLUBS - Primary message: Money, friendship and finances.
ACE. Good luck and news of a marriage and money coming your way. Also means artistic talent and the chance to use it with the help of friends.
KING. A dark man who likes to have fun and help his friends. A good advisor - listen to him. He is a faithful friend always.
QUEEN. A brunette woman who can be trusted. She is fond of people and helps them; mercurial but loyal.
JACK. A friend of either sex whom you can count on, or a sweetheart who is sincere in loving you and will do anything for you.
TEN. Money arrives from an unexpected source. Good fortune generally and a chance for a fresh outlook on life.
NINE. A gift or an inheritance may cause trouble, but your hard work will be recognized and rewarded, although you may lose a friend through his or her jealousy.
EIGHT. A dark person is interested in you romantically or a dark lady brings you good luck. A fortunate card denoting harmony.
SEVEN. You will receive a small amount of money. You must finish what you start if you seek success.
SIX. Working with other people pays off for you now. Also, many invitations heading your way.
FIVE. A good marriage with financial advantages. You may have a fight with a close friend.
FOUR. Someone is lying about you behind your back, but it won't hurt you. You have more friends than you realize.
THREE. You may be married two or more times or be engaged to one person for a long time and end up marrying someone else. Someone misbehaves in public.
TWO. If you are careful you can avoid misfortune. Take nothing for granted.
DIAMONDS - Primary message: Career and communications, travel, politics.
ACE. A letter contains practical news of your current affairs, or news of a new love is on its way. You will be well paid for past work.
KING. A light-haired or gray-haired man will help you, but take care not to approach him when he is in a bad mood. He can be harmful and competitive sometimes.
QUEEN. Look out for an unfriendly, light-haired woman. She talks too much and is a flirt, but she gets things done.
JACK. A blond young man in some kind of uniform, either military or occupational. He has a good sense of humor, is fun to be with, but sometimes he brings bad news with him.
TEN, A trip or change of residence for you. Enjoy new experiences and learn from them now.
NINE. A message about money and a new undertaking will definitely succeed.
EIGHT. A short, enjoyable trip, probably to the country, may provide a new romance. You may win a small amount of money. You will be dealt with fairly now.
SEVEN. Somebody mocks you or says harmful things about you unjustly. Don't gamble now. You may receive a gift you didn't expect.
SIX. Don't be too materialistic. An early marriage will end unhappily in a short time.
FIVE. Good news in career matters or romance, but you may argue with a friend.
FOUR. Someone close to you will betray your faith in him or her but you will overcome this problem.
THREE. Arguments with close associates or loved ones and the possible ending of an old friendship.
FIVE, You will be happy after you have overcome some present obstacles. Don't be upset by what you hear now
FOUR. A slight, annoying illness may slow you down. Check into matters thoroughly now.
THREE. A very unfortunate card for love or marriage. Stop and think. Mistakes slow you down.
TWO. Something will separate you from your present home or from someone you love. Sadness. Watch your pocketbook.
Ace: Bad news, loss of someone close, possible death to someone near, or an illness, miscarriage, etc.
King: A man who will cause problems in marriage or relationships. One who will get in the middle, divide and conquer and then destroy.
Queen: A cruel woman, one who interferes. For women, a betrayal by a good friend. For men, a woman who will use them for their own gain.
Jack: A person who hangs around and gets in the way. Not a bad person, but a lazy person. One who will get in the way of progress. Takes and takes, but does not give back anything.
10: A very unlucky card. If near a good card, it can cancel it out. If found with bad cards, makes them twice as bad.
9: The worst card of all: Illness, loss of money, or misery. Even among the best of cards. Defeat, lack of success:
8: False friends, traitors, someone who will betray. Most of the trouble can be avoided if caught early on. Examine all relationships closely.
7: Sorrow and quarrels. Avoid arguments with friends. Let them "win" for now.
6: Much planning but little result. Hard work, without much profit. Discouragements.
5: Success in business or love, after much time and hard work.
4: Minor misfortune: A short illness, a temporary setback.
3: Unhappiness: Misfortune in love or marriage. A loss of pride and hope. Do not dwell, move on in life.
2: A complete and forced change. Sudden change of location, relationship or a death. Bound to make a big difference in the coming months.
~from Maat's Book of Shadows