How to Read Regular Cards for Fortune Telling

Updated July 05, 2018

Regular playing cards have been used for fortune telling since the 15th century. If you're looking for a peek into your future and you have a deck of playing cards on hand, you can accomplish the same thing as you would with a tarot deck. Each card has a meaning and interpretation. The art is to match the meaning to the position in the particular "spread" or layout you are using.

Decide what spread will most accurately give you the information you're looking for. If you're looking for an answer to one question, you can use one card. Three cards will give you more of an overall portrait of the situation; one represents the history of the situation, the second represents the current situation, and the third indicates the likely outcome. If you really want a big picture, try a Celtic spread or another more elaborate layout. The meanings of each position are the same whether you are using regular playing cards or a tarot deck.

Shuffle the deck. Concentrate on your question, or the situation you want advice on, while you shuffle. Alternately, if you want broader insight into the problem or if it's particularly complex, you can let your mind wander while you shuffle.

Deal the cards from the top. Flip each face up and place it into position on a flat surface in the spread you've chosen. In a Celtic spread, you're placing a card for 10 different factors: your present situation, the circumstance that is challenging you, what may have happened long ago to impact the situation, what happened recently, the best you can hope for, what's likely to happen in the immediate future, factors to watch out for, people who might affect the situation, your hopes and what you're most afraid of, and the final outcome.

Correlate the meanings of the cards to each position they've landed in. Heart cards represent love, peace and emotional relationships. Clubs represent money and achievement. Spades indicate misfortune and potential trouble. Diamonds indicate communication, and can represent finances as well. The lower the card, the more recent the situation you're dealing with. Face cards generally indicate a matter that is coming to conclusion. Face cards can also indicate people who may impact the situation. Kings and queens are generally individuals over the age of 40. Jacks indicate a younger person of either gender. Hearts are shy people, spades represent logical individuals, diamonds are ambitious people and clubs are happy people with a gift for insight.


The art of card-reading is based on interpretation, and there are many nuances to each card. Don't jump to conclusions when a card appears in a certain position. Consider all factors: a possible person it might represent, its position in the spread you're using and the numerical value of the card. If you're uncertain or confused, do another spread. Watch for cards or suits that appear more than once, then do more extensive research into that card.

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About the Author

Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.