Why Every Tarot Reader Should Learn Playing Cards

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Perceptions of Playing Cards

For some, learning to read Playing Cards may seem like a frivolous venture. After all, much of what we find today in Playing Card Reading comes from Victorian era fortune telling, and can often feel superficial or lacking the deeper potential represented in Tarot. And yet there is another way to approach Playing Cards that may not be so obvious. Playing Cards also can potentially bring a reader back to important roots that give meaning to card reading with Tarot and connect one to something much deeper and older than the Victorian age.


The 52 “Root Cards” as an Alphabet for Our Experiences

Playing Cards contain the original structure that Tarot stems from and can be used as a way to study foundations and potentials of suits, numbers, and traditional colors. These building blocks are the alphabet of cards. The original 4 suits represent the 4 seasons, 4 elements, and the 4 directions, for example, and can help one return to a primary language for navigation in our world bound by laws of nature. The numbers I find especially fascinating in Playing Cards as they interplay with the 4 suits, but also the ways lower numbered cards fall into relationship with the curiously numbered Court Cards, as well as traditional numerology. All of this can potentially play into readings no matter whether one is using Tarot or the 52-card deck.

And of course, there is the highly curious “card calendar,” that leads one to wonder what in the heck the 52-card deck was created for in the first place. Cards traveled through history without any original user manual, but the deck itself is its’ own witness.


Working with Natural Time for Predictions

The 52 Cards  ➛  52 Weeks of the Year

The 4 Suits  ➛  4 Seasons of the Year

The 13 Cards of Each Suit  ➛  13 Weeks in Each Season (also 13 Lunar Cycles in a Year, Each of 4 Weeks)

91 Numbers Total in Each Suit  ➛  91 Days in Each Season

364 Numbers Total in the Deck  ➛  364 Days in the Lunar Year

And so there is the potential for working with natural time as one works with Playing Cards, which certainly goes beyond any casino game. Calendars are for prediction, for working with time which is beyond the here and now, and mystic conjecture becomes a natural subject for Playing Cards.


CPR for Playing Cards Enlivens Tarot Reading

And one final, all important, shameless plug: Working with Playing Cards based on the ways described above can all be found in the book, The Playing Card Oracles, A Source Book for Divination. It is unlike other book you will find on Playing Card divination, and yet this is something it should not be condemned for. It reveals potentials within the seemingly simple codes of Playing Cards which deserve attention.  It presents an exhilarating “root work,” giving new and unexpected life to cards outside the Major Arcana. I like to think whoever created the little deck without a manual would be pleased.


“This is a system all its own, and Playing Card Oracles should be on the required reading list for card readers of all levels. 
… I simply couldn’t put the book down.”

✮ ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮ — John Alan, The Tarot Guild  (Read full Amazon review HERE.)


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