As part of my symbol series, I’m delving into the interesting and curious symbols of luck and fortune. Today ~ cards.
I like cards. My parents played pinochle and poker with their family and friends, their pots of coffee at hand and ashtrays piled high with cigarettes that clouded the room in smoke.
My mom’s best friend Rose (who I’m named for) always came to play. Aunt Rose devised the rules for what she called pauper poker — $5 limit and one last game to win something back if you lost it all the hand before. My aunt was a keen penny ante gambler — always small amounts bet and always with the fun in mind. I was ten the year she took me to the race track and I won a staggering $22.22 on a horse I chose for her because I liked the name and the fact it came in second the last time it ran. She said I was her luck charm. 🙂 In Aunt Rose’s later years she found bingo and had a little bag of other luck charms to take along to the games.
I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys and very few girls (two), and there I learned how to play blackjack and poker with outrageous wildcard combinations. I still enjoy playing poker, though my husband teases me about wanting to play wildcard games. Now I ask you, what’s wrong with wildcards when you name them Ace-y Duce-y (aces and 2’s), boxcars (6’s), or puppy toes(the 3 of clubs)? In his neighborhood they played cutthroat poker, not a puppy toe among them.
Interesting thing about cards, people also use them to divine the future. My husband’s grandmother read fortunes off a deck of regular old playing cards exactly as though they were a Tarot deck. She told him a person with red hair was going to change his life. Now that’s an understatement!
Card reading is called Cartomancy or seeing with cards
In a previous post I mention that I have a friend who is an accomplished tarot card reader. One afternoon she read for me. I had no grand question in mind, but I asked if I’d publish my magnum opus that year (the MO is the as yet unnamed series I’ve been writing for 6 years now). The cards said no. I asked about publishing my children’s books. No. I asked about my historical youth novels. No. She said perhaps I’d publish a book I hadn’t written yet. I was knee-deep in the 5th book of the MO. In my mind, the only book I’d be writing next was book 6.
She read the cards again with that new question and they said yes. She then did a different spread that showed the passage of time and learned I’d be contracted with a publisher at the very end of the year, but not for anything I’d written up to that point. Like I said, I only saw book 6 in my future. Several months later, I had that synchronistic week that put me on this romance author’s path. In three days time I’d crafted an edgy novel designed to get noticed and submitted it. On December 29th, I received my contract. A true story and just plan odd.
When we think of fortunetelling we often go to the Hollywood version where Gypsies turn over the Hanged Man or Death cards and act like you’re doomed. But the history of tarot is much more interesting than that. The tarot, or tarocchi, tarock as it was once known, popped up in Europe in the mid-15th century. The decks themselves were symbols of the Renaissance, that cultural movement that sought to shake off an over-reaching and corrupt church and return to the philosophical glory of classical Greece and Rome. Hidden in the cards’ were references to the societal ideals of those times. Later, they became associated with esoteric groups like the Rosicrucians and Freemasons. And after that, the Victorian era, so steeped in romanticism, mysticism, occultism, spiritualism and seances, saw them become the classic tarot cards we recognize today.
Mind you, there are many styles out today and authors have dreamed up just as many interpretations –everything from angel decks to animal decks and more. Some have no similarities to the original decks and card meanings whatsoever.
The tarot deck has two types of cards in the deck called the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Arcana, in case you’ve never heard that word before, comes from the Latin Arcanum meaning things hidden. The 56 cards called the Minor Arcana are divided into four suits that correspond to conventional playing card suits of hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds. Each tarot suit has fourteen cards consisting of four face cards and ten pip cards numbered from ace to ten. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards rife with symbolism and allegory. Together they make up a 78 card deck. I’ve had a deck known as the Rider-Waite deck since I was a teen. The Rider-Waite was first published in 1910.
There are many ways to read tarot. Simple methods like drawing one card from the deck to complex spreads across a table. It’s as fun as reading tea leaves. 🙂
American Tarot Association
The cards and their meanings
Julie and I were involved in living history together. She’s an amazing artist who’s written several books on the subject as well as created incredibly striking tarot decks.
Tomorrow ~ More!
Another 100 Things Blogging Challenge! For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 68 entries to come.
Here’s one for today:
Welmish (adjective 1688)
of a pale or sickly color
Today is guest author Nikki Lynn Barrett.
Only two interviews left on the RB4U. The thoughtful questions are a great way to get to know us. Commenting that day gives you a chance to win a collectable t-shirt. Come see!
The February contest has started on Romance Books ‘4’ Us and it’s all about Cupid. Find the little cherub hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests.
Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group
Wash Line Monday ~ share your descriptions of clothing in your novel.
Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking late spring now.
Today’s author: Christa Jeanne
A new place for your old stars to shine 😀
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!
Fascinating yet again, Rose! Have you read the second Kate Mosse book in her Carcassonne series, Sepulchre? It’s full of wonderful tarot cards/elements that are part of the very basis of the story.
Thanks! No, I haven’t. I’ll have to look that up. I had my friend do a reading that I used in one of my books. I wrote the scene around it. That was fun.
Other people collect spoons or shot glasses… I’m a tarot deck collector, and have well over one hundred decks at this stage. In fact, I was just thinking it’s high time I start to release some of them back into the world.
Sounds like my rune sets! Uh..and I have a few spoons and shot glasses to. 🙂 I need a dust force field.
Another fun, informative post. We always loved to play Canasta when I was a kid, and then we played 10 point pitch, too. I love playing cards, but my hubby won’t have anything to do with them. I would love to learn to play poker.
I’ve had tarot cards read for me, but I don’t think anything came true. Smile!
I’ve never played pitch. I’ll tell you what Sandy, if we ever meet up at a conference, I’ll bring the cards. 🙂
I’ll look forward to that, Rose. Wish I were going this year.
I haven’t gone in a few years. Maybe next year.
What a great post, Rose. Personal, interesting and insightful! I had my cards read once about 25 years ago and either there’s something to it or I’m prone coincidence…
P.S.-I’m a redhead too!
🙂 Ah..prone to coincidence. Maybe it’s a redhead thing. I was really surprised how my friend’s reading pegged my life so accurately. I’d forgotten all about her prediction, then I suddenly found myself with a contract exactly how she said it would come.
I loved the post. My grandmother liked to play cards with us as well. I don’t remember the games anymore but I will always remember those times.
I am a tarot reader myself. I had a bunch of sets but got rid of all but my oldest and most loved. I also have fairy oracle cards and animal prophesy cards. They help tell me in one card what I need to focus on.
A reader too, that’s cool. I wrote tarot divination in one of my works in progress and used cards as a device ..one card to focus on. 🙂 GMTA Great minds think alike, eh?
Talk about synchronicity in “Is there a redhead in your future.” When I was about twelve years old I dreamed about a redheaded woman from Georgia. I grew up in the state of Washington. In my dream she wore her hair in ringlets. When I was 22 I met and married her. She actually one time wore her hair exactly as in my dream. Now that I am seventy I can still see that vision.
That’s a sweet story, Ray. A portent of things to come. I’ve had dreams that have come to pass as well. It makes me wonder if I’m tapping into another layer of existence or just setting myself up to be aware of opportunities when they arise.