Cartomancy in Folk Magic

Title: Cartomancy in Folk Witchcraft: Playing Cards and Marseille Tarot in Divination, Magic, and Lore (Expanded 2nd edition)
Publisher: Moon Over the Mountain Press
Author: Roger J. Horne
Pages: 212pp
Price: $15.95 (pb) /  $19.95 (ebook)

If you love cartomancy in general, Tarot in specific, and folkloric Craft in particular, you will find a wealth of resources and practical information in this handy guidebook.

The second edition is a significant expansion on the first, which was perhaps more of a chapbook that pointed the way for interested cartomancers without getting into the individual card meanings. In that original edition, Horne seemed not to want to create undue influence on the intuition of his readers, so that they could more fully draw from the well-spring of their own deep wisdom. Like the best of authors, though, he responded to feedback asking for more — more depth, more clarity, more details. This second edition delivers!

Horne’s voice and vibes are easy-going, pleasant, and non-dogmatic, and he is delightfully gender-inclusive in his approach to interpreting the court cards. He approaches folk Craft from the ideology that folklore and folk-magic are living and breathing traditions, and we (the practitioners) are part of a continuum of practice and not simply the inheritors of a dusty antique that must be preserved in its original state.

This guidebook addresses the reading of traditional playing cards and also the Marseille Tarot (which predates the much more common Waite-inspired decks). For readers who are unfamiliar with the difference, the Waite-style cards include imagery on the “pips” or numbered suit cards. The Marseille deck does not, which Horne suggests is a boon to a reader’s intuition rather than a hindrance.

Horne begins the book with a mnemonic device in the form of a rhyme that suggests the general meanings of the suits, the numbers, and the court cards in a standard playing card deck. He then provides an illuminating look at the wide variety of interpretations that were published about these cards in the 1800’s, followed by deeper explorations of the system he is suggesting for their use. He also includes an introduction and brief analysis of the trump (aka Major Arcana) and court cards in the Marseille deck, which vary a bit from the playing cards since they include a 4th courtier — the Knight.

Finally, Horne recommends uses for magic and conjuration using the cards, as well as lots of practical, actionable advice for giving readings to querents.

Recommended to fans of Nigel Jackson, Gemma Gary, Michael Howard, Shani Oates, Corey Hutcheson, and Via Hedera — and to all practitioners who are looking to explore cartomancy in systems other than the AE Waite style of Tarot. 

[Laurelei Black is an American folkloric Witch, an Aphrodite woman, and an author.]

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