About twenty years ago, I visited a local powwow who offered card readings. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, as she was very much a no-nonsense kind of woman. She wasted no time on pleasantries and literally didn't ask me a single question. She just started tossing playing cards on the table in front of her while reciting prayers and incantations to God, interspersing advice and predictions while doing so. She spoke non-stop for several minutes. When she stopped speaking, I was sort of caught off guard. She swept the cards off the table and declared the reading "over", so I left.
While her abrupt method made it difficult, if not impossible, to remember everything she said to me, I've always been inspired by how confident she seemed with what she was doing, and how flawlessly she switched back and forth from prayers to advice to prayers to predictions and so on and so forth. Then, when the last card was tossed onto the table, she stopped. And it was over.
Here is my own method of playing card divination, taught to me by a powwower several years ago and slightly modified by me a few times. I don't use this very often. However, it is effective enough (and simplistic enough) that you can use it in a pinch for yourself or someone else. You don't need to have a special set of playing cards set aside to do readings, although you can if you want. My own cards have been used for solitaire on occasion. As I type this blog entry, my six year old son is attempting to shuffle my cards and make up games for us to play.
When reading playing cards, the two most important things to look at are the suit and the number of the card. The four suits each represent different things:
Hearts - relationships, love, family, friends, partners, things you care about.
Clubs - represent where your (or your client's) focus is, whether for good or ill.
Spades - hidden or unknown forces at work in your (or your client's) life.
Diamonds - finances, money, things you place value on.
So, for example, if you toss a Club card out, you know that this represents what your client is fixated on at the moment. If it's a heart, you know the issue is related to relationships or other things the client cares for. If a Diamond, it's a finance issue. If a Spade, it's something going on that your client probably isn't aware of, for good or bad...
The number of the card further fine tunes the meaning.
Aces - the beginning of something, a new start, an idea or inspiration (ex. Ace of Diamonds might be a new job or a new idea for a business)
Twos - the things we are attached to, the things we care for (ex. Two of Hearts could be our children, our possessions that we love, our pets, etc)
Threes - people in our immediate life, our siblings, our friends (ex. Three of Clubs could be a focus on siblings or too much time with friends)
Fours - our home, our memories, our mothers (ex. Four of Spades could be us subconsciously being held back by past events)
Fives - things which bring us pleasure (ex. Five of Diamonds could be enjoyment of shopping or over indulgence of spending)
Sixes - our health (ex. Six of Spades could be a health issue the client is not yet aware of)
Sevens - intimate relationships whether good or ill (ex. Seven of Clubs could be intense focus on your marriage or obsession with an enemy)
Eights - things we don't want to face (ex. Eight of Diamonds could be a warning that we must face our debts or find a new job)
Nines - things we learn about and/or pray about (ex. Nine of Spades could be study of spiritual or mystical things)
Tens - our goals, our ambitions, our fathers (ex. Ten of Clubs could be overly-ambitious or very career focused)
Jacks - people in our direct lives that influence us (ex. Jack of Diamonds could be a co-worker or business partner)
Queens - people in our lives that are focused on us, for good or ill (ex. Queen of Spades could be a malicious, vengeful woman)
Kings - people in our lives that have authority over us, for good or ill (ex. King of Hearts could be a husband or father, kindly or controlling)
The cards are laid out one at a time. As you set down each card, you declare its meaning. Then move onto the next card and say its meaning. Repeat this until you've laid out nine cards total (you can do more, if you feel so moved, but do at least nine for a good view of your client's current situation). If a particular card seems difficult for you to interpret, flip over another card and lay it on top to help clarify.
There is no need to set up any type of atmosphere with things like candles or incense. There is no need to make the experience spooky or mysterious or weird. Just lay out the cards, state their meanings, and that's it. If it helps you to intersperse prayers into your interpretations, then by all means, go for it.
The warning with doing card readings is that, once people know you do it, they don't leave you alone. That's why I strongly support charging a few dollars.