Crossed Cartomancy II

Jumping back into the fray of Cyprianic cartomancy, I’m now going to survey several approaches to the method.

The main, or recurring, spread used in The Book is the cross pattern, as illustrated in the first part, which can be read here. It is with this one that I will stay. Moreover, for three examples I will keep the temptations within the pack, shuffling them along with the other cards, and the last one will be a reading with the temptations kept separate.

Let us pretend Brenda has walked into the cartomantic parlor, and sits before the fortuneteller in a bewildered state of anxiety, immediately launching into her conundrum. “I’m having problems in my relationship, my my husband of 12 years doesn’t want to open up to me any more and keeps pushing me out. What’s going on?” The fortuneteller begins shuffling the cards calling on St. Cyprian as she crosses herself and the cards. Then cutting the deck, she proceeds to lay the cards out.

Vintage Tiffany & Co. blue and red Playing Cards, New York.
Vintage Tiffany & Co. blue and red Playing Cards, New York.

The response: “What is keeping your lover tied to you is a bed contract, as in the compromise the relationship holds over him. He looks with longing at improving his fortune, despite the stakes this might impinge on your bond. Two disparate focuses are playing out here, and because of this division your relationship is sick, not doing well. You want love from a man, and in a relationship that is no longer giving love, while your partner seeks only his fortune and career advancement. What this dynamic causes is delays in understanding and in companionship.”

The keywords in this reading are strung together and woven to form the answer to Brenda’s question. Now let’s see what it looks like to read the cards without the keywords.

Mark walks into the parlor, and in a calm air sits before the fortuneteller. He asks, “I’ve been getting to know this person for some weeks now, is this person the one?”

Voltige Playing Cards
Voltige Playing Cards designed by Henri deSaint Julien & Jacques Denain, published by D&D Playing Card Company.

The response: “This is a new beginning marked with hidden agendas. You met this person through a co-worker, and so far it has gone smooth enough as your interactions have been superficial. Someone opposes this budding relationship, and it is the person you least expect. Nonetheless, this budding romance is but a momentary indulgence of mutual pleasure from both sides. In other words, no, this person is not the one, moreover be watchful of the traps other’s might be sowing around this romance aimed to take you down.”

As you can see, both approaches are viable, both with and without keywords. My judgement on keywords is that they are a matter of personal preference. If you don’t have the book, you can come up with your own keywords based on how you read pips. For example, Jake Stratton-Kent clearly states in his survey of this cartomancy that he “burrowed from Papus in systematizing pip card meanings.” (169) The important aspect with keywords is keeping it concise, at maximum two words. You can apply reversed meanings as well. As I’ve mentioned, what holds significance with the method overall is the framework within which the divination is approached. Aligning yourself with the Cyprianic current through the prayers, keeping to the 40 cards, with the pips being 1-7, and reading in a crossed pattern. Another option for the spread is to reduce the size of the cross, with one card in each direction and the central temptation. This depends on how much information you are seeking to disclose.

Here is another example with the shortened spread, and using the Spanish baraja. Let’s return to Brenda, this time smug and cheerful. She asks the fortuneteller, “I want to find love, a love that stays. What can I do to improve my chances and make this desire happen?”

Baraja española, fournier cartomancy cartomancia
Ruedo Baraja Española, naipe opaco marfil, published by Heraclio Fournier, Vitoria, España, 1972.

The response: “Be available, dare to say yes to unexpected offers, especially those relating to career. Interacting with others in the work environment will lead to potential love prospects. It looks like a work companion either is a potential love prospect, or will be the one to introduce you to the staying love you seek. Dare to say yes to new projects, and new adventures, step out of your home, and outside of your comfort zone. And on a practical note, order your house and your finances. Attending to whatever is in flux will foster stability in your home which will enhance your readiness to welcome a new staying lover.” 

As mentioned, the cards are read in a crossed pattern: 1+2, 3+4, ending with the central card, the closing statement, the final judgement. The temptation can be seen strictly as the word itself is defined, “A thing or course of action that attracts or tempts someone.”†  In other words, as this card closes the reading, it has the final say, a disclosure of hidden desire in relation to the question and the answer received. But temptation can also move beyond that and be thought of in terms of its related latin counterpart, tempto,  encapsulating, “Bribery, testing, trying, urging.”† There is a sense of a persuasion attempted in someone’s or something’s favor. In this case, the card presents itself as the tempter, the one doing the tempting, so it is an urging to move in a certain direction in relation to the reading. In turn, Jake Stratton-Kent speaks of these 8 cards as representative of “the nature of the story generated by the crossed reading of paired cards.” (171) That is to say, the temptations denote the underlying current of the overall reading.

Retaking the pack and beginning anew with the shuffle, but this time removing the temptations, the Aces and the 7s. These will be shuffled separately, and will carry the weight of temptation, and the significations encapsulated with the word. While the rest of the 32 cards will remain together and shuffled so.

A tense Karin enters the parlor and says to the fortuneteller, “I’m getting married next week and I’m feeling very nervous. Should I follow through with the wedding? Are my nerves indicative of something negative? Is this person the right one?” The fortuneteller chuckles here and responds with a crisp, “Let’s start with one question, and see how we disentangle the others.”

baraja española fournier naipes
Ruedo Baraja Española, naipe opaco marfil, published by Heraclio Fournier, Vitoria, España, 1972.

The response: “You are embarking on a new and exciting path that holds both promise and difficulties in equal measure. You have both emotional and financial security with this person that fortifies the relationship. I see also love and passion. The ending card says yes. Take this step, get married. The nerves are merely a sign of the changes looming ahead but your relationship is ready to face them.”

Here, the temptation sealed the deal with a strong answer. My suggestion is to try it both ways, as in keeping them separate, and also with the rest of the pack when doing a reading. You have to find for yourself how the reading flows and your preference. This is also a matter of either making the center itself the temptation or of assigning this word to the Aces and 7s alone.  I typically interchange between keeping the temptations separate or not. What is a must for me is reading that middle card last. There is also the option of using the entire 40 cards, but this is a spread I haven’t tested out myself as I find the cross perfect and succinct in answering my questions. You should also discern for yourself whether you prefer the baraja Española, or playing cards with the french suits.

Conclusion. Crossed Cartomancy is a rich method that has the virtue of aligning you in favor with the Good Saint. While also being a great way of establishing and growing a relationship with him. It is worthy to note that I am in accord with Jake Stratton-Kent’s observation that the King of Diamonds or Coins is the card best keyed to Saint Cyprian. Above all things, it is important that the diviner develops their own approach and converse with the Saint, and as always relationships take time and effort. Lastly, I know I used examples solely involving love matters, I was playing around with the introduction that states that this art “is the great resource of lovesick girls, using it out of jealousy, suspicion and longing for the object of their affections.” Despite my tongue in cheek approach, I can assert that this art is valuable both within and beyond the bounds of lovesick girls. As The Book rightly states, “Crossed Cartomancy may be applied for the uncovering of any mystery.”

If you haven’t already done so, you can read the first part to Crossed Cartomancy here.

Merry and Potent Feast of Saint Cyprian and Saint Justina of Antioch. Holy Martyrs both.



Temptation from The New Oxford American Dictionary, online.

Tempto from

~ The Book of St. Cyprian: The Sorcerer’s Treasure, translated and with commentaries by José Leitão, Hadean Press, 2014.

~ Jake Stratton-Kent, “‘Seven Years The Sea Thou Roamed‘: Cyprianic Ritual and Divination,” Cypriana Old World, edited by Alexander Cummins, Jesse Hathaway, and Jennifer Zahrt, Rubedo Press, 2016.

Mist and Ether Natalia Lee Forty Tarot Divinatrix

Published by Natalia

An eternal lover of the literary arts, I am fascinated by words and their power. I am a diviner that writes, reads, enchants, dances and dreams.

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