Cards and their many Fascinating uses

Nine Lives Playing Cards ready to ship
With the playing cards only just launched, I am delighted at the positive responses and ever so grateful to everyone coming on board to support this little deck. Thank you! Wrapping and sending decks on their way to new homes around the world, I hope that each deck of cards will bring joy and excitement  – in whichever way it is put to use.

… Which got me thinking about cards & their many uses

A short time ago, a fellow forum dweller on Aeclectic pointed me to some interesting corners of the web… Places where magicians, cardists, players, artists and collectors dwell. In the last few days I discovered so many new and interesting topics about cards, inspiring ideas which make me want to put pen to paper and start on a new deck :)

My own passion for cards has sprung from the artwork and the inspiration to create new images and stories using pen and paint… Though there are many ways to enjoy a deck of cards:

  • Cardists turn a deck of cards into an artwork of a different kind, as they wield the cards in flourishes and twirls…
  • Magicians make cards disappear and then reappear…
  • Collectors show off their wall-size collections of gorgeous decks.
  • Players use skill and nerve to conceal, bid and reveal their hand
  • Some discuss history, others design… All share a passion for cards.

In this post I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the ways I enjoy cards …

Pick a Card… Any Card … NO Not that card!  … That card …

Childhood attempts at magic tricks are always fun and entertaining, often ending in laughter and picking up cards from the floor. With practice comes skill, and the thrill as a spectator to watch something disappear and reappear, or to believe something impossible just happened … For years (as a kid), I believed my uncle had a hole in his head because he could pop a marble in one ear and make it come out the other ear!

Card Games Galore

I grew up playing cards, purely low-stakes – unless you count matches as ‘break the bank’ material… We didn’t have a television, so anyone who came to visit would be quizzed by us kids on what games they knew and what they could teach us. I do need to refresh my memory, but some of the games that come to mind are:

  • 21 – similar to Black Jack, this is a fast game of risk and numbers
  • Poker – several variations on this game kept me occupied through high school
  • 500 – similar to Euchre, where you play in pairs and place bids
  • Hearts – the lowest score wins and hearts land you with unwanted points
  • Stop – a bidding game where you have to get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible

Pictures and Characters …

Mum taught me to lay patience – and while I wasn’t patient enough (no pun intended) to finish a game without cheating, I did enjoy putting the ‘houses in order’. I’d happily spend ages studying the court cards, arranging them according to favourite suit, colours, faces, clothes, accessories and anything else I could think of …

spread of court cards from one of my old Swedish decks

Admiring the court cards led to early attempts to draw my own cards… Reversible figures did prove to be a tad challenging for my 10 year-old self, though I absolutely loved studying the detail and drawing at the best of my ability.

Reading the Cards

I have written quite a few posts about reading and interpreting tarot cards, however, the very first readings I came across were done using normal playing cards… Some read playing cards exclusively, a range of different methods exist for this ancient art also known as Cartomancy. While I personally prefer tarot cards for reading (mainly because of their intricate visual language), I do enjoy the immediate and perhaps less formal way of reading the playing cards. The method I became familiar with is very similar to reading tarot cards without the major arcana:

  • Each suit has its own realm or area:
    • Hearts / Cups: Emotions and matters of the heart – water
    • Clubs / Rods: Spirituality, Passion and fire
    • Diamonds / Pentacles: Home, hearth and material values – earth
    • Spades / Swords: Mind, thought, truth – air
  • The pips (or number cards) follow similar meanings to the minor arcana in tarot
  • The Courts represent their suit or ‘house’ along with advice and insight which may point to the querant or a person in the querant’s life – depending on the position of the card(s).
  • Jokers can be used as ‘wildcards’ to represent the major arcana – a specific card, or determined by the surrounding cards in a reading.

I find it fascinating how a simple deck of cards can provide entertainment, insight, display of skill, chance or luck – depending on what it is used for. If you have favourite uses for cards, I’d love to hear :)

Thank you for visiting
Annette :)

2 thoughts on “Cards and their many Fascinating uses”

  1. I loved your post, Annette. Thank you. I’m sure that most people have memories of the part cards have played in their lives. You wrote about your ten-year-old self; I remember being around the same age, and everyone sitting around the dining room table, playing canasta. There would be cigarette smoke and lots of laughs and, at times, raised voices when someone’s partner put down the wrong card in the wrong place. Playing cards was part of life; it was never for money, but always for fun and for the thrill of, occasionally, winning.

    • Oh that’s a lovely memory – I almost feel like I’m there just reading about it :) I think the most precious memories are simple moments in time with those we can have a good laugh with. Thank you :)

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