Sacred Texts  Tarot  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Fortune Telling by Cards, by P.R.S. Foli, [1915], at

p. 71


How They Tell Fortunes in Italy

Italian method—An example—Notice the groups—How the pairs work out—The five packs.

Italian Method.

ONLY thirty-two cards are used for the Italian method of fortune-telling, all the numbers under seven, except the ace, being taken out of each suit. This reduced pack—containing the ace, king, queen, knave, ten, nine, eight, and seven of the four suits—must be carefully shuffled and cut, with the left hand of course, by the inquirer. The one who is going to act as interpreter then takes the pack, and turns them up three at a time. Should three cards of one suit be turned up at once, they are all laid upon the table, face upwards; if only two of a suit come out together, the higher card is selected; if all three belong to different suits, they are all rejected.

When the pack has been dealt out in this manner the cards that have not been chosen are taken up, shuffled, and cut a second time. The deal by threes is then repeated until there are fifteen cards upon the table. They must be placed in line, from left to right, as they appear.

It is absolutely necessary that the card representing the inquirer should be among those on the table. Some authorities maintain, however, that in the event of its not coming out during the deals, the whole process must be repeated until it makes its appearance. Others again take the card out, and place it on the table when fourteen others have been selected.

The next step is to count five cards from the representative one and to continue counting in fifths from each fifth card

p. 72

until all have been included, or the counting has come back to the representative. The signification of every card is read as it is reached, due notice being taken as to whether it is reversed or not, and the surrounding circumstances must also be balanced by the interpreter.

When this reading is complete the fifteen cards must be paired, one from each end of the line being taken and read together, while the remaining odd one must be dealt with separately.

The third process is to shuffle and cut the fifteen cards, and deal them out into five small packs: one for the lady herself; one for the house; one for those who do not expect it; one for those who do expect it; one for the surprise; and one, which is not to be covered, for consolation. When the fifteen cards have been dealt out, it will be seen that four of the packs contain three cards, and the fifth only two. These must all be turned face upwards and read in separate packs, but with the connecting idea that they all refer to the fortune of the inquirer.

An Example.

Let us imagine that a very fair lady, represented by the queen of diamonds, is seeking to read her fortune.

The fifteen cards come out in the following order:—

The queen of diamonds; nine of diamonds, reversed; queen of hearts; king of spades; ten of diamonds; seven of diamonds, reversed; knave of hearts, reversed; ten of hearts; knave of diamonds; ace of diamonds, reversed; knave of spades; nine of spades; king of clubs; ten of spades, reversed; ace of hearts.

We begin to count from the queen of diamonds, the representative card, and find the nine of diamonds to be the fifth from it. By this first count we see from the nine being reversed that there is a love quarrel troubling the inquirer. Starting again from the nine we come to the queen of hearts, a mild, good-natured, but not very wise woman, who is probably the tool of the next fifth card, the king of spades, a crafty, ambitious man, and an enemy to the queen of diamonds.

Our next count is to the ten of diamonds, which speaks of

p. 73

a journey for the inquirer. Passing on to the seven of diamonds, reversed, we get hold of a foolish scandal connected with, if not entirely caused by, the next count, which is the knave of hearts, reversed, and stands for a military man who is very discontented with the treatment he has received at the hands of the fair inquirer. She will, however, triumph over this foolish annoyance, for the ten of hearts comes next in order, and counteracts the harm involved by the other cards.

Our gentle lady has, unfortunately, an unfaithful friend in the knave of diamonds; and he is followed by the ace of diamonds, reversed, which portends a letter on the way containing bad news. The writer of this is a dark young man of no social position, and he probably is the servant of one who is dear to the queen of diamonds. The bad news is found in the next count, the nine of spades, which tells of sickness affecting the king of clubs, the warm-hearted, chivalrous man who occupies the first place in the inquirer's affections. The last count but one brings us to the ten of spades, reversed, by which we know that the lady's sorrow will be but brief; and it is followed by the ace of hearts, a love letter containing the good news of her lover's recovery.

Notice the Groups.

Before proceeding to pair the cards, we may as well note the groups as they have come out in the fifteen. The six diamonds point to there being plenty of money; the two tens tell of a change of residence, either brought about by marriage, or by the journey read in the ten of diamonds; the presence of three knaves betokens false friends, though as one is reversed, their power of doing harm is lessened; two queens indicate gossip and the revealing of secrets; the two aces imply an attempted plot, but it is frustrated by the one being reversed; the two nines also point to riches.

How the Pairs Work Out.

The two end cards of the fifteen are taken up together, so that the pairs shall work out thus:—The queen of diamonds and the nine of spades, implying that sickness and trouble will affect the inquirer; the ten of diamonds pairs with the ten of

p. 74

hearts, and they signify a wedding; the knaves of diamonds and spades coming together show evil intentions towards the inquirer; the king of clubs and the ace of hearts tell of the lover and the love letter; the inverted nine of diamonds pairing with the knave of spades, tells of a love quarrel, in which a dark young man, wanting in refinement, is concerned; the reversed seven of diamonds pairs with the knave of hearts, also inverted, and tells of a foolish scandal instigated by the ungallant soldier who is suffering from wounded vanity; the inverted ace of diamonds comes out with the queen of hearts, telling of a letter containing unpleasant news from a fair, good-natured woman; while the remaining card, the ten of spades, being inverted, speaks of brief sorrow for the inquirer.

The Five Packs.

Our next step is to deal out the five packs as already directed. The first one—for the lady herself—contains three cards, two of which are bad, but their harm is largely discounted by the ten of hearts. In the nine of spades we read of the trouble caused by her lover's illness; the ten of spades betokens the tears she will shed while the beloved life is in danger; the ten of hearts speaks of happiness triumphing over sorrow.

The second pack—for the house—contains a flush of diamonds, the ten, the ace, and the knave. There is plenty of money in the house: the ten speaks of a journey, possibly resulting in a change of residence; the ace, being reversed, tells of a letter on the way containing unpleasant news (probably connected with the removal), from the knave, who is a faithless friend, and is to blame for the annoyance.

The third pack—for those who do not expect—consists of three court cards, which taken together foretell gaiety of some sort. We find the inquirer, personated by the queen of diamonds, in the society of the knaves of spades and hearts, the latter reversed, and consequently we know that she will be troubled by some unfriendly schemes, in which the dark, undesirable young man and the disappointed officer will be concerned. The inversion of the one knave counteracts the intended harm.

The fourth pack—for those who do expect—contains the

p. 75

queen of hearts, the king of spades, and the seven of diamonds, inverted. These indicate that the fair woman of gentle and affectionate nature will be exposed to scandal, seven of diamonds reversed; through the agency of the king of spades, an ambitious untrustworthy lawyer who is her enemy.

The fifth pack, consisting of only two cards (the ace of hearts and the nine of diamonds), is for the surprise, and we learn that a love letter, the ace, will be delayed, the nine; but the consolation card is the king of clubs, the dark, warm-hearted man, who will come in person to his lady-love.


The above example has been taken in the plainest, most straightforward manner with just the most apparent reading of the cards given as an illustration of the method. Those who spend time and thought on the subject will soon get to see more of the "true inwardness" of the cards with respect to their relative positions, and their influence one upon another. Various experiments with this plan of fortune-telling will give rise to curious combinations, and perhaps startling developments, as the one acting for the inquirer gains in knowledge and confidence.

Next: Chapter XIII. The Master Method