Fortune-Telling by Cards – Professor P. R. S. Foli – thoughts from a British religious/pagan studies academic

Posted by: on March 12, 2012

A friend of Prof. Crow and mine is a well-known British academic. He’s a specialist in pagan religions and practices. I don’t give his name as his university wouldn’t care for him associating with outlaw voodoo men! Not publicly, anyway. But he likes me to publish some of the things he says. Last night he got on to the subject of playing card divination. Here’s what he said:

“You should check out Foli’s turn of the century book on playing card divination. [Click here to download the ebook]

It’s worth reading because he talks about the 32 and 21 card decks that were traditionally used by the hoodoo crowd and still used by Hispanic diviners. Using a full poker deck is pretty recent.

Now you will see a lot of adverts in the States these days for ‘Spanish Card’ reading or La Baraja Espanolaā€¸. This is what Hispanic spiritual readers use and again it has be absorbed by some hoodoos.

Spanish cards have 52, 48 or 40 cards, depending on the type of deck you purchase. The Suits (palos) in the Spanish deck are divided up into four groups, 1. Copas (Cups), 2. Oros (Coins), 3. Bastos (Clubs), 4. Espadas (Swords). Just like the minor arcana of tarot cards.

The pip cards (the lower numbered cards) are numbered starting from 1 (Ace) to 9. They do not have 10. The court cards are numbered from 10 to 12. Card number 10 is called La Sota (Jack or Knave depending on where you’re from); card number 11 is called El Caballo (Knight or Horseman); and card number 12 is called El Rey (King). There is no Queen.

Finally, unlike the face cards in the American playing card deck, the Spanish face cards are usually single headed, while the American deck is double headed.”

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