iT’s In The Cards

Tour_Cheat beter

You want to believe in astrology and fortune telling but you just can’t accept it a 100%. As an architect, I was a failure at trigonometry, calculus and not interested in mathematical calculations or charts of any kind, least of all the movements of planets. I needed visual images to understand. In Eugene, Oregon, home of all things strange, I was introduced to ordinary playing cards, as a system to easily describe an individual’s past, present, and future. It is like using Bill Gates’ “Windows.” I don’t know the first thing about how it works but I know how to use it.

card suits

 Let Me Help You, With Your Unbelief

When, I was a small boy, my father and I were catching fish, right and left, “hand over fist,” on a beach in Florida. We dug a hole in the sand bank to put the fish in for safe keeping. However, we were so busy catching fish, that we didn’t notice the rising tide, creeping ever higher up the sand bank, until a big wave came ashore and washed our entire catch out to sea. Astrology is just like the changing times of high and low tide, mathematical computations of the moon’s orbit and the forces of gravity.

The Chinese are more superstitious than the West, most probably because they invented or discovered, depending on your beliefs, the science of astrology 5,000 years ago. However, my survey of Toastmasters members found no one who believed in Astrology or Fortune-Tellers and only a few who thought that there was some truth in fate or destiny. I became a believer when my prospective partner asked me – no admonished is a better choice – the Who Am I question. I was told that everyone needed to become self-aware to discover their true Who Am I-ness. Sure enough, when I read the karmic path description for 9/13/43, in Gary Goldschneider’s “Destiny,” I found that I was ignorantly following “The Way of Resolve.” Unfortunately, even though I was in my sixty-fifth year on the road, I hadn’t gone anywhere.


Goldschneider, is a traditional western astrologer and his three volumes, “The Language of Birthdays,” “Destiny,” and “Relationships,” tell you who you are, where you’re going and how you get along with others. They don’t tell you where you are in the 0-99 life cycle. This is where ordinary playing cards, make the past, present and future easily understandable. The Chinese also created the first playing cards, complete with the four suits and face (court) cards in the 9th century. Later, they applied the designs to the tiles (also called cards) used in Mah Jong (Ma Jiang), using four sets of red, green and white dragons ,  which, one thousand years later, became our four sets of King, Queen, and Jack. 

In the beginning the emperor had his team of astrologers gazing up at the sky day and night, to glean his future. Gradually lesser ranking leaders wanted to know the secrets of the constellations. It turns out, that like the gravitational force of the moon determines the timing of ocean tides, so it is for people simply by knowing the date of their birth. The Chinese based their calcs on the Lunar calendar and the West on the Solar but both provide a cradle to grave road map of our lives. Ordinary playing cards represent the 52 weeks and four cards (birth, ego, debit & credit) delineate the individual destines for each of the 366 possible birthdays.

By the thirteenth century, the concept of playing cards had traveled (or invented, if you ask the Egyptians) to the Middle East. The Islamic types are represented by a deck preserved in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. These hand-painted cards, potentially the world’s oldest survivors, originated in Mamluke Egypt before 1500. The deck is fragmented but clearly consisted of 52 cards arranged in four suits, each with ten numeral cards and three court cards (Commander, Lt. Commander, 2nd Lieutenant). The Islamic suit signs were coins (perhaps descendants of the Chinese coins), cups, swords and polo sticks. Some experts see these signs as emblematic of four officers serving in the sultan’s court: perhaps treasurer, cup-bearer, sword-bearer and polo-master.

 Leave it to the French card makers, c. 1470, to dress up the cards, and creating the familiar suit signs of Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds (which the French call Spearheads, Hearts, Trefoils and Squares). The cards no longer required carved blocks but could be quickly and cheaply made from ordinary stencils. A notable printmaking center was Rouen, France, and from this city cards were imported by the English. Thence, by stages, the same designs reached the American colonies, especially the U.S.A and eventually the world.


Tarot Death card today’s Ace of Spades

Tarot Travel card with its descendant the Five of Spades

Italian card makers preserved the Queen, along with a King, Knight and Valet, for use in a new game, c 1420, called Tarocco. Also added were a wild card (the Fool) and 21 special cards, mystical symbols that served as trumps (originally meaning “triumphs”). Among the Florentines, the trump suit expanded until their Tarocco set totaled 97 cards.

The game spread northwards, called Tarot by speakers of French and Tarock by the Germans. In Germany and Austro-Hungary, the trump cards were allowed to illustrate any variety of new scenes and subjects. In all nations, the concept of trumps also came to be applied to common cards, no longer requiring any picture cards beyond the usual courts.

The Tarot did not acquire its modern use by fortune tellers until the 1780s when French scholars interpreted the Old Italian symbols as “hieroglyphs” from ancient Egypt, the reputed source of Western magic and occult philosophy. Now, Tarot decks are made, sold and advertised for divination, with no awareness that they were originally used in common games.  Olney_Richmond2Olney Richmond brought the current system of astrology using ordinary playing cards to the public’s attention in 1894.

Robert Camp ‘s Love Cards uses modern day psycho-babble terminology to update Olney’s work and help the layman understand the four topics of common interest: MONEY, RELATIONSHIPS, HEALTH & WORK.

gary goldschneider

Gary Goldschneider is arguably America’s foremost Astrologer. His three books are the Encylopedia of Birthdays, Relationships and Destiny. Now, all three books are on the web at www.thesecretlanguage of

Roy Gillett Published on May 23, 2013 I want to buy this  more recent tutorial on Astrology, because of its illustrations. I’m not interested in becoming or practicing Astrology, much in the same way I use Windows 10 for the things I can do with it.

swami tegAt iT’s In The Cards and gregory I combine Robert Camp’s Love Cards with GaryGoldschneider’s Language of Birthdays, Destiny and Relationships for each day of the year.

swami teg