Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Playing Cards

DIVINATION, TAROT Add comments

gypsy-witch-fortune-telling-cards

I am reviewing an old and unusual set of divinatory cards.  They are not tarot cards, nor do they belong to traditional cartomancy.  They are the Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Playing Cards.  The Gypsy Witch cards have been around for a long time. They were first published in 1904 and have been around ever since, and predate many of our better known tarot decks such as the famous Rider-Waite deck which was first published in 1909.

This is a curious deck of cards.  They claim to be based on ideas by the famed French cartomancer, Madam Lenormand.  There are numerous Lenormand style decks that make use of mnemonic images on the cards.   The images and their meanings don’t seem to correspond to the accepted meanings attributed to the suits or numerology.  The Lenormand style cards are unique in themselves, and today we’d call this style of deck oracle cards. 

The Gypsy Witch deck is a facsimile of the Lenormand decks that were developed after her death.  This Gypsy Witch deck is a standard deck of playing cards, but each card has an illustration and the meaning written down.  The illustrations are old Victorian style images.  This adds charm to the deck.  With the meanings of the cards written on each card, we’d think it would be easy to use.  There is nothing to memorize. I bought my deck out of curiosity long ago.  However, I rarely used these cards. Why?

I have issues with the Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Deck.  First, these cards have no relationship with traditional cartomancy or the tarot.  Cartomancy certainly has a wide variety of  interpretations towards any card’s meaning, but there are some simple “rules”.  One is the meaning of the suits.  The heart represents matters of the heart and emotion; the diamond represents matters of money and commerce, and so on.  With this deck, the pips and numbers have NO relationship with the meanings and imagery depicted. 

Comparing gypsy witch cards with tarot cards

Comparing gypsy witch cards with tarot cards

Scary cards

Scary cards

Above is an example of their Aces compared to the same with the Rider-Waite deck.  Do the meanings written on the card have any relationship with the suits?  Expect for the Ace of Spades, no.  Which begs the question, is any correspondence necessary?  Are there really any rules when it comes to inspiring our intuition?  Is any system of symbolism only in our imagination?  Probably.  Intuition does not follow rules.   But I like to think there is some sort of system behind cartomancy.  If there is a system behind the Lenormand style decks, I don’t understand it. 

Another issue with these cards is their meaning is literally spelled out on each card. Reading people’s fortunes is not a game.  Many people take it quite seriously.  If a deck has written meanings that the participant can read along with the reader, it takes away from the reader their responsibility to “soften the blow” if something negative is seen.   Who knows if a reading will ever become reality?  And this deck has quite a few scary cards.  I have a pair of images to the left.  Imagine if someone saw these two in their layout…the 5 of Spades, with an image of a coffin, combined with the 10 of Diamonds, the Scythe, suggests an early death.  Spelled out right on the card.  Yikes!  That is way too literal.

One thing I like about this deck is its method of reading cards, which seems intriguing.  It could easily be used with tarot cards.  It uses a card to represent the participant in the center, and is surrounded by an inner square of eight cards, and an outer square of eight cards.  The inner square of cards shape the destiny of the participant, and the outer square of cards represent the forces surrounding him or her.    Below is a chart I made to show how it works. This type of layout has a lot of possibilities, and makes for a change from the typical Celtic Cross layout.

gypsy-layout

 

Print out these instructions, right click and print:

Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Instructions

Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Instructions

 

The reverse side of the instruction booklet:

Instructions reverse side

Instructions reverse side

57 Responses to “Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Playing Cards”

  1. Tessa Says:

    I am in search of the birth chart for cartomancy.. I know that I am the Q of hearts (Nov. 21st) and my daughter is the 2 of spades (Feb. 2nd).. and she is layed out touching my queen on top cause my card is on the bottom of the chart? can you help?

  2. David Says:

    Hi Tessa,
    I don’t really understand the relationship between astrology and cartomancy. You know more about this then I do. Tarot cards have symbolism from astrology in their design. But I am not a student of astrology, so I can’t help with that. Yet, it is an idea I might look into. I know the symbolism of numerology in cartomancy; a next step would be astrology in the cards. Very interesting.
    Dave

  3. Christina Germain Says:

    I need to get the instruction booklet. I already have the deck of cards. If you could let me know how I could get the book I would realy appreciate it.

  4. seren satia Says:

    HI i am a practicing gypsy witch for over 40 years.the regular playing card part of the gypsy witch set have no meaning,in the old days if you had a deck of just witch cards there might be trouble,but if you print them on a regular deck no one can accuse you of witchery. i use them exclusively since i have compared many readings with regular tarot cards and they do come up very much the same. I handprint and sell them on parchment,very nice yearly astrology on the back

  5. David Says:

    Hi Seren Satira
    I see what you are saying. By having the meaning on the cards, the participant can be included in the reading. Then there is little mystery, or efforts to scam someone. The participant is truly a participant. I like that idea. A mutual reading of what the cards have to say. Tell me about your cards. I might like a deck for myself to add to my collection. You sell them online?

  6. David Says:

    I will scan it and post it. I’m sure I am doing something wrong with copyright stuff, but if they ask me to remove it, I will. Actually, it is a good way to sell more decks!

  7. XxSINISTARxX Says:

    I think you are reading too much into the oracle that is the Gypsy Witch deck.and I agree with serena. Also: you may even help the querant in their spiritual growth by explaining to them that death is merely a symbol of change, so early death may be a very positive thing, as is with the coffin symbolism as well.

  8. David Says:

    Hi Sinistar,
    I don’t read cards very often, but on the occasions I have, I really try to avoid negativity even if that is what I see. Maybe that is wrong, but I think most people who want a reading do so for fun. And people can end up taking a reading quite seriously. So I sugar coat things. The Tarot’s death card is hard enough to explain to people. Death as change…the symbolism is not clear to people who don’t understand the cards.
    Dave

  9. Saint Subversive Says:

    Ive been into collecting Tarot cards for a while, and Ive been branching out into Gypsy related decks. I just got the Gypsy Witch deck today and, while I havent yet had a chance to do any readings with it, but I dont have a problem with the sort of possible reading you show above. Gypsy readings always came off as pretty blunt in films, which I guess is part of their charm, like the old woman staring at Lon Cheney Jr and telling him he will become a werewolf no matter what. I collect these things because I love to collect, but in terms of readings, Id say if you are afraid of no-BS readings like the one above, then stay away from Gypsy fortune tellers. ;)

  10. Mariah Says:

    I used to have the ability to read the cards and used the Gypsy cards as that is how i was taught by my aunt
    I was given a gift of a new deck, my old ones are quite worn but i still believe in them, just not in me.. i was at a store recently that sells gems and herbs etc and she advised me to put sage on the cards sit them in the sun a few days and then sleep with them either under my pillow or near me
    I was also told by the woman that perhaps my ability to read the cards was squashed because my attention was needed elsewhere in my life, which is true it was much more on survival at the time, and it still is but suddenly has room again for enjoyment of life as well as just survival
    I have always enjoyed being able to see things in the cards and relaying them to others.. I rarely tell “bad” things because i use the disclaimer that these cards only show what is present in the “today” but if a person changes his life or the way he reacts to his life, that the “today” will begin to change also
    any comments or words of encouragement are appreciated
    i only just found this site so i dont know if i will be notified if any responses so i welcome off list email as well

  11. David Says:

    Hi Mariah,

    Thanks for your comment. The advice given to you is interesting. For sure if we are distracted by life, it is hard to hear the quiet, subtle voice of our intuition. With our busy lives it’s no surprise few people ever get messages from beyond/within.

    “Put sage on the cards sit them in the sun a few days and then sleep with them either under my pillow or near me” sounds a lot like natural magic. Sunlight can cleanse etheric fingerprints, as does running water and some herbs. Then by putting the cards close to yourself, you put your own etheric fingerprint on them. Good advice!

    Dave

  12. Julie Says:

    I have the Gypsy Witch Fortune telling cards Deck and Love them. I dont get negative feelings and scary thoughts from the cards when reading these cards any more than the other Tarot Card decks I have. I think you explain the reading just like with the other decks

  13. Carla Says:

    I too have the Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Cards and I just love them. I picked them up on a whim at a local store and have hard time putting them down though I’ve only done two readings for myself. I am not afraid though I never ask questions if I truly know I wont like an answer given. Its been very accurate for me so far though I am still learning.

  14. BONNIE Says:

    I have read these card’s to some of my friends, and they

    do seem to happen just as I lay them out. You have believe in you’re lay out of these cards and so does the person you’re reading them for. I ask my friends to concentrate real hard and to believe in what you’re asking and sure in enough things do happen as they read.You have to be a serious person and put your whole thought’s and believe in your question. And Sure Enough. It does HAPPENS!

  15. David Says:

    Hi Bonnie,
    Yes, we need to treat the cards with serious intent if we expect them to speak to us. Understanding a layout depends on our intuition, and that can’t happen if we are being frivolous.
    Dave

  16. Marketousi Says:

    Hello
    I would like to ask you if you know any shop in Greece which can send me gypsy witch cards. I’ve lost them and I wanna buy new…
    Thank you
    Waiting for your answer…

  17. David Says:

    Hi,
    Sorry, but I’d have no clue about Greece. You might try ordering them online.
    Dave

  18. Marketousi Says:

    O.k.thank you anyway.

  19. Sheree Says:

    We just aquired this set when my step grandmother passed away. It has been great fun learning all about Madame Lenormand. I was wondering if they were rare or worth anything and it seems not, that they are just fun to have around.

  20. David Says:

    Hi Sheree,
    If you have a set of vintage cards, they might have some value. You probably have to do some research and discover when your set was published. A good resource is Ebay. There may be vintage sets for sale and that is a good way to get an idea of any value it might have.
    Dave

  21. cat Says:

    Does anybody know if there is any way to read gypsy cards for a couple using there pictures and is there anyway to predict marraige

  22. David Says:

    Cat,
    I am a fan of the traditional Tarot. The Gypsy Witch cards are fun, but in my opinion they are second best. If you want to predict marriage, I’d use Tarot cards. They can provide answers.
    Dave

  23. Tara Miller Says:

    Hi, Cat. I do know how to predict marriage with the cards. You do not need pictures of the couple, but if you have it , include it. Then concentrate, and shuffle the cards. While, you shuffle, asking this question, “charge” the heart card with their vibration, so think of the heart card in the deck. Or, take it out, look at it, and imbue their names onto it.
    Then, shuffle, shuffle, when you feel the cards are shuffled, stop. Then turn the cards over one by one, fan them out,upside down and keep flipping them over one at a time. When you come to the heart, take the two cards flipped before this card, and take two cards that you flip after coming to that, and lay them out on a table, now you have 5 cards. The heart in the middle , 2 on the left and the right. The cards to the right show near upcoming events, or the past, and the two to left are future. You want to see in these cards, the ring, which signififes marriage, or the home card. The stork is a move or positive changes or a trip. But you want to see the ring. If not, it doesn’t signifiy they won’t. Just that is isn’t seen in the cards yet. A break up would be shown if the rapiers or other bad card came up. So, the heart card symbolizes their relationship and the cards after show the outcome.

  24. flo d. Says:

    just ordered gypsy witch..have been reading angel cards..people seem to want to be on the edge of darkness!! can’t wait to learn these..

  25. Joyce Says:

    Hi, I recently purchased a 1895 Original Madam Le Normand FT deck from Ebay. There are no explanations on how to read or layout the deck. It consists of 36 cards. They are black and white. I believe one of the first sets. Could be produced by Wehman Bros of New York. I would love to know how to read them. any help would be appreciated.

  26. David Says:

    Hi Joyce,
    Wow, you have an original! Good for you. Unfortunately, I don’t have any rules for that deck. You might try buying a new version of the deck too, and use use those instructions with the original deck.
    Dave

  27. aurasoma Says:

    Hello, I have an original deck of Gypsy Witch Celebrated Fortune Telling Cards by Madame Le Normand, copyright 1903. They have the river scene on the back. Instructions, all cards, inner box and outter box. do you happen to know how much they are worth? thank you, Anne

  28. David Says:

    Hi Anne,
    That is a great deck you have. I find the best way to value something is to check out what similiar items sell for on Ebay. But it sounds like you have a pretty rare ojbect and it will not appear on Ebay very often. Still, I’d check out Ebay on a regular basis and sooner or late a deck like yours will appear and sell. There is no set value, it depends on what someone is willing to pay for it.
    Dave

  29. Mary Says:

    Can you use the Gypsy witch cards with a shorter spread for a reading for yourself?

  30. David Says:

    Hi Mary,
    Gypsy witch cards can be used in many ways, depending on the skill of the card reader. However, personally, I’m not a fan of card reading myself. I will read for someone else but I’d rather another read the cards for me. It’s just a precaution. I have a rule: don’t read your own future.
    Dave

  31. Jeffery Says:

    I just bought a deck of these cards, had never heard of them. I do like that meanings are written down, although that leaves a lot less wiggle room for personal intuition in interpreting the layout. I love tarot decks, but find it a challenge to memorize all the cards’ meanings. Being that the suits/numbers had no correspondence to the card’s meaning, I think perhaps they could better drop the playing card images altogether. But I’m a novus in divination, so my opinion is just that.

  32. antonio menchaca Says:

    When i was 16 i purchased the gypsy witch fortune telling cards ,and i read the cards for my aunt and it said she was going to divorce my uncle and she will remarry several times , i am 33 now and she has remarried two times already and everything else has happened to her what the cards had said . If you put your energy into these cards then they will tell you the truth .

  33. David Says:

    Antonio,
    The magic of the cards really is in the reader. You did a good job!
    Dave

  34. Xavier Says:

    Hello all :) I just bought myself a deck of these. Now im a beginner, like way new. Tarrot reading interest me a lot and I would like to learn how to work this deck, or how to even begin reading. At first to me doesn’t it all seem as chance of cards? What exactly are you supposed to do once you want to learn. I have used the layout already 3 times. Correct me if im wrong, but the inner square is the persons destiny or future, but the outer square, when you say influences, What exactly does this mean? Also these cards are supposed to correspond with other cards in the deck, but I was wondering if there are like 3 negative cards in one square but like 2 positive in the same square, how does that work? Do the negative rule out the positve? Im so very new to all this but would love to learn!! Help anyone? :)

  35. DeAnna Kiifner Says:

    I recently acquired a vintage set of Gypsy Witch celebrated fortune telling cards by Madame Le Normand. They are pre-ISBN and the only thing I can find similar indicates the box is No. 4? Can you help me date this deck and place a value on them. The box is rough, but the cards are in good condition and I have them all plus one good for 50 cents in trade to purchase BUNCO. The card states that the regular price of BUNCO is 50 cents as is the reg price of the gypsy witch cards.

  36. David Says:

    Hi DeAnna,
    You got a find! Vintage tarot and playing cards are highly collectable. I wouldn’t know the value, but you might check out Ebay and see if there were any sales of something similar. Old cards are really cool.
    Dave

  37. Delilah Says:

    Hi everyone! This was the 1st deck I’ve ever used. I’m a beginner and I was always interested in card reading ever since I found my mom’s deck when I was a lil’ girl! When I 1st used this deck, I was very confused because the pictures/suits didnt seem to correspond together. Reading up online made matters more confusing because there was always some contradicting information. What I’ve come to learn is that with time, each cards significance and meaning is what I’ve made it to be. I feel a “bond” with my cards (I know it sounds strange) and its as if they speak to me in a way I understand them. So I never worry about whether I’m interpreting the cards “by the book. Thats just how my cards and I roll! :)

  38. Marlene Says:

    I had a set of these cards when I was very young and they are incredibly accurate! Mine where stolen when I was in college and I have been searching for another set. Do you know of anyone who has any for sale?

  39. Lou Says:

    Many, years ago I came across a deck of GW cards, this was my 1st experience with this type of tool. I didn’t really take the deck serious yet. One day I had a question, i saw the deck, so i said why don’t i ask it. I did, i used a 3 card spread. I did not like the answer, so i asked again (which you’re not suppose to do right away but i did anyway) & i got the same 3 cards. I
    broke out in a sweat because this was uncomfortable & wierd for me at the time. After several days I through them out. But today i would not feel that way if that happened again, even though i have not replaced the deck, just a great deal respect, that in one sense there not a toy.

  40. Kris Says:

    Hi DeAnna,

    Have you found any more info on your vintage deck. I just purchased the very same deck….pre ISBN, 50 cent price etc. Do you have any idea of the year these were produced?

  41. divine Says:

    I agree with you analysis of the card. Spot on. A reader should never predict death. However, in Gypsy reading the death card doesn’t mean death literally. Death means a big turn around, a life changing event. Your old self or lifestyle will die and a new beginning starts. If for example you are in the process to stop smoking, it is a good time to do that because the card predicts you have a new beginning.

    This is what the combination of coffin and skythe card really means.

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  43. ador333 Says:

    I just recently starting reading cards. My mother read cards ,but for some reason I didn’t ever think to pursue what I could be capable of. so,when I was at a spirit mind and body fair,I saw some and felt compelled to buy them. Anyhow,I blessed my cards and wrapped them in a silk scarf and slept with them under my pillow to put my energy into them.when I felt like I was prepared I did my first reading. Of course it was an easy one cause it was one of my friends .anyhow,I’ve done several readings and for people I knew nothing about,and was quite accurate. And I see different things and I try to see what question comes to me. And I’ve gotten different meanings from the same card for a different person. I was truly astounded at myself. However, I do have a question and it concerns me. I read a guys fortune not to long ago and during the reading I started gagging and coughing. And yesterday I read another guys fortune,immediately when it was done he went to the bathroom and immediately I had to go so bad I thought I wouldn’t make it to bathroom,but he was in there so I had to wait.i literally thought I was gonna mess on myself. Now,in both of these readings I felt they weren’t be truthful to the questions I was asking them,and in the second one I hardly saw anything. Was this a way to purge the negative energy. Or was it just coincidence.

  44. Aerojet Says:

    Currently in the process of publishing “A Guide to Gypsy Witch Cards”.

    This will be an additional set of instructions and more meanings on the cards. This is taken with more of a view towards Tarot, and using those principles to interpret the cards. Many of the card are similar, and the meanings are close.

    A good part of the 82 page book will be on the relationships between the cards and where they lie.

    Added – a new long reading, and one which I know all will want – “The Tree of Life” reading. This is similar to a huge Tarot spread,and in GW cards, it says the same thing without all the confusing reversed cards.

    As soon as I get clearance from US Playing Card, Coming soon!

    Aerojet

  45. David Says:

    Hi Aerojet,
    That sounds like a useful book for fans of the Gypsy Witch cards. That deck can be a challenge to use. There is a lot of potential in those cards that is not being realized.
    Dave

  46. Sherry Says:

    Hi I was trying to print out the instructions for the gypsy witch fortune telling cards but it wont let me, if you have a PDF of the instructions can you please email it to me Thanks
    Sherry

  47. Sherry Says:

    Oh Aerojet did you publish that book yet make sure you add in the old instructions or rewrite them better, really need a PDF copy of the instructions to print out thanks

  48. Sherry Says:

    OIC I just copied it to my computer. Thanks for posting this.

  49. David Says:

    Hi Sherry,
    I don’t have the ability to create a pdf on my site. But if you save the image as a jpeg, you should be able to resize it so it will print.
    Dave

  50. Andrea Says:

    Hi, I just got my gypsy witch fortune telling playing cards from one of my cousins, guessing they didn’t want it…, um, anyways, when I first got it I didn’t have no book so I checked online and found what I was looking for. When I did the fortune cards on myself, it showed the same picture but a little different from my dream. Is it possible to have vivid premonitory dreams, or is my case different from other…

  51. karina Says:

    I am the 4th generation of women in my family successfully using the cards. What I am interested in knowing is how to get a copy of the book, “Gypsy Fortune Telling.” Please get back to me if you have any information.

  52. tonia Says:

    I had been taught by my grandmother to read the regular playing cards and I do them differently from the one that is shown, it is interesting non the less, I believe that it doesn’t really matter how you read the cards to an individual, your gift comes through to serve the person you are reading. On numerous occasions I would get a call back in less than a week from the person to be told how accurate the reading was for them. I always forget after a reading what was said, I believe the message came from my higher self to this person and the message was not meant for me to remember. thanks so much for the gypsy card info.

  53. Kyra Says:

    I am missing 7 cards due to leaving them out around my small children. I have had the cards forever (like 15 years). Should I keep my deck and supplement other cards for the missing ones? Or buy new? If I should keep, please tell me the card # description and picture of 9 of spades, 9 of hearts, ace 2, 4 and king of diamonds? thanks!
    -Kyra

  54. Teri Says:

    Hello,

    My sister, who recently passed away, inherited a deck of these cards that were from the 1930′s. We did not live in the same state, so every time I visited her, which was maybe 2 times a year, she would read my fortune using these cards. All I can say is that every card reading was correct for my past and future experiences. The Death and the Scythe cards you describe can be interpreted different ways and should not be taken literally. With that said, I did get the coffin card a little over a year ago in one of my readings and we figured it was the experience of the death of my marriage (which was true); however, now I find it uncanny that my sister has died recently. Again, I find these cards to be accurate. Smudge and be sure to think positive thoughts while shuffling and prior to the reading. Thanks.

  55. David Says:

    Kyra,
    I still have my first Tarot deck I bought as a teenager, and use it to this day. I’d buy a new deck and replace the missing cards. Your old cards has personal history to them. Don’t ever discard them, but pass them to your family when you leave this world.
    Dave

  56. David Says:

    Hi Karina,
    I did not write “Gypsy Fortune Telling”, so I can’t help you there. I I did include an image of the instructions for the deck for those who may have lost it.
    Dave

  57. David Says:

    Andrea,
    Premonitory dreams are very real. Not all of them, but we know them when we dream them.
    Dave

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