Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

Ross, if you ever come to NY the coffee is on me. Your post always bring so much interesting stuff! I could be talking to you for hours!
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
But such methods, and even the belief system of modern sophisticated card-readers, have neither appeal to the spirits nor belief in the superior insight of the reader - it is something completely different nowadays, informed by psychology and narratology, where the participants, client and reader, together interpret the art on the cards in a process of making a story that brings insight to the client and perhaps a new perspective. It is therapeutic in other words, but completely divested of the supernatural aspects of traditional cartomancy.

Perhaps the loss of direct appeal to spiritual forces - and/or trust in the mantic powers of the reader - is answered in occultism by appeal to the authority of a fictitious antiquity. This endows the object itself - in this case, Tarot cards - with a numinous aura. Maybe this acquired "numinosity" is a substitute for the direct power of invoked magic.


In a way, one could say that the ‘unconscious’ is an updated superstition for the ‘supernatural’.

I think you are right. The notion of an ‘Ancient Origin’ projects the oracle’s authority onto an external/eternal source that is more likely to be accepted by the client as ‘superior’. After all, divination is pretty much about contacting a ‘superior’ source for insight. Something I have learned from working with the Tarot de Marseille (Specifically with Jean-Claude’s hand-stenciled Noblet or Dodal) is that the images carry a powerful suggestion of ‘authority’ due to their old look.


What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Spanish cartomancy, help with translation

Another very early (1654) reference to cartomancy in the Spanish play El lindo don Diego by Moreto. Translation and original below. Scans here: ... =1&rows=24
DOÑA INÉS Where have you been this afternoon?
BEATRIZ My Lady, in some important affair.
DOÑA INÉS What was that?
BEATRIZ I went to throw the cards (Or "have them thrown")
To see if Don Diego will leave you.
And according to the cards
Either the King of Batons lies
Or he won't marry.
DOÑA INÉS Do you give credit to such things?
Don't you see it's nonsense?
BEATRIZ How is that? Would a king lie?
DOÑA INÉS Set aside these vulgarities.
DOÑA INÉS ¿Dónde has estado esta tarde?
BEATRIZ Señora, en un gran empeño.
DOÑA INÉS ¿Qué ha sido?
BEATRIZ Fui a echar los naipes
porque don Diego te deje,
y, según las cartas salen,
o mentirá el rey de bastos
o no ha de querer casarse.
DOÑA INÉS ¿Crédito das a esas cosas?
¿No ves que son disparates?
BEATRIZ Pues, ¿un rey ha de mentir?
DOÑA INÉS Deja esas vulgaridades.