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Tarot cards used for Cartomancy

Cartomancy was the art of reading cards to gain insight into future events.[1][2] There were special kinds of cards designed especially for this purpose, known as a tarot cards,[1] but standard playing cards could also be used.[3][4]


In September 1993, when Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger arrived in the Divination classroom for their first-ever lesson, the shelves lining the walls were stuffed with packs of worn playing cards and other items.[3]

In 1996, Harry Potter was going down a corridor when Sybill Trelawney came around the corner, shuffling through and reading a deck of playing cards as she walked. Harry ducked behind a statue to avoid being seen, but when Trelawney came to the knave of spades — which she said indicated "a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner" while speaking to herself — she stopped right in front of it. However, she quickly convinced herself this reading must be incorrect, and continued on her way.[4]

On 30 July 1997, the night in which Albus Dumbledore died, Harry again encountered Trelawney in a corridor. She told him that she had done several tarot readings, drawing the lightning-struck tower every time, an extremely ill omen. She also remarked that Firenze, who she had consulted about this portent, knew nothing of cartomancy.[1]

Card meanings

Playing cards, according to Sybill Trelawney:

  • Two of spades — "conflict"[4]
  • Seven of spades — "an ill omen"[4]
  • Ten of spades — "violence"[4]
  • Knave of spades — "a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner"[4]
  • Five of clubs — "new friends and alliances" (if torn — "ill fortune for this burgeoning alliance")[5]

Playing cards, according to Barnaby Lee:

  • King of hearts — "a fair-haired man with a good nature"[5]

Tarot cards, according to Sybill Trelawney:

  • The lightning-struck tower — "calamity" and "disaster"[1]


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard)
  2. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 7 (Niffler Hunting) - Divination Lesson "Cartomancy"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 6 (Talons and Tea Leaves)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, "A BAD OMEN" Achievement
B3C6M2 Trelawney's first Divination lesson in the trio's third year.jpg
Professors: Sybill Trelawney · Firenze
Known Seers: Calchas · Cassandra Vablatsky · Cassandra Trelawney · Gellert Grindelwald · Inigo Imago · Johan Hoffman · Liz Tuttle's mother · Mopsus · Professor Mopsus · Susie Sooth · Tycho Dodonus · Unidentified Canadian Seer · Unidentified female Seer · Unidentified male Seer
Textbooks: The Dream Oracle · Unfogging the Future
Methods: Astrology · Bibliomancy · Cartomancy · Catoptromancy · Crystal-gazing · Crystal ball · Dream interpretation · Fire-omens · Heptomology · Ichthyomancy · Myomancy · Ornithomancy · Ovomancy · Palmistry · Scrying mirror · Tarot cards · Tessomancy · Xylomancy
Divination at Hogwarts: Divination (class) · Divination Classroom · Divination staircase · Sybill Trelawney's office · Classroom 11 · Xylomancy (class)