DIVINATION WITH PLAYING CARDS
The use of playing cards in their esoteric form is called cartomancy and it has its beginnings in the 16-17th century. It is not known in which European country were they used as a fortune telling tool for the first time, however it is well known that they enjoyed huge popularity especially amongst the wealthy classes. As the playing cards first appeared in Bosnia and Herzegowina long before Tarot cards or Gypsy cards, which were usually the tools of roaming gypsy fortune tellers, it is only natural to assume that these cards sparked the imagination of various Bosnian fortune tellers and that's how they started being used for esoteric purposes. In the previous sentence I used imagination because it describes perfectly the creative mind of the fortune teller and his or her idea to construct the whole system of divinity by dividing the cards into four basic signs.
The system for fortunetelling with cards consists of four stages:
Speculative part: a wish to foretell the future formulated in a certain question
Physical part: touching, shuffling, dealing and arrangement of the cards
Oral part: presentation of the obtained meaning following a set pattern
Intuitive part: reading from the cards based on the visual and inner feeling or intuition.
As one can see with the help of an analysis, in the practical part of the fortunetelling we come across two segments that reciprocally follow each other. In the first one the fortune teller follows instructions moulded with already predicted symbols and meaning through singular or joined combinations. There we come across a classic example of mechanical fortunetelling. The second part is much more proficient and transparent for the fortune teller when elated by intuition the strictly defined meanings lose their weight and serve only as a spring board. Therefore it is not wrong to call this stage the stage of intuitive fortunetelling. During that stage the true strength of clairvoyance free of any restraint can be observed.
Nizama M. from Bosanski Brod is a married woman in her forties and she is a mom of two teenagers. A very eloquent woman who is cheerful and she has a penetrating glance.
My husband doesn't know that I predict fortunes by reading cards, he doesn't like it and its all black magic for him. That's why I never did it publicly and I probably never will. It is enough for me to do it for my friends over coffee. I learned to foretell the future with cards during high school from my friend. As young women it was very interesting for us and we would constantly predict the future to one another when it comes to boys that we liked. We would often over do it, but it was OK, those were nice times, remembers Nizama with a smile.
After she got married and had children, Nizama abstinated from any form of fortunetelling. When the children have grown and left for school, the vacuum created by household chores and motherhood made her turn to her favourite activity from childhood, the cards.
Certain fortunetelling techniques were forgotten over time, but I have replaced them with new ones, my own, that came to me. The moment I delve deep into the position of the cards, I get a clear picture in my head of what the cards represent and how I should interpret them to the person sitting across from me. There, let's say, club is not a complete symbol in a picturesque sense, as we can see it dissipates into smaller leaves or circles. That's why the cards with its symbol have a negative connotation. On the other hand spade is a complete symbol, a full card, its tip goes upwards and that's why it has a completely positive meaning, and so forth. For me the black cards are bad and the red ones good, however in some circumstances where the cards create a bad luck combination, a certain number of red cards can foretell danger, say from fire or conflagration.
Analysing the cards a skilled fortune teller can uncover a lot of interesting details and even describe a person's appearance in general, its mentality, material or family situation and the like. King check represents a father figure or a brother, Queen check represents a woman of light or brown hair... When an ace card appears above the king or queen card then that combination speaks of an educated and intelligent person. In short, there are hundreds of combinations, individual ones or those created through association, which requires a lot of effort and concentration from the Faladžija.