For centuries, fortune tellers have utilized “cartomancy” in their work. Cartomancy, put into plain terms is the use of decks of cards to interpret or divine future events or to cast illumination on spiritual and occult “pathways”.
Cartomancy can be performed using almost any deck of cards, including standard playing card decks. In fact a playing card deck almost identical to those we know today was first used in the 14th Century for fortune telling; only later did the tarot deck become the preeminent divination card deck. Tarot cards were originally playing cards, developed in 15th Century Italy. They were popular among the nobility before ever being co-opted for so-called “occult” use.
Tarot cards enjoyed widespread popularity as tools of cartomancy during the 18th and 19th Centuries. In the 20 and 21st Century they have continued to proliferate; hundreds of tarot decks are available today featuring beautifully rendered artwork images based on a vast variety of themes.
Joining the tarot is a growing range of oracle/divination cards. While sharing the same purpose and the tradition of colorful and often esoteric artwork; these do not incorporate the tarot structure of major and minor arcana (i.e. the suits– pip and court—and trump cards of any playing card deck). Usually these card decks are not numbered and have no particular order.
There are many iterations of these oracle decks featuring various themes: goddesses and gods; runes; spirit animals and the Angel Cards that have gained great popularity in recent years.
What are angel cards?
Belief in angels has existed for millennia; many major religions embrace angels as pure spiritual beings (who have never been human) which serve as God’s messengers.
In the latter decades of the 20th Century, the concept of angels expanded beyond traditional religious dogma into the more fluid ideology of the New Age Movement. No longer did one need the structure of a traditional religious institution and its human intercessors to establish a connection to the angelic realm. Through the use of meditation and tools such as Angel Oracle cards, it now became possible to communicate directly with angelic entities. The New Age movement has promoted the idea of “Personal Angels” who stand ready in the spiritual world to guide individuals through life and its trials.
Loving Guidance from the Angels
Angel cards offer up comforting messages that fall into the general category of affirmations. Unlike tarot and other cartomancy decks (which establish a balance between the light and the dark, fortune and misfortune) angel cards tend to emphasize the positive, and deliver a somewhat relentlessly uplifting through-line. This difference allows them to be both sources of divination and psychological encouragement.
Like daily affirmation messages—religious or secular—the purpose behind these cards is to offer a means of personal and spiritual growth and awareness via loving, positive and encouraging messages.
Human beings have an unfortunate propensity for becoming mired in patterns of destructive negative thinking; angel cards and others like them attempt to replace adverse, self-defeating thoughts with positive and healing alternatives. Internalization of the ideas contained in the affirmations is believed to eventually express itself in improved outlook and behavior.
This belief is firmly founded in modern psychological theory; cognitive behavior therapy is based on a similar premise, modifying behavior through recognizing and changing negative thinking patterns.
Angel Cards are available in a wide array of physical card decks, but in the digital age there are also angel cards online. Some websites offer private readings from angel cards readers and healers; others offer virtual decks which generate self-readings; others send out angel card of the day emails. There is even an Android app under development (currently in beta) that will allow you to receive angel card messages via your smartphone.
With so much skepticism in our fraught modern world, there is something to be said for readings and affirmations that are so firmly based on love, encouragement, healing and comfort. Whether the messages come from another realm or the inner “angels” of our own subconscious and intuition really doesn’t matter if we are helped and uplifted by them.