Saturday, January 29, 2011

Finding Playing Cards

It's a curious thing, and it has happened to me a number of times. Walking down the street and coming upon a playing card (or cards). It generally is more frequent in summer. What would be the reason for a playing card to be laying on the sidewalk? One explanation is the old trick of kids sticking them in the spokes of their bikes (it makes a vroom vroom sound the faster you go). But I doubt there's that many people playing crazy eights while they go for a walk. So I have come to regard "findings" as little signals. Opportunities to be woken up by life.

This has happened often enough to me that I have made a little game of it and some friends have too. Sometimes the instances of coming upon the card are also intriguing. On one occasion a friend and I were taking her nephew for a walk during a very trying time in her family. He was about 3 or so and at one point we had to stop and tie his shoe, I noticed under his foot was an Ace of Diamonds card. He has since proved himself to be an exceptional kid. I have had friends who have related that they've been out walking their dogs and come across playing cards too, often at a point where life has needed a little signal of some kind. I have my own hunches on how to interpret these things - I wouldn't call it a superstition, more just a kind of "food for thought" sort of thing.

I take notice of where the card is and especially whether it is face up or face down. A face up card is like a road sign (like trouble on the path of life, rest stop coming up, or romance ahead). A face down card is more a choice, you turn it over and your stuck with the lesson. You could turn it back over and leave it for someone else or you could rip it up into little pieces, or (and this is what I do) put it in your pocket and let it be a lesson card. This is especially nice when it's something positive, but difficult cards have their value too. I have a little box on a side table in my home, sort of a mindfulness table. It's where I put things I find, like marbles or rocks from the beach. I place the playing card there with these things and it serves as a little post it note to my consciousness.

A significant "finding" occurred for a friend of mine the other day. Dodie is a very community minded person, very active in her neighborhood and with some groups working hard to bring an area that's seen difficulty back to vibrancy. There's been some crime and some absentee landlords and such but many people are putting down roots, reaching out and doing good things. Recently Dodie was out walking her dog Oban (who is a very wise old soul himself, known to rescue kittens but that's another story). I should mention here that Winnipeg has had a LOT of snow lately (it's over 3 feet deep in my yard). Dodie has been noticing found playing cards in the last few years too and this particular day she came upon the six of spades. The odd thing (and I have never known this to happen before), It was standing up in the snow!

Now many people have many interpretations to cards, my own are definitely biased to the translation to Tarot. In the Tarot system this card relates to the Six of Swords. I also see a relationship of the sixes to the guardian role of the knights. All of the sixes in the Rider Tarot have a kind of guardian figure that is helping a process, directing a force of energy or working through currents to improve a pattern. The Six of Swords particularly is often guidance through grief or conflict, protecting others in times of trouble. So the card standing upright, like a little sentinel and being found by Dodie who is very much the kind of guide mentioned, is kind of neat.

I'd love to hear other people's experiences along these lines, post a comment if you have any "finding" stories!

NOTE: This has been an extremely popular post over the years and I enjoy hearing people's experiences with this quirky little phenomenon, however I cannot offer interpretation of what the cards mean in these instances. It is outside of a reading and my area of work is with Tarot. You can relate the systems of playing cards to Tarot - they are related - but even the interpretations I have offered in other articles are outside of a reading and many of these articles and videos are just random thoughts and entertaining "food for thought", not meant in any way to be either definitive interpretations of the cards themselves nor the greater stretch of what finding a card could mean for you.

There is a great deal of good free resource on and other websites that can give a lot more detailed information than what I have freely offered through this page.
If you wish to look comparatively at playing cards to Tarot, the usual associations are Wands = Clubs, Cups = Hearts, Swords = Spades and Pentacles = Diamonds. You can refer to my "Videos/Articles" section for some light takes on the cards.

UPDATE: I've been sent a link to a Facebook page devoted to the phenomena of finding playing cards, I'm quite happy to share that:

Happy finding!


  1. During a time when the Universe was seemingly opening up its secrets to me by leaving a tremendous amount of little clues along my daily paths, I came across a King of Spades sitting in the window sill of the bus seat I'd chosen. At the time, life was full of great uncertainties and disappointments, and I was beginning to feel the need to take a risk on a new and unknown path (which was terrifying to me). The card gave me some comfort, despite its conflicting meanings (depending on the source) that I was choosing what was best for me and that I would be well protected in whatever choice I made. I didn't keep the card but I did take a photo of it which I still keep to this day.

  2. Thanks for your post, for years i have been finding cards on the street and generally when i am feeling down or contemplating life change. It began after my father passed or around the same time, since then i have found around 25ish cards. Sometimes i have found them in groups but mostly single...
    I have since found out that the Gypsies used the playing cards as their tool for divinity to hide from the general public for the fear of been accused of been a witch. There is a great site to look at : and ... I have never known them to be incorrect. I really want more info on what it could mean, very hard when it seems nobody experiences the same phenomena!!

  3. Interesting to hear about others finding playing cards! I picked up my first card(s)about 10 years ago. My good friend/neighbour D suggested that they might be a 'sign', based on something she read in a book. It was only weeks later that I found more and it has never stopped. My Norwegian Grandmother 'read' playing cards, so I like to think that she might be behind these finds. I am going to guess that I usually find one or some at least every month. I have a collection of 170 individual cards and 7 decks that I have picked up. There have been many more that I have left in place. I have found them in at least 12 countries and I just found 7 yesterday. Once I was out for a walk in the rain with my boyfriend and we found an entire deck of 'Playboy' cover ones (he generously offered to spread them out at home to dry them off). Another time I was at a funky resturant with him and there were these over sized cards on the ceiling (as decorations). I thought 'boy, that would be funny to find one of those'. THAT NEXT WEEK I found one on my way to the bank, not so big, but bigger than regulation size. Last month I was watching a lot of the 'Gene Simmons - Family Jewels' shows and happened upon a Kiss Joker card. Couple years ago I was in a village in Loas I found over a hundred one day. When I asked a local that spoke English why there was so many cards all over the roads he had no idea what I was referring to. The following week, in another town in Loas, I was having a bad day: went out for a walk and I found 2 4's in separate locations(first one was under a Bodi tree): excited I emailed my card friend D, and said 'wouldn't it be amazing if I found I third before the end of the day', (thinking that 444 had some significance), and sure enough I did!!!!! These are a few of the many entertaining/magical stories that I have. I used to 'ask' to find them, for answers to specific worries/questions in mind, but don't do that so much anymore. When found I go on line to gather interpretations, or at times I connect with my higher self, or call/email my dad, uncle or my special card friend D to draw some intuitive insights. It's ALWAYS FUN to find them! I am comforted with the notion that there is something beyond what most of us consider 'reality'. Thank you Trevor for the forum to share.

  4. And thank you all for sharing! For some reason, I hadn't got the message from the previous anonymous poster, but will be checking out the links that were sent. I too feel that they are like "nudges" that can give direction. I hope we can have some further exchange on this AND other posts! Please visit and share again soon!

  5. I find cards often as well. And i've always seen it very similiar to you. The other day i found a whole deck scattered on the street near my work. I assume it was a whole deck, i did not pick them up for various reasons, but let's say under "normal circumstances" i would have. In a conversation earlier tonight i remembered this 'deck' i found and ended up googling "finding playing cards" and you came up. I used to live in Winnipeg, funny how it works.

  6. I have found two playing cards in 2 years. BOTH QUEEN OF HEARTS.ONE FACE UP AND THE OTHER DAY ONE FACE DOWN .BOTH IN SUMMER.I find this interesting.

  7. First of all, excuse my bad english...
    I'm Marko, from Belgrade, Serbia.
    This is interesting story, but it's not nothing new for me. Far from that!
    Somewhere in fall of year 2000 I've found first card. That was playing card, 6 heart. And during years since then I found over 100 more. And all of them were on the sidewalk and I would simply collect them...
    Around year 2003/2004 in started to learn how to predict future from playing cards, it sounded interesting, so suddenly every card had meaning! Intresting was the fact that meaning of card that I would found on street usually reflected situation that was going to happend in my life...
    I was more than fascinated, filing like I was in my own version of Twightlight zone!
    And I was wondering many times why is that happening, and years latter I realised that everything was manifestation of law of atracction (base idea of documentary movie The secret). I decided to check if that is true and I wached short documentary which I made in 2008 - about finding cards (I put that movie on web, but I didn't transtate it in english) and the same day after watching I found more cards! Because I focused on cards and remember how does it feels to find card on street, so I found them! :)
    That is my explanation on this matter...
    P.S. I didn't hear for anybody here who was collecting card beside me.

    1. Hi Mapko, thanks for your comment! I do save the playing cards I find, often I'll place them among some things in a "Mindfulness" area of my home. Kind of like a post it note I take these findings as reminders of things I can take into consideration amid conditions in my life. I'll post soon about that kind of process.

    2. Normally symbolism comes to me in the form of bird feathers. However, today I found a Joker face up in a parking lot. A few weeks ago, my best friend took her life. I'd like to think its a present from her. I am sure the symbolism will become more clear with time, I am keeping it forever regardless.

  8. Hey... I found a joker face down, in a wide open parking lot today. The area had a Doctors office and some other random track mall stores. It had rained earlier in the day, this card was dry and looked fairly new. I think I’m going to carry it and see where it takes me.

  9. Today while walking in the mall I found two joker cards both face up but one right side up and one upside down. They were on the corner of a little black ottoman table in a lounge area. I picked them up and kept them. I feel a sort of energy with them.

  10. Several months ago, I found The King of Clubs card that had a corner cut off. It was face up in a parking lot. Today my cousin found The King of Clubs card that had 2 corners cut off on her walk. It was sealed in a plastic bag.

  11. I found a joker face down in my favourite destination in broome. I'm not sure what this could mean. I had a strong feeling to pick it up and look and keep hold of it. Curious what it could mean. It's the first card I ever found.