German woodcut of Carmenta aka Nicostrata

Carmentalia is Roman feast celebrated on two separate dates (11 and 15 January) in honour of the goddess Carmenta, goddess of prophecy and childbirth. Her original name was Nicostrata but was changed to Carmenta as she became more and more famous for her oracular gifts. Nicostrata/Carmenta is also known as the originator of the Latin alphabet.

Carmenta has two sisters, Antevorta (future) and Postverta (past). Though nobody knows for certain why Carmentalia was celebrated over two days, it is not entirely illogical to assume that one of the celebrations was in honour of the past and the other in honour of the future.

The name Carmenta is derived from Latin carmen, meaning a magic spell, oracle or song, and also the root of the English word charm.

Carmentalia was  festival (or two festivals) known to have been mainly celebrated by women back in Roman times. Whether your gender, if you are a cartomante, tarotist, oracle card reader, angel card reader, rune reader, palm reader, seer, psychic or other form of divination expert / professional, you could do worse than celebrating Carmentalia. It also breaks up the monotony of mid January.

The most obvious way to celebrate Carmentalia would of course be to do a reading in her honour. I’m going to share two Tarot spreads, covering both days of Carmentalia. We begin with a reading on the past for the feast day of 11 January, hopefully aided by both Carmenta and Postverta, Goddess of the Past and children born with their feet first.

The Postverta Carmentalia Tarot Spread

The Postverta Carmentalia Tarot Spread

1. How the past affects you
2. Main challenge in overcoming the past
3. Helpful trait/influence in moving forward
4. Positive influence from your mother’s bloodline
5. Negative influence from your mother’s bloodline
6. Positive influence from your father’s bloodline
7. Negative influence from your father’s bloodline
8. What strength to draw on from the family bloodline on your mother’s side
9. What strength to draw on from the family bloodline on your father’s side




4 thoughts on “Carmentalia Tarot Part 1 – The Past”

  1. Neato! Interesting focus on prophecy, since I just received a gift of runes and a booklet on them from my son (late Christmas present). They are called runes of prophecy. I think the word was chosen as most appropriate translation from Icelandic, since my son and his partner bought the runes on a trip there last year. Since today is the “future” focus for Carmentalia, I shall do some study on runes, since I’ve never used them before. I know some of where they came from, but have never had any. Let me know if you have any good sources, Lisa, or what you think about them, especially since your ancestors came from that Norse culture. 🙂

    1. Congrats on your Icelandic runes, Jo – very cool present! The second (future) part of Carmentalia is on Monday 15 of January. It is kind of odd that the dates are not together but that is how it is for some reason that we may never know… I would recommend the book Helrunar by Jan Fries for in-depth studies of the runes. Blessed Be!

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