Ancient Swedish Playing Card Meanings

Playing Card Meanings

The Swedish playing card meanings below are from the book Sibyllans Hemligheter (Secrets of the Sibyl), edited by Sven Linde published in 1977. This book is a collection the best practical divination and magic tricks (stage magic and mentalism) from very old Swedish sources. I do wish Mr. Linde would have revealed his sources!

If divination and stage magic seems an odd mix to you, let me assure you that I agree. I happily skipped the magic tricks portion of the book and went straight for the astrology and divination sections. This was my favourite book as a child and after my grandmother died, it was passed on to me.

My grandmother’s book

There are actually several sets of meanings, so I decided to publish the most popular set – that for 36 cards, which means you have to first remove the 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and 5’s from a regular deck of playing cards.

This set of meanings requires a layout based on four rows of nine cards in each row, which is also a popular layout for the Lenormand cards.

The signifier is always the Queen of Hearts for a lady and the King of Hearts for a man.

Playing Card Meanings


Ace: love letter, impending marriage
King: uncertain promises, happy news
Queen: a forgotten lover
Jack: an unfaithful lover
Ten: good news from one’s place of birth
Nine: joy, frivolity
Eight: good prospects for the future; if next to the 7 of Clubs – unexpected happiness
Seven: almost no meaning but if it is the 11th card from the signifier, it could mean comfort in suffering
Six: obstacles and delays in business


Ace: house or property in the country; also, faithfulness in a lover. If the card is situated under the 7 of Spades, it means success in business. If it is the fifth card to the left of the signifier, a secret that the querent has entrusted to a friend with will be revealed
King: friendship, faithfulness, reliability
Queen: an honest woman
Jack: a bad man, a secret advisor; together with the 7 of Spades and the 9 of diamonds – a seducer. A sign that one’s lover is about to stray.
Ten: good fortune and respectability; however, in the same row as the signifier it means an annoyance
Nine: unpleasant adventures, opposition
Eight: good health; pleasant dreams. Together with the 8 of Clubs and the 6 of Hearts, it means news of a fire.
Seven: a minor gift of gold, silver or other metal
Six: wishes fulfilled; news of distant acquaintances; travels. If the 9 of Spades is found left of the 6 of Diamonds, it signifies the ‘final journey,’ i.e. death.


Ace: false messages, letter, love affair. If the Ace is reversed (tip of Sword pointing upward), it means tender, innocent love. The upright meaning indicates an illicit love affair.
King: rivals, stalkers, false people
Queen: an unfaithful woman
Jack: a fake, a crook, false people
Ten: adversity / distress, if it is next to the signifier. The 7 of Spades above the 10 of Clubs counteracts the bad news.
Nine: defamation
Eight: a dark gift
Seven: illness and bad things, if next to the signifier.
Six: a celebration, company, a trip for pleasure, especially next to high-ranking cards in the same suit.


Ace: pride, false shame, remorse
King: revenge, punishment, injustice; also, sad news. The bad meanings of the King are counteracted if it falls under the Queen of Spades.
Queen: (next to the signifier) backstabbing by a person the querent has helped, the nearest Courier will reveal if the backstabber is dark or fair
Jack: false friends
Ten: unreciprocated love; also sadness and disease
Nine: death, huge suffering when he 9 of Swords is next to the signifier. If the 13th card from the signifier is black, there will be a death in the family.
Eight: severe illness next to another black card (especially the 9 of Spades); company and travel if the Eight is in the same row as the signifier and surrounded by the 8 of Clubs, the 9 of Diamonds or the Jack of Hearts
Seven: the house where the signifier lives; if the 6 of Diamonds is next to it – annoyances in the family
Six: travels by land or sea. Surrounding Courtiers may reveal travel companions.

In the four rows of nine cards, the reader pays extra attention to the 7th and 13th cards, both to the left and right of the signifier. However, there is a lot more to it than this and the interaction between the cards is described in great detail in the book.

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Angel Blessings