How to read the cards - August 1791






Reading the cards -- Parodie L'Omphale, 1752

In this scene from the comic play, Matamor consults the witch Maigrechine, but is disappointed when Maigrechine fails in her evocation, to which Maigrechine responds she will learn more later, by consulting the cards:


Evocation, elle trace des cercles magiques avec so

Dianes du tendre Amour & de la bonne foi, Ombre de la pudeur paroissez devant moi! De la fidélité, cher ombre, qu'on néglige! Ombres de l'amitié, du goût & du bon sens...,

Elle redouble les cérémonies magigutt,

Ils sont tous si bien morts, que le plus grand prodige
N'opereroit pas plus que mes accens.

Ara: De tous les Capucins du monde.

Pour cette fois ci j'y renonce


La belle chienne de réponse!
J'aurois crû le Diable moins fot,
De ta promesse tu t'écartes.


Vous en apprendrez plus tantôt,
Car je m'en vais tirer les cartes.

Translation (with grateful thanks to Padma for assistance):

In evoking, she traces magic circles with her wand.

Diana of the tender love and of the good faith, shade (ghost) of humble modesty, appear before me! You are of a loyalty, dear shade, that we neglect and do not appreciate! Shade of friendship, of taste, and of good common sense...

She redoubles then her magical efforts;

They are all so well dead, that not even the greatest prodigy could achieve more than my canting.

Aria: Of all the Capucins in the world.

For now, I give up.


Fine bitchy response! I could have raised the devil less foolish; you fall back from your promises.


You'll learn more later,
because I'm off to read the cards.

From La Fileuse, parodie d’Omphale, by M. Vadé, which premiered on March 8th, 1752 at the Theatre de l’Opera Comique.


kwaw, Thank you for sharing this rather fascinating peek into 18th century cartomancy.

I wanted to know more about the first publication so I did a little digging. The Conjuror's Magazine, or Magical and Physiognomical Mirror was published by William Locke, No. 12 Red Lion St, Holborn.

It ran monthly from Aug 1791 to July 1793 and included "everything from card tricks to occultism. Astrology became such a major theme of its articles that it changed its name in August 1793 to the Astrologer's Magazine and ran for six more issues."

Magicpedia claims "It was the first periodical in which a group advertised themselves openly as workers of magic."

Complete issues can also be seen at the
International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Practices