BabaBarock studio,  Divination,  Fortune telling,  Prague and Bohemia

Our Bohemian Fortune Telling cards – a fresh look at an old tradition

In 2023, we published The Bohemian Fortune Telling Cards – a deck created by us which follows a system that we were very familiar with during our time in Prague. Often called “gypsy cards”, in Czech these are usually known just as “vykladaci karty”, which can be loosely translated as “cards for doing readings”.

In addition to the traditional smaller-sized cards, we designed a limited edition version with 550 signed and numbered decks which are the same size as our standard tarot cards.

All the decks are “cold stamped” with a metallic looking underlay (it’s not actually metal) that gives a fantastically almost three-dimensional visual effect as the cards are moved and used.

In the reels below, you can see how the cold-stamping looks, and also some of the original Victorian photos that we incorporated into the designs. We base everything on original photos that often we changed, added to and even remade in part, so that we end up with the image we feel will work best.

 We followed the traditional pattern for this type of deck, but this in itself did vary from deck to deck throughout the years. The card meanings in our opinion make a well-balanced and very usable deck.

The deck has 36 rather than the more usual 32 cards. This gives a good range of possibilities in a reading and still respects tradition as some of these historical decks did include 36 cards.

The companion book / guidebook for this deck outlines the history of this Central European system, how to read with these cards and, of course, we will explain why we chose not to use the term “gypsy cards”. In short, though, the term has fallen out of favor and on top of that this type of deck was seldom used by the Roma.

This 350-page book can also be used for Mercury’s Fortune Telling Cards,  our re-imagining (with cold-stamping!) of an antique deck in this Bohemian style. The images on the original decks were made with wood-block printing and have a quaint folk-art charm.

The book shows several ways to read both decks, ranging from simple one-card draws and five-card spreads to the elaborate Grand Tableau that uses seven pairs of cards. A table explains the meanings of each pairing in both decks. You can chose the reading system that works best for you.

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