a ‘Deste’ Love Reading

I have been getting a lot of Deste-related questions recently from folks who want to learn the deck. The Spirit of Deste — and if you read Deste you know exactly what I’m talking about — has been quite pushy about wanting me to give it more attention. Although I am far from mastering this oracle, I thought it would be helpful sharing an actual reading I’ve recently done for a client. Luckily, the client was gracious and has given me permission to share her consultation with you.

In addition, I have a couple of important announcements tucked at the end of this post — so make sure to check them out before you click on and away from my blog 😉

To the Reading, then:

My client wanted to know about the prospects of her relationship with a colleague, whom she’s been involved with for several months now. I drew the Imperial Cross — thanks Dimitra for teaching me this technique. Essentially, it’s a similar layout to what we refer as the Celtic Cross, but Miss Meimaridi calls it the Imperial Cross.


an Imperial Cross layout + a Djan for advice

Dare Reversed (Rx) in the center represents the man you are in a relationship with. By being reversed we see already that the situation isn’t ideal. The card in general foretells of reversals of fortune, and having to wait for what you want. Your situation is influenced by outside forces — it’s not in your own hands. Most likely it’s family issues that interfere with your relationship.
Clouds represent the obstacles. You want clarity, yet this desire isn’t possible at the moment. With the Anchor to the right of the Clouds, it seems like what you really want is clarity in regard to the stability of this relationship.
Gate Rx stands for the fear of the negative influence this relationship could have on your work / career situation. Also, if your guys was waiting for a promotion at work, Gate Rx below his significator card, Dare Rx, it doesn’t look likely.
Assyranta is a female in a position of influence. Is he married or in a committed relationship? It sure looks like that with Assyranta on above Dare Rx that is on top of Gate Rx.
In that case, she is in control of the situation, and he won’t leave her / divorce her.
~ after the reading the client had confirmed she is involved with a married man ~
Zara, the white horse of the diamond suit, shows the bright promises of the past; it looked like this relationship would blossom into a more fulfilling and easier to handle romance, and that the man you are dating would be a suitable choice for a partner.
With Anchor placed in the position of upcoming events, I don’t think you’ll be leaving him soon. Anchor is a card of stability. I do not foresee a major change in the status quo, so to speak, in the near future. It also shows that if he is in another relationship, he’ll continue going between both of you. Butit’s important to remember that the Anchor is a positive card. So it’s quite possible that your outlook on the relationship will become a bit more positive, and so you won’t want to make changes.
The Mice Rx tell us that you have hopes for this relationship to work out, and regain the things that were lost in the near past.
You have people around you that push you to stay in the relationship with him, while others sway you against it. This is shown the reversed Fish card. It makes you feel like others know better than you. You are stuck in the middle, unable to make a decision, and wanting others to decided for you.
Your own feeling is that you are willing to give him one last chance. The Tomb Rx states so.
For now, as seen by the Letter card, you will continue communicating with him.
Bedes Rx is the advice card. It doesn’t show great potential for the relationship because you have a lot working against you. Bedes talks about having to wait for a very long time, and be extra patient to get this relationship to a place that is truly healthy and good for you.

I hope this sample reading was helpful for you. Please feel free to respond in the comments about your experiences with the Deste, and how do you handle love consultations.


Madame Pamita, Johannes, Madame Nadia, & Elvyra at the Hoodoo Heritage Fest 2013

As you may already know, I will be presenting two workshops at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival in California, in the first weekend of May. One of the workshops might be of special interest to you, and so I thought I’d share the details.

Beyond the Reading: Using Tarot, Lenormand, and Playing Cards in Rootwork is a workshop crafted to teach how to use Tarot, Lenormand, and Playing Cards to diagnose yourself or a client and decide which spell to use for any given situation, how to customize that spell for maximum effectiveness, and even how to incorporate your cards into hoodoo spells.

This workshop will take place between 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM, on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

You’ll even get to take home some awesome conjure goodies when you sign up for the workshop.

On another note, I will be on the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour, along with catherine yronwode and ConjureMan Ali, this coming Sunday, at 5 PM CST. I hope you can tune in, and join the live chat that’s always loads of fun. The show is also archived, and available for later listening.

Cartomantic Erotica — Of first loves and long-lost decks

Queen of Clubs, Prince Karte No. 402, Dondorf Certainly my first love, when it comes to fortunetelling, is hand down cards.

In fact, I clearly remember sitting on top of my father’s heavy, writing desk, as I spent hours upon hours looking through a fancy deck of playing cards that I would secretly retrieve from the top right drawer, where he kept it alongside a plastic sample pacemaker (… don’t ask… ), and other trinkets I cannot recall anymore.

Those cards had traditional-looking pips, and I can’t remember anything really significant about those. But the face cards… The face cards is a whole other story! They were glorious.

Courts, Prince Karte No. 402

Elegantly dressed with some German flare to their coats, the face cards seemed to look straight at me each time I would pull one. Liberally, the picture cards shared with me stories of old kings, regal queens, and boisterous knaves. They even gossiped about one another, whispering into my mind’s ear about embarrassing moments unworthy of royalty. Their tales echoed in the castles of my young imagination. And as these face cards danced out their royal affairs right next to me, their glossy card stock stood out against the deep brown of my father’s old writing desk.

I spent many days with that deck, handling it with love, admiration, and fascination.

Many years have passed since, and I never thought I’d see those cards again. That lovely deck, as other non-essential belongings, had to be left behind the iron curtain as we immigrated from USSR to Israel in 1988.

But the great appreciation of the intimately pleasing, almost tingly, sensation I got when I shuffled through that deck of playing cards has never wore off. As I went through cartomantic puberty, in my late teens and early twenties, I developed farther the tingly skill of caressing my decks; running my hands along the edges, shuffling papery leaves in between my fingers, and the scent of vintage paper — all of these are sensory triggers for me. Though I admit that some decks do it for me more than others 😉

Pips, Prince Karte No. 402

Fast forward to late 2013 — 25 years later. I look through an online card archive — not an unusual activity for a card addict… ahem… collector, like myself.

And boom! I recognize one of my old idols.

Holding my breath in disbelief I wonder.  

“Is it her? Is it really her? No way! Impossible.”

“Oh my God! It’s her!”

The Queen of Clubs looks at me mischievously, glaring like a computer screen supernova in the unsuspecting darkness of my bedroom. Not a sign of aging on her perfect card face.

The coquettish Queen seems to recognize me.

“Do you really remember me? Even after all these years?”

Queen of Clubs, Prince Karte No. 402Nodding just so slightly, the Queen slowly faces away from her fancy hand mirror, forcing my attention to her royal and elaborate headdress. She certainly knows how to wear that crown.

The thing is, this Queen and I both know that her headdress is the one single, last detail still etched perfectly in my memory. A detail that became associated with a happy, magical, and wholesome part of my childhood. A detail I refuse to let go of — holding on to it like to a life vest, and painting it and again again in a melancholic coat of sweet-stale memories — so it contrasts against the canvas of passing time that starches over new geography of experiences, lined with a multitude of insignificant encounters with significantly less royal packs of cards.

But the Queen of Clubs doesn’t care. She, as any self-respecting queen would, knows that one never forgets her first love. Never!


Although not an original, but a reproduction, I now have in my possession a double pack of Prince Karte No. 402, originally manufactured by the legendary Dondorf company.

ASS logo, Prince Karte No. 402

What can I say? I feel pretty damn lucky!

Better Later Than Never — Bringing Madame Duberckowski to American Fortunetellers

Man card from Madame Duberckowski’s Fortune Telling Cards deckI am a procrastinator, and there’s no point denying it. But to defend myself I must disclose that even though I took the interview with Amelie over a year ago, around last Christmas my house was broken into and my laptop stolen. Along with the computer, an almost fully edited video of this interview was also gone.

So it took me a long time to get back into editing it from scratch. I really wanted to complete this piece because I felt that Amelie and I had an amazing, almost magical, connection; and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her about various things in addition to her gorgeous and fun deck. I found Amelie to be warm, funny, and inspiring. I adore her art, and find her cards to be so very different than anything else on the market. Both her attitude and her creations are fresh and upbeat. Not like many other decks that heavily draw upon, and too often completely reproduce, the same old RWS pattern, etc. “Madame Duberckowski’s Fortune Telling Cards” is a stand-alone oracle with nothing remotely resembling it on the market.

I hope you enjoy my tale of finding the deck online, connecting with Amelie, and eventually asking her a few questions about what made her create such a unique pack of cards.

Happy Friday!

Madame Nadia


I’ll be co-hosting the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour this coming Sunday, with ConjureMan Ali and Deacon Millet. I hope you can tune in, or even better — join us in the chat room.

Your Destiny in the Deste

From left, top: Reuby of Fire, Emerald of Water; Diamond of Air; and Ebony of Earth

Gemstones / Elements

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or other social media in the past half a year or so, you know that I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the Deste. Besides the lovely aesthetic of the cards, the individualist (or the masochist) in me is impulsively drawn to things that are hard to come by. And the Deste is a pack that is not only hard to find, but it’s also difficult to learn to read — unless you’re fluent in Greek or Turkish, of course!

Four Djans - the Spirit Advisors

Four Djans – the Spirit Advisors

I first saw the cards on Chris’s YouTube channel. Chris is a young man from Greece, who often records cartomancy-related videos in English. And in one of Chris’ videos dealing with his fortunetelling collection he revealed the Deste — an oriental-looking (for a lack of better words) system of divination composed of suites / elements, courts, and ‘core’ cards that resemble the Lenormand. The deck also includes four Horses, four Djans  (magical spirits and advisors), and two matriarchal divinities representing the polarity of good and evil. Attart (also Attartee) is the energy of “light”, while Valide (Valinde) is the bringer of misfortune and doom.  The pack totals 65 cards.

Attart & Valinde

Attart & Valinde

This deck was created by Mara Meimaridi, who is a published Greek author and a hereditary psychic. Meimaridi claims to be a reincarnation of her great aunt, Katina, a powerful witch from the Greek town of Smyrna. Rising up from tragically humble beginnings, just like the famed Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, of New Orleans, Katina became a force of magical influence in her own town. Guided by a pack of very special cards, the sorceress knew what spells to perform and what potions to use get all she desired. Can you guess what cards Katina had used? You’re right, the Deste!

Three out of four Horses of the deck

Three out of four Horses of the deck

One day, while staying in the house of her late great aunt, Katina, Mara Meimaridi had multiple revelations that led her to locate Katina’s hidden deck. Meimaridi knew how to lay and read these cards. What followed is numerous books chronicling the life and times of Katina, including a cosmology of Attart, Valinde, and other mystical forces influencing our world. In addition, Meimaridi owns a pricy cosmetic line attributed to Katina’s knowledge of magical herbology, while ruling a psychic empire of books, cards, and more recently a Deste-style Quija board. Katina’s adventures captured the Greek audiences so much, that a soapy TV show was produces about the witches of Smyrna.

On the left is the Greek edition, and on the right is the Turkish.

On the left is the Greek edition, and on the right is the Turkish.

Interestingly, the design of the Deste does not resemble Katina’s original pack. Claiming the cards to be too fragile, Meimaridi composed the aesthetic of her deck by using snippets taken from original, antique oriental art. The author published two versions of the deck: the Greek, which is more liberal looking; followed by a flimsily modest, Turkish edition.

After seeing Chris’ initial video about this pack, I spent many hours online hunting for the cards. Eventually I found a Turkish website that sold them. The cards arrived to the western suburbs of Chicago almost two months post ordering. However my excitement of finally having a copy of the Deste quickly turned into frustration. It all boiled down to being incapable to learn using the system because I don’t speak or read Turkish. And apparently Google translate doesn’t either because after typing in whole passages from the accompanying book, all I got was gibberish!

“How am I supposed to learn to read with these cards if I’m having a hard time translating their damn titles?”

Some of Deste’s characters

Some of Deste’s characters

My salvation came in the form of a Facebook Group, founded by Maree Bento, the creator of the Antiquarian Lenormand. Luckily for all of us, Dimitra, of Greek Tarot, who is also a professional translator with a perfect knowledge of the English language, also joined the group early on.

Dimitra has made a generous series of tutorials about the cards. She shared not only the meanings and the reading techniques, but also the back-stories underlying this particular method of divination. I must say that I absolutely adore Dimitra. Besides being a talented and knowledgeable reader, she is cool lady with a Mediterranean sense of humor — something I miss so much in my Midwestern hood. I am thrilled that she has recently agreed to formally teach the Deste. Dimitra’s seminars are accessible internationally. For more information please visit her website.

In the group Dimitra shared invaluable tips, like card combos and keys to understanding the complicated court cards reflective of politics of the harem structure during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Other group members also helped tremendously by compiling and editing on card definitions, drawing from various sources like Chris’ videos, Dimitra’s translations, and the English definitions randomized by the card drawing application on Meimaridi’s site.

From left, top: Tower; Clouds; Moon; Fox — all of these cards have completely different meanings from Lenormand

From left, top: Tower; Clouds; Moon; Fox — all of these cards have completely different meanings from Lenormand

Even though a lot of the core cards resemble the Lenormand, it is a completely separate system and it would be a mistake trying to read these based on Lenormand theory. For instance, though there are cards with similar titles, like Child and Tower, many of these cards’ meanings critically differ from what we’re used to in Lenormand. For example, the upright meaning of the Clouds card is actually very positive — something along the lines of “the clouds are clearing above your head after a period of dark storms.” Additionally, the core division of the pack includes additional cards that the Lenormand doesn’t; like Camel, Nile, and the East Wind. It’s also important to note that Deste is read both, upright and reversed. It even has its own, unique method of shuffling and a special way of question-framing.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about the Deste is that it was made for spellwork. Both, single cards and card combinations can be applied for magical purposes. Here’s an example of a small beauty ritual I came up with using the cards.

From left: East Winds; Camel; Opium; and Nile

From left: East Winds; Camel; Opium; and Nile

Finally, I find this deck to be people-oriented, as opposed to the Lenormand that, in my opinion, is more event-based oracle. It’s not recommended to use the Deste for day-to-day readings (even though I do that all the time), but to keep its advice for more weighty concerns. Also, Fridays are considered a traditional day for Deste divination.


Tomorrow, November 24th, 2013, I’ll be a guest reader on the Lucky Mojo Rootwork Hour along with Miss cat yronwode and Conjureman Ali. If you have a chance, please tune in. The show is always a lot of fun. And who knows… I might even pull a few Deste cards 😉

Lenormand — First crack at the Line of Five

Although I had the best intentions to blog this week, there was so much going on that I couldn’t make it happen. A full-time day position, resuming my fortune telling practice, and medical misfortunes like a nasty root canal and a never-ending saga with a compression garment has kept my schedule quite uncompromising. Nevertheless, I diligently continued my Lenormand practice.

Following Cartomantes Cabinet lessons, I immersed myself in the Line of Five spread this week. Although it’s a bit too heavy for a daily spread (a draw of three is easier to decode and is generally more doable on a daily basis), I stuck with it and it really made a difference. But I had to be creative.

In the previous week I woke up every morning having enough time to lay out three cards, record the time and the weather conditions, and jot down my predictions for the day before going to work. This week, on the other hand, was much more hectic — so sitting peacefully and journaling about the cards I got wasn’t an option. I found myself mainly pulling cards on the way to work. The lovely Postman Lenormand is still my favorite for on-the-go readings because the images are simple, the playing cards symbols are captured right there on the cards’ faces, and the tin carrier-case keeps the cards safe in the front pocket of my purse.

When having a few extra minutes to snooze, I drew cards while still in bed — even before having coffee. And I think that I had only a single opportunity this week to actually sit down for a more meditative sort of a reading. Because I knew I had the time, I also cast a few bones to get more insight into the day. Doesn’t this look cool?

Casting bones over a Line of Five

I also got to practice this technique with another student on Cartomantes Cabinet, as part of a Reading Exchange assignment. It was neat to not only practice with a different person, but to also receive validation to my interpretations.

But the coolest experience this week definitely was using the Line of Five method in a conjure consultation; where I not only foretold a client’s future, but also saw the appropriate magical remediation to improve their situation and reach the desired results. It made me realize that I have begun using Lenormand system not only horizontally (linearly), but also vertically. I found appropriate ways to incorporate my intuition into the traditional way of reading these awesome cards.

Homework: Daily Draw, May 11th, 2012 — TGIF & Mother’s Day

Hell, what a week! I can’t believe I have survived this long, and physically-taxing week. Friday, you make me sooooo happy.

This morning was hectic, and I ended up performing my daily read on my baby’s rocking chair because we woke up late and she got up too early. Maybe it ain’t the most spiritual way to draw cards, but hey: a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do!

Anyway, I found today’s draw to be pretty awesome. I love seeing cards that I have previously interpreted as negative, show up in a new way in a daily. Somehow, Lenormand never gets old.

ARLO and Britta on baby’s rocking chair

Time: 6:50 AM

 Weather: 45 Degrees Fahrenheit, and Sunny. I can hear the birds chirping, and I fel the summer on my doorstep.

Cards Drawn: Fish + Moon + Snake

Key Card Focus: Fish

Keywords: Business / Money + Creative / Honorary + Twisted / Complicated / Feminine


I feel that all 3 cards talk about the occult and spiritual work. I think today will offer new ways or ideas about making money in the spiritual realm, and maybe there will be an increase with spiritual consultations?


Time: 10:15 PM

Accuracy: 100%

What Happened in relation to the cards:

I have recently re-listed with AIRR. I am one of the founding members, but after my accident I took a long haitus until a few weeks ago. I am finally feeling ready for Spiritual work, and am craving readings. And today I got more interest in spiritual / divination services that I have before. I also started working on putting up my Etsy Fortune Telling store. And yes, it is Fortune Telling and not spiritual consulting! lol


I particularly enjoyed seeing The Snake showing up not as a negative card, but as part of the description. It actually hoed up for me. This was also the first time I experienced The Moon as the main card to represent work. It worked out well.

a first mother’s day gift from my daughter

All of these cards felt very feminine, and a confirmation for this was a card and a plant I received from my baby girl. She (with a lot of help from her teacher) made it in kindergarden. This was the first time I’ve received a Mother’s Day gift from her, and I was deeply touched.

Weekly Draw for 4.29-5.6.2012

For this week’s forecast I laid out the Grand Tableau, using my vintage Carta Mundi deck. I also drew 4 cards from the Playing Cards Oracle deck, and cast some bones.

Here’s what I got:

Bones — from closest to farthest:

Abalone (open); John the Conqueror; Blocked Cowrie (coconut top); Cowrie (upside-down); Buckeye; Wiesel Jaw (facedown).

Formation resembles the Hebrew letter Gimel.


PCO cards (From top to bottom):

Ace of Diamonds — Ignita

4 of Diamonds — South Wind

Queen of Clubs — Leah

Lady (10) of Clubs — Fortuna

Monthly Read: Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards

Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards

I don’t think I’ve shared a reading with the Russian Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards on this blog yet. I find these cards to be very accurate, but because all the cards need to be used in a single layout I tend to use this deck only so often. Hence, I chose to use it for a personal forecast for May 2012.

I found it very interesting that the cards spoke mainly of my relationship, even though I focused on issues relating to career and work.

For those who aren’t familiar with this system, there are 25 cards in the deck. They are laid in a 5X5 block, with each card having 4 different sides. The point of the arrangement is matching images with the neighboring cards so they form pictures.

The images on the cards are symbols just like the Lenormand. Although the Russian Gypsy deck offers more images, many of these are the same symbols used in the Lenormand system (i.e. anchor, mice, heart, etc.). The general interpretation is sometimes different (as you’ll see below). Also, each pictures is interpreted according to the direction it’s faces. In addition, a time frame is given to each image.

I also take into account when a picture is “broken” in order to use the card creating another image.

Today’s reading contained 7  matches:

32 Moon
23 Mice
35 Anchor
25 Ring (upside-down / breaks Anchor)
17 Heron (upside-down / breaks Ring)
30 Lilies (left / breaks Heron)
 Last Card: 47 Devils (left)
32 Moon — PEACE (Short – Middle)

Moon + Mice

Although your life is uneventful, you have happiness nevertheless. Don’t waste your time wishing for things you don’t have; rather, enjoy your peaceful happiness.
23 Mice — LOSS / FINDING of Material Article (Immediate)
You will find what you have lost.


35 Anchor — Stability / Hindrance (Middle)

Success in love; you are loved.
— Broken By —
25 Ring — Relationship Between 2 People (Middle)


A wedding or agreement. Are solution to a problem will lead you to a stronger marriage bond.
— Broken By —


17 Heron — New Beginnings / Change (Middle)

An addition to the family. A family will expand in some way.
— Broken By —
30 Lilies — Faithfulness (Life)


Unearthly, almost spiritual feeling of happiness.


47 Demons — Subconscious Negative Thoughts (Short)

Too much unrestrained merriment occurs before chagrin. Do not do foolish things in the name of fun (don’t be stupid, or don’t get overly excited too early).
An Update:
As the month of May naturally turned into June, I wanted to post my observation in regard to May’s reading. 
Moon — I did feel a positive shift this month in regard to feeling better at work, and as a result at home. Some of it handled actively by my husband and I because we understand that we have to work hard to keep a cool head in matters relating to our careers. 
Mice — it’s interesting relating to this specific card and position… I tend to approach it literally, but I think that this month it has manifested in a more metaphorical way with me working through self-image issues relating to my accident. I feel like I found a renewed sense of strength within myself. It’s a work in progress 😉
Anchor (broken by) the Ring — My husband and I went to a friends’ wedding last weekend, and it was a lot of fun. It also was a beginning of a great long weekend, where we got to spend time outdoors and enjoy as a family much more than usual. 
The Heron  … hmmm… it is still a mystery… 
The Lilies — I’m not sure about the “unearthly” part, but I did have a lot more moments of happiness in the last 3 weeks or so. It felt good!
The Demons — the last days of May proved to be filled with renewed anxiety in the work arena. I did let my guard (spiritual and otherwise) down because I felt an improvement, but then we received a new blow… I hope June’s reading will end on a better note. 

Draws on Wheels

This week was a tough one. There’s a lot happening on the work front. Things are unpleasant and confusing, to say the least. Even though I planned on updating my blog earlier and more often, it didn’t happen.

Nevertheless, I faithfully keep my daily Lenormand practice.  My husband and I drive together to work each morning, and we’ve developed a little Lenormand habit. Every morning we draw 2 cards each, focusing solely on our work day. This way I not only get to process through my professional concerns, but also get to practice interpreting the cards.

Even though these are stressful times for both of us, this daily practice really benefits my Lernomand study and appreciation. Because the draws are very focused and time-specific, it’s easy to see how the events and people described by the cards play out in our daily affairs. Let me put it this way: by now I clearly know who is the fox, who is the snake, and who is the bitch (pardon my Russian).

The deck I use for these readings on wheels is the Postmark Lenormand, which I keep in my purse. I like carrying this pack because the images are quite simplistic and easy to read without getting lost in complicated layers of meaning before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee. I also like that the deck came in a tin carrying case, which prevents the cards from getting damaged.

We finish our little divination sessions with listening to a cheesy, daily astrological forecasts played from an iPhone app. My friends, believe me when I say: This is the best part of my morning!

Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful week! 

Today’s Daily Draw

Todays daily draw was pulled last night; again, before going to sleep. I used the Silent Tarot along with the French Cartomancy deck. I also pulled from the Postmark Lenormand to see how it will feel alongside the French deck.

From the Silent Tarot:

King of Heart — 7 of Hearts — The Sun


Cross — Fox — Clouds — Storks — Mice

All I can say, dear friends, is that any reading starting with a Cross and ending in Mice can’t foretell of good omens or positive events. Yikes!