Reading Fortune Telling Cards | Gypsy Witch Cards | Fabio Vinago
I have tried so hard to get to grips with The Gypsy Witch deck (US Games Systems Ltd) I really have. I took a beginner’s course last year with Brant Williams via the WDA which certainly got me off the blocks, but I still couldn’t read with any degree of competency. Sure, I would look at worked examples and say: ‘oh yeah, that makes sense’ but as soon as I laid down a combination of cards on my own, I was immediately befuddled as to what I might say. And let’s face it, the LWB leaflet for the deck is not the most enlightening!
When US Games announced that there was to be a new book on the Gypsy Witch called ‘Reading Fortune Telling Cards’, I was beyond excited and immediately threw my money at the pre-order button at Amazon – this would be my big opportunity to gel with the deck at last!
Note: If you don’t have the Gypsy Witch cards, there is also a book and deck set available too (links below).
As with all things at the moment, the book’s release in the UK was well behind that of our American cousins and I simply had to cool my heels for a few weeks as I waited impatiently for the day the book arrived … and Reader, that day dawned last week! I’ve now devoured the little black book and am ready to review!
The book is 17.5cm tall and 12.5cm wide and comes in at a slender 125 pages. The book was written by Fabio Vinago and originally published in his native Dutch. A special nod of thanks should be given to Ruth Gistelinck for translating Vinago’s words into English that is nice and natural to read.
I have not heard of Fabio Vinago and since the strap-line for this book is a ‘Romani’ approach to reading’ the cards, I assumed that he was Romani himself. However, on reading through the book, he makes no claims to this at all. At one point he says ‘In my experience, their way of reading the cards gives very accurate and detailed interpretations’. So, I’m taking it that Fabio is not Romani, but an interested observer with experience of Romani card-reading. This is not in any way a criticism, but just a heads-up in case folks assume that every secret of this deck will be laid out for us with the full inside-skinny from a bona fide Roma reader.
And on that note, let’s dive in to the book’s contents: There are a few pages devoted to Romani culture, and here there are a couple of important nuggets of information, so read slowly folks! Vinago comments on the fact that the fortune telling cards are NOT the Lenormand deck, even though there are many similar cards found in both systems. This is why the playing card insets on the GW are not the same as Lenormand; why would they be? It’s a completely different system and the Romani do things their own way!
The next section includes an outline of the cards, their suits and their meanings. Vinago expands upon the brief paragraph printed on each card and also includes some keywords to help you remember what the card means. He also includes a short section on how to work with the Joker card too – which I found useful.
The third section covers different types of spreads and how to read them – starting small (past, present and future) and ending with the massive Gypsy Witch Cards’ Grand Tableau, which takes many pages to explain in itself and will take me a LONG time to gain competency with! A query that I have about the GGT is in the diagonals; some diagonals are not included in the list of diagonal cards (for example, p84 – why are 11 and 5 not counted as a diagonal?). I need to know why 😀
Although the book doesn’t say a lot about what each playing card reference might mean or why they are allocated to particular cards, there is a comprehensive section on the face cards (Knight, Queen and King) and how to incorporate them into your reading.
The final section contains different card combinations that hold significance. In other words, this is not every combination of every card, but those that could be picked out as meaning something specific – eg The Sun and Fox – you find out who you can and cannot trust.
The book concludes with a list of suggested Dos and Don’ts – including: never talk about death, stay loyal and kind, take your time, don’t read card when you are not feeling well.
In conclusion, what do I think of the book?
I think I had such high hopes for this book that it was inevitable that I am left feeling slightly deflated. And yet I struggle to really put my finger on why that is the case – the book is full of good information and spreads. And yet. Maybe I was hoping for EVERYTHING that I struggled with to be included – namely the playing card inserts. Vinago says that the playing card insert suits can be used to help establish what else is at play in a reading. For example – a love question with many Diamond cards in the answer might signify money concerns. But I read that the 9 of Spades ‘speaks of overspending’ and I am left flicking through the book muttering ‘where, WHERE does it say that?’.
On the whole though, this is a useful book if you want to work better with the Gypsy Witch fortune telling cards. It doesn’t have all the answers, but then, maybe that’s part of the joy of working with these cards – you don’t need all the answers to be able to work with them.
I may update this review as I attempt to become more competent with the GW cards with help from Vinago’s book.
You can buy the book HERE which is my affiliate link at bookshop.org – an ethical online storefront that supports local bookshops too! Fancy the book/deck set? HERE is the link at bookshop.org for that too.