Reading the Constellations

The Constellation Method of consulting the Cards in the Game of Changes and how it works in divination and the Game of Changes.

We will suppose the person making the essay to be a widow, and consequently represented by the Queen of Spades. This card is, therefore, to be withdrawn from the pack, and laid, face uppermost, upon the table. The remaining thirty-one cards are then to be well shuffled, cut, the topmost card withdrawn and placed lengthwise, and face uppermost, above the head of the Queen of Spades.

The cards are to be shuffled, cut, and the topmost card withdrawn, twelve more times, the manner of their arrangement being this: The Queen of Spades in the center, the first card lengthwise above her head, the second[15] ditto at her feet, the third on her right side, the fourth on her left, the fifth placed upright above the first, the sixth ditto below the second, the seventh at the right of the third, the eighth at the left of the fourth, the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, at the four corners, and the thirteenth across the center card—the Queen of Spades—thus forming a star.
Card layout.
We will suppose these fourteen cards to be the Queen of Spades, which represents the person making the essay;[16] then—1. The Ace of Hearts; 2. The King of Clubs; 3. The Ten of Clubs; 4. Nine of Diamonds; 5. Queen of Clubs; 6. The Eight of Hearts; 7. The Ten of Spades; 8. The Knave of Clubs; 9. The Seven of Clubs; 10. The Ten of Hearts; 11. The Knave of Diamonds; 12. The Eight of Diamonds; 13. The Nine of Clubs. These being placed at right angles, the person consulting them takes them up two by two, beginning with those last laid down.
The first card, 12, the Eight of Diamonds, and the one in the opposite corner, viz., 11, the Knave of Diamonds, read—“Overtures will be made—Knave of Diamonds—by a fair young man—next two cards, 10 and 9, Ten of Hearts—which will prove unsuccessful—Seven of Clubs—on account of something connected with money. Next two cards, 8 and 7, the Knave of Clubs—a clever, dark young man—Ten of Spades—will be greatly grieved by, 6—Eight of Hearts, a fair girl to whom he is attached. Next two cards, 5 and 4, the Queen of Clubs—A dark woman—Nine of Diamonds—will be annoyed at not receiving, 3—Ten of Clubs—a sum of money—next two cards, 2 and 1, the King of Clubs—which was to have been sent her by a generous dark man, who is fond of obliging his friends—Ace of Hearts—it will at last arrive, accompanied by a love-letter—13th card, placed across the Queen of Spades, Nine of Clubs—and be the cause of unexpected gain to the person consulting the cards.” There is a shorter and simpler way of doing this, by surrounding the card representing the person trying his or her fortune, with a less number of cards.
The cards are shuffled and cut as before described, and the topmost one withdrawn. We will suppose the center card to be the Knave of Clubs, representing a dark young man—the first topmost one proves to be the Ace of Clubs, and this is placed above the head of the Knave—the second, the Eight of Hearts, is placed at his feet—the third, the Knave of Diamonds, at his right side—the fourth, the Queen of Spades, on his left. These read—“Ace of Clubs—You will soon receive a letter, which will give you great pleasure—Eight of Hearts—from a fair girl. Knave of Diamonds—An unfaithful friend—Queen of Spades—and a malicious widow, will seek to injure you on that very account.”

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