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Conjure Cards
Fortune-Telling Card Deck and Guidebook
Author Jake Richards
ISBN: 9781578637447
Deck (Paperback)
Red Wheel Weiser, Weiser Books
$24.95
3.25 x 4.5
64 pages
54 Cards
May 1, 2021


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A unique divination deck based on the authentic backwoods traditions, folklore, and superstitions of Appalachia.


For centuries, people living in Appalachia have used homemade playing cards for fortune-telling and dream interpretation. This tradition has arisen over many generations of backwoods conjurers, grannie witches, and yarb doctors.


The Conjure Cards fortune-telling deck was created by Jake Richards (author of Backwoods Witchcraft) and fashioned after the folklore, superstitions, and dream symbols that he grew up with in western North Carolina. Jake offers these common Appalachian methods of divination paired with the honored pastime of sharing and interpreting dreams.


Examples:



  • The Nine of Diamonds shows a headless rooster; to dream of a headless animal is a sign of a haint or plat-eye, which is a spirit who didn’t have proper burial.

  • The Ace of Spades, usually named the death card, is an old-fashioned baby cradle because to dream of a birth predicts a death.

  • The “little joker” is a witch or enemy and is represented by the folkloric black cat, while the “big joker” is the devil and is symbolized by one of the devil’s forms in Appalachia: the black dog. The black dog represents evil spirits, so if it is paired with the black cat and the Ten of Spades (a grave stone), it could mean a family haint is haunting you or an enemy has conjured the dead against you.

  • The Ace of Diamonds shows two wedding ring, ands predicts news, luck, and proposal. If shown with the Five of Hearts (a chapel with a stained-glass window) and the Ten of Diamonds (sunflowers), it would predict a happy marriage or undertaking.

Jake Richards holds his Appala­chian-Melungeon heritage close to his blood and bones. His fam­ily heritage in Appalachia goes back generations; they have lived in southwest Virginia, east Ten­nessee, and the western Carolinas for a good four hundred years. He spent most of his childhood at his great-grandmother’s house on Big Ridge in North Carolina, wading the waters of the Watauga and traipsing the moun­tains by his ancestral home on the ridge. “My family,” Jake writes, “always spoke of the old wives’ tales and folk rem­edies. They were mountain people to the bone; hunters, farmers, faith healers, preachers, and root-diggers.” Jake has practiced Appalachian folk magic for over a decade. Aside from being an author and practitioner, Jake is a member of the Melungeon Heritage Association, holds a seat on the board of WAM: We Are Melungeons, and is the creator of HOM: House of Malungia, Melungeon cultural society. You can find him on Instagram @jake_richards13
 
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