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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Depository » » Why do the Royals look to the right or the left? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of StraightTalkMagicReviews
Anyone know why the Kings, Queens and Jacks face in a certain direction and why the Jack of Clubs is the only card that does not face the same direction as his Kings and Queen? Some Royals look right, some look left and I don't know why! HELP!!!
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Profile of Topper2
Does there have to be a reason? It's just the way the tradition has developed. Those who like to use cards for fortune telling come up with all sorts of invented ideas as to what it all means, but mostly it's hokum. For example if a court card is facing one way you can say it is looking to the past, if it looks in the opposite way it looks to the future etc. Also how you lay the cards out may be considered relevant, thus the two one-eyed Jacks can be laid so they look directly at each other or away from each other and according to the whim of the diviner you can read different interpretations into these juxtapositions (friendship versus animosity for example).

The King of Hearts is often called the 'suicide King' because he is supposedly stabbing himself through the head with his sword, but you could equally say he was raising his sword in anger to strike another. One Jack is clean shaven while the others are not, and so on, there's no end to what significance you can put upon it, this does offer some good patter possibilities during a routine but that doesn't mean the original designer of the earliest pack of cards had any special intentions in mind other than making them look interesting and attractive.
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Further to what I said above, for fortune telling (or patter purposes) you can say that whereas the other suits signify harmony in the family because they all see things the same way, in the case of Clubs the Jack looks in a different direction from his 'parents' and this suit therefor signifies strife or discord in the family.

Alternatively, where a card looks to the left you can say it represents the past, whereas if it looks to the right it represents the future and if it looks ahead it refers to the present.

All useful spiel when you're trying to work out a patter line for a trick involving Court cards.
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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It seems deeply ingrained to playing card designers. As far back as 1700.

Amusing fact:

Maybe one of our card gaffers would offer a few reversed cards and we can find out how people react. Smile all the coins I've dropped here
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