Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Reading with la Baraja de Las Indias (Baraja Española)

My husband picked up a wonderful Baraja Española for me on his last trip overseas. This particular deck is called la Baraja de las Indias, and Jorge said it’s exactly the kind of deck that his grandmother used in Cuba. The last time he went home to visit he tried to find her cards to bring back to me, but was unable to locate them. So he was very happy to come across this set in an antique store in Spain this summer, and I was happy too: not only do they create some sort of connection with his grandmother (who died before I could have met her), but I’d never seen a Baraja Española that looked so….old….before! And I love it.

This Baraja de las Indias is a reproduction (by RBA Editors) of a deck created in the 18th Century. There is little information available online about this precise deck, but what I did learn is that it was created in Spain specifically for distribution in the Americas. As with many Barajas, this has a total of 48 cards split into four suits: cups (copas), wands (bastos), swords (espadas), and pentacles (oros). Each suit has Ace-9, plus three court cards: Page (sota), Knight (caballo), and King (rey).

Baraja de las Indias

There is a reasonable amount of literature available on the Baraja Española both online and in print, though it’s not nearly as exhaustive as for Tarot. Most of the more interesting information I’ve found about card meanings and reading methods has been in Spanish rather than English (which makes sense, no?) so the principal reference I’m using for practice readings is a Spanish eBook I found on Amazon. I’m not sure that it’s the very best, but so far it’s been very helpful, particularly because the system is different, to some degree, from Tarot. You may be tempted to transfer Tarot meanings from the Minor Arcana to these cards, and while in many cases you may be on the right track, there are enough substantial differences that you really need to study it as a separate kind of divinatory system.

Today I had a rather important meeting at work, so last night I decided to pull three cards from my Baraja de las Indias to see how things might transpire.  My husband has a great opportunity this autumn, but it will require some changes to my own work schedule in order to accommodate things, and of course I had to meet with my program manager to verify the feasibility of those changes. If she were to say that the changes would work out well, Jorge could finalize his plans. If there were problems, he couldn’t. So I shuffled my lovely, blue flower-backed cards and laid three out before me:

Baraja de las Indias (Baraja Española)

King of Espadas – 3 of Oros – 4 of Copas

The first thing that caught my attention was that all were in the upright position, which was nice to see. I felt that the King of Espadas/Swords may represent my program supervisor and the clarity of mind necessary to work out the details of my work schedule over the next three months. The 3 of Oros/Pentacles looked good – it has a similar meaning to Tarot: positive upswing in business; success. The 4 of Copas/Cups in the Baraja Española tends to be a positive card, predicting a satisfactory conclusion to an important meeting, or successful agreements. Hmm! That was encouraging! I took a picture of the cards, and went to bed.

Shortly after arriving at work this morning I wrote to my program director to request a meeting, and within an hour I was sitting in her office going over my proposal. Following some dialogue and a few minutes of poring over spreadsheets, she gave me a full and happy approval! So I sent a message to Jorge and told him to go ahead and make his plans. The cards spoke clearly, and the ball is rolling!


  1. I am so happy things worked out for you and Jorge! The cards look beautiful. How thoughtful of him to buy this deck for you. They do remind a bit me of The Marseille tarot. :D

    1. Hi Ellen! Yes, this deck does have a lot of similarities to the Marseille in appearance! Yeah, I was very pleased with what Jorge brought back for me! It's the little treasures that I love ;-)