104etal’s Weblog

Sybila Cartomancy and Others.

About The Sibilla Cards

The Italian Sibilla is an cartomancy deck based on the older divinatory meanings of playing cards, and were popular in France and Italy in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  Most Italian Sibilla decks consist of 52 cards that correspond to the 52 pips of our modern playing card deck.  Although some Sibilla decks, particularly the French Sybil, can contain 32, 36 or 40 cards.

The Sibilla, like the standard playing card deck, is divided into “quattro semi” (four suits): ♠ Picche, Quadri, Cuori, and ♣ Fiori.  Each suit is composed of 13 numbered cards.  The first 10 correspond to the standard playing card pips.  The final three of each suit represent “Il Fante” (Jack), “La Regina” (Queen),” and “Il Re” (King). 

The Four Suits of the Sibilla:

The card title refer specifically to the Zingara della Sibilla deck, although most Sibilla very similar.

Picche (Spades): Represent conflict, combativeness, and the ability to fight for a cause, anger, aggression, violence, delays and obstacles, lack of progress, misfortune, pain, illness, disease, instability, mourning, sadness and grief. This suit indicates great mental force and courage.

1 – Dispiacere 6 – Sospiri 11 – Il Nemico
2 – Vecchia Signora 7 – Disgrazia 12 – La Nemica
3 – Il Vedovo 8 – Disperato Per Gelosia 13 – Sacerdote
4 – Ammalato 9 – Prigione  
5 – Morte 10 – Militare  

Quadri (Diamonds) represent the material world, money, property, financial transactions, gain, rewards, career advancement, travel, ideas, and news.  This suit indicates the power of personal charisma and magnetism. 

1 – Stanza 6 – Il Pensiero 11 – Messaggiere
2 – La Lettera 7 – Bambino 12 – Donna Maritata
3 – Dono di Pietre Preziose 8 – Donna di Servizio 13 – Mercante
4 – Falsità 9 – I Deliranti  
5 – Malinconia 10 – Il Ladro  

Cuori (Hearts): represent the emotions, pleasure, happiness, balance, fertility, passion, affection, sentimentality, love, romantic interactions, and interpersonal concerns.  This suit indicates emotional strength, and concern for the human condition.

1 – La Conversazione 6 – Denari 11 – L’Amante
2 – Casa 7 – Letterato 12 – L’Amante
3 – Belvedere – L’attesa 8 – Speranza 13 – Gran Signore
4 – Amore 9 – Fedeltà  
5 – Allegrezza al Cuore 10 – Costanza  

Fiori (Clubs) represent creativity, fecundity, business and practical matters, social contacts, activities, progress through effort, adventures, studies, and learning.  This suit indicates willfulness, determination, and great personal power.

1 – Imeneo 6 – Consolante Sorpresa 11 – Domestico
2 – Superbia 7 – Gran Consolazione 12 – Giovanetta
3 – Viaggio 8 – Riunione 13 – Dottore
4 – L’Amica 9 – Allegria  
5 – Fortuna 10 – Leggerezza  

Here are a few of the popular Italian Sibilla decks available today:

La Vera Sibilla is considered by some to be the oldest surviving Sibilla deck, and it appears to be the inspiration for many of the later decks such as Sibilla Della Zingara and Sibilla ‘800.

My favorite Sibilla:

L’Oracolo Della Sibilla – This is a more modern Sibilla deck published in the late 20th Century with gorgeous illustrations by Giorgio Tavaglione.  This deck has an “Ancient Roman” feel that appeals to me.  Each card carries astrological, elemental, and planetary attributions that add to deck’s rich symbolism.

Sibilla Della Zingara:  This is an older, more traditional Sibilla deck.  There is little information available about its origins, but the designs are reminiscent of illustrations from the late 19th Century.  The card images look yellowed and slightly stained, so this deck may be a reissue of an actual 19th Century cartomancy deck.


3 Responses to “About The Sibilla Cards”

  1. cardlady22 said

    I just ordered Lo Scarabeo’s Sibilla Oracle (0738713058) Do you know of any English websites or books that give layouts/spreads, etc. ??

  2. jedryan said

    can u pls tell me the meanings of the 2 numbers below the vera sibillia italiana cards…thanks

    • Apo said

      The numbers are believed to be lucky numbers to use in lottery. But I have never tried out or put it up to the test, I just ignore them.

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