The Baraja Española

The Baraja Española is a playing card deck used in Spain and Spanish influenced countries for playing trick-taking games of skill, chance, and expletives. Literally meaning “The Spanish Cards”, the deck can have as few as 40 cards or as many as 52, with a 48 card deck being the most common. Which cards are used depends on the game played. Cards are numbered from 1 to 12, including the court cards and the aces. Cards 1 through 9 are often pip-only, showing the proper count of the suit’s symbol. The 10s depict el sota, the page. The 11s depict el caballo (literally: the horse), the knight. And the 12s depict el rey, the king. (The 52 count deck includes a reina, queen, under the king and adjusts the numbering accordingly.) Each figure holds the symbol of the suit.

Baraja Azteca: The Five of each suit.
Baraja Azteca: Fives.

The four suits are los bastos (clubs), los oros (literally: golds)(coins), las espadas (swords), and las copas (cups). The four suits are regarded as representing four levels of society. The bastos represent the lowest classes, the peasants. The oros represent the merchant classes. The espadas represent the military. And the cups represent the church. They may for colorful play on the table, and are widely and cheaply available.

Baraja Azteca: Card Back & Case.
Baraja Azteca: Price includes this handy clear plastic case.

The Baraja Española is also used as a cartomancy deck in the same way poker playing cards, tarot cards, and Lenormand cards are used for divination. Each reader has their own set of interpretations that were often handed down in private traditions. As such, sets of meanings greatly differed not only between countries, but even within local regions. No two readers used the same set of meanings unless they learned from the same teacher. And even then, as they felt led by their personal beliefs, those meanings shifted over time.

I had originally used a 40-card set of meanings when using the Baraja Española on the Three More Cards tumblog. As I start using the Baraja Española here on Noxporium, I will be using the 48-card set instead. My 40-naipe set focuses on mundane affairs and is a subset of the 48-naipe. The eight additional cards reflect spiritual or religious concerns (as the Querent requires), and add a layer of nuances to the reading when they appear.

Baraja Azteca: Ones & Courts.
Baraja Azteca: Ones & Courts.