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This post was written by Barbara Moore
on February 16, 2012 | Comments (9)

Shuffling seems like such a mundane part of the whole tarot reading process. But it is an important one and one that may have more important functions than you may think. It also carries decisions that you’ve probably made but never thought about.

Because I believe that every act involved in a tarot reading is symbolic, I encourage people to think about what they do and why. You see, I think that in tarot there are really no set rules. But I don’t believe that you should just “do whatever feels good.” Rather, I think that whatever you do should have meaning, that you should make choices that reflect your beliefs. For example:

1. Probably the main reason we all shuffle is to randomize the cards. How many shuffles does it take to randomize a new deck? After a reading with a seasoned deck? Do you shuffle the same number times every time? If so, how did you decide what number? If not, how do you decide each time?

2. If you believe that shuffling transfers energy necessary to reading into the cards, do you and the querent both shuffle, or just one or the other? Why?

3. Do you cut or have your querent cut the deck? Do you use your non-dominant hand? Why? How many piles do you make? What do you do after…gather them up in a random order, a specific order, or just use one of the piles?

4. After the cards are shuffled, do you deal the cards from the top or have the querent pick the cards from the deck?

If you want, in the comments share your answers to these questions along with how your choices reflect your believes or somehow play a symbolic role in your reading practice.

Reader Comments

Written By Alison Cross
on February 16th, 2012 @ 10:19 am

I read somewhere that in order to properly shuffle cards, you need to do the shuffle process 13 times. So XIII Death could be linked to the act of shuffling properly 😀

Ali x

Written By Courtney Weber
on February 16th, 2012 @ 10:28 am

I shuffle as I listed to the querent describe why they have come for a reading. This puts their energy and their question into the alignment. Often, cards will fly out that reiterate what the querent is saying, as if the deck wants us to know that it is listening. 🙂 I do believe that shuffling transfers the energy into the cards. I often shuffle and let the querent cut for simple logistics–Tarot cards are big! If you’re not used to shuffling them, it can be complicated. After the cut, I draw from the top. I often have the querent pull from a fanned out spread, too.

Written By Jet Aluna
on February 16th, 2012 @ 10:31 am

I like this, Barbara! You got me thinking…

Written By Mark @sfcpdx
on February 16th, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

Shuffling serves to focus one’s attention and intention – both key elements of a meaningful reading experience.

I spend a good deal of time at the beginning of the session formulating a powerful question and have the client handle the cards as we explore the issue. (Example: http://aletheus.blogspot.com/2005/01/general-guidelines-for-tarot-spread.html )

I ask the person to begin shuffling when they are ready to begin. I also have them turn the cards over and I simply point to where to lay the cards down. I do not touch the cards. This is a way for the client to own the reading more fully.

Nice post. Thank you for sharing.

Written By Mandy
on February 16th, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

You know I was just thinking about this yesterday. Usually, when I read for a client face to face, I let them shuffle and it works. However, when I want to read via email I feel I need to set a “ritual” per say in order to connect to their energy. I feel like sometimes if I do not solidly afirm that I am reading for a particular person, the cards that are layed often are for me and not them. I hope to read more people’s comments to get an idea on how to handle this for myself.

Written By Velvet Angel-Sharon
on February 16th, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

I don’t have a specific number for how many times to shuffle, I just shuffle until I get that “feeling” that it’s time to stop. I also use two different ways of shuffling the cards each time — the poker style (only gently) and mixing them up within my hands randomly.

When I first started reading Tarot years ago, I had the hardest time deciding what was “right” for cutting the cards, especially since I do email/online readings. I kept reading about how one should do what felt right, but it seemed I thought I needed a directional guide. Finally I really did find what felt good to me. I use the numeric value of one’s birth date to determine where in a deck of 78 cards to cut. For example, if someone was born March 15th, 1962, I would add up 3 (for March) + 15 (for the day), and then 49 (their current age). 3+15+49=67. So for that seeker, I would draw off the first 67 cards (actually easier in this case to take off the bottom 11 cards), and that is my cutting point.

That might sound strange, I know, but it’s what feels genuinely “right” for me personally. And since establishing that method, I never worried again about whether I was shuffling and cutting “right” or not. I finally “got it” about what readers meant when they said we needed to do what felt right for us. And I think my whole problem was — like you mentioned in your post — I wanted my method that felt right to also have meaning for me.

Great post, Barbara! Thank you for sharing with us!

Velvet (a.k.a. Sharon)

Written By Arwen
on February 16th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

I use shuffling to get myself into the right space. If I am reading face to face, then I give the cards to my client. Otherwise, I cut as though I were them.

Written By sewanhaka
on February 19th, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

I am trying to decided if i want to get back into doing reading. My last reading was in 1986 for a friend of a friend. I let him shuffle the cards, had him pick out five when he was ready and for him to lay them out in the order he want and then turn them over. I don’t remember the cards but the reading was someone very closed to him, friend, relative, was not treating him right and would leave with items not theirs. I asked my friend several weeks later where he was and she told me his live in girlfriend left him two weeks after the reading with his car and everything he had in the bank. So, having him shuffle, pick and place and turn showed to be more accurate then when I shuffled.

Written By Melissa M
on November 1st, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

I’ve been “mixing the cauldron” for shuffling, which means putting all the cards face down in a big pile and mixing them up with your hands until it feels right to stop. Then I cut the cards into four piles with my left hand (which helps tap into my subconscious), randomly arrange the piles back into one big deck and draw my cards from the top. I’ve been getting very accurate readings with this method.

But to add to my post, i never was good at shuffling playing cards for my father when i was younger for his poker games, so this might be why i shuffle like this.

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