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Controversial Topics in Tarot

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on September 5, 2013 | Comments (6)

Not long ago, I asked some of my peers and friends if they had any beliefs or practices regarding tarot that might be considered controversial by their fellow tarot readers. Some interesting items came up. The question was sparked by a controversial thought that has been bubbling in the back of my mind for several months now. This month, I’m going to talk about some of the specific items my friends mentioned. I’m going to save my controversial issue for later in the month.

Although I know that different readers had different ideas about shuffling, I didn’t realize that some thought their particular belief would be considered controversial. Specifically, some people felt that their practice of not having the querent shuffle the cards would be seen as outside the normal or proper practice.

I have seen a fair number of books or articles that say that the querent must shuffle the cards in order to put their energy into the reading, but I didn’t know that this was considered normal or most appropriate by the general tarot reading community. This has ramifications for phone/Skype and email readings.

What is your position on this? Do you think there is a commonly accepted method amongst the tarot community? Do you think there is a right and a wrong way? How did you come up with your own method?

As for me, when I write books about tarot, I try to include all the possibilities (reader and querent shuffle, querent only, reader only, reader shuffle and querent cut, etc). When I do readings in person, I always shuffle and never offer the cards to the querent. For me, it has nothing to do with energy and everything to do with wanting to help the querent feel relaxed. Early in my career, I had the querent shuffle, but almost always, it made them nervous, as if they were worried about doing it wrong. So now I shuffle while they talk about their question. Maybe the rhythm of the shuffling helps create a meditative, calming white noise.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Ty Bevington
on September 5th, 2013 @ 8:27 am

I always offer the querent the opportunity to shuffle when I read in person, but I find a lot of them, unless they have a had a reading or 2 before are anxious about doing it ‘wrong’, so I usually end up shuffling, and having the querent cut. I like the querent to put in a little energy signature in the set up, but I don’t believe it is the end of the world if they don’t want to be involved in the process.

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#2 
Written By T.C. Courcelle
on September 8th, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

While trying to determine my own style of reading I decided that I would not let the querent “shuffle,” but would allow him or her to “cut” the deck at some point in the middle of my shuffling. I also vary my card-drawing method dependent on how much time is available. If short on time, or a quick draw at a party event, I will general draw off the top of the deck. If more time and more personal interaction allows, I’ll spread the deck out in a fan and possibly allow the querent to choose their own cards.

I’m with Barbara in that the “talk” time is a good time to shuffle in the background of the conversation as long as it doesn’t intrude on being able to focus on the querent with one’s full attention. I’ve often felt a bit of guilt at this decision to NOT allow the querent to shuffle the deck–particularly when other readers show contempt or shock at the thought of a reader not allowing a querent the “full” participation of fondling a deck.

Here’s something else I do: For every querent that comes into the reading space, I offer them a Wet Ones [sensitive formula] hand wipes with which to “wash” their hands before the reading, and explain that it’s a health and safety precaution against acquiring colds and germs. Frankly, if I’m doing a party event, and I were to let everyone fondle and play with the cards, then I’m just begging for germs to get passed from one individual to another (and to me!). I’m not a germi-phobe at all; but I do think reminding people of best health practices (like washing hands regularly) is important, and gives the impression that I’ve got people’s best interests in mind. If people seem affronted or surprised, I’ll make a little joke about it– “Guacamole on my cards really throws off my intuitive skills!” — but what it really is, is a kind of “saging” and purifying ritual, and it’s okay to explain it like that, too.

There are endless ways to involve the querent and make him or her feel like they’re “participating.” I use a lot of humor in my readings, and–really–presentation is everything. If a reader is being entertaining, and even funny, or heartfelt, and is giving full attention to the querent, the querent is more likely to be satisfied with the experience. In a great reading, the querent won’t even remember that they never ‘touched” the cards.

Thanks for an interesting topic… I’ll look forward to your future “controversy” issue blogs.

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#3 
Written By J.Smith
on September 29th, 2013 @ 8:10 am

I totally feel whichever way suits you and your client is fine, I do all the shuffling for them as I do email readings only at this time and I have never found it necessary to have the client touch the cards at all to do a reading for them , if I were to do face to face reading I would give them the choice. I have never even considered it to be an issue at all because it has always worked for me. Cheers .. Love your work Barbara :)

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