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Your Tarot Manual: Shuffling

Your tarot deck should be mixed to ensure random orderTarot User's Maintenance Manual: Shuffling Your Cards

The most basic technique for you to learn is shuffling your deck. This doesn't have to be a mystical procedure, however shuffling the deck and performing other preparatory rituals will help you to enter the mind state necessary to do readings. These mind states will be covered in later lessons, but for now it is important for you to develop your own shuffling ritual.

There are many theories about the shuffling process such as the theory that your subconscious re-orders the cards while you shuffle to make the ones appear in a reading that your inner self knows should come up. Regardless of what belief you hold, if any, it is important to thoroughly shuffle your cards before and between readings for the simple purpose of mixing them.

In order to insure that your deck is properly mixed, either shuffle the cards at least nine times*, or place them all on a clean surface face down and mix them up by stirring them gently with your hands. The later technique is what I term the "fish bowl" method because all the cards are swirled together in a pool. Take extra care to mix them well and to not bend or crease any cards using this method. If you are able to shuffle the cards as you would a normal deck of playing cards, my technique for shuffling nine times is as follows:

  • Shuffle the cards three times.
  • Divide the deck into three piles and re-stack the three piles in whatever order you are intuitively drawn to.Use three stacks for a traditional technique
  • Shuffle the cards three more times.
  • Divide the deck again into three stacks and then back into one stack in whatever order feels right.
  • Shuffle the cards three more times.
  • For the last 'cut' give the deck to the querent* to re-stack, or if doing a remote reading over the internet or on the phone, you might ask the querent to select the left, middle or right hand stack to be on top of the deck. If you are reading for yourself, again stack the piles back in whatever order feels right to you. During one or all of the cuts into three piles, you may also wish to turn one of the stacks around so it is upside down.

Do the Tarot Deck Shuffle

Shuffling nine times will normally insure a well mixed deck.

Much of the research in extra sensory perception has been discredited because of the use of a deck of +Zenner+ cards or standard playing cards. When cards are used in research, the critics claim that they are not thouroughly shuffled and this in turn does not guarantee their randomness. Allegedly, subjects of experimentation can memorize the 25 cards (Zenner deck) or 52 cards (playing deck) in their general order so that their answers are above average and statistically significant. However, recent research by Dr. Dave Bayer and Dr. Persi Diaconis indicates that shuffling a deck of 52 cards seven times is sufficient to merit randomness.

Most of the studies with Zenner and playing cards show the technicians shuffled these decks over twice that amount. Therefore, many discredited studies may now hold more significance.

Through simple extrapolation, we can see that a tarot deck then would require nine or ten shuffles to be random from your last reading. My preference is to shuffle three times, cut, then shuffle thrice again, cut again, and shuffle one last time leaving the final cut to the querent, or doing it personally.

* A querent, seeker or questioner is the person consulting the cards or asking a question. The reader is also known as the diviner.

The Tarots: The tarot deck divided into three stacks shows the back of a Taroky Hracikarty deck from the Czech Republic.

About the Author
Author: FridayWebsite: http://PaganPath.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Author & Academy Instructor
Friday is devoted to writing books and articles on a variety of Pagan subjects, and is the instructor of the online PaganPath Academy. She has studied and practiced the Craft since 1987, and worked as a professional tarot reader and vice president of a national psychic network for several decades. Currently, she is now a practicing herbalist and ordained minister. As a Master Gardener with a deep interest in permaculture, she is developing the PaganPath Sanctuary with her partner. This long term community project is an edible landscape demonstration, orchard and educational facility for future generations.

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