How To Shuffle Tarot Cards
Three suggested methods

This is the first step in a reading and quite possibly one of the most important. Although the technique matters, because you don’t want to look unprofessional with cards flying out in all directions, it’s not as important as the connection and intention. I can’t tell you how shocked I was the first time I watched a Tarot reader shuffle their deck like a casino croupier. I almost wept for the cards! I imagine that some might say that this is also a personal choice, but there is something quite laboured, controlled, methodical and ritualistic in the practice of shuffling the old-fashioned way. The question is formed, the cards are consulted and the answer is revealed. Let me just kick away my soapbox, it’s fair enough to say I’m not a fan of the croupier style!  

Moving on, let’s assume it’s your first Tarot pack. You need to ensure that all suits, including the Major Arcana, are evenly distributed throughout the deck. This will take time and is a good time to practice which style of shuffling feels the most comfortable. If you are a Tarot reader with small hands it can be quite a task holding and shuffling 78 cards without them flying everywhere.  

Here are a couple of techniques to try:

  • Hold the cards on the palm of your non-dominant hand face down, clasp them in your hand and gently feed small quantities from the bottom and place them on the top with your dominant hand.
  • Palm side up, rest one side of the cards on the bottom of your fingers, hold the pack in place with your thumb and raise your fingers to clasp them in place. Now, take small quantities from either the back of the pack and move to the front with your free hand.
  • Some readers even spread them all on the table and then pull them all back into one pile.

The critical point here is to find your style and focus on the question as you consult the cards. The shuffling style will come with practice. If any cards fall out, don’t worry, we call them ‘jumpers’ because they ‘jump’ out to be read. Quietly place the card to one side and continue to shuffle the cards. Mentally ask the cards if they are ready and wait until you feel it’s time to stop. It’s that simple.  

At the right time, stop shuffling and ‘cut and complete’ (divide into two piles and put back together) or cut into three piles and choose one pile for reading. This can be either the client or yourself, it depends whether you are precious about who handles your cards or not. Personally, I shuffle the cards, place the pile in the middle of the table and ask them to divide the pack into three piles and choose one for the reading.  

You can also shuffle the cards and spread them into a fan shape on the table and ask the client to choose however many cards you require for the reading. Place the first card they give you takes position one in the spread.  

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