Before you can read your tarot cards, you’ll need to do a bit of shuffling. Shuffling tarot cards helps to ground, balance, and connect you to the Source. It gives you an opportunity to focus your energy on your query and really hone into yourself and the energies around you. If you just pull a random card, your reading is going to be lackluster.
When it comes to shuffling tarot cards, you have a few options. Namely top-down shuffling, cutting the deck, riffling, and regrouping. We’ll also cover how you should go about selecting a card from your shuffled deck and what you should do about jumpers. Learn how to shuffle tarot cards quickly and effectively using this guide.
There are four main ways to shuffling tarot cards. (Unless you’re harboring some secret tarot shuffling tricks. Please share!) We recommend trying each one on separate occasions to determine which feels right for you.
1. Top-Down Shuffling or Overhand Shuffling
Top-down or overhand shuffling is a beginner-friendly way to shuffle your tarot cards. To do this:
- Start by holding the deck in one hand—I use my non-dominant hand.
- Pick up a section of the back part of the deck and drop it a few piles at a time to the front of the deck.
- Repeat this 5 to 7 times.
Simple as that! Check out this video for a visual walkthrough of overhand shuffling.
2. Cutting the Deck or Pile-Style
With cutting the deck you will split the tarot deck into piles then bring them back together. Do this multiple times and then select your card.
This is a great style of shuffling to combine with the overhand or bridge shuffle.
3. Riffle, Bridge Shuffle or Casino Style Shuffling
The riffle or bridge shuffle is probably the most iconic and visually well-known form of shuffling for tarot cards and playing cards. It requires you to cut the deck in half and then bring them back together at one end, usually the short end although the long end can be used as well.
This is what I would consider a more difficult form of shuffling. It’s one I’ve never gotten the hang of myself. It also makes me nervous when working with my more delicate decks. If you do choose to bridge shuffle, take care your deck is not too fragile for this form of shuffling.
4. Scramble and Regrouping
With scrambling and regrouping, you will spread or scramble your deck on the table in front of you. Then you will bring the deck back together using a different motion or direction than which you used to spread it. Do this a few times or start with this method and finish up shuffling with one of the other methods mentioned in this article.
5. Mix It Up!
Don’t feel limited to one way of shuffling. Mix up your shuffling during the same reading as you feel called to do. This may mean combining the overhand shuffling with the bridge or any other combination.
Selecting a Card
You’ve shuffled. Now it’s on to the payoff, the exciting part, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Draw your cards, lovely.
Here’s how you can go about selecting a tarot card.
Fanning the Deck
Fan the deck out in front of you. Now, moving your hand slowly over the deck, use your intuition and the energies around you to guide you to a card. Whichever card ‘pulls’ on you is obviously trying to get your attention for a reason. Select it.
Repeat this for as many cards as you need for your spread.
Pulling From the Top (Or Bottom)
At the end of shuffling you will have your deck in a stack. Instead of fanning your deck in front of you, you could simply draw a card (or cards) from the top or bottom of the deck.
The interesting thing here comes down to which end you draw from. It’s much more common to draw from the top. However, it is an established practice for some tarot card readers to pull the bottom card. This bottom card has a few names: the shadow card, ‘base’, or ‘foundation card’.
Some readers use this foundation card to set the tone for their reading. Others use it to identify hidden aspects of a situation. It can help the reader delve into the subconscious thoughts and feeling surrounding the situation.
Generally, if you pull a shadow card you will only pull one. But there are readers who do the entire reading from the bottom of the deck. It’s a bit overwhelming when you begin to compare practices, but it just shows you that you can make your practice your own. Go with your gut!
Read Jumping Cards
Here we go! I’d be completely lying if I said I didn’t love reading jumpers.
Jumpers are cards that seem to fly up out of your deck, landing on the floor or nearly ejecting themselves from the deck in your hand. These cards want you to see them. They’re saying, “Me! Me! Me!” And often, you’ll find they answer the question that’s been on your mind as your shuffling.
I take jumping cards seriously. In fact, some of my best readings have come from a jumper hopping their way out of my deck.
Is There a Right Way to Shuffle Oracle Cards?
There’s no wrong way to shuffle tarot cards unless you’re throwing them at a wall and hoping one will stick. We don’t recommend that method. (Be nice to your tarot decks, people!) And just like there’s no wrong way to shuffling tarot cards, there’s no wrong way either. We recommend you try out a few ways and go with which feels more natural to you. Don’t force yourself to riffle just because that’s what your psychic does when you go in for readings.
How Long Should You Shuffle Tarot Cards For?
Shuffle your cards at least seven times, especially with a new tarot deck. Seven times will help to truly mix the cards together (It’s also a pretty cool number in numerology). If you are riffle shuffling, you may want to shuffle less than seven times—that’s okay, too!
Learning How to Shuffle Tarot Cards
Don’t get frustrated if the shuffling is going badly. Make your way through this list of shuffling options. Try out riffling for a few readings then jump to scrambling and regrouping. You never know which way to shuffle is the right way for you. In fact, many people will shuffle differently depending on the deck they are using.
Me? I’m sticking with my overhand shuffling. It’s comfortable, natural, and feels right. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t turn to scrambling and regrouping and cutting the deck occasionally.
You may find you like to shuffle differently when you read for your personal readings versus reading for others. I prefer overhand shuffling for my personal readings and cutting the deck when I do read for others.
How do you shuffle your tarot cards? Let us know!