How to Expertly Shuffle Your Tarot Cards

Posted on March 05, 2021

Three tarot cards sit on a wooden table after being shuffled.

If you’ve ever tried to shuffle a deck of brand new Tarot cards fresh from the box, you know that it’s not quite as simple as it would appear.

When faced with these larger-than-standard cards, we may expect to expertly wield them like a blackjack dealer, fluttering through our fingers with grace and magic, only to have the deck go flying in every direction when we actually begin to shuffle.

And if you’re planning to read for other people, you may even feel a bit embarrassed when cards hit the floor.

Today we’ll review the real purpose of shuffling Tarot cards and offer a few simple techniques for working with these cards with ease!

Want to see Tarot shuffling in action? Watch our video How to Shuffle Your Tarot Deck!

Why We Shuffle Tarot Cards

The truth is, shuffling tarot cards takes a bit of practice. Larger than standard playing cards, a traditional tarot Tarot deck may feel uncomfortable or strange in your hands, especially if you’re just starting.

But the purpose of shuffling Tarot cards for a reading is not to impress clients with fancy bridges or elaborate techniques.

Instead, the process of shuffling includes focusing on your intentions, tapping into your intuitive magic, and clarifying whatever question you are bringing to the reading. In other words, we shuffle Tarot cards to ground and connect.

What are we bringing to the cards? What are we looking for?

There are many myths around Tarot cards, many “rules” that dictate when, how, and why we work with them.

Rather than worry about using your left hand or shuffling only on silk fabric, pay attention instead to the intention you are bringing to the cards. As long as you mix the deck well and give yourself a moment to get centered and focus your energy, you can’t do this part incorrectly.

Make sure to check out: 4 Easy Ways to Bond With Your Tarot Deck

Methods For Shuffling Tarot Cards

There are so many different ways to shuffle tarot cards, but here are a few of my favorites.

The Riffle Shuffle Method

When most people think about shuffling cards, particularly in games like poker or blackjack, this technique is likely what they think of.

To use a riffle shuffle, split the deck into two halves and neaten them so that you can easily hold one half in each hand. Lay the stacks on a surface in front of you, with the two bottom corners facing you.

Use your thumbs to lift these two inner corners, then let the cards fall together so that both stacks are overlapping and intermixed. Then, you can pick up the stacks and push them together until you have one pile again.

The Overhand Shuffle Method

An easier technique to master, many Tarot readers prefer this method for more delicate card sets, particularly when using older or fragile decks.

To shuffle overhand, hold the full deck in one hand, and use the other hand to pull a section of cards away from the bottom of the stack. Drop the cards either on the other end of the deck or let your first hand loosen your grip on the cards so that you can allow the cards to fall together in a more random order, consolidating them into one full stack again.

The Go Fish Shuffle Method

The go fish shuffle is a fun and simple way to mix the Tarot cards. This works particularly well for those with limited flexibility or strength in their hands.

Lay the cards down on a surface, then use your hands to mix them up in a big pile.

Let the cards slip and slide underneath each other without worrying too much about which direction they are pointed in. When you’re ready to select your cards for the reading, you can grab them from anywhere in the pile.

The Sectioning Shuffle Method

An easy way to divide and recombine the Tarot cards, the sectioning method is done by laying the full deck down on a surface, then cutting the cards into multiple stacks.

Once you have two or three separate piles, combine them back together by setting these stacks on top of each other in a different order.

You might also really like: What is Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread?

Try Shuffling Your Tarot Deck!

Remember, there’s no wrong way to shuffle Tarot cards!

You can use one or several of the methods above or find your own way. Handle the cards with respect and care, but don’t be afraid to use them. Tarot cards are durable enough to take a proper shuffle.

I highly recommend trying different shuffling techniques and seeing what feels good for you and which methods allow you to focus on your question rather than worrying about how you’re mixing the cards.

With a bit of practice, you will find a way of shuffling that feels right and you can then apply that method to your regular readings.

What is your favorite way to shuffle Tarot cards? Do you have different techniques for different decks? Are there any methods of mixing that you never use?

Want to see Tarot shuffling in action? Watch our video How to Shuffle Your Tarot Deck!

Did you enjoy this article? Please share it with your friends!

Meg Jones Wall (she/her) is a queer photographer, writer, and tarot reader based in NYC. She is a columnist and contributor at Autostraddle, shares daily card studies and original… Learn More About The Author »

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