How to Shuffle Tarot Cards | PsychicWorld

How to Shuffle Tarot Cards

Curious about what tarot cards are and perfecting the art of shuffling? Grab your deck and discover the ins and outs of this ancient practice.

Remember, it's more than just mixing cards. Shuffling the tarot is all about connecting with the energies around us and within the cards. Each card is unique, just like each reading should be, and shuffling is the key to ensuring that uniqueness.

Join us as we explore how to shuffle tarot cards, ensuring that the magic unfolds seamlessly in your hands each time you take it to the table.

A woman fortune teller holding a deck of tarot cards in her hands begins to shuffle it.

How to prepare for tarot card shuffling

Once you understand how to read tarot cards, you can enhance your experience by following simple steps to prepare for shuffling the deck. These are the three we recommend:

  1. Clear your mind

    Start by giving yourself a mental reset. Take a moment to let go of any distractions or preoccupations. It's like sweeping away the mental clutter to make room for the energies at play.
  2. Create a calm environment

    Choose a serene and comfortable space for your tarot exploration. Dim the lights, light a candle, or infuse the air with soothing smells or music. This isn't just about reading cards; it's about crafting an ambiance that invites the spiritual.
  3. Connect with your cards

    Hold your tarot deck in your hands, feel the weight of the cards, and appreciate the intricate artwork. This simple act is more than just a physical connection. It's about acknowledging the unique energy each card carries.

    By taking this trio of steps, you're naturally tuning into a deeper psychic frequency, setting the stage for a focused and open-minded approach to the shuffle.

    In this state, you open yourself to universal guidance and insights, fostering receptivity during your tarot card reading.

    The Hanged Man: Major Arcana tarot cards with multiple cards surrounding them.

The most common way to shuffle tarot cards

The most common way to shuffle a tarot card deck is the "overhand shuffle". The overhand shuffle is straightforward and allows for a personal touch, making it an ideal choice for tarot enthusiasts at any skill level.

Here's a step-by-step guide that everyone, from beginners to seasoned readers, can follow:

  1. Start by holding the tarot deck in one hand. Use your dominant hand if you have a preference.
  2. With the deck in your hand, use your thumb to hold the deck against the side of your palm. The bottom edge of the deck rests against your palm, while your fingers support the top edge.
  3. Use your other hand to pull a small group of cards from the top of the deck with your fingers. The number of cards you pull is based on your comfort, but typically, it's about a third of the deck.
  4. Let the pulled cards fall into your waiting hand. Continue pulling small groups of cards from the top and letting them fall into your hand, effectively shuffling the deck.
  5. As you get more comfortable, try blending the cards by allowing the groups to intermingle during the shuffle. This helps ensure a good mix of the cards.
  6. Repeat the process until you feel satisfied that the cards are shuffled. Some readers prefer a specific number of shuffles until they intuitively feel it's right.

Why not enhance your overhand shuffle skills by experimenting with some of the best card spreads designed for beginners?

Fortune reader shuffling cards in her hands. Tarot cards face down on a table near a crystal ball and burning candles.

Other ways to shuffle tarot cards

In addition to the traditional overhand shuffle, seekers have several alternative methods to shuffle their tarot cards before engaging in a psychic chat. Here are techniques to explore:

Washing or scrambling

Spread the cards across a flat surface and mix them up by moving them around with your hands. This casual method is used to boost the sense of touch with the cards and is sometimes employed before more formal shuffling.

Tarot waterfall

Hold the deck parallel to the ground and let cards fall from one hand to another, creating a visually appealing waterfall effect. Similar to washing or scrambling, this method encourages a loose and relaxed connection with the deck.

Riffle shuffle (or Faro shuffle)

This classic shuffle involves splitting the deck into two halves and interweaving the cards together. While it adds a touch of intricacy to the shuffle, it may require some practice to avoid bending the cards.


A simple and effective method of “Cuts” shuffling involves dividing the deck into two and either reversing their order or placing a segment in the middle to create a new deck order, introducing an element of randomness.

Pile shuffle

This deliberate technique allows for a conscious distribution of cards by dividing the deck into smaller piles and stacking them one on top of the other.

Hindu shuffle

Hold the deck in one hand and use the other to take small amounts of cards from the top before dropping them back onto the pile. This gentler shuffle is often used in combination with other methods.

Experiment with each of these tarot card shuffling techniques to find what feels most comfortable, intuitive, and successful for you.

A fortune reader with green tarot cards on a white wooden table background. Concept of divination.

Many seekers combine multiple methods in their reading practices, enhancing their familiarity with the art form. The key is to land on a method that speaks to you and strengthens the connection with the cards.


Why do we shuffle tarot cards?

We shuffle the deck in tarot card readings for several reasons:

  • Shuffling is an opportunity for the reader to concentrate on the question or issue at hand, enhancing the guidance-seeking process.
  • Shuffling allows for a personal and spiritual connection with the cards, deepening the engagement in the reading.
  • Shuffling prevents biases or patterns from influencing the reading by ensuring the cards' order is random.
  • The act of shuffling symbolically represents the chaos and unpredictability of life. Tarot readings, as an art, bring clarity by navigating through this chaos.
  • Tarot decks may absorb energies from previous readings; shuffling helps clear these energies, ensuring a fresh and untainted reading.

If the idea of clearing energy resonates with you, engaging in aura-cleansing practices can be valuable too.

In summary, shuffling is anything but mechanical. It is a ritualistic and intentional process that adds power to the overall energy and effectiveness of the tarot reading, quieting the chaos and providing much-needed clarity.

Is there a right or wrong way to shuffle tarot cards?

There’s no right or wrong way to shuffle tarot cards. It's all about personal preference, comfort, and the energy you want to bring to the reading. Readers often develop their techniques over time, but what truly matters is the intention and connection you infuse into the cards.

However, avoid overly forceful shuffling to maintain the cards in good condition and prevent bending or damage. Forceful shuffling, with a strong hand or intent, might also create an energy around the reading that could potentially introduce obstacles or “blocks”, which is not ideal for a smooth and insightful experience.

How we pose questions to tarot cards can influence our experience too. It's helpful to dedicate time to refining this practice and exploring the types of questions that can be asked to the tarot to elevate your experience from start to finish.

How long do you need to shuffle tarot cards for?

In tarot card reading, the key is the intent and energy you invest rather than the timeframe. Shuffling the deck doesn't follow a set time, it's about sensing the right moment for you. Some readers have a preferred number of shuffles, while others continue until they feel a sense of readiness.

Trust your intuition in this process. If you sense a strong urge to stop shuffling or if a card falls out during the shuffle, consider these as potential signals that the deck is ready to be read.

If I’m reading for others, should they shuffle?

Who should shuffle during a tarot card reading can depend on factors like personal preferences, the dynamics of the reading, and the traditions or practices followed by the reader.

Some readers prefer to be the sole shuffler, as it allows them to establish a connection with the cards and attune the deck to the energy of the reading. Some tarot readers let the querent (the person receiving the reading) shuffle, believing it strengthens the querent's connection with the cards, resulting in a more personalized and relevant reading.

Situational factors matter, too; for instance, in virtual readings or when the querent is distant, the reader might shuffle on their behalf, emphasizing the need for clear communication to maintain a connection. Ultimately, when it comes to shuffling the tarot, it’s your choice.

Why not try a free card reading today to find out more?

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