Updated: June 13, 2021
Tarot is a deeply personal form of divination and self-healing, and so there are many different answers to how to shuffle and lay out Tarot cards, from very simple to highly elaborated rituals. Over time each practitioner of the Tarot develops its own particular style, but if you are just starting to explore the Tarot you may find it useful to consider the following possibilities of how to shuffle and lay out Tarot cards.
Rituals To Start A Tarot Reading
In order to attract the right energies to a Tarot reading and create the right mental attitude, many people find it useful to say a small prayer, light a candle and possibly burn some incense or aromatic oil that is beneficial for meditation and clairvoyance. You will need a flat surface to lay out the cards, such as a coffee table, which you can cover using the same silk cloth that can be used later to wrap the cards and protect them from negative energies. Clear your mind and focus on the cards, relax and try to leave the noise and activity of your day to day life behind for a while.
Shuffling The Cards
While focusing on your question, shuffle the cards (or make the querent do it, if the reading is for somebody else). Most people prefer to use their non dominant hand to do this, as it puts the cards under the influence of your subconscient or higher self. There’s not a fixed amount of times the cards should be shuffled, just until they feel right, but it’s important to keep them face down, and focus on the question at hand.
Once the deck feels right many practitioners make two cuts on it, and split it on three piles. The first card on each pile can then turned around and read from left to right as the past, present and future of the situation. After doing so, the cards should be placed facedown again in a single pile, and the required cards for the spread should be selected.
Laying Out Tarot Cards
Is it possible to just deal the top cards of the pile one after the other in the positions marked by the selected spread, but many people feel more comfortable just choosing cards with which energy they resonate. To do so, spread the cards face down on the table or as a fan on your hand, and pass your fingers over them picking up cards that feel different. Some people claim that the right cards are hotter and have some kind of energy coming out of them, while others just let their mind focus on the question and pick up random cards.
Place each card facedown on the positions required by the spread until all of them are filled, and set aside the remaining cards.
After A Tarot Reading
Some Tarot practitioners like sorting the cards in ascending or descending order after a reading, to cleanse them of its energies. Tarot decks are often wrapped on silk or velvet cloth to protect them from outside influences and negative energies, but a wooden box or a small Tarot bag can often be used as well. Over time you’ll develop a taste for what rituals and actions fit better with you and your particular style of reading and understanding Tarot spreads, creating your own individual rules about how to shuffle and lay out Tarot cards.