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I have read many different ways to cut the deck. The only one I follow is to cut with your left hand. I deal with my right hand, so I feel cutting with the left gives the deal some balance. I also cut into 3 piles. The most common admonition is to cut with the left hand into 3 piles to the left. It works for me, but I don't doubt some other method would work as well, this is just the way I learned.

 

Large cards such as Thoth, Rohrig and Voyager present problems to those with smaller hands. You can try shuffling them from the sides, vice the long way. You can also try swishing them around on a table (make sure it is clean), or on your bed. Like poker cards, Tarot cards wear with time. I still have my first Motherpeace deck and while it is a little "thick", I have not been able to bring myself to part with it. If you read for others though, you probably will not make a good impression with a deck so worn and fat that it is difficult to shuffle. My old friend is reserved for my personal use only.

 

Another question that comes up is whether to deal the cards face up or face down. I deal face up, because I like to get a feel for the spread as a whole, but some people find it distracting. They feel that they start forming impressions before they have the whole spread dealt. Dealing face down avoids this.

 

I think that we sometimes get too tied up in the ritual and "doing things right" and forget that Tarot should be a relaxing, enlightening experience, vice a nervous ordeal because we are trying to shuffle in a way we are not familiar with, trying to remember the right way to cut, the proper invocation etc. Relax, get the cards well mixed and read.

To some this seems very elementary, but I see questions on shuffling posted quite frequently in my on-line travels. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to shuffle. I think the important thing is to be calm, keep your question in mind, and use whatever method you normally use to mix the deck.

 

Some readers feel Tarot cards should never be shuffled perse, but rather mixed by holding the deck in one hand and pulling cards from various parts of the deck and re-inserting them with the other over and over until you feel they are well mixed. Personally I shuffle them like a poker deck, 3 or more times. Why 3? I don't know, it just seems like a good minimum. I usually shuffle 4-5 times, but never less than 3. If the deck is new, I shuffle at least 11 times. I read somewhere that statistically speaking, it takes 11 shuffles to get a 78 card deck in random order. One day when I'm really bored, I'll do the math for myself and verify this.

 

If you don't use reversals, you should be careful to keep the cards all in the same direction. This is difficult with some decks, because it is impossible to tell the direction from the back. Getting a few cards reversed is not a tragedy, just flip them over. If you do like to use reversals, turn one pile of the deck over once or twice while shuffling.

When first starting out understanding tarot cards it is useful to undertake simple readings to familiarise yourself and to become in tune with readings.


Here is the first simple card setup. It's definitely simple: One Card a Day. Yep, just one card to begin with. It's always necessary to focus, to put your mind to the task of asking for and receiving a message.


So find your serene place, geographically and mentally. Shuffle your deck. Shuffle as long as you like, and use that shuffling to consider what you want to receive a message about. Maybe you just want some general wisdom, or maybe you wonder what you need to know to understand your love life, or your next career move. But while you're shuffling, find your question. Then cut the deck into three piles, and restack them into one.


You're ready now to pick your one card. There are three ways you can do this; in all three, the cards are face down, and of course you choose only one method at a time:


i)Fan the deck out so you can see the edges of all 78 cards. Run your hand (preferably the left) across the fanned deck, eyes closed, until you feel your fingers are over the the right card. Put your finger down, open your eyes, and pick up the card the finger is on.


ii)Cutting the deck. For this, you must first determine whether you're going to go for the card on top of the pile left on the table, or the bottom of the deck in your hand. When you know this, cut the deck with your left hand and pick your card.


iii)The simplest of all: choose the card on top of the deck. For this, you may want to do the initial cutting into three and restacking into one pile three times rather than one. Then, with your left hand, pick the card off the top.


Once the card is picked, read about it. Think about it. Consider how it applies to you. Review your day and see what events might apply to the card. You may pick more than one card a day, of course, if you're so moved. But not more than one card in a sitting." Get to know all 78 stories, one at a time.

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