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.
I am listing directional attributes of the suits by various authors. You should chose one that supports your personal beliefs or which feels right to you.
Wands = South, Cups = West, Swords = East, Pentacles = North (Vicki Noble, "Motherpeace Tarot", Mary Greer "Tarot for Yourself", Connelly,"Tarot a New handbook for the Apprentice", Jana Riley "The Tarot handbook")
Wands = East, Cups = North, Swords = West, Pentacles = South Wands = South, Cups = West, Swords = East, Pentacles = North (Witchcraft) Wands = East, Cups = North, Swords = West, Pentacles = South (Astrology) (Gail Fairfield, "Choice Centered Tarot"
Surprisingly, these were the only lists I could find. I thought some of the older esotericists (Papus, et al) would have something since they tended to like lists of attributes, but I didn't find anything :(
Tarot relies heavily on symbolism. Esoteric decks, such as Thoth and to a lessor extent, the Waite-Smith make use of every symbol on every card. This is why I always recommend you purchase the book written specifically for your deck if one is available. It will usually explain the designer's use of symbolism in the deck. A dictionary of symbols is also an excellent tool for discerning deeper meanings in the cards. It is especially useful for decks which have no separate book available.
For an example where having the book enhances the interpretation, let's look at the six of wands in "The Witches Tarot" The card shows a woman kneeling in a forest clearing with six branches on the ground before her in two horizontal groups of three. If you look in the booklet that comes with the deck you find "Illumination, realization of bigger things...", but if you look in Reed's book "The Witches Tarot: The Witches Cabala Two" you read that the branches are laid in the I-Ching hexagram Ch'ien Ch'ien. This gives you further insight into what the designer was trying to convey.
Using the Waite-Smith deck, let's examine the same card. We see a man on a horse carrying a staff with a laurel wreath on top. If we look up laurel in a dictionary of symbols we find "Triumph, victory", so even if we did not have Waite's book we could get an idea of what the card meant from the symbolism augmented by the picture, which also suggests a triumphant march. If we were not sure of the type of wreath, and looked up the word "wreath", we find "..glory, victory, supremacy..." which still conveys the meaning. If you look in the bibliography of most modern Tarot books, you will probably find at least one dictionary of symbols listed. They are especially useful for understanding cards that you have difficulty with.
Over the many years that I have been consulting with a psychic medium and speaking with friends/family and others about my experience, a common concern is always raised. People say "I don't want to hear bad things" "I don't want to hear that I'm going to die". Over the past 6 years, I have never had a medium directly tell me that my Papa, Nan, friend or client was going to die. A good psychic medium will not only not tell you this information but they will more than likely not be given that information.
The psychic medium that I have been seeing for over 6 years is simply that. A medium. She receives the messages from my angels (passed over friends and relatives) and communicates them to me. A good medium who is bound by the "code of ethics" will never ever tell you someone is going to die or anything similar. I have had an experience in which my medium used a keyword, that at the time did not mean anything to me but once I received the news that my Papa had passed.. it all made sense. This did not bring my distress, but comfort in its own weird way.
So please do not be afraid to consult with a psychic medium if you wish to get some assistance with your journey. I would also suggest that if you are not comfortable with your choice of mediums or you feel that they are breaking the 'code of ethics'... end the session.
Love and light
All readers have cards they dislike (some of them are fives). This exercise helps one see the full potential in every card. Chose the 3 cards from the deck you dislike the most. Now brainstorm and come up with five good or positive things about each card. This is pretty difficult, but you might be surprised at the things you come up with. The first few are fairly easy. In the Waite-Smith 5 of cups for example, there are still two cups left standing, all is not lost; the person in the card has a warm cloak and good solid shoes, which seems to say his physical needs are taken care of; there is "water under a bridge", which suggests that whats done is done and that he should let go, pick up his two remaining cups and get on with his life. I'm sure you all can come up with others.
Many Tarot books and readers warn against reading for yourself. The common thread in this argument is that it is difficult to be objective and that one tends to see what one wants to see rather than what is really there. That is a real danger, however I think reading for yourself can be most helpful, particular in seeing options that you might not have come to on your own. You have to keep all possible meanings in mind when reading for yourself and then decide which one fits best realistically, not hopefully. Reading for yourself can help you change the outcome of a situation, by showing you where things are headed presently and what you can do to change them.
I try to read for myself everyday. It gives me an idea of where the day is headed and how things are going with me on an intellectual, physical and spiritual level. I usually use one of the two following spreads, depending on my mood.
Mind, Body, Spirit: I spread three cards from left to right, with the first representing my mental state, the second my physical state and the third my spiritual state.
Past, Present, Future: Again I spread three cards from left to right with the first representing the recent past or events that have lead up to the present, the second card representing today, and the third card representing the near future. I sometimes use this spread in reference to a problem I am working on or a project or situation I am dealing with, whether at work or at home. It is short and to the point. If I feel I need additional information, I just deal more cards on the cards to clarify the one that is giving me difficulty. For both spreads I also look at the undercurrent card.
This is a reading method I learned from another reader. Whenever she does a reading, she throws whatever spread she is going to use and then looks at the card left on the bottom of the deck. She calls this card the undercurrent. The undercurrent is what underlies the question. It is the atmosphere in which events are taking place. For example if the querent had a question about a relationship and the 4 of pentacles was on the bottom of the deck, it could be interpreted as someone in the relationship not wanting to let go. Perhaps for financial reasons (very common), for selfish reasons, or for security reasons. It could bean unconscious or unexpressed desire which the querent him/herself is not even aware of. Depending on the rest of the cards thrown, letting go might be the best thing. I find the concept useful and use it in my daily readings.
There are many other methods for reading them as well. The use of reversals is not as prevalent as it once was. Many newer beginner books do not include them at all, however you must do what you feel most comfortable with. Arguments can be made for both sides. If you decide not to use them, bear in mind thateach card has a full spectrum of meanings. For example, the three of cups can mean merriment and celebration, but carried to excess could mean drunkenness, or excessive partying.
Some readers see a progression though the Minor Arcana with Aces representing a beginning, twos further development, threes as planning, fours as practical attainment, fives as unbalance, sixes as harmony, sevens as choices, eights as changes and nines as conclusions. Tens are the ultimate fulfillment of the suit and represent a transition which leads back to the Ace.
Various experts have assigned different progressions to each number. Some are based on numerology and some are not. If you are familiar with numerology, you can apply some of its concepts to Tarot as well.
Find out more about Tarot and the Individual Tarot Cards in the DISCOVER section of this website.
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.