Maybe I missed something

I’ve started using my tarot cards more lately. It’s because I’m studying the Lenormand cards: I can’t help comparing the two. And because I’m thinking about the tarot more, I’ve been considering dropping in on a local tarot group. Last month, I finally got myself to a meeting, and while I haven’t committed myself to attending from now on, I decided to be a regular for the rest of the summer and see if it’s a good fit.

3 tarot cards

This month, the group was doing practice readings for each other, switching partners halfway through the session. It was a good session to attend, because I’ve mostly read for myself for years now, and I’m out of practice at reading for other people. When you read for yourself, it’s way too easy to get a glimmer of an idea, decide you’re sure this is what the reading is saying, and stop right there. But when you’re reading for someone else, you’ve got to pull that intuition into the world of language and state it in a way that the other person can understand it. For me, that’s half the challenge of the reading. (Just ask any writer how easy it is to express a great idea in words. Uh-huh.)

At this meeting, there were several people there who said they were beginners, and I happened to be paired with two of them that evening. The difference in our reading style was obvious from the start. When I read for someone, I give them the deck and ask them to think about their question while shuffling the cards until they feel like they’ve done it enough. Next, I ask them to cut the deck into three piles. Then I reassemble the deck and lay out the cards.

This was clearly not the process these two women had learned, and when I handed one of them my deck for her reading, she looked like she had no idea what to do with it. They expected to shuffle the deck themselves while I was thinking about the questions. And because both of them expected to do this, I’m wondering if this is how it’s being taught nowadays. It would have been fastest to ask them, but they were both nervous about reading for someone else. I didn’t want to do anything that might suggest I thought they were doing it wrong.

Three days later, I’m still wondering if this would work. At first glance, it seems like the cards would be attuned to the reader instead of the querent, and the reading would focus on some issue of the reader instead of the querent’s. But then again, I did exactly this last month by accident, with spot-on results. I was showing my Lenormand cards to a tarot-reading friend who had no familiarity with them herself. I wanted to show her what a Lenormand reading was like, but it was late, so I wasn’t going to do a real reading. I just shuffled the cards a couple of times,went through the deck to find a focus card that was related to something we’d been talking about earlier that evening, and did a five-card spread with it. What I didn’t know was that she actually did have a question about this matter. My faux reading addressed her question squarely. Yeah, that blew me away. I wish I were that good when I try!

Okay, it can work. And of course, nothing’s forcing me to do readings that way. But I’m intrigued. Is this a new way, or has it been around for forever and I just haven’t heard of it before? That’s entirely possible: there’s so much information out there, but finding it can be hit-or-miss. Often authors suggest not letting just anyone handle your cards, and doing a reading this way would certainly minimize anyone handling them except you. Personally, I’ve never been bothered by people handling my cards, especially when there’s a reading involved. Or to put it another way, the person I don’t want touching my cards, I probably don’t want touching anything of mine, not even a pen.

So, those of you who read the tarot (and/or Lenormand cards), who does the shuffling when you do a reading, you or the querent?

2 thoughts on “Maybe I missed something

  1. My practice is to shuffle the cards up well to start; it feels like this is how I “activate” the cards or turn them “on,” if that makes sense. During the shuffle I think or say to the cards something to the effect of “we’re going to help Jane here today, let’s work together to tell her what she needs to hear.”

    When that feels done, I have the querent hold the cards and sit with their question/situation for a few moments. Then I have them shuffle three times and cut the deck into three piles. Sometimes I will pick which pile we use, sometimes I make them tell me which one to use.


    1. Come to think of it, yes, I’d shuffle the deck a few times before handing it over to someone. Not so much to wake the cards up (and that does make sense), but to clear the deck from the last reading.


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