how to shuffle tarot cards

How to Shuffle Tarot Cards: The Right and Wrong Ways

Latest posts by Lou Siday (see all)

When we begin our Tarot reading journey, there seems to be so much to learn… All the meanings of the cards, the fascinating history of Tarot, and the wide variety of Tarot interpretations.

But, there is also the practical stuff! When you get your first deck in your hands and are ready to start reading, you suddenly think, ‘how am I actually supposed to shuffle these cards?!’.

Thankfully, there is no right way or wrong way or shuffling Tarot cards and there are so many different techniques to use. But, it is still really important to shuffle the cards!

Why Shuffle Tarot Cards is Important

Shuffling your Tarot cards before your reading allows you to connect with the cards and channel your energy. By shuffling the cards, we are focusing on the Tarot and centering ourselves on the art of Tarot reading. It serves as a meditative process, bringing forth the energy within you and focusing your soul on what is in front of you.

When we shuffle the cards, we can bring our minds to the question at hand. What are you wanting to get out of the Tarot reading? Have you got a specific question to ask the cards? While we shuffle, we can contemplate the topics that we are addressing in the reading. There is mindfulness and a pause to shuffle.

When shuffling your Tarot cards, you are able to acknowledge and bring about natural forces. I will often thank the elements when I am shuffling my Tarot cards, and ask them to guide me.

I meditate on my own personal power and my connection with the universe. This is such an important part of Tarot reading, and I truly believe shuffling the cards and bringing yourself into the right mindset makes your Tarot reading skills a million times better.

On a more practical note, shuffling the cards allows us to mix the cards up and therefore bring new ones to the front. It also allows us to get a physical feel of the deck, preparing ourselves for the reading. This makes shuffling especially important with a new Tarot deck! I do, however, advise you to shuffle before every reading.

Top 4 Techniques for Shuffle Tarot Cards

So, shuffling is a necessary part of the Tarot reading process. But, what are the best ways of shuffling the cards?

The Overhand Shuffle

Overhand Shuffle Tarot Cards

This shuffling technique is pretty common for anyone who works with cards. If you ever play card games, this is the kind of shuffle you will do. It is pretty simple and allows you to mix up the cards and meditate.

Hold the deck of cards vertically in your left hand and with your right hand, split the deck and flick the cards downwards into the cards in your left hand. Keep doing this again and again until you feel that the cards are ready to be used.

This is a great way for beginners at Tarot reading. It allows you to get used to the feel of the cards in your hand and means you can shuffle them at whatever speed you like.

Most Tarot readers will use their left hand to hold the cards and this is because the left hand is often associated with spirituality and inner wisdom. However, there is no right way or wrong way with Tarot card shuffling so what feels good for you!

Riffle Shuffle

Riffle Shuffle Tarot Cards

The riffle shuffle is another great way to shuffle your Tarot cards, but it does take practice! With this shuffling technique, you half the deck and take one pile in each hand. You then put the corners together, overlapping, and release the cards.

This allows the cards to mix with each other. It is often seen in card games and casinos, and can look pretty impressive when done well!

This is a really good way to shuffle large Tarot cards that are difficult to shuffle overhand with. However, the ripple shuffle can damage your Tarot cards so don’t overdo it with this shuffling technique.

Pile Shuffle

Pile Shuffle Tarot Cards

The pile shuffle allows you to give the Tarot cards a good shuffle without using too much skill. You simply place all the cards in a messy pile on the floor and mix them all together. Then, when you are ready, you bring all the cards back together.

This technique is great for most Tarot cards, especially the bigger ones or those in odd shapes. It shuffles the cards well and allows you to connect with them in new ways. You may also find yourself drawn to a certain card when doing this shuffle. If this happens, listen to your intuition and pick the card up!

The Cutting the Deck Shuffle

The Cutting the Deck Shuffle Tarot Cards

This shuffling technique is where you cut the deck at random points and put them back in different places. You can cut the deck at different points and place them in piles, and then bring them back in a different pattern.

This is an easy shuffling technique, but I wouldn’t advise you to just use this technique. It allows the cards to be slightly shuffled but does not provide you with a completely new pattern of cards. Because of this, use other ways of shuffling when you first get a new deck and at different points of your Tarot readings.

The Process of Shuffle Tarot Cards

Now we know the techniques of shuffling Tarot cards, we can look at the overall shuffling stage of a Tarot reading and the different things to consider when choosing your Tarot shuffling style.

When to Shuffle Tarot Cards

Firstly, let’s talk about how often we should shuffle or Tarot cards. When you get a new deck, you should always cleanse them. This can be done by passing the deck through sage smoke, blowing on the deck, or gently tapping them.

Then, you must always shuffle your cards. This means that you can connect with your new deck of cards and allow your energy to interact with the cards.

Most Tarot readers will shuffle their cards before every reading. This gives them a pause and a moment to reflect on the Tarot reading process. It is time to meditate and connect with the cards.

I also like to take this time to ask the person who is getting the reading some questions. What are they wanting to know from the cards? Do they want to ask a specific question or have a more general reading?

How often you shuffle the cards is really up to you, but I recommend shuffle them as many times as you can! Having the cards in your hands allows their energy to flow through you, and vice versa.

Who Shuffles the Tarot Cards

Who Shuffles the Tarot Cards

When it comes to Tarot reading, a lot of beginners don’t know if they should shuffle the card, or the client (or the friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers, etc. of the reader whose cards are being read).

A lot of Tarot card readers are superstitious about other people touching their cards, which is completely fine! This means that they prefer to shuffle and draw the cards when reading for other people.

Personally, I prefer to shuffle the cards myself but have the other person pick the cards. This is because I feel they will be drawn to the right cards for them.

However, I know that some readers like the client to shuffle the cards. This is because they will then connect with the cards and link the cards with their energy. It can be part of the process and the reading of the cards.

It really is up to you and your technique in what you choose, there is no right way or wrong way! As you develop your own style of reading, you will find out what works the best for you.

How Long to Shuffle Tarot Cards for

Again, this really does depend on who you are as a Tarot reader and what you need from the reading. If you can focus your mind on the question at hand in a few minutes, this is all the time you need to take. Sometimes, you might want to take longer in order to meditate on the cards, connect your energy, and appeal to the powers of the universe.

The long as the cards get shuffled and you feel ready to read, how long you shuffle the Tarot cards is really up to you!

How to Select Tarot Cards for Readings

How to Select Tarot Cards for Readings

Shuffling and selecting the Tarot cards for readings go hand in hand. Sometimes a reader will choose to select Tarot cards during the shuffle, allowing the shuffle to guide their choices.

Selecting Cards Using the Overhand Shuffle

An easy way to select cards for either you or your client is to use the overhand shuffle. As you are shuffling the cards, ask the deck your question.

Flick the cards down towards the front of the deck and, once all the cards have been put back in the deck, pick the card that has come to the front. You can do this as many times as you like until you get the number of cards that you need for the reading.

When doing this shuffling technique to read the cards, certain cards will likely jump out of the deck. You may wish to put these cards back in the deck, but I think these cards are jumping out for a reason!

If a card jumps out of the deck, bring it forward and take a look at the message. Does it mean anything to you right now? Is it answering your questions?

Selecting Cards by Cutting the Deck

This way of selecting Tarot cards to read is pretty simple. You place the deck down on a table and cut the deck at a certain point. You then turn over the top card from where you cut the deck. You can repeat the process as many times as you like until you get the number of cards you need to understand what the universe is telling you.

This method is great because it is simple and easy. It also means that either you or the client can select the cards for the reading!

Selecting Cards by Fanning the Deck

Selecting Cards by Fanning the Deck

Personally, this is my favorite way of selecting cards during a Tarot reading. After shuffling the cards, you fan the deck out in front of you, facing the client.

This method looks good and allows all the Tarot cards to be available to pick. You may prefer to pick the cards for your client or ask the client to pick them themselves. When I read cards for people, I will ask them to pick cards out of the fan that they are drawn to.

This method is a great way for you or the client to really feel the energy of the cards and allow their intuition to come forward. You can take time picking the cards this way, thus being able to further discuss the answers that you are looking for from the universe.

How to Shuffle Tarot Cards: FAQs

I really hope this guide has helped you understand why shuffling is an important part of the Tarot reading process and the different ways in which you can shuffle your Tarot cards. Let’s look at some FAQs about shuffling Tarot cards that you might have.

Question: Are You Supposed to Shuffle Tarot Cards?

Answer: You are supposed to shuffle Tarot cards before readings. This is because when you shuffle the Tarot cards, you are connecting your energy with the energy of the cards. It is also a time for meditation and reflection on what you are wishing to learn during the reading.

Question: How Can I Shuffle Tarot Cards without Bending them?

Answer: Certain shuffling techniques, such as the riffle shuffle, runs the risk of bending and damaging the cards. If this is something you are worried about, I would advise you to use other Tarot shuffling techniques.

Question: What Is the Correct Way of Shuffling Tarot Cards?

Answer: There is in the right or wrong way of shuffling cards Tarot. As long as you are handling the cards with respect, you can shuffle them whichever way you choose.

Question: Who Should Shuffle the Tarot Cards?

Answer: Either the reader or the client can shuffle the Tarot cards.

Question: When Should You Stop Shuffling Tarot Cards?

Answer: You should stop shuffling the Tarot cards when you feel connected with the deck and centered on the reading.

Question: Will Tarot Cards Get Reversed During a Shuffle?

Answer: When you shuffle the Tarot cards, some might get reversed. However, this isn’t a bad thing! All cards have a meaning when reversed and these meanings as just as important as the upright ones.


Tarot reading is an art form and an amazing way to be guided both spiritually and emotionally. There are so many parts of the Tarot reading process, from understanding the deep meanings of the cards, to how to look after your Tarot decks, to how to shuffle your deck.

All these different things are super important in learning how to read Tarot cards! I really hope this guide has helped you learn the process of shuffling your Tarot cards in order to get the readings that you are needing.

Continue reading:

Beginners Guide to Tarot Spreads

Minor Arcana Tarot Suits Explained

The Major Arcana Tarot Explained: Cards and Meanings

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