shuffling tarot cards

How to shuffle your tarot cards

Last Updated: July 26, 2022

We, tarot readers, love to shuffle our tarot cards! It’s all about preparing both our cards and our mind ready for the reading ahead. It allows you to get in touch with your cards, to start tuning in with your intuition, and it gives a moment for your cards to also get in touch with you and your energy – which of course helps gain you more accurate readings, and you’ve got to bond with your beautiful divination tools to get the best out of them! You can shuffle your cards in any which way that feels intuitively the best for you. You can try out as many techniques as you like until you find something that feels comfortable, you don’t have to stick to one technique at all, just trust your gut!

Table of Contents
shuffling tarot deck

4 Tarot Card Shuffling Techniques

  1. A simple card shuffling technique that you’re no doubt familiar with is one that’s used across various cards (think of your regular ol’ pack of playing cards) where you split the deck in half, hold each half in both hands, and flick the edges of each card as you run your thumb upwards along the inner edge and have the cards weave together so you can push them back together into one pile. And repeat for as many times as it feels necessary!
  2. Whilst holding the deck in one hand, you can use the other to take chunks out of the deck and push them back into it in random order. You can take as many cards, or as little, each time and keep repeating.
  3. Another method consists of spreading your cards out on a surface, regrouping them in a random order, and then spread them back out again (you can make it fun and spread them out into shapes or letters if you so wish) and continue doing so until you feel the need to stop.
  4. You can also split your deck into small piles and place them down on your chosen surface, put the piles back together in any random order and then proceed to split the deck again, the piles don’t need to be equal in size, just so long you’re putting them back in a different order each time.

How long should you shuffle your cards for?

There is literally no set time on which you should shuffle your cards for, again it comes down to doing what feels right for you! As long as you’re focusing on your question whilst shuffling then you just stop when it feels right! If you stop and it doesn’t feel quite right then just carry on! Trust your intuition, it will guide you. You can only go wrong if you don’t feel fully connected with what you’re doing, so make sure you’re in the right headspace, you’ll know when it stops shuffling. Sometimes your eye falls hard onto a specific card, or your hands don’t want to pull any more cards out. 

How many times should you shuffle your cards?

When it comes to how many times you shuffle your tarot, it can be as many times as you like – you can’t ‘over shuffle’ your tarot cards. The more you handle them the better, and whilst it is true that you can easily handle your cards outside of readings just to be able to bond with them if during one session you only feel the need to shuffle a few times – don’t worry about it! You were clearly only meant to shuffle them a few times for the sake of that reading. Don’t feel like you need to handle them loads if you don’t feel the need to at that time. 

Though for each question you have you are best off shuffling the cards again, but if you want the cards to elaborate on your current question then you don’t necessarily have to shuffle again, you can pull from the existing pile either from the top, by parting the deck, or by fanning them out and seeing what you’re drawn to. Again there truly is no right or wrong way, you’ve just got to make sure you’re tuned in with yourself. This is easily done with mental preparation before you start reading.

tarot cards with few crystals

Preparing for a reading

Before starting any reading it is best that you cleanse your cards to get rid of any stagnant energy that they may be holding. But this also includes if anyone else has handled your deck if you’ve used them to read for others, if you haven’t handled them in a while, or if it’s a new deck! Whichever method in which you cleanse is entirely up to you.

Some options include:

  • Using a selenite crystal: you can leave a selenite crystal on top of your deck and allow it to work its wonderful crystal magic for however long feels necessary! You can leave the crystal on the deck overnight, for a few hours, or simply a few minutes whilst you’re getting everything else prepared for the reading. You do what feels right – you’ll know when your cards are ready.
  • Using smoke: you can use either a dried wand of herbs, or a bundle of incense sticks, and use the smoke from burning those to cleanse the cards! Just waft the smoke around them to help them cleanse.
  • Using sunlight or moonlight: if you plan to use the sun then remember to not leave them exposed for too long as you don’t want them to get damaged (sun bleaching), but with this one, it’s up to you if you wanted to leave the cards inside or out whilst they cleanse under the sun, just remember if you’re leaving them outside then make sure they’re safe and secure still – even if you’re staying outdoors with them. Don’t give the wind a chance to steal your cards! However, if you wish to use moonlight then you can absolutely just leave your cards exposed overnight if you wish, or even just for a couple of hours on your windowsill if need be, whatever works for you! Even if it’s a cloudy night, your cards will still reap the benefits so don’t worry about having to wait for clear skies at night.
  • Using visualisation: you do this by simply holding the deck of cards in your hands, closing your eyes, and visualising pushing all the stagnant and old energy out of the cards and allowing room for new. Some readers visualise a colour surrounding the cards and drawing all the energy out and having it dissipate outwards and vanish.

Those are just to name a few! It’s completely up to you to find what method feels natural for you and your cards, and feel free to try all methods until you find one that sits right! You don’t have to do one thing just because that’s what another tarot reader does. And one method that you use with one set of cards may be different to what feels right with another set, it’s all about learning about what works best with a specific set of cards – so make sure you enjoy the time getting to know them too!

Related article: How to cleanse your tarot cards

Jumping cards

If a tarot card jumps out during a shuffle then do not put this back into the deck! This card has jumped out for a reason and you need to pay attention to it. Sometimes cards won’t wait for you to choose them after shuffling if that’s your chosen technique, so if you ever have a card ‘jump out’, know that it wasn’t an accident! I put mine to the side until I got the cards I need, and then I look at the separate message from this card.

Things to keep in mind before handling and shuffling your cards

To maintain the longevity of your cards then you should make sure you are always handling them with clean dry hands, handling your cards with dirty hands won’t have them last in great condition for long.

You also want to make sure that when you’re shuffling your cards you aren’t being too rough with them, being gentle will assure that you don’t bend, damage, or even break the cards.

When placing your cards out on a surface, where possible, always lie them down on a soft surface (such as a soft cloth on a table) to prevent them from being scratched and damaged in any other way. Protecting and looking after your cards will benefit you both, as your cards will very much appreciate you taking care of them, and in turn, you’ll benefit from having cards that last eons and ones that will be happy to work with you!


I have been reading Tarot for more than 15 years. I have always enjoyed using my intuition to provide clarity and insights to others. Tarot is one of my favorite forms of divination, and I love sharing that passion with like-minded folks.

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