letting people touch my deck

I was first exposed to tarot in college through a friend who emphatically did not allow anyone to touch her cards. I’ve decided to actively dismantle that early teaching by freely allowing friends to handle my decks when they are interested. I think I’ll do the same when I’m in a situation where strangers might want to touch them. I can, after all, cleanse them by shuffling and reordering them, or even exposing them to the elements, if they feel off after someone handles them.

ensuring a random draw

I’ve been a little concerned that some of my decks may stick or clump in subtle ways even when shuffled, because of irregularities in the cards that may be too slight for me to notice but not so slight that my fingers don’t grab the same edges over and over. So I’ve decided that I’ll shuffle (usually riffle and some overhand), cut (usually sliding the deck partially open in my hands and choosing a break point, rather than cutting on the table), and then I will draw off eight cards and pull the ninth for the reading.

no jumpers

I don’t mean that I never mis-shuffle cards (riffle or overhand), but that when I went about interviewing a bunch of decks about jumpers, I discovered (or finally noticed) that jumpers (for me) are about the physicality of the decks. Some decks I mis-shuffle all. the. time. But others I never (or rarely) mis-shuffle. I concluded that jumpers don’t have any special meaning if they are so dependent on the physical deck (in contrast to the content of the deck).

I riffle shuffle

Yes, I confess. And I’d bridge, too, except that I’ve never been able to figure out how to do it. Overhand shuffling produces lots of jumps for me and doesn’t feel like it’s randomizing the cards very well, although I like combining it with the riffle to make sure the top and bottom cards are mixed into the center of the deck.

tarot preferences: deck order

When I get a new deck, or if I want to put the cards in order, I prefer to put them Major Arcana, Fool through World, then pentacles, swords, wands, and cups, ace to king. This is because I think of the wheel of the cardinal directions as beginning in the north, then to the east, south, and west. I suppose if I were being entirely consistent, I would put the Majors last (for Spirit/center).