I have a tarot client who lays her hand on the deck (usually after I’ve been fiddling with it), takes a deep breath and says, “Ok. Go ahead.” She’s done this for a decade worth of readings, and I swear, it still makes me twitchy.
No shuffling? No cutting? You’re just gonna let me *gulp* READ for you?
Of course, because she’s the Zen master of all things, the readings are always accurate. The cards are always where they should be.
I have another client who smooshes my cards around on the table in one huge pile. She pushes and pulls them, stacks them into an untidy pile and says, while idly making all of the face up cards go face down again, “Go for it, honey.” She says this with a giant grin on her face because she knows it drives me bonkers.
Of course, because she is the Captain of Chaos, the readings are always accurate. The cards are always where they should be.
I think that shuffling (or not) of the cards lends a certain amount of ritual to the reading.
It gives the client time to breathe. To touch the cards and do something with their hands. I ask my clients to “Shuffle til you feel like you’re finished”. During this time, I play with my stones or close my eyes and breathe in and out and try to disappear from the table. When they’re finished, they’re noticeably calmer than they were when they first sat down for this reading.
People generally get readings when they’re anxious or nervous or wondering, and the anticipation can ramp that up. The simple process of shuffling a deck of cards can lend them calm and a seemingly mindless task to distract them from their worries.
This simple act is more than just rearranging of the cards, or putting their energy into them. It’s a meditation and a ritual that allows them to be wholly present for their tarot reading. That’s what ritual really is, after all. It’s a tool or an exercise that makes us be mindful of what we’re doing.
When the bell rings in a Christian church, it’s time to pay attention to the altar because magic is happening there. When Muslims are called to Salat five times a day, they literally walk away from the mundane, face the direction of their holy land, and place their physical, mental and spiritual selves in the hands of their god.
The act of lighting a candle for a Pagan. The act of touching the beads in a mala. Even mundane tasks have rituals that bring a touch of the sacred to them. Every night, I tuck my kids into bed. Every night, I tell them I love them so much, and to have good dreams and tell me about them in the morning. I kiss their foreheads three times. Every night. This ritual has become sacred in our house, because it is ours. It’s an active and physical show of love and trust.
Whether you are spiritual or not. Whether you sling cards or not. Whatever your day looks like, I encourage you to notice those places where ritual has entered. What drives it? Why do your rituals continue? What is it, precisely, that your attention should be focused on?
Noticing your rituals will help you turn your head toward those things that require your full attention, and will help you pull a little bit of the sacred into your day to day.
About the Author: Melissa Cynova
Melissa Cynova is owner of Little Fox Tarot, and has been reading tarot cards and teaching classes since 1989. She can be found in the St. Louis area, and is available for personal readings, parties and beginner and advanced tarot classes. You can Look for her first book, Kitchen Table Tarot, is available for pre-order and will be out April 8th.
Melissa lives in St. Louis with her kiddos, her husband, Joe, and two cats, two dogs and her tortoise, Phil.
Note: Image is from the Little Monsters Tarot Deck