Shuffling: An Act of Ritual and Intent

The concept of how to shuffle properly probably sounds like a non-topic. Anyone who’s ever played a basic game of Go Fish knows how to shuffle a deck of cards! Right? Right, it is true that the technical aspect of shuffling the deck is straightforward enough, but what about the intuitive part? Believe it or not, shuffling, or rather, when to stop shuffling, had become one of my biggest road blocks. Why? Because I’m kind of left-brained a lot of the time! I like to work within systems I can understand and analyze and shuffling, that just seems so random and haphazard! For me to get beyond this block, I needed to build an element of ritual into this process. So if you’re struggling with this bit too, perhaps some of what I’ve learned and applied here will help you out.

First off, I made the decision that I would not just “go with my gut”. Waiting for my gut to scream “stop” would often leave me anxious and shuffling much longer than I needed to so I had to take the guess work and brainy intervention out things because that just led to second guessing myself.

Once I knew I needed parameters to work within, that I could apply to every reading, I began to piece together that structure.

My process now goes as follows:
1) Shuffle the deck while I go over the inquiry in my head.
2) Once I’ve asked the question and visualized it (this is a fairly quick process) I lay the deck on the table and cut once or twice and pick it all back up again into a single pile again.
3) I then continue to shuffle the deck, now assured the energy and intention of the inquiry has been heard, 11 times.
4) After 11 shuffles while continuing to think about the question, I lay the cards down and read away!
I chose the number 11 because it’s a master number and one that’s come to mean something for me through the years. You can pick any number you wish or let the cards tell you if you can’t decided. I do find its helpful though, if you’re using this structure, to always use the same number. It removes the effort of thinking about the process and makes the energy, at least for me, flow much smoother. The other nice thing is that by setting these structures, your deck(s) will really begin to understand and anticipate the way you work. It’s just like creating a similar atmosphere for each reading, using the same crystals or opening with a brief meditation. These consistencies in your practice will help ready you quicker and be more confident in the outcome of your sessions.

Now that’s an overview of my shuffling technique, but one thing that I haven’t touched on is “jumpers”. Jumpers are cards that leap out of your deck while you shuffle, almost as if they are screaming “pick me, pick me!”. If I get a jumper during my preliminary shuffle (before I’m counting out 11) then what I normally do is look at it, make a mental note, and place it back in the pile. If it shows up again once the cards are laid down, I will know to pay particular attention to it at that time. If though, I get a jumper during my last shuffle, as I’m counting to 11, that one I will keep out and place in spot 1 of the spread. I should clarify, for me, jumpers are truly leapers. They are cards that spring from your deck and land on the floor in such a way that it couldn’t have been prevented. They aren’t just the ones that wiggle out or snap around while you shuffle. Those guys can be tamed.

The other distinction to make regarding jumpers is that they are much different than a pile of cards falling from your deck. When this happens, I usually chock it up to clumsy shuffling. If it happens repeatedly during the preliminary shuffle, that is a signal for me to pause and possibly rephrase the inquiry. The beauty of the preliminary shuffle is it allows time to sort out those details before you cut the deck. It also allows space to concentrate on the inquiry and attune your energy accordingly.

Now, I hope it goes without saying that my technique isn’t the technique and everyone should be encouraged to find their own approach and what works for them. I think as long as you have the right set of ingredients to work with, even if the finished product looks different, it should taste just as good. Ya, bad analogy.  Anyway, I hope if nothing else some of these tips will help ease the anxious shuffler! I know as soon as I created a method to my shuffling, readings instantly became clearer and I focused less on listening for my gut to say “when” and spent more time on the inquiry at hand.

Julia Eve