In this series of questions from Tarot students, here is the third question:
Regarding shuffling the cards prior to making a layout:
You were emphasizing consistency. I shuffle and divide the cards exactly as you were showing in class. You showed shuffling in three steps (“three-step shuffling” process). Is it important to do the shuffling the same number of times for consistency? For example, repeat the “three-step shuffling” process five times prior to dividing the cards into three piles?
I did emphasize consistency and there are the three ways of shuffling. To recap, we can shuffle by dividing the cards in two and “zipping” both sides together so that they integrate more or less every other card back into one deck again. We can also hold the deck in one hand, and slide chunks of cards from the back to the front. And because we want some cards upright, and some reversed or upside down, we can twist them randomly between shuffles.
I tend to cycle through these three methods until I feel like the cards are well mixed, and there is just an energy of readiness that I sense. There are no set rules as to how many times you do any of these shuffling techniques.
Of course, if you have trouble handling the cards – due to arthritis, or have small hands and big cards, for instance, you can also put all the cards on the table and simply swirl them around until they feel really mixed up and ready.
The warning about consistency really had to do with the intention for your layout and the way that you are going to flip the cards over when you are laying them out. My default layout is the Celtic Cross, so if I decided to lay them out differently, I want to have that clearly in mind while I am shuffling and mixing.
Also, when laying the cards out, I hold the deck face down in my left hand, and take a hold of the far (or upper) right corner of the top card, and flip it over bottom to top and lay it down. Alternatively, a person could hold the deck and take the card by the bottom right corner and flip it over left to right and lay it down.
If you try both methods you will see that the card in question will lay upright when you flip it one way, and it will lay reverse when you use the other method.
So it is important to know which way you flip the cards to lay them out, and to be consistent in that method.
In conclusion, you will want to shuffle in all three ways, over and over, until they feel ready for the reading. Consistency has to do with the pattern of the layout that you will use, and the way that you flip the cards over and lay them out.