People have lots of different opinions on how to best shuffle a Tarot deck, mostly with an eye towards preserving particularly lovely and/or rare decks. Preservation is a concern for me with some decks (I would prefer that my Victorian Romantic keep its gilt edges!), but also of importance to me is the matter of focus. In a typical riffle-in-the-hands-and-bridge
shuffle, I tend to get lost in my thoughts; unless I make a point of focusing, my attention is directed away from the matter at hand, mostly because I'm so good at shuffling cards I can do it without thinking. Does that affect readings? Who knows. But I think Tarot at least deserves focus, especially if the matter at hand is important. So I feel better, both about my focus and about preserving my nicer decks, using my Klondike method.
I haven't seen anyone else describe this particular method of shuffling ("shuffling") and perhaps with good reason: it's not truly random—or at least, it's not as close to "truly" random as a riffles shuffle is. (Though, side note: it takes a deck about seven tries with a riffle shuffle to be truly randomized
. How many times is your dealer shuffling in between rounds of poker?) My Klondike shuffle method is just a variation on pile shuffling. Pile shuffling is what it sounds like: dealing out cards into a certain number of piles, and then stacking them all together for a "shuffled" deck. While it's probably one of the safest shuffles in terms of preserving cards, it is fairly easy to manipulate. Plus, this is a shuffle that doesn't account for reversed cards. Reversals don't matter much in poker, card tricks, or Magic: The Gathering tournaments, but they can matter a lot in Tarot readings. The randomization (or lack thereof) is a problem I have yet to solve, but reversals is easy enough.
Anyway, enough setup. The Klondike shuffle!
I was a card games and solitaire fiend as a kid. I don't know why. I guess I didn't have a lot of friends? But like everyone, the first version of solitaire I learned was Klondike
(thanks, Windows). I found the layout very aesthetically pleasing; honestly my favorite part of the game was dealing out a new hand. So all the Klondike shuffle is, is dealing out a few new games of Klondike, right on top of each other (without turning over any cards). I use 5 piles, or tables, because I have a small space for readings. If I had room to spread out I would probably use 7, like a proper game of Klondike. In other words:
1. Deal out 5 (or however many you like) cards to make 5 (or X) amount of piles.
2. Skipping the first card on the left, deal out 4 (or X - 1) cards in a second row.
3. Move another card to the left and deal out 3 (or X - 2) cards in a third row.
And so on. I like to continue until I've dealt out the whole deck, so once I reach the last pile, I just start another "game" right on top of the first one. But maybe you'd prefer collecting each "game" into a stack to keep things from getting messy.
I find that counting out the cards I'm dealing in each row helps me focus. Counting is weird like that, isn't it? Almost hypnotic. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1 , 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2. 1." And repeat.
When the whole deck has been dealt out, I stack the piles together (sometimes starting with the "5" pile and putting the others on top, other times putting them under) and then cut once. I turn one half the deck like I would if I were going to riffle shuffle (to ensure that more or less the same amount of cards end up getting reversed or unreversed; it strikes me that you could also reverse the card you'd turn face-up in a proper Klondike game to add another layer of random) and then start dealing out another set of Klondike games. Once I've done this three times, I consider the deck shuffled enough to read. I cut it twice, then stack, then cut once again, and I read.
Do you have a favorite or unique way of shuffling your cards—Tarot, oracle, or otherwise?