How To Shuffle Tarot Cards

Tarot cards have been used for centuries by lots of people for divination, self-inquiry, and reflection.

There are lots of people who go to professional tarot readers to get answers to questions about different aspects of their lives, but it’s quite common to get a deck for yourself and ask your own questions.


If you are new to divination and new to using tarot cards, then you might be a bit confused about how to shuffle the deck. That’s ok!

There are actually a few ways you can shuffle your tarot cards and we’ll be going over them here. Have a look at these methods and try them out for yourself!

How To Shuffle Tarot Cards

There are actually a few ways in which you can shuffle your tarot cards (see also ‘15 Best Vintage Tarot Cards to Add to Your Collection‘).

The “right” way to do it actually boils down to whatever works best for you. No two tarot readers shuffle their deck the same way, so don’t feel pressured to conform to one particular method.

Check out these methods below and try them out for yourself! You can switch them up for every reading, or you can pick one and stick to that. It’s completely up to you!

Restacking Shuffle

How to shuffle a card

The first well-known method is called the “Restacking Shuffle”. To do this method, follow these steps:

  • Place your deck so it is sitting in front of you. Make sure the cards are facing down.
  • Take a section of the cards out of the deck.
  • Now, place that section in a new position in the deck. This can be anywhere in the top, middle, or bottom sections.
  • Repeat this with different sections until you feel your deck is suitably shuffled.

Three Pile Cut

The “Three Pile Cut” method of shuffling is quite popular for “past, present and future” readings. Follow these steps in order to do it yourself:

  • Start by shuffling the tarot deck in whatever way you’d like.
  • Next, cut and reassemble the deck, placing the sections in three separate piles.
  • Once you have done this, pick a pile and read the cards.

If you are using this method for a “past, present, and future” reading, you can use each section for each segment.

The Fan

The fan is one of the most well-known ways of shuffling and reading tarot cards (see also ‘10 Amazing Angel Tarot Cards Well Worth the Money‘). This is a really straightforward way of shuffling your deck.

  • Place your cards face down.
  • Next, fan them out, either in a fan shape or a straight line.
  • Hover your hands over the cards and choose whichever ones you feel drawn to.

This method is especially good if you want to focus on one question at a time or you’re doing a reading for other people.

Overhand Shuffle

The overhand shuffle method is another really common form of card shuffling. This is a super easy way of shuffling and it doesn’t really require steps to do it.

All you have to do is place your tarot deck in one hand and release sections of the cards into your other hand. You repeat this process until you feel the cards are mixed up enough.

In terms of choosing cards, you can either pull cards from the top or if any fall out while you are shuffling, then include them in your reading.

Drop & Scramble Shuffle

This is one of the more chaotic ways of shuffling your tarot cards, but it’s incredibly fun! Follow the steps below to do it for yourself:

  • Drop the cards face down on the floor.Next, smoosh them around in a circular motion.If any cards stray to the edge or outside of the general pile, you should use these cards in your reading.
  • You can do this particular shuffle style for other people, but it is a bit messier and will involve a lot of floor space.

If you are just doing personal reading and you want a bit more of a fun way to do it, the Drop & Scramble method is perfect for you.

How Long Should You Shuffle Your Tarot Cards? 

Some people might try and tell you that you are shuffling your cards for too long or you aren’t shuffling them for long enough, but just like finding a suitable shuffling method, there is no precise or specifically right way to how long it takes.

It purely depends on what sort of reading you’re doing and of course what feels right to you. Because tarot is a form of divination, most of what you’ll be doing will be directed by what you are feeling. 

If you are shuffling for 10 minutes and you still don’t feel like you are done, that’s ok! Keep going! Sometimes it will only take you a minute to find the right cards, but other times it will feel like the deck needs a bit of extra work and energy put into it.

The clearer your mind is when you begin a shuffle will usually dictate how long it takes for the deck to feel shuffled enough.

If you are reading tarot cards a lot though, you will learn that trying to do a reading when your mind isn’t clear is going to make it harder. A great way to clear your mind before a reading is to meditate a bit and ground yourself.

Remember, no two people read cards the same way. There are lots of guidelines and loose rules you will need to follow, but don’t feel like you can’t mix it up a bit to suit your own individual styles and methods.

The deck takes as long as it needs to be shuffled, and that’s ok!


Reading tarot cards can be a really fun and mystical experience, especially when you find a method that works well for you.

As you can see, there are plenty of different methods you can use to shuffle your deck. You can mix it up as well and use multiple methods, so don’t feel like you have to stick to one in particular. Do what feels right for you!

Andrea Daehma
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