How Do You Shuffle & Pick Your Cards?

So let’s get back to basics for a bit.

I haven’t really covered this, as most of my visitors come to Lenormand from Tarot, and I’m assuming that most readers therefore already have a method of shuffling their decks and cards that they’re comfortable with.

If this is you, carry on.

If, however, you’re find yourself in any way unsure or are brand new to this and thinking, “Am I even doing this right?” read on! This is also a post for those of you who read mostly for yourselves.

First Off: Is There One “Set” or “Right” Way To Shuffle And Pick Your Cards?

In terms of method, what hand you use to pick the cards, whether or not you split the deck, any rituals you need to use in order to guarantee that your reading is “right”?

In my opinion – no there isn’t.

I am sure there are people who think so and swear by one method or another or would be aghast that I could suggest there isn’t anything like a “right way” at all. But the shuffling and picking method used should, in my view, be entirely personal to the reader.

That said, whatever way you do it, the main things to make sure of are:

  • You honour any spiritual/philosophical/ethical beliefs you personally hold
  • The cards are shuffled thoroughly between readings
  • You focus on the question you’re asking while you’re shuffling
  • You find a way that YOU feel the cards you  draw are ‘right’
  • You know how to pull the cards you need for whatever spread you’re doing in the order you want.

Honour Any Personal Spiritual, Philosophical and Ethical Beliefs You Hold

Lenormand cards are just a tool based on an old parlour game played for entertainment; they are not a “religion” with rules, and they are not in themselves aligned with any particular spiritual beliefs, although those that experiment with cartomancy often do have particular belief frameworks and philosophies that go along with that. Personally, I think that you will be most comfortable using your cards in ways that are useful to you if you align the ways you use them with your own personal philosophical and/or spiritual beliefs.

Think in particular about:

  • Your own philosophical views regarding the future, fate and free will. Do you believe our destinies have already been fixed, or do you think we are able to influence them? Are you more psychological or spiritual? Do you think if we use cards, we should ‘read for the future’ or for personal exploration of the here and now? How will that affect the way you use the cards, the kinds of questions you ask etc?
  • Where do you think the ‘information’ and messages in the cards comes from? Do you believe we just generate them ourselves, are we accessing some kind of alternate pool of knowledge like Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious, perhaps, or are we being given information by an outside force or forces, such as spirit guides, gods, forces, God, the Universe? If one of the latter, what form do you think this takes? And if so, are there any particular rituals that would respect this and make this more meaningful for you when you are using this tool?

Make Sure You Shuffle Your Deck Thoroughly!

I mean, I do hate to bring up the obvious, but perhaps the reason you’re mysteriously getting ‘the same’ cards every reading you do is that you haven’t shuffled your deck well enough?

How would you make sure you shuffled a normal deck of playing cards to make sure it was done thoroughly?

Do the same, whether that’s randomly spreading the cards out then mixing them up again, or riffle shuffling them (if they’re small and robust enough to handle that way; yes, I can feel the horror from some quarters from here, but much as I love my cards, I don’t treat them as a sacred object). There’s really no rulebook that says you must only shuffle three times and cut the deck with your left hand or whatever. Use any ‘rituals’ you want too, & respect your cards the way you want, but do make sure your cards are thoroughly mixed up before you start choosing them or laying them, or even before you start your ‘official’ shuffle of the deck.

Focus On Your Question While Shuffling

Try not to let your mind drift off, and try to ask just one question at a time. Clearly. So instead of  something muddled and possibly self contradictory like “Why has X not contacted me after I told her not to and exactly when will she do so and what on earth is going on with this? Does she even love me? What should I do? Is she back with her ex?” try to focus on one question and make it as simple as possible. Keep it in your mind when shuffling the cards. Short and sweet is best.

Want some help with framing questions? Take a look at these posts here:

How To Ask Lenormand Questions

Ways To Ask Empowering Lenormand Questions

Stop Shuffling And Draw Your Cards When It Feels “Right” To You

Should you shuffle fifty times or five?

Well, apart from ensuring the cards are well and truly mixed up from whenever you last used them, it really is up to you. If you have a method e.g. from Tarot that feels ‘right’ to you in terms of when to stop, use that.

Personally, I get a “just know” feeling (it’s actually a bit like someone squeezing my shoulders or a feeling running down the back of my neck) when I know it’s right or when  I’ve hit the card to pick. But that’s me.

Know How You’ll Pick Your Cards For Different Spreads

Obviously, some spreads require you to pick a certain number of cards from the deck. Again, there are no “set” rules for how to pick and put them in order after shuffling, but here’s what I do for different spreads:

Grand TableauAs you use all 36 cards for this, start with the deck face down. Lay the top card as Card 1, the second as Card 2 in the row and so on, and carry on until you’ve laid all 36 cards, either in the 8 x 4 + 4 Piquet format or the 9 x 4.

9-Card:  with Keycard (eg Heart for love, Bear for money and so on). Once the cards are shuffled and I ‘know’ I’m ready, I turn the deck over and look through it for the keycard I want. This card will be the centre of my spread. I take the four immediately before it in the deck and the four that are immediately after it and lay them in the 9-card 3×3 formation.

9-Card: blind (without Keycard). With my deck face-down I pick a card at random, whichever feels ‘right’, to be the ‘centre’ card. I then do as previously: turn the deck over and pick the four cards immediately before it, and the four after it, and lay all nine in the 9-card 3×3 formation. You could also choose all nine cards randomly from the deck, although I’d always choose and lay the centre card first.

Do you need to use a keycard? Keycard Or No Keycard? That Is The Question

5-Card:  with Keycard as above, only this time, there would only be the two cards to pick before my keycard from the pack, and two after it.

5-Card: blind (without Keycard). Exactly the same method as with the 9-card, but with two cards before and after OR all five completely at random. Up to you.

3-Card: I tend to pick these blind and randomly from the deck.

Other Spreads eg Pyramid, Clockface/Astrological or any using pairs: I usually just pick the cards at random.

As I say, to those of you who are coming to Lenormand from Tarot, you can pretty much use any shuffling or picking methods that you would using that deck. The most important thing really is that you find a personal method that works for you and that you’re comfortable and confident about using.


Do You Need More Guidance?

Go to my Lenormand Tips page for more tips about common issues and problems.

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