Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Am I Shuffling Right???

Okay, so this issue of shuffling..... like all things in Tarot, shuffling seems to be related to personal style (thus, many people will approach this differently).  When I started working with cards when I was 13 this was not a complicated issue; I shuffled the cards while thinking about my question, fanned them out on the bed/couch/etc., and selected cards.  Since starting Tarot (many years later!) things have become a lot more complicated!  Some people shuffle and fan; some people shuffle, cut, and fan; some people shuffle, cut, and select - no fanning; some people shuffle and select, no fanning or cutting.  Which is the right way?? Which is the most effective method?? What if I'm not doing it right?????  I've read online that it doesn't matter, and there's no need to over-think the process.  While I agree with that, when you're inundated with different methods it can be hard to assimilate.

Well,  I had an experience this morning that seemed to drive home the fact that however you shuffle really doesn't matter - you'll find something useful and pertinent in the card(s) that will be relevant and hold meaning for you.  Here's my short story:

I've been trying to pull a single card each morning to give me an idea of the energy ahead of me that day, or for advice on the best way to deal with whatever comes my way.  Today I was shuffling, and experiencing a mild how-will-I-shuffle-today attack (I've been trying out different methods to see if something feels more "right" to me).  I decided that since I was short on time, I was just going to shuffle once (I have large cards so I use the push-pull method which can actually be counted in terms of quantity of times the deck is shuffled), and I was not going to cut the deck.  After I finished the first round of shuffling I felt like I needed to shuffle again, so I did.  At that point I decided to cut the deck after all.  But "just to see" what I would have gotten were I not to cut the deck, I peeked at the first card on the top of the deck, which was a 4 of Swords.  I replaced it, cut the deck into three, re-stacked it, then selected the top card - The Hanged Man.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

What I knew about the day ahead of me was that I'd be conducting an interview at 10am.  This was going to be a secondary interview, the first having been given by my supervisor.  After a string of interviews, my colleagues and I came to realize that while my supervisor feels it's important to receive our feedback on potential candidates, ultimately the decision is hers, and ultimately she may not always agree with our perspectives.  Second, I was going to have a meeting at 11am with a student of mine and his advisor to discuss a serious issue of plagiarizing.  While I felt like the meeting had to happen, I also felt concerned about the outcome - would the student get suspended? Would he be docked a lot of points?  Would he be given the chance to redo the assignment?  I had some degree of turmoil regarding the whole issue.

Now, the Hanged Man was truly a great card.  When I saw it, my first thought was "let it go, it's not in your hands."  This was clear advice, as in both situations mentioned above I could not really have a significant influence on the outcome.  While I was involved in both situations, I had no deciding power, and I needed to come to terms with that, and then let it go. (Later the thought of this card made me laugh as my colleague and I were waiting to meet with my supervisor to give her feedback from the interview, and we literally were left hanging until the moment she decided she had enough time to see us - we almost missed lunch!)

But on my drive to work I thought back on the first card I peeked at - the 4 of swords - and I realized that it was appropriate to my situation in its own way.  The 4 of Swords refers to a time of rest following a difficult time; pausing to reflect on what's come before, and where you're headed; gaining new perspectives on events in your life.  Had I decided to pick this card, it would have served me well.  It encouraged me, in its own way, to let things go, like the Hanged Man, by encouraging me to take time to think about what had transpired, and gain a better perspective on the situation.  Its advice is to find peace by coming to terms with what is.  So both cards were appropriate and meaningful in similar ways to the situations before me.

What I took away from this experience was the realization that it really doesn't matter how you shuffle.  The cards you select will give you the insights that you need, no matter what combination or style you use.

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