This is a post in the Tarot 101 series.
One of the first questions that many new students of Tarot ask is “how do you shuffle the deck?”
The answer is: “Any way you want.” While that seems like a smart aleck response, it actually is true. Everyone has their own way of shuffling. Some folks use the riffle shuffle, much like a playing card dealer while others prefer to use the overhand shuffle. I personally feel that these types of shuffles increase the possibility of damaging your cards. This is a concern of mine as some of my decks are quite rare and thus more valuable. I have seen many a bent card as a result of the riffle and overhand shuffle so use these methods with caution.
A third method of shuffling is what is called the “scatter method” or “scrambling method” which is just as the names implies: you simply scatter all the cards on your desk or floor, mix them well and then reassemble the deck. The drawbacks with this method is that it’s not very elegant and requires more room than the other methods. Additionally, it can take a bit more time to reassemble the deck. However, using the scatter method results in fewer bent cards than the other two methods however.
My preferred method of shuffling is the side shuffle, which is similar to the riffle shuffle but the cards are not being bent in the process. I riffle the cards by holding equal halves of the deck in each hand and then riffle the cards from the side, allowing the cards to intermingle as they drop to the surface of your desk. In addition to being easier on your deck, this method makes it easier to shuffle larger decks which can be important for those with small hands.
Image courtesy of Scr47chy