5 Simple Steps to Read Tarot with Confidence

Letting Other People Touch Your Tarot Cards

By August 12, 2010Tarotpreneurs

You’ve just bought a new deck of Tarot cards and now you’re watching your client attempt to shuffle them, dropping the cards everywhere on the floor and bending the card edges as they roughly try to get all the cards back in the pack. You’re horrified! “Why on earth did I hand over a deck of new Tarot cards to this person?!”

Different people have different views on whether it is ok to let other people touch your Tarot cards. Some people are happy to hand over their cards to the client when doing a Tarot reading, asking the client to channel their energy into the cards ready for a clear and connected reading. Sometimes, both the reader and the client will shuffle the cards so that both become more present in the reading.

Other readers prefer the client to simply articulate their question while the reader shuffles the Tarot cards on their behalf (much like online Tarot readers do). These readers often keep their Tarot cards well protected and ensure that no-one else but them touches their cards. In this way, the Tarot cards are kept sacred to the owner (i.e. the Tarot reader) alone. It can also prevent any negative energy from the client being transferred to the cards.

For me personally, I don’t mind if others touch my Tarot cards. As an online Tarot reader, I naturally handle the Tarot cards for my virtual clients simply because there is no other way when my client is halfway around the world! However, when I do face-to-face readings, I ask my clients to shuffle and cut the cards so that they are able to ‘program’ the cards with their energy and begin to draw their attention to the messages of the cards. At times, however, I do wonder whether or not I should have them shuffle – sometimes the larger Tarot cards can be very hard to shuffle, unless you’re used to them, often resulting in the client losing focus or losing the cards!

So what type are you? Are you happy for anyone to handle your Tarot cards, or do you keep them closely guarded to ensure they remain pure and sacred? You might even be somewhere in the middle, having one Tarot deck that you happily share with others, and another that you keep just for yourself.

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  • Debbi says:

    Although I am a new Tarot card reader, sometimes I can discern whether or not to allow someone else to touch my cards. I am considering purchasing another deck for my personal use. What bothers me most is being in an atmosphere where confusion and distractions do not allow the inquirer to focus on what they need the cards to say.

    • I agree! I find it difficult, sometimes, when you see your client is not really focused on the question itself but is instead focusing on things like how to shuffle the cards correctly or commenting on something completely outside of the reading.
      Thanks for your comment,

  • Chevygirl says:

    Peoples energy is can be very intense at times. Not all of it good unfortunately however if you run across someone with alot of built up negative energy have a special deck for just these people so their anger can be put into the cards as they ask themselves whatever it is they came for. Have them deal them as well. Cleanse the deck after each time .

  • Elise says:

    Hi Biddy! I’m an earnest new student of the tarot and your website has been a tremendous, wonderful source of information and guidance for me. This is definitely something I’ve been struggling with as a new reader. But I’ve made peace with the fact that it’s pretty hard to keep a deck completely untouched by others, so I’m glad you agree. It would be helpful to know what cleansing the deck entails, though. I’m intrigued!

    • Vickie says:

      Cleaning a deck can be a few things. Personally, I like using silk and burning sage and blowing the smoke onto the deck. I’ll do this once every moth to month and a half. For all other times, I keep my decks individually wrapped in silk cloth and in a wooden box. I do have one or two decks which I take travelling with me though, and they go in silk bags. I personally believe silk to be a purifier which is why I use it so much.

      Another quick thing to do if you’re at a market though is to go through the deck shuffling and visualising the negativity falling out of the cards. Visualisation is another powerful tool I find works as well.

  • Tara says:

    Hi Biddy,

    I just want to thank you for your blog, as well as your interpretations of the cards. I am a new reader of the Tarot, and while I have several references for history and meaning – your interpretations are at once the most concise and in-depth.

    I’ve never before thought of whether or not to keep certain people from touching my deck. It seems to me that any querant will have a certain amount of negative energy – most questions have a level of anxiety and/or longing – which I’ve found requires my full attention, being, and guard.

    Prior to handing over the deck, my practice is to have a dialogue with the querant, explaining the necessity for them to connect first with the Universe, Spirit, etc. I also teach them how to explicitly phrase a question clearly to the Universe – for best results. We then meditate together while the querant shuffles the cards. It can certainly be draining; but in my limited experience – the cards do not lie.

    And not only is it a great idea to cleanse the cards (I continue to pull the same set of cards for myself, irregardless of the question?!); but it’s necessary to have and take protective measures for one’s self as a reader. People have asked me to bring this skill to parties – but I have politely declined. They do not understand it takes a great deal of energy for me (perhaps because I am novice; but I believe it is simply because of the process) to do a reading.

    I would love an article on methods for taking care of ourselves between readings.

    Thanks so much for all you do!

  • Tracey says:

    Hi Biddy, I find that I prefer others to shuffle the cards, otherwise I would not feel confident that the reading was really for them rather than me! I only read for friends so haven’t had anyone really negative touch them,though I do like to shuffle them myself before and after others touch them.
    One thing I have noticed is that once a reading is finished, I am compelled to re-insert those cards randomly throughout the deck. I just can’t cope with them being bundled up with the rest of the cards, and shuffling alone is not sufficient; I need the cards from each reading to be disassembled and disconnected from one another to return to the deck to make it a whole again!

  • Zee says:

    i have two set of cards , one that i let other people shuffle and one that i use myself personally , i find that this works well for me.

  • Handling of decks is an important topic. I not only do readings, but I often conduct courses on the Tarot during which I want the students to handle many different decks and get familiar with the different art work, card sizes, and shapes. As a teacher I welcome everyone’s energy to participate in the cards. I love for clients and students to handle and shuffle the cards, but it is often awkward for them, especially with larger decks such as the Voyager. In general Tarot decks are larger than the poker decks that most people are familiar with. In addition clients and newbie readers are often nervous as they pick up the cards.

    I usually give a little coaching before handling the decks, and if the person seems very awkward I suggest they only cut the cards and let me do the shuffling. Sometimes if a card pops out while a client shuffles it may seem to have a special message and I sometimes place it on the table to the side as an addendum to the reading. Otherwise we just return it to the deck and shuffle a bit more.

    I have found cards missing or damaged after complex sessions with large groups of students. That is a problem because decks are expensive and in some cases not replaceable. Thus in most cases where cards are handled a lot during classes I use easily replaceable decks and remind students to keep careful tabs on their own decks. I count all the cards after classes in which decks have been handed around. For certain rare decks I prepare color xeroxed versions that I laminate so that I can safely let others appreciate and handle the art work without taking the rare cards out of storage.

  • Jason P. says:

    Hi Biddy, I myself love to use tarot cards but actually for myself, to be honest I even use it for my daily forecast of my life

  • Taz says:

    hi,i want to know if you shuffle the cards and then put them away because you have to leave, can that person still pick up cards and choose a spred for you and do a reading for you with out you being present. thanks

    • Hi Taz. That’s a really interesting question. In theory, yes, they could lay out the cards and do the reading. However I believe that their interpretation of the cards may be different to if you were there, present, for the reading. Of course, there is also the issue of it being a violation of privacy and a readers’ code of ethics because it turns it into a third party reading. Brigit

  • Kamya says:

    When I learnt tarot cards reading, I was taught that my cards should never be touched by anyone else.

    Is this okay if I take out cards for them? MY predictions comes true always 🙂

  • [email protected] Forums says:

    When I learnt tarot cards reading, I was taught that my cards should never be touched by anyone else.

    Is this okay if I take out cards for them?

  • Patricia says:

    Thank you so much for bringing up this issue. I hand over my tarot for my client’s to shuffle and as a result my cards are in a wreck but i dont mind as i use the DruidCraft deck and i can always replace them, however…recently i purchased the much covetted deck of Murry Hope’s Cartouche Oracle cards. I got them for a reasonable price as they were used but in great condidtion. These cards are amazing and i am more and more drawn to using them for my readings but i cant bear the thought of handing them over to be dropped and bent by my clients! so i am seriously considering just shuffling them myself as they are irreplacable 🙂

  • Kyo says:

    I usually shuffle the cards myself and let the client cut the deck. There’s a far lower chance of the cards being damaged that way, and the client isn’t as distracted with fumbling with big cards and shuffling the deck “right”, which means there’s a lot less tense, negative energy going on.

  • Sofiasky says:

    Hello Brigit

    I don´t know if you already addressed this issue in a previous post, but i have a question regarding the dealing:
    – do you deal out the cards from the top of the deck
    – choose them randomly
    – let the querent pick the cards randomly
    – also, choosing the cards with the left hand by feeling the energy of each card or using a pendulum (but these techniques don’t seem practical in a spread with many cards (?!) )

    i started by spreading all the cards, closing my eyes and passing my left hand over all the deck choosing the cards by feeling. but i don’t feel very comfortable doing this when im reading to someone else. can’t seem to get the same level of concentration if there is somebody in the room or looking at me while my eyes are closed.

    does it make any sense that, if i dont want the querent to touch my cards, i could hold their hand while i choose the cards so that the energy of their question is directing my selection of the cards?!

    muito obrigada

    • Brigit says:

      First, let me say there’s no one right way – whatever works for you.

      For email readings, I shuffle and deal from the top of the deck. If working face-to-face, I often get the client to shuffle, then fan the deck and they randomly select cards from within the deck. I encourage them to use their left hand.

      You might want to try it with the client selecting their cards, if they are in front of you. Or if you don’t want them to touch the cards, simply point to the card.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been reading tarot for about a year now, so not very long, and have always allowed the querents to shuffle my cards. It took me a while before I started giving my friends readings, but the more readings I gave, I noticed that more reversed cards would be drawn for my friends. At one point, I gave a reading where every card was reversed, on a well shuffled deck. It’s usually not that ridiculous, but I can’t help but suspect that when others handle my cards, the reading is weird, and sometimes null. When I give myself a reading it’s always been normal. I really like the idea of the querents shuffling my cards so it’s really personal to them, but I think it might be causing me problems. I always try to cleanse my deck after someone else handles it. Had anyone else experienced something similar? Thanks!

    • Brigit says:

      Interesting! I often see a reading that is primarily reversed Tarot cards as a sign that the energy is directed inwards, rather than outwards. So the querent is in a phase of introspection and soul searching, rather than necessarily creating and doing.

  • amber says:

    I use archangel tarot cards and i dont like people touching them because i dont like the idea of their negative vibes latching on to my cards. I always have a happy feeling when i use them. However before i got my archangel tarots i used an original deck of cards that use to belong to my mother i always had negative feelings when i touched them even after i clensed them and they rarly gave accurate readings. When i do readings for people i just get them to hover their non writing hand over my cards and when i shuffle i get them to tell me when to stop or i wait for a card to jump out depending on the reading they want. Each time its spot on

  • Leslie says:

    Like many of the other people who commented I have a deck that I do my on line readings with your Free Biddy Readers group and another deck that I use that allow people to touch. I feel as though my clearance with reiki works really well and no I don’t just let “anyone’ touch the deck that I use for my face to face readings. I must have a “good feeling” with all people before I even began a reading with anyone. As far as shuffling goes I have a very hard time shuffling and end up dropping cards no matter what. I pick them up and keep on going tho…No need for me to worry about what is out of my hands! Best bet is just to keep on going if the feeling is right for me.

    Thanks you Brigit! 🙂

  • Connie says:

    I have always let others shuffle but if I get a new deck I can see the value in keeping it sacred. Yes I do cleanse the deck every time and I keep them in a black sack. I have never picked up a negative energy at least not so far. My readings are about 90% accurate.

  • Paige Farrell says:

    My old roommate riped my cards to shreds is there any thing bad karma wise tnt would get him for being like tht

    • Leslie says:

      Wow such disrespect! Tarot cards are not cheap and when you love tarot cards and are proud of what you can do with them. It is really painful to hear that someone has been so disrespectful towards you and your property! I have never had this sort of experience before. I guess, I am fortunate. My heart goes out to you!

    • Brigit says:

      That’s so disappointing. Thankfully he is your old roommate and hopefully out of your life now!

  • Conor says:

    Hi Brigit, I just started reading tarot cards, and have a relatively new deck. I actually just gave a close friend a reading, and I asked her to shuffle and cut the cards a certain way, and yet she shuffled them and cut them in a way I consider incorrect (also, she took my cards beforehand and handled them nilly-willy and tried to give herself an on-the-spot reading, which I found quite disrespectful). I did a simple past, present, and future spread and it came out (for the first time) completely disconnected. I’m unsure if my deck is particular about being handled a certain way or if it’s because I am. Either way, I knew my deck felt very out of sorts, and now I’m looking to cleanse it.

    • Brigit says:

      I know that feeling! I have had some stressful moments when I’ve seen people trying to do casino shuffles with my cards or accidentally dropping them everywhere! I think we just have to get over it though (or decide to keep the cards to ourselves). You may want to set the scene with your future clients and talk about the sacredness of the reading before handling the cards. That might help to curb some of the frivolity!

  • Mima says:

    I am a new tarot reader and initially felt extremely connected to the cards- immediately getting the reversed empress which has been a major card for me in my readings. I immediately jumped in and had so much fun with them and wanted to do a reading with my boyfriend, and let him shuffle the cards. I don’t know if it is in my head and manifesting through my head into the cards, but ever since then I’ve been getting extremely masculine cards! I am worried that they are more connected to him than me. I cleansed them in the full moon last night and have been getting slightly different results- all weekend i was getting masculine swords but today i got a king of wands which seems like progress.. but I am wondering if there is anything else I can do. Thanks!

  • P says:

    Has anyone did tarot readings from allowing their clients to shuffle and pull the card instead of you? If so, what do you do in between clients when cleansing the cards? Is wrapping them in a silk cloth okay?

    • Brigit says:

      Do whatever feels right to you – I’ve seen many readers that will allow clients to at least shuffle the cards a bit. Afterwards, you can shuffle the cards around on your own to give them a quick “cleanse”.

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