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the hermit 
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Join Date: 07 Jul 2002
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How random is your shuffle?

Was just wandering around looking at threads and read the *shuffle shuffle* thread started by napaea.

It has occurred to me on many occasions, a riffle and bridge shuffler from way back (a product of a misspent youth--fast women and good lookin’ horses), that there’s random and then there’s RANDOM.

I remember discussing cards and randomness in a college statistics class in which the professor and several text books stated that a deck of 52 cards would not be truly randomized until it had been shuffled at least 9 or 10 times. Since the Tarot decks normally contain 78 cards (1/2 again as many as a deck of playing cards) it should then take at least half again as many shuffles (15 or so total) to truly randomize a Tarot deck.

Now I don’t shuffle 15 times (normally 3 or 4… 5 or 6 times at the most), but I was wondering what you all thought about Random-ness and the Tarot?
How much is enough?
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Old 10-07-2002     Top   #1
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Hm... I guess if you riffle/bridge, 9 times should be enough. If you shuffle, there are always chunks of cards slipping from one hand in the other without getting mixed (well, it happens to me anyway
), so you'd need more.

But then I don't know if you really need truly randomized cards for a Tarot reading. Some would argue that the "right" cards would turn up anyway, no matter how often you shuffle. Others would say that since it's your reaction (or interaction) with the cards that's important, it doesn't matter which card you draw, since everyone is projecting their stuff into the card anyway, and reacting only to those elements in a card that have meaning to them at the time. Way back, we had a discussion about the "spiritual" and "scientific" school of thought regarding Tarot. Unfortunately, I didn't save the discussion and I don't know if it has survived the move to the new forum...

"Physics does not explain away the secrets of nature, it refers them back to deeper secrets." ~ Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
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Old 10-07-2002     Top   #2
of the woods
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i wouldn't trust just five or six for myself, but then i shuffle hand over hand. (yes i can riffle and bridge with the best of them, but not with my tarot! lol ) this may sound nuts, (hey! it works for me) but i shuffle until the deck tells me to stop. usually the right hand pulls up quite a few cards, when it pulls up just one. i stop. this is almost always past 15 shuffles. when i'm very focused i find it doesn't take as long as when i'm not. if it goes too long, i take it as a sign to stop, ground and plug in again.

live life
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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #3
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I'm not very good at shuffling (I'm getting better though... ) and at first I was always worried that I hadn't shuffled enough. But now I sort of feel like the right cards will turn up anyway (although I wouldn't go so far as to say that you don't need to shuffle at all!), so I'm not too worried about it. Like zorya, I just shuffle until I feel it's "enough". Sometimes that's after a few shuffles, and sometimes it takes longer.

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

Last edited by wavebreaker; 11-07-2002 at 02:16.
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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #4
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I tend to shuffle extensively, but that's because it puts me in the right mind set. I'd say on average I shuffle between 15 and thirty times for a reading.

I don't stop until it 'feels right'. I think the thing about Tarot is that it's just not random. How many times have you all pulled the same card more than once in a row to the same question?
This has happened to me numerous times, even after shufflings.

I've actually taken to /removing/ the offending card, shuffling and asking again to be sure it wasn't something about the physical card. It's not, i can assure it. Because it happens with all sorts of cards, in all my decks, and I pay attention to the 'randomness' of it too.

That's part of what makes Tarot so intersting. No, I don't think it's nearly as random as some might like to think. My two cents.

~*~ Sorceress Jade ~*~
"If you look at your work of a year ago and don't think it sux, you haven't learned anything." - Samboursky
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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #5
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I love to shuffle too, Sorceress Jade! I also find that it puts me in the right frame of mind and I find it very soothing and almost hypnotic. I will shuffle anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending.

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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #6
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With a standard 52-card deck, if you split it exactly in half, and interweave exactly at every other card, on the 26th shuffle, the deck will have returned to its original positions.
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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #7
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I tend to shuffle when I watch tv or even on here reading through the posts - its relaxing just to shuffle and to look at random cards.
When I'm doing a reading, I deal the deck out into 6 little piles, then combine all the piles together and have another shuffle, Then I'm ready and the deck feels shuffled

# # Emily # #

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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #8
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I can't shuffle like the Casino dealers. LOL. I do an "amateur shuffle." I shuffle like this until I feel it's right to stop.

So what else is new?
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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #9
the hermit 
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more or less?

Of course I’m not surprised by your answers.

Just curious about the thoughts on randomness in the Tarot.
The fact that all of you stop when it feels right… well… that feels right to me too.
Since interpretation is such an individual art when reading the Tarot (as well as the key to a good reading) I’m not surprised at the individualism concerning how you shuffle and when you stop.

One of the reasons that I asked the question is that some books (usually ones that have been around a while) and 4 of my original teachers (I’ve had 6 different mentors over the last 15 or so years) advocated shuffling ONLY 3 times and/or cutting the deck 3 times. I haven’t seen that advocated in any of the newer books I’ve read.

By the way, Joan Bunning’s book “Learning the Tarot” lists several methods for shuffling on pg. 310, including how to get reversed cards and how to avoid them. The info is also on her website:

So, how much is enough?

Well, it appears that enough is enough.
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Old 11-07-2002     Top   #10
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