Reading 'rituals'


I am new to reading tarot, and just starting to establish what works for me and what doesn't, so I wanted to ask people about what they do when they read the cards... I'm not necessarily talking about 'ritual' in the sense of a magical or spiritual sense, but more about habitual repetition, in the same way 'ritual' is used when somebody talks about their 'morning ritual'.

A lot of the literature I've found online and in books talks about finding what works best for you, and I while I understand and agree with that, I'd like to learn more about what other people do so I can see if there is something that I might want to try incorporating into what I do.

One of the issues I have regards having a dedicated or special space to read in. I would like to do this, but I live with my elderly parents, who don't object to my reading tarot, but who aren't exactly comfortable watching me do it, either. I sometimes discuss readings with my Mom, and she is fine with that, even sometimes having insight into a cards meaning that I hadn't thought of, but she doesn't feel comfortable watching me do a reading. What that means is that I don't feel comfortable setting up a space for readings in shared space, and since my 'room' in the basement is not separated from the rest of the basement by walls, that includes my personal space in the house as well. I usually do my readings in the morning, before they get up, and often use the kitchen table, living room floor, or my bed. I've considered getting a cloth to put down to do readings, but am not sure what size, shape, or material would work best... I am not in a financial position where I can afford to buy and try multiple options.

At any rate, when I read the cards, I make an effort to clear the area I am doing the reading in of extraneous clutter and debris, then get my cards, journal, and books. I put the books and journal to one side, out of the way, and take the cards out of their bag. (The bag isn't that special, I knitted it myself out of acrylic yarn). Holding the deck with one hand , I tap them three times to clear any energy from past readings or that they might have absorbed since I last used them. I try to clear my mind, and sweep my free hand over the cards three times, the first time imagining I am pushing away any remaining energy from past readings, the second pushing away any negative energy, and the third anything that is not divinely inspired. Then, holding the deck in both hands, I try to meditate, not thinking about the question or focus of the reading yet, but focusing on clearing my mind and letting my energy enter the cards. When I feel ready, I pray, asking for insight on the question and guidance on interpreting the cards.

Then I shuffle the deck. I've found that I'm much more comfortable shuffling the deck like I shuffle playing cards, which I think is what people mean when they say a riffle shuffle, because it feels familiar to me and makes me less anxious and more confident in what I'm doing. I play cards with my family fairly frequently, and I've always enjoyed the feeling of shuffling the cards, and the sound they make as the fall into place. I sometimes feel guilty about this because I know its not necessarily good for the cards, but when I shuffle other ways, I find that the feeling of 'wrongness' distracts me from being able to focus on the reading. While I'm shuffling, I think about the question or focus of the reading and the spread I intend to use.

When I feel ready, I take the top card of the deck and put it in the first position in the spread face down. The next card down goes in the second position, and so on and so forth until the spread is complete. Then I turn over the first card laid down, trying to interpret it from memory and visual first, then reading the information in the manual, and also from "Tarot For Beginners" by Barbara Moore. Then I go to the next card, and do the same thing. Once each card has been looked at and interpreted individually in terms of its position, I try to look at the entire spread, how the cards interact with each other.

What do other people do?


I don't have a particular place I read; sometimes the Den, sometimes my balcony, and sometimes the living room. I keep it as quiet as possible, and I usually bring out a hunk of Amythest I have. I alternate between a shuffle and a riffle-shuffle, three times each to "reset" the deck. Then I place the Amythest on top of the cards, and do a sort of blessing and dedication where I set the intention overall, and ask the question (if any) of the deck. I then shuffle again a few times, no less than 3, same alternating riffle and standard shuffle, and then draw the cards.


Actually, what you are describing, sounds like what most other people describe for their reading area/method. In general. There have been many threads on the subject, some people just read on their bed with a couple books/journals ready, others clear a space on their dining table, others have a dedicated space.

I have a dedicated space, but also sometimes read on the couch (I've also read by the pool and in a bar)

I think it's less about the physical space and more about the mental space. When I first started I had more of a series of preparations I liked to do, light incense, set out some crystals, etc. But now, unless I'm in the mood for all that, I just set my mind to my personal spot in the Universe, 'connect' and then start...

Also, I don't use a spread cloth, but my space is usually clean...I was actually thinking about getting one for reading at the pool or whatnot so I could protect my cards from a dirty table. If you are tight on funds, you could try looking at Goodwill or similar for either a scarf or I think a standard pillow case would be a good size and shape for a reading, you might be able to find a vintage one with a nice floral pattern...I like cotton, it's a natural fiber and you could throw it in the washer if you got it dirty. I've been eyeing some vintage embroidered pillowcases on Etsy for this purpose...with shipping there are several in the $10-13 range, but if you could find something at Goodwill it would be cheaper. Also, for small spreads, a placemat would work. Although, if your table is clean, you really don't need to have a spread cloth unless you like the idea.

And lastly, I would encourage you to not disparage your little bag that you made. Making a bag yourself is the best, no matter what the material or visual appeal. the fact that you made it, with your skill, with your hands, with your mind...that makes it special!


Before I start shuffling the cards, I do a breathing technique I learned from therapy. You do two or three breaths where you blow out hard and fast, like you're trying to blow a balloon, and then another set where you exhale slow and soft, like you're blowing a bubble. It's supposed to help reset your breathing. I learned it for anxiety (since your breathes can get shallow when you're anxious) but she insisted I practiced it when I wasn't anxious, so I ended up incorporating it to my tarot ritual.

Then I do a grounding technique. I find grounding to be useful to get in that "space" for tarot reading when you don't have a designated space, or if you're reading away from it. The way I ground is related to my religion, the concept of the Three Realms, and my land veneration practice, but I'll describe it anyway: I tell myself (and visualize) that I am connected to the land through the iron in my blood, connected to the sky through the elements created by stars, and connected to the sea through the water in my body. Right after this I pray to a specific deity in my religion who is connected to language and divination, asking to help understand what the cards are telling me and (if reading for others) to help convey the message to the querent.

Right before shuffling, I think about my question while focused on the backs of the cards. I overhand shuffle (I've never been able to riffle shuffle without my hands cramping up due to disability) until it "feels right", usually around the third or sixth or ninth shuffle. Then I pull from the top, and repeat the process with every new question or position.

When reading for others at home or doing "important" readings, I'll add some crystals, candles, or incense to my area to kind of help out. Usually amethyst and lavender stuff.

I also do the tapping the deck three times thing! Usually between reading for people and myself, to kind of "reset" the deck.

I don't do any sort of "closing" thing, though I'll sometimes thank the deck before putting it up if we've had a long day together.


I honestly don't really have a ritual like that. I hold the cards for a minute, overhand shuffle, and then I have a little ritual-ish riffle shuffle routine to really mix the deck. I'll read anywhere, from on top of my laptop to my bed to the floor. It's really all about what makes you feel comfortable and prepared. In a situation like yours where you don't necessarily have a space you can set aside for reading, getting into the mental space seems like the important thing to work on. Maybe a reading cloth or something like that to create a movable 'dedicated space' would help you feel settled going into a reading.


I read at my computer area, which is where I "live" when I'm at home.

My only ritual is I shuffle the cards at least twice before I do my spread. I always make sure to put the cards I used on the bottom of the deck.

I always have to make sure that area is clean (I eat there sometimes also) and that my ink water is well back from my cards.


I shuffle, cut, pull cards off the top of the deck and do the spread with all cards right side up. I don't do clarifiers, shadow, quint, or anything else like that. I sometimes draw extra cards but not as clarifiers---I use them for additional information. Some consider clarifiers as saying the same thing only different, but that doesn't work for me. :) If it works for other, and I know it does for Thirteen, then by all means use added cards as clarifiers. :) We all do what works best for our "Tarot Muse". :)

I lay the cards out wherever I happen to be that's a large enough space---table, floor, couch, bed---it's just very flexible and depends on making do with whatever surface works best.

I read professionally and just never felt the need of more than just whatever works for a spread. I take a deck wherever I go, just in case I might want to do a reading spur of the moment. :) Actually, I also take a small Lenormand and a small Kipper, too.


I either read in my bedroom, on my bed or at my writing desk or else I read at the kitchen table.
I don't have a ritual. I shuffle, cut, and go. I don't like them. I find them draining rather than helpful.

I do not have any kind of ritual. I've done readings in my kitchen, my living room, on the bed, in the street pulling the cards on my legs...

I have a personal space for my professional practice but only because I want to be focused when typing a reading and I don't want anyone in the house walking around.

If having a silk cloth, seven lit candles and a stick of incense burning works for you, then do it! But the cards won't work any better on a cloth than they do on the bare floor.

You, as a reader, are everything you need!


I shuffle.

I've read everywhere, on every kind of surface, with and without preparation.

Shuffling works. Everything else is just window-dressing to make the clients feel comfortable about you and your readings.