Using Ritual to Centre & Empower Your Tarot Readings

For those of you who know me well, you will have seen the picture of me on Facebook reading tarot for a friend after dinner in our local carvery. We were chatting away while I shuffled the cards and a bunch of them flew out of the deck but held together as they landed on the table. We decided to use them. What became very quickly apparent was that these cards weren’t for my friend, but for me, and very definitively. So what happened?

Earth calling Catherine, come in Catherine..

I’ve always believed the tarot reader is the channel in a reading, that it’s all happening through the tarot reader, not by the client putting their energies into the cards. After that night at the carvery, it turned out I was right. And wrong.

I had a lot going on in my personal life at the time and while we were chatting away, no doubt my subconscious mind was focussed on those events and issues. I wasn’t concentrating on the reading. Ironically, I told my friend to concentrate and to tell me when to stop shuffling. I’d handed responsibility of the reading over to her.

And that’s what happened.

Why I was right, and how I was wrong

The Tarot reader certainly is the channel in the reading, but a refinement of language and perspective is required to see the whole picture – the client is also a channel, albeit a secondary one. They’re not directly putting their energy into anything – they’re meeting you in a moment of focussed intention, a meditation of two hearts and minds if you will, connecting and joining together, synergistically and spiritually becoming one for the reading.

I believe this is why some people are easier to work with than others, because they open themselves easily and naturally to their reader, and there are those who are cautious and remain as closed as possible, often for very good reasons. They may be skeptical of you because they don’t know you. This may be their first tarot reading and so they could be nervous. Whatever their reason, they will all be more difficult to read for.

Nice logic, it makes sense, but it’s still not very helpful

I agree. This is all well and good if you have a client who is open, all will go well. You will connect together and the reading will go smoothly. But what about those clients who deliberately remain closed, who put up resistance? How do we ensure we can give them the best experience and the best tarot reading at that time? It requires you, their tarot reader, to take charge of this spiritual union and lead the way in a little ritual, holding their hand, if you will.

Now while this works well for those who are nervous, I use this technique every time I read now, it has become my own personal ritual, though it should be thought of as universal technique to all and not exclusive to just one.

What is the technique?

I like to shuffle the cards, always have. I’ve always felt an exacting prompt of when to stop shuffling and so I go with that. While I’m shuffling I now say a few words in my head, though it can be said out loud if you know your client well and they’re used to having a tarot reading.

While shuffling I say the following:

“This tarot reading is for [client’s name] who seeks clarity in his/her life. I ask that mine & [client]’s spirit guides connect together and to the Universal Source, to assist me in providing the clearest, and most accurate divination I can; to assist me in understanding and interpreting the messages sent through this tarot reading to provide the help and clarity [client] seeks. Please accept our thanks for your help and assistance in this reading. [client] would like to know….”

I developed this ritual from that night at the carvery, and the nights that followed. It was apparent that I had to stay focussed but more importantly, I had to be responsible and take charge of the reading. Having used this technique since then, it has indeed helped me to focus and I feel I have been providing better tarot readings because of it.

Aren’t rituals used in magick?

Now don’t be worrying about the word ritual, there are no cloaks or daggers or altars involved. A ritual helps to focus your intent, your will and your attention on the thing you want to achieve or change. When I say ritual, I mean saying that sequence of sentences and requests in my head while I’m shuffling the cards. This does two things.

  1. It focusses my intent and stops my mind wondering and influencing the reading
  2. It means I’ve taken charge, and responsibility of the reading

By taking responsibility of the reading, I’m not talking about the wider ethics normally associated with reader and client responsibility, I’m talking about my conduct during the reading, particularly at the start. I’m talking about doing my best to ensure a successful reading, that I fulfill my own personal obligation to the seeker. Taking responsibility for the reading is another issue altogether and is a discussion for another day.

When I take charge of the reading, I am directing the flow and sequence of initial events. That simply means I’m acting as a conduit but I’m calling together all those who will be present at the reading to help and assist with it. It’s important to make the distinction because I’m not seeking to control the reading, just give it the best possible start.

In asking the seeker’s spirit guides to join with mine and the Universal Source, I am bypassing any tension from the client. By asking for the help and assistance from the Universal Source, I am removing my own ego and influence from the reading and allowing myself to be led and directed during the reading. Finally, by thanking those involved, I am being respectful to them, the seeker, myself and the reading.

As a side effect to that, and something I didn’t realise at first, is the centering and grounding this technique provides. If you feel nervous about conducting a reading for any reason, perhaps you’re late and have rushed to meet your client; you may be distracted or upset over a personal issue. For whatever reason you feel unsettled, incorporating a ritual such as this can help to settle those nerves and allow you a little time to gather yourself until you begin the reading proper.

Talking out loud

While this ritual works very well in silence, it can also be of terrific benefit if you wish to convey an atmosphere of mysticism in face to face readings. It would be very easy to get carried away with pomp and ceremony, but along with your regular nice reading cloth, crystals and incense, a few words like those above can serve to create an atmosphere of respect for the reading, which is important. Tarot shouldn’t scary, it should be relaxed and you should be able to have fun, but similarly, reading tarot is an art and a ritual all by itself and deserves to be approached and conducted with respect for that art, for the tarot, for yourself and for those who seek its wisdom.

There will be instances where It’s not always possible to say the full ritual, time will not always permit it. You may be a telephone psychic or tarot reader which is a fast paced environment; you may be doing speed readings or short readings for a function or event. In these circumstances, it is perfectly fine to adjust the words to cover the event, or whole evening, and if you have the time, you can jump straight to the meeting of the spirit guides in those individual readings.

Taking the time to form your own ritual can have quite an impact on your tarot readings. The client or seeker isn’t the only one who will benefit. You, the tarot reader, can benefit through an increase in confidence and assurance that you are conducting yourself appropriately, that you aren’t influencing the reading in any way, but are in fact allowing the Universal Source and its message for the seeker to flow through you, empowering you both in the process.

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20 thoughts on “Using Ritual to Centre & Empower Your Tarot Readings”

  1. Catherine –
    I loved this post! I feel that this is someting that is very important to do before every reading – even if I am reading for myself. Grounding and centering, and asking for guidance – respectful of the energies we are working with, respectful of ourselves, and respectful of our clients. Win/Win all the way aorund!
    I appreciate that you noted that each reader needs to develop their own ritual for this. Readings are personal to both the Seeker and the reader. :)

    • Hi Bonnie – thank you for a great comment. It seems a no-brainer really, but it was obviously something I needed to learn, and right on cue, the Universe does it in style! At least we had dinner first ;)
      Thank you for stopping by, it’s always lovely to see you here :)

  2. I loved the post too, although apart from shuffling, cutting into three and allowing my hand to pass slowly over each stack until I intuitively pick the pile I wish to go on top – I really don’t do much ritual. The only ritual I have after a reading is to shuffle the deck.
    Sometimes though, when I feel the need that the reading needs extra energy, I will light a candle and set out three crystals – I guess this is my little ritual, but it’s not a hard and fast one.
    However I’m all for whatever works for the individual, and that’s the key word isn’t it, we’re all individual.

    • Hi Helen – I never really cut into piles for selecting cards, though I think I will be road testing that this afternoon ;)
      I especially love crystals though, my favourite being an uncut amethyst I keep near me and often on top of my deck when I’m not using it.
      Thanks for a great comment :)

  3. Catherine – this is very similar to what I do as well.
    In fact, if I’m getting a reading I always say that I am open to receiving the information that Spirit has for me – – and I ask that my guides connect with the reader’s guides.
    I also believe it’s so important for the client to be open to receiving the information that I talk to them about this before even beginning.
    Ritual is grounding – thanks for the great post.

    • Hi Nancy – I will certainly look to be more proactive with this ritual.
      Thanks for the great advice, welcome to Tarot Elements :)

  4. Hi there Catherine,
    I am just new, have been learning tarot since just before christmas last year, and it seems like I am making good headway. I have learned all the meanings to the cards and am looking hard at the Opening of the Key and the elements, and am loving the feel that I get when practice reading.
    I have just started to ask tarot for advice and have found that when I do this regarding what and who I do this for I get more understanding, though when I was doing this I thought that would get no responce but I have done this ever since.
    I am a capricorn and have been looking for some stone that I can use to settle cards at the end of the reading as I practice in the mornings when I climb out of bed, lol. By the way, I love green as that to me is my colour as I was born in Ireland, the Emerald Isles… love the colour… love your site by the way Colin McQ

    • Hi Colin,
      There are a number of green stones you can use for grounding and protecting your deck. Your sun sign of Capricorn isn’t associated with green stones, as far as I could find out. It depends on your preference.
      Hematite isn’t green, but is associated with Capricorn and protection.
      Emerald is green and associated with protection, but not Capricorn. It’s associated with Taurus, though both are Earth signs, so are connected in that way. Emerald may seem more expensive, but would be my choice for you as you already have a personal connection to it through your Irish nationality.
      Malachite is green and associated with protection but not Capricorn, but again is related to Earth.
      Substitutes for Emerald, according to Scott Cunninham’s excellent book, Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic published by Llewellyn, are:
      Green Tourmaline
      Out of the list of substitutes, Peridot is most suited to your other criteria, namely that it is related to Earth (through your sun sign), is green and is also used for protection in magick.
      I hope that list helps – thank you for your comment :)

    • Catherine thanks very much for that, I agree to what you say every bit, I love the land and the undergrowth what lives in the land as well, love painting land…. as well that capricorn the old goat loves the land as well bit like me i suppose. thxs for the listings as well.. ColinMcQ

  5. I’ve never tried shuffling for the client. I’m totally going to do that next time. Will let you know how it goes!

  6. Hi Catherine,
    Another great blog. Like you, I have always believed that the tarot reader is the ‘channel’ and is therefore responsible for ensuring that, through the ritual of shuffling and asking spirit to link your guides and higher self to your client’s guides, sets in motion the conjoining of the mutual spiritual energies’
    I am not normally a person who is comfortable with ‘rituals’ as such as I believe that they can be somewhat off putting to clients who may not believe in spiritual energies and it can risk putting them off kilter in the early stages of the reading.
    I love your description of what you say to set the scene and, once again your teaching and methods ‘tick all my boxes’
    Congratulations – you’re a WIZ!

    • Hi Brian,
      Thank you for such kind words Brian. I too wasn’t ever really enamoured by rituals, but after that night and that reading, I naturally developed a way to focus my attention and the client’s intention for the reading. The other benefits to the ritual were secondary really, but turned out to be equally as important!
      One of the benefits of a ritual such as this is the ability to do this ritual without the client knowing, or, if they’re happy to engage, to do it with them where they actively engage in it. It’s a win-win situation.
      It’s lovely to see you here again Brian :)

  7. I always shuffle the cards for the client, it being a distant or f2f reading. My little ritual consist of always “clearing” the cards before or just after a reading.
    And I do so by visualization, I visualize bright white light from above shooting right through the cards and immediately clearing them of any previous energies.
    Contrary to many other readers I do not like the client handling the cards at all, in fact the only “handling” they ever do is if I am doing a face to face reading I get the client to pick the cards after I have shuffled them and fanned them out.
    That and smudging I find it really works for me (a lot of smudging though!)

    • Hi Anton – Like you, I’m not one to hand my deck over to anyone really, though I’m getting better at it! I still believe it’s my job to shuffle the cards and deal them out. I’ve never done a white light visualisation to clear my deck after reading, I use a different approach, and much less frequently – but I’ll give your method a try and perhaps write about the different methods. If you’re happy to expand on what you do, I’d be happy to feature you in the post, please let me know.
      It’s lovely to see you here again, thanks for a great comment :)

  8. Thank you for sharing this – especially the way of working for people who aren’t naturally ‘open’. (Though I seem mostly to be very lucky indeed in attracting clients who are willing and open to connect.)
    When you say

    they’re meeting you in a moment of focussed intention, a meditation of two hearts and minds if you will, connecting and joining together, synergistically and spiritually becoming one for the reading.

    – have you found that this can mean that the cards that are meant for the querent are also meant for you? I feel that if synchronicity can join together one person with their reading, then it can join two people with a reading they both need, each in their own way. Is that true in your experience too?

    • Hi Hilary – thank you for your comment :)
      My position in this post is more about joining with thee client or seeker, so they are open to the reading and as such can receive the best experience possible.
      During any reading, I am focused solely on the client, or seeker and any thoughts of myself are very far from my mind at the time. During live telephone readings, particularly when I worked for a psychic telephone company, there just isn’t the time for anything other than the reading and the client.
      Having said that, I find frequently that elements of a reading have been pertinent to myself and have often pondered a reading later in my own quiet time; though that can quite often be a re-examination of a tarot card that I interpreted in a different way than usual, or indeed a combination of cards that caught my attention.
      I think, by what you are describing, that you are feeling a pyschic connection, or empathy for your client during a reading. It is often said that we meet people in our lives who mirror us in someway, that a lesson for us lies in the reflection of our meeting. That being the case, coupled with empathy and that psychic connection, then yes, I believe we can both take something away from a reading initially intended for the seeker, but feel it’s perhaps more about the connection that was made than the reading itself.
      Thank you for stopping by, and welcome to Tarot Elements :)

  9. Hi Catherine,
    Thank you for this lovely article. Especially this part is exactly as I see it and experience it while doing readings:
    [quote]Tarot shouldn’t scary, it should be relaxed and you should be able to have fun, but similarly, reading tarot is an art and a ritual all by itself and deserves to be approached and conducted with respect for that art, for the tarot, for yourself and for those who seek its wisdom.[/quote]
    The “ritual” I always use before readings is creating an “environment of confidence”. I create some sort of energy field around myself and the person I am reading for. It doesn’t matter at that time where we are. It might be at their home, in a cafe or at a big party.. this environment of confidence will fade out the rest of the world for the duration of the reading and helps me to really connect and the person seeking guidance usually opens up (even the toughest cookies open up after a few cards in the Celtic Cross).
    Warm regards,

    • Hi Linda – thank you for your comment. I like how you create an energy field around yourself and your client – that sounds like a wonderful ritual before and after a reading. Do you incorporate crystals into your ritual too??
      Thank you for sharing your ritual with us here :)

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