The way we handle the cards and conduct the ritual of reading the spread is our approach to the form, our style. For some people this means elaborate rules for everything including storage of the deck, for others it could mean that they use whichever deck is handy and they never read the cards the same way twice. The proper way to handle the cards is a matter of personal style.
Shuffling of the cards is another matter which has broad differences. Where some people will ritually shuffle others will not shuffle at all, merely relying on the last position of the cards to set the reading. Some people prefer to place the cards in order after each reading while others keep their decks constantly random. This is up to the individual and the appropriate method is found through experimentation.
The proper way to the read the cards is a little more rigid. The cards are placed in a pattern which defines how they are to be interpreted. Most people will use one or two patterns while others will design a new pattern for any reason.
Some things which may influence an individual's approach to the form can unfavorably influence the resulting readings. Approaching the practice as a game or parlor trick will yield trivial results. Belief in an other-worldly magic connected with the practice will lead to distorted divinations having less to do with the self and reality than to a belief system attached to the mind. Performing the practice solely for peer recognition or other ego-centered reasons will result in narrow readings which do no more than could be done without the cards, rendering the entire act a waste of time.
If a person is actually doing something else during a reading, such as conducting some sort of experiment or attempting to influence another person, then the result of the action of divining will not be a true divination - it will be something else entirely. Divining is a thought process which is more related to intuition than to intelligence. A scheming mind will prevent the required thought process from occurring. Any distractions, internal or external, will interfere with the practice.
Some people will go to extremes of elaboration, having special times, places and clothes for doing readings, while others will just grab the cards and go, relying on random shuffling between readings.
The correct approach is one which makes you feel most comfortable. It makes no difference whether you keep the deck secret or pass it around among people or anything in between. All that matters is that you feel your approach to be appropriate and satisfying. You must search your belief system to determine exactly how much ritual you should introduce to your handling of the cards.
What is the same is that the position of each card in the spread determines how the card will be interpreted, although even this may be determined before or during the reading.
Although the approach to the form varies with the individual there are elements of the approach necessary for a good reading. Respect and attention are essential. The reader must respect the deck for what it is and must have confidence in the method they will use for the reading. Attention leads to concentration which also is required for a good reading.
Ritual is often used to insure respect and attention. I have a special box and wrapping cloth for the cards and insist on being alone or with only the querant during the reading. I prefer two periods of meditation: the first between getting the cards and shuffling the deck, the second when I first look at the entire spread with all cards face up. Some people find this trippy while others say it is too casual. To all their own. You must decide what is right for you. When deciding on ritualistic practices try them out before writing them in stone, you will soon know whether or not they work for you.
Ritual practice should allow the process of divination to occur naturally, like a flower opening to the sun. Ritual practices, which feel stifling or make the practice a chore, should be discontinued. Ritual practice should constantly evolve, sometimes simpler sometimes more complex, as the practitioner's skill within the form grows.
Copyright © 1997 Bev Thornton, All Rights Reserved.