Getting the Right Cards

By Allan Ritchie

I want to begin with a story. Once I was in a small group study session at a tarot conference learning a specific style of reading. The group was about thirty-five people and we were all scattered around with our decks and trying it out. It was the festive atmosphere only experienced among a group of tarot enthusiasts all doing what we love. Then one of the readers had a question. "How do you know it is the right card?" With that question the room momentarily quieted. She asked a mechanics question about the method but in the moment the question lingered. I considered the question and challenge you to think about how you would answer that question. "How do you know that your reading has the right cards?"  

Have you ever looked over a spread cast before you and wondered if the cards were right? I think we all have had moments of uncertainty. Getting the right cards is the goal behind shuffling, cutting the cards, and even layouts or counting of cards. Clearing a deck and dealing with negative energy also pertain to this idea of getting the right cards.  

In that momentary silence I contemplated the question. I lingered on the thought before I had my answer. Then I laughed with a bit of self-realization when the answer came to me. The cards are the right ones because I intend them to be. It is my intention. When I draw cards I mean for them to be the right ones. They are the right ones because of my intention. 

I propose that intention is everything. Intention is defined as a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. When I follow my reading ritual it is setting my intention to draw out the right cards. When I look at a spread before I throw it I set my mental state to carry out the action of placing the cards in those positions to represent answers to those questions. 

Many teachers stress that we must to be consistent. In the way that we work with the cards you must determine what is important to your practice and be consistent. Meanings we give the the cards must be consistent. When I work with the cards I determine what is important to me. I am pretty free with shuffling. I like to shuffle "enough" but that is variable. I normally draw off the top but my mentor would stressed the way that I turn the cards over as important. So that is important. I turn the cards "like opening a door" she would say. 

Consistency is key to intention. Consistency cements intention. Acting with consistency you set your mind to a determined set of actions in the future. Intention. When you handle the cards in a mindful process it confirms intention. This may seem complicated, and it can be, but it doesn't need to be. For me all it takes is just a pause before I start and say to the deck, "I will get the right cards.”  Intention in tarot as in life is an immense subject. Setting clearly my intention does one thing for certain. It drives away the question if the cards are the right ones.  

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