Various people have described many things they like to do before reading the cards.  This includes:

  • Light a candle.
  • Purify with sage.
  • Invoke one’s own perception of the universal power.
  • Meditate for a few minutes.
  • Perform a magical ritual invoking elemental forces.

Some people have no set or formal ritual, they may just like to “throw some cards” after a quick shuffle, without really thinking about it.

Whatever feels right and — more importantly — gives good results is no doubt appropriate preparation for each individual. It’s my personal belief that whatever technique is used, the right kind of mental focus is very essential, and any reading preparation should be a way to accomplish this.

What is this focus? For me, this means getting “in tune” with the question in order to have a meaningful reading and clearing my mind of extraneous thoughts. My method is to say the question in my head; then allow an inner, mental stillness to develop where my thoughts slip away. I can sense the presence of the question, as if it’s sitting there. But I don’t mentally repeat it, and I don’t actively think about the question. I simply allow myself to know that it’s there, with no name and no form; just an essence. The question becomes the intent for my reading. It all sounds vague and mystical, but to me it’s quite practical!

I maintain this focus while I shuffle the cards. (Or for geomancy, before I generate the figures.) I’m not thinking about the seeker, myself, or the words; and certainly not about how long it’s going to take or what I want for dinner. This gives me a clear mind that is prepared to look at the cards, hopefully free of bias and with flowing intuition.

When am I focused enough? Ideally when my mind is clear and not distracted. This is not the case all the time. I have developed an internal queue for this: when the deck feels heavy while I’m shuffling, and it seems hard to shuffle any longer, then I’m ready. I developed this consciously, by deciding that would be my signal; and I started listening to my body while shuffling. Over time it became a method that works for me.

Honestly, I don’t always get the heavy deck feeling; and my mind is not always 100% clear. But this is what I strive for.

What do you like to do before a reading, to get yourself focused? Let me know in the comments!