Shuffling, Cutting, and Spreading Tarot Cards Egyptian-Style!


Many times I am asked “What is the difference between Egyptian Tarot and other traditions?”  There are quite a few differences as outlined throughout this blog, but one of the differences is how the cards are shuffled, cut, and spread.

Traditionally, we sit across from our Querent.  After the question has been discussed and written down and an appropriate spread has been chosen, the reader will shuffle the cards to clear them.  Once the reader is ready to ask the question, the cards are shuffled and cut into three piles moving from right to left.  At least one of the piles is reversed and then the piles are picked up randomly and put back into a pack according to the reader’s sensitivities.  The cards are, twice again, shuffled and cut into three piles moving from right to left, at least one pile reversed, and the stacks returned to a pack.  So altogether, the cards are shuffled and cut three times in this manner.  Three multiplied by three equals 9, which is a magic number in Egyptian Tarot and associated with perfection in the astral plane.

The cards are then laid out in the chosen spread FACE DOWN (except for Yes/No/Maybe Spreads – see blog).  The cards are “flipped” over, either from top to bottom or bottom to top, ONE AT A TIME.  Whether you “flip” from top to bottom or vice-versa will not affect the right-side up or reversed position of the card.  Whether you’re a top-to-bottom flipper or a bottom-to-top flipper, try to be consistent.

Each card is read one at a time so that the reader can focus on the card in its position and not become overwhelmed or distracted by the other cards in the spread.   Once the cards are all turned over, the reader can have a look at the preponderance, if any, of suits, numbers, Majors, Minors, Court Cards, or Tens for overall information about the question.

If there are a couple of court cards in the spread, the outcome may depend on other people and the querent may not have that much power in the situation.  If there are a number of Major Arcana, the querent is pulling in a lot of energy and the question and the outcome is very significant to them.  If there are only Minor cards in the spread, even if the querent is concerned about the question, the circumstances surrounding it may be annoying but not  important in the long run.  If there are several numbers of the same value, consider their corresponding Major Arcana in the answer.  If there are several members of the same suit in the spread, consider what kind of overall energy that lends; and, finally, if there are a couple of Tens in the spread, the situation involves sudden change.

Please also note that, when spreading the cards Egyptian-style, the cards are read from right to left. In other words, the cards will read: FUTURE, PRESENT, PAST.  This is because Hebrew and Egyptian are read from right to left.  At first, this is awkward and counterintuitive to what we’re used to.  Of course, you can read The Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot any way you choose to shuffle, cut, and spread the cards.  Just be sure to be consistent!  Consistency in reading tarot is key in the process of “dialing up” the subconscious mind and getting in touch with the astral plane from whence the needed information comes from.

For donation-based classes in Egyptian Tarot, visit and take The Basics of Egyptian Tarot, and its companion course, Understanding the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.


About letstalktarot

Allyn McCray began reading Tarot in 1971 after discovering a deck in an occult shop in San Francisco, California. In 1999, the American Tarot Association recognized her as a Certified Tarot Reader. During her experience as an Internet reader between 2000 and 2002, Allyn’s readings were regularly featured on the websites, Psychicnut and Roadtalk. In 2002, Allyn joined The Church of Light, aka Light.Org, a non-profit international school of esoteric studies, where she is now a Hermetician, Certified Teacher, and Minister. Allyn also serves as the Communications Director of The Church of Light and is a Section Advisor in The Order of the Sphinx.
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