From a Jungian perspective the manifestation from the unconscious to the conscious in a tarot reading is something that has not been explored.
Shuffling the unconscious
Consider a tarot reading. The client shuffles the cards, cuts them and the tarot reader deals out the cards into a pattern that has some meaning, the cards are turned over and interpreted. The Celtic Cross spread has 10 cards, the focus of the reading, but what about the other 68 cards? They are set aside, ignored by both reader and client.
The process of how the unconscious chooses the cards (shuffling) to be “conscious” (the tarot spread) is completely mysterious. But shuffling, the process of randomisation, is important.
In a recent reading I saw this process at work. The client was nervous to start with. I gave him the deck to shuffle, and he was thorough – better than most. As he shuffled I noticed a card was back to front; he saw it too. He stopped shuffling, and we methodically went through the cards, but it wasn’t there! I had recognised the card but didn’t say anything. He continued to shuffle and cut the cards into four (the quaterny).
The Tower was in the Past position, indicating some trauma that had not been resolved. This trauma concerned a death in family, but as the reading unfolded it was clear that this was only part of the story.
As usual the Future stack is the focus, and all the cards were positive. There were no negative cards at all, and I explained this to him, but he was still very nervous. At this point I asked some questions to understand his situation better. He had been married, and was now single, and he was worried about his finances.
The Future cards were very good for younger women in particular and women clearly liked him, so what was the problem? My client told me that he cheated on his partner who bullied him when she found out, and he hadn’t been in a relationship since. He was extremely reluctant to go on a date even though he was popular with women.
He asked about his finances several times, but the absence of any Disks shows that finances should not be a problem. Then he told me he had been the victim of fraud for a large sum of money.
A pattern was emerging. The trauma from a death, abuse from his partner after he was caught cheating, and the fraud. All these unresolved events were stopping him from having a normal happy life. I should mention what that card was when he shuffled (the unconscious) – The 10 of Wands, Oppression. It was never part of the conscious reading, but its effects were there.
When cards are ejected while shuffling, it is a sign that the unconscious of the patient wanted what those represented omitted from the reading, and talking about those cards is often key.
Oppression was in my mind throughout the reading even though that card was hidden away, and I sought to allay his fears of oppression in some form would not manifest – if he can understand and not project onto the future. The fact that the card was momentarily visible during shuffling (the unconscious) shows that he was not ready to face the oppression, but that he is on the road to recovery.