So, what does it mean when a card jumps out of the deck? Is it nothing or is it most definitely something? I fall solidly in the latter camp. In this post, I’ll explain why I think jumpers are significant, and give you a few recommendations on how to deal with them.
What falls to the floor comes to the door.
I just love witchy old sayings! They’re part of an oral tradition that was likely born in a time when most country folk were illiterate. Before witches were able to jot down their spells in elaborate grimoire, they came up with rhymes and other catchy phrases to commit their practices to memory.
I’ve never been able to find the origin of the old chestnut, “What falls to the floor comes to the door,” but I think it’s a keeper. Tarot readers assign the saying to cards that fling themselves from the deck when it’s being shuffled; whether they “fall to the floor” or land on the table. If you, like I, value the tarot as an oracle, a gateway to an elevated plane of understanding, then I encourage you to heed every sign, and that most certainly includes jumping cards.
Why Do Cards Jump?
Cards can jump because of the reader’s subconscious energy transference, inexperienced handling, or pure luck.
When experienced tarot practitioners handle their tarot decks, they impart energy and intention into the cards. Empaths are especially skilled at energy transference, and if you fall into this mystical category, you should be mindful of anomalies that occur when you’re shuffling the deck.
Novice tarot readers — and nervous querents who shuffle the deck before a reading — are particularly susceptible to clumsy shuffles that result in cards dropping to the table or floor. That said, it doesn’t mean that their jumpers should be discounted as “accidents.” Every card that makes its way out of the deck — regardless of the prowess of the shuffler — should be made note of.
How Do Cards Jump?
There are several ways a card can work its way out of the deck. I rank jumper cards in the following order of importance (from least to most signficant):
- Several cards fall out of the deck to the floor or tabletop. This situation is likely just a miscue caused by a clumsy shuffle.
- A single card drops face-down to the tabletop without much flair or fanfare.
- A single card drops face-up onto the tabletop.
- A single card flips energetically from the deck and lands face-up on the table. Pay attention to this one, Dear Reader. The card is saying, “Hey! Look at me! I’ve got something to tell you!”
6 Methods to Deal with a Jumping Tarot Card
Reading the tarot — especially for others — is an incredibly intimate experience, based on honesty and trust. When a card jumps from the deck during a shuffle, pause and tune into the vibes surrounding your relationship with the querent — even if you’ve just met, and even if you’re reading for yourself.
Here are six ways to handle an escaped card, ordered from the most conservative to the most significant:
- Slip the card back into the deck and continue shuffling as though nothing happened.
- Make a mental note of the jumper, shuffle it back into the deck, and take notice of it only if it shows up again in the spread you lay.
- Place the jumper face up on the table, off to the side, lay your spread separately as you usually would, then conclude the reading by considering if the jumper has any relevance to the cards you laid. Work it into your reading only if it “speaks to you” and makes sense in context.
- Use the jumper as the significator. Treat this card as the starting point for the rest of your reading by placing it in the first position — particularly in spreads that have a card intended to represent the querent, such as Card 1 in the Celtic Cross spread.
- Consider the jumper to be a reset to the reading. Querents are often shy about asking the real question. They’re afraid to explore their darker, more secret sides. This could be an opportunity to ask your querent (even if that’s you), “Perhaps your original question wasn’t quite right. What do you really want to know?”
- Give the jumper its own reading. One-card readings are, arguably, the most difficult, because they lack the context gained from reading them in relation to other cards. But, sometimes the things that are most difficult, are the things that have the most relevance. Study the jumper carefully and completely. Really dig in! Consider everything about this card including traditional keywords, intuitive interpretation of the symbolism, color, numerology… whatever resources and knowledge are at your disposal. If your belief system includes communicating with the spirit world, ask yourself if the jumper card could be a message from beyond.
Reading the tarot is a practice, not a skill that can be mastered. Every reading is different and affected by so many variables. Don’t limit your practice by being too rigid. Open your heart, your mind, and your sixth sense to make every reading the most meaningful and relevant experience possible… and, that includes taking into consideration feisty cards that demand your attention!