On Cleansing and Storing Your Tarot Deck
So you’ve got yourself a tarot deck. Now what?
For some reason one question you might be asking yourself is about how to correctly store and “cleanse” your cards.
I know that when I was growing up that all of the conventional wisdom seemed to point to that for some reason you must keep your deck in a wooden box wrapped in silk scarf.
For the record I’ve never done exactly this. Although I do know people that do though and that’s fine.
Like many tarot reading procedures, I believe that it comes down to personal preference.
But that rather than blindly accepting what you should and shouldn’t be doing with tarot, I highly encourage taking the time to think about what you’re doing and why you might be doing it. And then make your decision.
When it comes to figuring out aspects like cleansing and storing your tarot decks, you might want to take the time to decide something significant about your approach to tarot.
Do you believe that there are subtle energies that must be “purified” or some divine entity must be called upon before this tool works at some kind of higher vibration?
Or, do you subscribe more to the idea that this is a dynamic creative tool that also happens to be very pretty to look at, but contains no extra specialness in and of itself?
There really aren’t any right answers here.
But it certainly seems that many in the contemporary tarot reading community are split into these camps.
Some will swear that they get better readings after burning sage around their cards or by keeping them wrapped in some object that represents something or keeps bad vibes away..
Others will claim that it’s never made a difference to their readings.
My own perspective is that I think that there is something powerful about the various rituals that we partake in.
All the extra set-dressing of a reading can signal to the (unconscious) mind that this is a special non-ordinary moment. And it can help you to relax into an oracular mindset. Especially when it’s something you practice over time.
I encourage you to think about the choices you make and also remember that ultimately the choice is yours. It may be as simple as determining how it makes you feel.
If putting your cards out in moonlight doesn’t jive with you and doesn’t seem to make any impact on how you personally relate to your cards, then why bother?
If you genuinely feel like you get better readings after leaving your cards under a piece of quartz for a day, or in a bag of salt or whatever, then do that thing!
Your way is the right way (for you).
Some of my personal thoughts on storing your tarot decks…
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of treating your cards like sacred, mystical object (or even if you are), how about choosing to store your cards in a place where they are secure simply because you respect yourself and your own belongings?
If you don’t want to draw attention to your cards for whatever reason, then tuck them away. (But of course leave them somewhere that’s easy for you to access so you’ll use them!)
It can be nice to take them out of their packaging and put them into a box, bag, or wrapped in a the material of your choice. A lot of the time, with especially but not exclusively mass-produced decks, the packaging will eventually fall-apart through overuse.
From there it does seem like everything else is all about what feels good and powerful for you. If keeping your cards wrapped in black satin makes you feel mega-magickal, I’m not here to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.
In terms of cleansing…
At the very least I recommend taking the time to re-set your deck and re-shuffle the cards every now and again — just to keep things fresh.
We often develop habitual ways of shuffling cards, doing it the same way over and over and can get ourselves into a bit of a rut without noticing.
You could put the whole deck back in order and then re-shuffle.
Or deal them out into piles and then shuffle each of those piles together.
Or throw them all down of the table and mix them all up.
The idea is to get the cards re-arranged into the kind of chaos conducive to synchronicity.
This is especially useful to do after doing a lot of readings, but can also be a nice ritual to undertake before doing any kind of reading that feels particularly significant.
When it comes to the use of crystals, incense, or visualisation to “cleanse” or “purify” your decks… I have to say again that it all comes down to preference.
I’m not going to be so arrogant to say it’s bullshit, or that it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve had my own direct experiences with these things and so have a good sense of what works for me.
But note that I said direct experience.
Apart from the pragmatic stuff like re-setting your deck (or at the very least giving it a good shuffle every now and again) you may wish you get out every crystal you happen to own; or put your cards on the window sill under a full moon; or out in the sunlight.
You may wish to ask a deity that you resonate with, or some guardian angel to banish all negativity from yourself, your cards and your environment.
Or you may choose to simply pick up your deck when you want to understand something, read some cards, and put them away again.
Whatever you do… don’t just do it because you’ve been told it’s the right thing.
Do it because you tried it out and it worked for you.