So much of the Tarot practices vary from reader to reader and there are no hard-set rules, but I do think learning how to cleanse a tarot deck is worthwhile. It’s a good practice to get into early on and there’s a lot of variants to it. So why, when and how do you cleanse a deck?
Like most aspects of the Tarot, there is no one size fits all answer. Some cleanse their decks with a simple sort and shuffle while others perform a ritual with salt, soil or moonlight.
So let’s start by narrowing down why you cleanse a deck to begin with.
Why Should I Cleanse My Tarot Deck?
The most common reasons for regularly cleansing your deck are the heightened accuracy of your readings, as well as the purpose of connecting with your deck.
Usually, you will get a feeling for when itis time to cleanse your tarot deck. You will experience the sense of something being not quite right when you use your cards. Consistently negative, disconnected, or confused readings are also signs that you might want to think of cleansing and recharging the deck.
When to Cleanse a Tarot Deck
There are also certain universal moments when most readers decide to cleanse their deck. Among the most common are these:
While some practitioners would never let other people touch their cards, others allow it but take care to cleanse them afterward.
It is also very useful to cleanse your deck when you have bought a new one and want to connect with it. This is especially important when you bought a deck second-hand because you can never know what kind of energies are still stuck on it from the previous owner.
When you have not used a certain deck for some time and want to reconnect with it, a cleansing ritual will do the trick.
After a very difficult and exhausting reading, you might feel the desire to clear your mind and cleanse your cards – or do both at the same time, like with the meditation process explained below.
There are bigger and smaller forms of cleansing your deck. Some take less time and effort and therefore are more appropriate for in between readings, and others are good for a big monthly or annual cleanse.
Something to do on a daily basis is to store your cards with a quartz crystal. Since quartz is a good absorber of energies it will prevent stagnant negative energies from getting stuck on your deck.
Methods for Cleansing
Now that you know why to cleanse your cards and are able to recognize the signs that there might be negative energies connected with your cards, it is time to learn how to cleanse a tarot deck. There are countless ways to proceed, the methods chosen here are sorted from quick and easy ways you can do between readings to cleansing rituals that take more time and require certain conditions of weather or time of year.
Knocking on the Deck
Just knock on your deck three times as if you were knocking at a door. This is a fast and simple way to wake your deck up at the beginning of a day and refresh its energies.
Sorting and Shuffling
When you have some free time between readings, this is a way to reset the deck – the tarot equivalent to turning it off and on again. Sort your cards starting with the Major Arcana, beginning with the Fool, and leading up to the World. Then sort the suits, starting with the numbers from Ace to Ten and then the court cards in the order of Page, Knight, Queen, and King. At last, stack the cards and shuffle them to make them ready for your next reading.
A short or long mediation – depending on what you need or how much time you have – can cleanse both your deck and your mind from negative energies. Mediate with your cards in your hands. Close your eyes and visualize the deck in your hand to be surrounded by a ball of white light. This visualization imbues your cards with calm and positive energy.
If you own a singing bowl – also called a standing bell or a gong – an object most commonly used for meditation, you can also use it to clean your tarot deck. Place the cards below the bowl and strike it. The sound and vibrations will cleanse the cards from any unwelcome energies that are stuck to them.
Place your deck in the sun to charge it for positive energy and strength. While doing this outside adds the cleansing qualities of fresh air, you should avoid doing this when you live in a very humid climate since this would damage your cards. Find a nice quiet place on a windowsill or on a table in a bright room and let your deck charge for some hours. Depending on the specific energies you want to attract you can decide for a time of day – the fresh and clear energies of the early morning will have a different effect on your deck than the soft, melancholy light of the late afternoon.
Place the cards in the light of the full moon to reload them with lunar energy. Since there is only one full moon in a month, this requires a bit of planning, especially if you want to use the specific energy of a zodiac sign, because in this case, you will need to choose the full moon during this sign for your ritual. A full moon in Capricorn, for example, will result in your deck being tuned in specifically for readings regarding ambition, career, and finances.
Not every practitioner is a fan of the salt burial, since it can get quite messy and might damage your cards when not done carefully. Others though swear on it for drawing negative energy from your cards.
First, wrap your cards tightly in plastic to make sure that they are safe from direct contact with the salt. Then place the deck in an airtight container with enough salt for it to be covered from all sides. It is very important that the container is airtight since salt also draws moisture from the air, and you will not want to get your cards wet! Keep your deck buried in salt for a few days.
If this sounds too messy and risky for you, you can also place your cards on top of a Himalayan salt slab or let the glow of a salt lamp shine on them.
Now that you know how to cleanse a tarot deck you can integrate these rituals into your practice to make sure that your readings are as clear and accurate as possible. Recharging your cards with methods like this will also tighten the connection between you and your deck.