Perhaps you’ve heard various accounts of how one “should” acquire and care for a tarot deck. I remember hearing these stories in the time before I owned my first deck.
You can only use the cards if a deck is gifted to you, was one instruction. You must perform a ritual to clear your deck of energies and make it your own was another.
While I would never downplay the wisdom of different cultures and their beliefs about the best ways to obtain and care for their divinatory tools, there are some standard beliefs when it comes to caring for your tarot deck and how to cleanse tarot cards.
So, let’s talk about how to cleanse tarot cards and take care of your tarot deck. Note that you can also use these cleansing methods for oracle and angel card decks.
How to Cleanse Tarot Cards vs Clearing your Deck
Depending on the specific culture or belief system, cleansing and clearing your tarot deck can mean a variety of things.
Some say to “clear” the cards mean you intentionally neutralize them, like rebooting your computer to return it to factory settings and clear any personalized files stored on it.
To “cleanse” tarot cards can mean something a little different. This can mean that you not only neutralize your cards but also energetically remove any energies that may be negative, distracting, or heavy.
The distinction is a minor one, and some people use the terms interchangeably. For me, the idea of clearing the cards is a matter of neutralizing the energy from the past.
To cleanse tarot cards means to actually take additional measures to really clean out the energy. This is more like a deep cleaning.
A third step is called “charging.” Once the cards have been neutralized, then cleansed on a deeper level, you can imbue the cards with specific positive energy. This is called “charging” the cards. Other terms for charging can include blessing them.
7 Easy Ways To Cleanse your Tarot Deck
Before using that tarot deck, especially a new one, I believe it’s a good idea to clear, cleanse, and then charge your new tarot cards.
If nothing else, this helps to align the energy of the cards with your personal energies. Doing so solidifies your connection to the cards which will lead to more accurate and insightful readings.
So before you use your tarot cards, set aside some time for a clearing and cleansing ritual. Although I use the two separate terms, they go hand in hand. Similar to shampooing your hair and then using conditioner. Charging can also be done in the same ritual.
Below are a number of different ways to clear and cleanse your tarot deck. Whether you use any of these tools or none of them, plan for a process to neutralize and clear the cards, another process for energetically doing a “deep clean” or cleanse, and then another process to charge them.
1. Blowing & Knocking
We start with my all-time favorite: blowing and knocking the cards. Take your cards and fan them out in one hand. Gently start to blow on the cards. One breath will normally do.
Now, make one neat pile of the cards and knock on top of the deck. Your cards are now cleansed of old energy and ready for their next reading.
2. Moon Bath
The full moon is a good time to let go of old energy within ourselves and any items in our possession. Therefore, the full moon is a perfect source to clear and cleanse your tarot cards.
You can create a “moon bath” by just simply placing your cards in your window or (if the weather allows it) outside in the moonlight.
The Full Moon can also be used for charging your cards. This involves wrapping them in a secure cloth bag and sleeping with them under your pillow for three nights starting with the next Full Moon.
You may also set your deck on or between crystals that draw out negative energies to cleanse and recharge your tarot cards. This is actually one of my favorite methods, as it’s simple and I love to work with crystals.
How? Just simply put clear quartz on top of your tarot deck when you’re not using it. It’s as simple as that!
If you like to work with other chrystals than clear quartz, I would recommend using Amethyst or Selenite. They also have cleansing properties.
4. Salt Burial
Some readers use salt as a purifier. If you want to try out this method to cleanse tarot cards, first wrap your card tightly in a plastic bag. Then take an airtight container with salt that is big enough for your cards.
Now place your cards in the container and make sure they’re surrounded with salt on all sides (yes even the top). Leave the cards in the container for at least a few days.
Personally, I don’t dare to use this method with my favorite decks, because there is a risk of damaging your cards. Especially when your container is not airtight as the salt can suck up moist from the air. But I know a lot of readers taking this risk:)
5. Incense or Smudge Stick
If you choose to use tools in the process, you can also use cleansing herbs like dried sage, Palo Santo, a locally sourced herb, or a simple smudge stick that accomplishes the same goal.
Burning the herb, you can pass your deck through the smoke to clear and cleanse it of past energies.
You can also fan out the cards on a table and pass a smudge stick/palo santo/sage over them. Then stack the cards and pass the smudge stick or incense above and below them.
You can also use the smudging method to charge your deck.
6. Singing Bowls
Did you know that you can also use a Singing Bowl to clear and cleanse tarot cards?
These healing basins helped put my emotions in check, strengthen my chakras, and even improved my physical health. But I also use them to cleanse tarot cards by placing my deck in the singing bowl, while playing it.
7. Visualisation and Meditation
Without tools, cleansing and clearing your tarot cards can be as simple as a prayer or visualization to erase any past energetic connection to the cards.
This is like repainting a house when you buy it. Someone else owned it before, they painted it the way they wanted, but it’s your house now so you put your own personal mark on it.
By repainting the rooms, you are declaring “this is my space now and I need to disconnect it from the past and connect it to the present.
Clearing the cards is no different. You may visualize a white light around the cards as you hold them in both hands. You may meditate on them and visualize a giant eraser that “clears away” any energies that are attached to the cards.
Next, you can imagine or visualize that you are going deeper into the energy of the card deck and pulling away any imperfect, dense, heavy, or negative energies. You may visualize this as deep scrubbing or deep cleaning.
You don’t have to physically clean your cards, in fact, this is probably not a good idea. But visualizing the process helps to rid the cards of other energies from past owners or past readings.
Finally, when your cards are cleansed, you can charge them by holding them again in both hands and visualizing new, clean, wise, compassionate, and spiritual energy coming into the cards. You can visualize this energy coming right from divine Source, for example.
You can also charge your cards by saying a prayer or incantation over them. Anything you do that imbues the cards with your higher energy or higher vibration energy, be it from crystals, herbs, or even exposure to peaceful or spiritual music, helps to align their energy with your intention.
Why Cleansing your Tarot Cards is Important
Will tarot cards work if they aren’t cleansed, cleared, and charged? Of course. I believe they will. Ultimately, you are interpreting archetypes and can still read cards even if the subtle energies aren’t maintained.
But in time it is necessary to clear the energies and recharge your cards just as you need to clear and recharge your computer, phone, or anything else.
Think of it like this, if you had a beautiful painting hanging on your wall and year after year it collected dust, your ability to see and appreciate it is altered. Even if that alteration is slight, it is still not as clear as to when it was new and fresh.
When you read tarot cards, you are dealing with subtle energy. If others handle your cards (some readers don’t allow this, some do) then their physical and subtle energies are getting into your cards.
Readings are often emotional and may be heavy while also deeply healing. All of that energy gets absorbed into your cards over time.
It’s a good idea to keep clearing, cleansing and recharging them periodically depending on how often you use them and what kinds of readings have been done with them.
Cleanse Your Cards based on Your Cultural Beliefs
Your individual spiritual beliefs and practices are the best way to determine what exactly will work for your method of clearing or cleansing.
The most powerful way to care for your cards energetically is to align the process with whatever is meaningful to you based on your spiritual practices or just what works for you.
Simple can be best as this allows you to put most of your focus directly into the process of clearing and cleansing your cards.
You may also use a full ritual or a simple prayer. You may use blessed sea salt or incense like Sage or you may simply use your own personal energy to clear cleanse and tarot cards.
Care and Maintenance of Your Deck
In addition to the spiritual and energetic aspect of caring for your deck, there are also practical considerations to keep in mind.
Do you read for others or just for yourself? If you read for others, you may want to decide whether or not you allow others to handle your cards.
Though it is good to clear and cleanse your tarot deck even if you don’t let others handle your cards, you may not feel the need to do it as frequently. If only you handle your cards, consider clearing and cleansing them monthly.
Yet if others handle your cards you may have other considerations such as whether to use a spare deck for readings involving others so as to keep another deck just for your private use.
You may also have a special protective cloth you use to wrap your cards in. Some people make or purchase elaborate and beautiful cloths which can serve as a wrap and a table cloth on which to do their readings.
Others prefer to also add extra protection by keeping their deck in a sturdy box or container.
I find that many decks I purchase are beautiful but have relatively flimsy boxes that don’t last long. Finding a wooden Tarot box may be a good way to ensure your cards are kept safe.
Some Final Words
Though the real work begins when you sit down to consult your tarot deck, there is also work to be done in the care and maintenance of your deck.
Keeping the energy of your cards clear and high vibrational will prevent you from getting confusing readings.
Regular recharging of your cards is a great way to also maintain accuracy in your readings.
Just remember that the most powerful way to care for your cards energetically is to align the process with whatever is meaningful to you or what works for you.
So try out the above methods, maybe even mix and match, to find a cleansing method that resonates with you.
I hope that with this article I gave you some easy methods to cleanse and clear tarot cards. If you have another system or technique of cleansing tarot cards, I would love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments section below.