How to Cleanse Tarot Cards

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Knowing how to cleanse Tarot cards, as well as how to protect your deck from picking up negative energies are vital when it comes to ensuring that your Tarot readings remain focused and clear, and that their messages keep resonating.

There are no hard and fast rules about when you should cleanse your Tarot cards – only guidelines and individual preferences. If you are still new to reading Tarot cards, learning to sense if the energy of your deck has become muddied or unfocused is an important part of getting to know your cards.

There are multiple different ways of clearing and cleansing your Tarot cards, just like there are multiple reasons why you might find it necessary to do so. In the following, you will discover the most powerful and effective ways of cleansing your cards whenever you feel they need it.

Why and when should you cleanse your Tarot cards?

When you are working with the Tarot cards, you are working with a great deal of spiritual energy and the transmission of messages via the connection you have with the cards. As a Tarot reader, you are essentially a conduit for the energy and information that flows between you, the querent and the cards whenever you are doing a Tarot reading.

Just like any other set of tools needs to be looked after and cared for, the Tarot cards can require a bit of upkeep to keep delivering their best performance. While the cards may only be picking up a minimal amount of physical debris or crud, they might soak up a lot of mental and emotional energy during readings. If, say, a querent that you are doing a reading for about their failed relationship is full of anguish and distress, the environment is bound to absorb some of that dark and heavy emotion. If, shortly after, you are doing another Tarot reading for a different client about something completely unrelated, some of the energy of the previous reading may still linger, carrying over from one reading to the next.

Energy and emotion can be transferred in numerous ways, for example when

  • Someone else touches your cards
  • You’re using a new deck for the first time. If it is second hand, the deck may still hold the energetic imprint of it previous owner as well as of any Tarot readings it has already done. If the Tarot deck is new, you may have the opposite problem – the cards hold no energy at all yet and you want to infuse them with positive vibration
  • Your Tarot deck has been lying dormant for a while and its energy is feeling dull and lacklustre.
  • You’ve just done a particularly draining Tarot reading, either because the subject matter was heavy or because the client’s energy was unpleasant. Either way, the reading has left you and your cards feeling depleted and the sensible thing to do is to restore the energy
  • The messages that come through in your Tarot readings are beginning to feel unclear or stuck, or they don’t seem to connect with your clients
  • You simply want to energetically reset your cards

Keep in mind that there are no rules about when you should cleanse your Tarot cards, or how often. Some Tarot readers like to cleanse their cards between every reading, while others only do it if their cards have been out of action for a while – or when they have been seeing too much action for a while. Ultimately, you have to discern for yourself when and how often it is right for you to cleanse your Tarot deck.

7 powerful methods for cleansing and clearing your Tarot deck

Just as there are no incontrovertible rules about how often you should cleanse Tarot cards, there is also no rules about how you should do it. When it comes to the Tarot, there are no wagging fingers. Tarot is an intuitive art, and your connection with your cards is highly individual. Only you decide when it is time for you to cleanse your cards, and how to go about it.

Here are seven powerful ways to cleanse Tarot cards. They are not the only correct ways to clear your deck, but they are time-honoured and are guaranteed to work well for you. Customise and combine them to your heart’s content.

Sort and shuffle your cards

The sort and shuffle method is the simplest and easiest way to cleanse your Tarot cards. It is particularly useful when you are on the go, or are doing multiple readings back to back.

Simply go through your whole Tarot deck and place each Tarot card into order, starting with the Major Arcana and moving into the four suits of the Minor Arcana. As you go through the cards, briefly look at each one while reminding yourself of its core message. Sorting and shuffling the whole deck allows you to touch base with each of the individual cards and comes with the added bonus of revealing whether you still have all 78 cards.

Energy clearing

You can cleanse Tarot cards energetically in one of two different ways.

Meditation

Meditating over your cards can be an effective way of clearing them of any lingering negative energy. You don’t need to be a master at mediation to be able to use this method to cleanse your Tarot deck.

Just hold your deck in both hands, close your eyes and focus on your breathing until it is deep and slow. Let go of any thoughts that arise and just be present with your cards. In your mind’s eye, see your Tarot deck surrounded by a protective, healing and clearing white light.

Reiki

If you are able to perform reiki, you can use this this to cleanse and restore the energy of the cards. Let the reiki healing energies flow from your hands and into the cards along with the intention of cleansing, balancing and reenergising them.

Moon bathing

Bathing your Tarot deck in the restorative light of the full moon is another potent way of cleansing Tarot cards and restoring their energies.

The moon bathing method is simple. On the next full moon, simply place your Tarot cards where the moonbeams are going to hit them fully. Typically, a window sill is going to be the best place. Some Tarot readers swear by leaving the cards outside, but if you are worried abut your cards being damaged by the elements, the windowsill is your best option.

Crystal clearing

Crystals offer another way to cleanse Tarot cards while simultaneously recharging them with fresh and vibrant new energy.

To cleans your Tarot deck using crystals, simply place the deck inside a grid of crystals, or with one or several crystals placed on top of it. Whenever you keep you Tarot cards wrapped in a scarf, in a fabric bag, in a wooden box or directly in their cardboard container, you might want to place a crystal next to them, for an ongoing cleansing and resotative effect.

Crystals have a long history of being used for energetic cleansing, but some are better suited than others for particular purposes. Here are the crystals best suited to clearing and restoring the energy of the cards.

Black tourmaline

Black tourmaline is know for having a cleansing and grounding effect. It is often used in aura cleansing, and helps its carrier release anger, negative emotions and feelings of unworthiness.

Selenite

Selenite vibrates at a very high frequency and promotes peace, calm, clarity and healthy emotional connections. Selenite is also known to uplift the spirit and to clear energetic blockages.

Clear quartz

Clear quartz is considered to be a powerfully protective stone as well as a purification stone. Quartz helps clear, cleanse and restore on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Amethyst

Amethyst is a soothing and balancing stone, dispelling imbalances and negative emotions.

Smudge stick or incense bath

Passing your Tarot deck through rising incense smoke is a simple but effective way of cleansing your cards. Although you can use any herbs or incenses you like for the purpose of smudging your Tarot deck, these two are particularly well known as energy cleansers.

Palo santo

Palo santo sticks are known to release purifying properties when burned and have long been used in spiritual rituals and ceremonies to clear the space of negative vibrations or energetic debris.

Sage

Sage is considered to lower negative vibrations while heightening positive ones. Sage cleanses, purifies and uplifts its environment.

Sound bath

You might choose to cleans your Tarot deck using the vibration of sound. Whether you prefer immersing your Tarot cards in a traditional gong bath, the ethereal sounds of a singing bowl is entirely up to you.

Salt burial

Salt has a long history of being used for cleansing and protection in magic as well as ritual.

To cleanse your Tarot cards sing this method, wrap your deck in a plastic bag, then place the bag inside a container that is larger than the deck. Next, fill the container with salt and let it sit for a while to let the salt draw out any lingering energies.

Air clearing

Finally, you may simply want to air out your cards in order to let the wind loosen and carry away any lingering energetic debris.

How to keep your Tarot cards clear and clean

No Tarot reader wants to spend extortionate amounts of time cleansing their cards. It is much better to prevent your cards from picking up a lot of energetic noise and getting muddied in the first place.

Protecting your cards

If you find that the energy of your cards becomes easily disturbed, start by noticing what causes their energy to wobble the most. Is it when you let other people touch your cards? If you notice the particular energies or people affect your cards more than others, a few precautionary measures – for example, requesting that people not touch your cards, or placing a protective stone in the bag you keep your cards in – may go a long way towards protecting the energy of your cards.

Storing your cards

Many Tarot readers swear by wrapping their cards in a silk scarf, while others keep their deck in a closed wooden box or surrounded by crystals. All are ways of keeping the energy of the cards in and intact, while keeping interfering energies out and away.

Recharging your cards

If you find that your Tarot cards become depleted in-between readings, store them in a place that not only protects but also recharges your cards. You may, for example, give your cards a permanent home in a restorative clear quartz crystal grid on your altar or in a windowsill where they can bathe in both full moon beams and fresh air.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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