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Cleansing Your Cards

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on September 8, 2011 | Comments (19)

Keeping your cards clean is mostly a matter of common sense. They are made of paper, so if they get sticky or dirty, wipe them with a very slightly damp cloth and then wipe them dry immediately. But when people ask about “cleansing the cards” they are not usually asking about a bit of jam or pizza sauce that dripped on their Ace of Pentacles. What they really want to know about is how to energetically cleanse the cards.

When to Cleanse

As with so many things tarot-related, there are no absolutes. Here are some points when some readers feel the need to cleanse or clear their cards:

1. after a very challenging reading

2. after many readings in a row

3. before using a new deck

4. after the cards have lain dormant for a while

5. after a milestone, life change, or shift in spiritual belief

6. at certain times of the year, such as holidays, birthdays, or full moons

7. before using a second-hand deck

8. when feeling disconnected from the cards (this may be more of a case of the reader grounding his or herself rather than cleansing the cards)

9. if someone has touched your deck without your permission

10. if someone has given you a deck that they or others have used before you

How to Cleanse

As with the timing, there are a variety of ways that readers cleanse or clear their decks. As long as the method makes sense to and has meaning for you, then that method is perfectly valid. A clearing ritual can be as simple or as complicated as you like. I usually do a quick clearing technique (simply going through the deck one card at a time, touching each card, looking at it, making sure it is upright) when I’m working. For holidays or for welcoming a new deck, I usually do a more elaborate clearing and blessing ritual, to clear the cards, to imbue them with energy, and bond with them.

1. store your deck with a rose or clear quartz (or any other crystal that has meaning for you…for example, I like to use a Tiger’s Eye)

2. run your deck through the smoke of burning sage or other incense

3. lightly sprinkle your deck with sea salt dissolved in water (I have never done this, but have sprinkled dry sea salt on my cards in a blessing ritual; I just don’t want to risk putting water on my cards)

4. put all the cards upright and in order (Major Arcanas, 0 – 21; Wands, Ace – King, etc.)

5. shuffle the deck seven times (or whatever number has meaning for you)

6. set on the inside of a windowsill overnight during a full moon (I make sure it is a full moon that is in a sign that resonates energetically for me)

7. light a white candle (or purple, or whatever color represents the energy you want to bring to your cards), sit in front of the candle holding your cards. Pray, meditate, or visualize your cards becoming clear and/or cleansed.

Reader Comments

Written By Hilary
on September 8th, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

How funny! I do all of the above to cleanse my cards as well… you’ve left no stone unturned in this post! I also favor tiger’s eye, clear quartz, and usually a clear light blue stone for the throat chakra to enhance verbal communication with my clients.

Written By Ty
on September 9th, 2011 @ 7:23 am

I use a mugglestone (for creativity) to cleanse my cards and to keep my mind sharp and flexible.

Written By Barbara Moore
on September 9th, 2011 @ 8:02 am

Ty, I thought you were joking. I’d never heard of mugglestone and thought it was a play on the Harry Potter word “muggle” for non-magic folks. But apparently it is a very interesting stone. On healingcrystals.com I read: Tiger Iron (Mugglestone), a combination of Golden Brown Tiger Eye, Hematite, and Red Jasper, exhibits the metaphysical properties of its components as well as its own. Tiger Iron is the perfect companion for those who tend to take on others feelings and emotions (whether consciously or unconsciously). Readers and Healers should keep a piece of Tiger Iron close to remain grounded, balanced and centered during a session. Thank you for sharing!

Written By Chloe
on September 9th, 2011 @ 9:04 am

Lovely post, Barbara. I like the info you give, and also the very neutral way you share it – what you do, what others might do, and always with the focus on making it meaningful to the person doing it. I adopted a habit from my first official teacher. For this he went through the whole deck laying them out in five piles (wands, cups, swords, pentacles, majors as base cards) so you never have cards of the same suit or number next to one another. Almost the opposite of your “putting them in order” idea, and yet the effect in many ways is the same – ridding the deck of any emotional clumping, so to speak 🙂

Written By Barbara Moore
on September 9th, 2011 @ 9:06 am

I love that…ridding it of emotional clumping. Excellent. I’ll try that sometime. Love trying new methods!

Written By Mackenzie
on September 9th, 2011 @ 11:25 am

I keep a quartz crystal on string wrapped around my deck, and I give Reiki to the cards when they need it.

Written By Evelyn
on September 10th, 2011 @ 8:52 am

I use a twofold approach – Black Tourmaline to absorb negative energy and Clear Quartz to insfuse with positive energy. Also, I blow gently on the cards and visualize any darkness being blown away.

Written By Wendy
on September 10th, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

Very good post. I, too, do all these things. You did give me a new suggestion thought. I love #6:

at certain times of the year, such as holidays, birthdays, or full moons.

Thanks for the idea.

Written By Joyce
on September 13th, 2011 @ 11:27 am

I use Oracle cards. Is there a particular order I should put them in?

Written By Susan Sackett ONeil
on September 13th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

I use white candles, prayer, mediation, the fullmoon, and sea salt..rarely water but I have drying quickly.
Always wrapping in silk or surrounding in silk.such as `a silk wrapped box.

We all seem to do similar gestures so we’ve been taught well Namaste and blessed be.

Written By Melissa
on September 13th, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

Those are all great ideas! Another is to fill a bowl with dry sea salt, submerge your cards and leave them over night. It takes a lot of salt, but I think it is a good cleansing that does not damage the cards.

Written By Theresa
on September 13th, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

I love using crystals to cleanse my deck. I am especially fond of smokey quartz because it has a grounding effect on my deck.

Written By Vincent
on September 14th, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

Hello Barbara,,,,,My Name is Vincent ,,,,,and I just found this,,,,On how to clean I ust want to thank you so much for this I have done something like this for year’s but like your tnecknic much better,,,,,Again thank you and hope you have a Blessed day,,,,,,,
Always Vincent,,,,,;-))))

Written By Tarot Card Spreads
on September 30th, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

I have found that knocking on the cards at least three times, like you would a door, helps to cleanse the cards as well. I use it when I am doing back to back readings with the same deck but different people. Allowing the customer to do it, helps to clear the deck for their next reading. But when I feel that the deck needs to be completely cleansed I use the upright and in order method.

Written By Savannah W
on April 22nd, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

Does this also work if someone is handing their old cards down to you?

Written By Jacie
on October 26th, 2015 @ 11:58 pm

I think placing the cards by a window ledge at night during the phases of the moon (new, 1/4, full, 3/4) refreshes.

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