How to Clear and Cleanse Your Tarot Cards

by Brigit on August 19, 2010 in Real Life Tarot

Cleanse Tarot Card

Cleansing your Tarot cards is important for maintaining a positive energy in your Tarot readings and connecting with your Tarot deck. In the following blog post, I take a look at a number of different techniques that will help you cleanse your Tarot deck and when you might need to use these techniques.

When Does a Tarot Deck Need to be Cleansed?

Generally, you’ll know when you need to cleanse your Tarot cards – there’ll be that niggling feeling that something isn’t quite right with your cards and that something needs to change. Here are some examples of different situations when you will most likely feel compelled to cleanse your Tarot cards:

  • Other people have touched your cards
  • You’ve bought a new or second hand Tarot deck
  • You’ve done a particularly draining Tarot reading
  • Your Tarot cards have been sitting dormant or unused for quite some time
  • You or your Tarot cards have been exposed to a lot of negative energy (for example, a particularly negative client, or a challenging situation in your own personal life)
  • Your Tarot readings are beginning to feel unclear, disconnected or ‘stuck’
  • Your cards have fallen all over the floor or had some other sort of accident
  • You simply want to reconnect with your cards

How to Clear and Cleanse a Tarot Deck

There are many different techniques that you can use to clear negative energy and cleanse your Tarot deck. The important thing is to choose the technique(s) that feel right to you and to the situation (e.g. you might use one technique in between each reading, and another technique to cleanse on an annual basis). Below are a number of different ways to clear and cleanse a Tarot deck:

Sorting and Shuffling. Firstly, sort your cards in order, starting with the Major Arcana, then into each of the suits of the Minor Arcana. While you’re doing this, look briefly at each card and remember the special message it has to offer you in your readings. You can also use this time to check that you have every card in your deck (a few years back, I found that I had been missing the Ace of Swords for quite some time without even realising it!!). Once your cards are sorted and in order, start shuffling and reinvigorating your cards with your energy. You might like to shuffle seven times, put your cards in a big messy pile and randomly select cards, or simply use a shuffling technique that is comfortable to you.

Meditation. Hold your cards in both hands, close your eyes and relax. Allow your mind to be free of any thought and just ‘be’ with your cards. You may then like to visualise the Universal energy being drawn through you and to your cards, surrounding your cards in a protective white light. Those with an understanding of Reiki may like to use this mode of energy healing to cleanse their cards by channelling their healing Reiki energy through the cards. This is personally my favourite as it is easy to do in between readings and it helps me focus and concentrate on my next client.

Moon Bath. The full moon is an excellent source of energy for your cards. On a full moon, you can simply place your cards in a window or even outside to bathe in the moonlight. Alternatively, many people use this time to conduct a special ritual or to cite different incantations for cleansing their Tarot cards.

Salt Burial. Salt can be used to draw out negative energy from your cards, just like you would use salt to draw out the moisture from a food item in cooking. First, wrap your Tarot in a plastic bag as tightly as you can. Then take an airtight container that is larger than your Tarot deck, place your wrapped cards inside and then completely surround your cards with salt on all sides, above and below. It is imperative that this is an airtight container as salt not only gathers the energies from a Tarot deck well, it also gathers any moisture that might be in the air, potentially damaging your cards. Keep your cards buried in the salt for at least a few days or a week before taking them out and disposing of the salt.

Fresh Air. Just after a rain shower or even in the warmth of the sun, place your cards outside to take in the fresh air and draw in the cleansing rays. Of course, keep in mind the (imp)practicalities and be careful not to place them in a windy position or somewhere where you may end up doing more damage!

Smudge Stick. Burn some dried sage or rosemary  (or use a store-bought smudge stick) and simply pass the cards through the smoke several times. You can also cleanse any crystals that you use during the process.

Elemental Clearing. Elemental clearing brings your awareness to using different techniques that are aligned with each of the four elements used in Tarot. For example, for Earth clearing, use the Salt burial; for Water clearing, use the Moon Bath or sprinkle a little water on your cards; for Fire clearing, pass your cards over a candle; for Air clearing, use a smudge stick. You may like to go through each of the four elements for a more comprehensive cleansing.

Most readers do some form of cleansing each time they read – it might be a simple shuffle of the cards or a meditation. From time to time, you may like to do a more significant cleansing process to really reinvigorate your cards. Again, choose what method and what frequency feels right to you.

Keeping Your Cards Clean

Now that you’ve cleansed your Tarot cards, how do you make sure they stay ‘clean’? Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Keep your Tarot cards wrapped in a special cloth or stored in a special Tarot box.
  • Store your cards with a quartz crystal which is a wonderful absorber of energies. If you want to keep your crystal ‘clean’ too, then use any of the cleansing techniques above.
  • Place your Tarot cards at a specially made altar in between readings.

I’d love to hear from you – what cleansing techniques do you use and/or prefer? Maybe you have a new technique to share? Please post your comments below.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie January 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thanks Biddy! I used your salt trick and it worked great! I ended up flushing the salt down the “loo” in a sort of spiritual cleansing! It was really easy and inexpensive.

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Biddy_Tarot January 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm

*smile* great!

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PrincessPaulina March 1, 2012 at 7:24 am

Hello, Brigit!
These are great tips! :)

Here’s one of my cleansing strategies:
For elemental clearing with “air”, I diffuse 6-10 drops of frankincense, myrrh or sandalwood essential oil, diluted with water, in an oil warmer (a.k.a. tea light “aromatherapy diffuser” such as this one: http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4688925_aromatherapy-diffuser-work.html)

Once fragrant vapors begin to rise from the oil warmer, I fan the deck out and pass the cards through the fragrance, alternating with holding them face up or face down, while doing my own visualizations & incantations.

Thanks again for a great article!

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Biddy_Tarot March 1, 2012 at 7:56 am

PrincessPaulina – great tip! Thanks for sharing :-)

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XX April 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Dear Biddy,

Thanks for this great article. I just ordered a deck for myself online as there is no shop here that sells tarot cards.I was supposed to get the deck on a Friday the 13th ! But some delay was there and I got it later!! Anyways I was wondering whether using just the moon bathe technique for all the cards would be fine as its hard to get sage or rosemary from where I come from. I somehow feel attracted to the moon bathe technique. Hoping you will reply soon.
xx

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Dana April 9, 2013 at 5:24 am

Have you tried growing and drying your own Sage/Rosemary? That way you can always make your own bundles to cleanse with.

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Brigit April 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Great idea! I’m just not very good in the garden and can’t grow my own!

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Connie June 7, 2014 at 10:43 am

I grow my own herbs. Most can be grown in pots and are easy to grow. You can also grow many indoors if you have a window with light. Sage is a perrinial in most areas so you don’t have to replant. Rosemary is only perrinial in areas 8 and higher.

If you don’t want to grow it, you can buy fresh herbs in grocery stores and dry it.

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David Thompson February 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Hi Brigit, I use the ‘Universal Energy – white light’ visualization technique which has been fine, which I hope kind of doubles up as psychic protection. I keep my cards in a Tarot box made in India ,I also place 4 small pewter buddahs on top, one in each corner facing the center of the box, and I always use the same silk cloth for my spreads. Thanks for the other techniques, next full moon I think I’ll take the whole lot into the garden and say a few prayers, regards David

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Brigit February 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

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Monique April 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

I use the moon bath, for both cleansing my cards and stones, its works wonderfully, The moon has great energy anhelps clear even your own mind, mediating under the full moon is agreat experience aswell

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IzzyAnne April 25, 2013 at 5:26 am

Great ideas, thanks.

I aslo like to bury my cards in brown or bismati rice. I use a wooden chalice for this. i place rice, with or without sea salt in the chalice and place the cards on top. I then cover them wih rice and then place them on an altar. I do this after I have been to a fair or festival where I have done a lot of readings and the cards (and I) feel exhausted. Afterwards I either burn the rice in the fire or bury it in the garden. I do this for for any crystal or stone rings tat i wear wen reading too.

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Brigit April 25, 2013 at 7:15 am

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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Michelle McD April 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I do a variety of these for different occasions. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of Tarot Parties and have been shuffling the deck in between clients and using a combination of visualization and reiki to quickly cleanse and recharge my deck. And then I always blow on the top to blow away any lingering negativity. It usually does the trick but sometimes I find that if I have a large party or a particularly emotional client sometimes their energy has a tendency to “cling” to my cards and occasionally I have to repeat the process.

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Brigit April 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Great ideas, especially when reading in a high volume, fast-paced environment like a Tarot party.

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Kris May 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

I had my cards in a drawer to a looong time. My first reading I did for myself was really disconnected. I took a nap and placed the cards under my pillow and my next reading was very informative. Should I do more? It really seemed it got my energy. I usually just do readings for myself but friends now want readings….should I do more?

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Brigit May 4, 2013 at 1:53 am

You’ll know when it’s time to do more. The energy will be there!

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Akairyuu May 31, 2013 at 7:22 am

Hi. I just got my first Tarot Deck today (Rider-Waite) and I was just wondering that for elemental cleansing, could I use corresponding crystals for each element rather than candles, incense smudge sticks etc? e.g. For Earth clearing, I could sit a Garnet on top and let it’s energy clear the deck, for air I could use Rose Quartz, for water I could use Sodalite and for Fire I could use Carnelian.

This is mainly because my family don’t allow anything that burns like candles or incense in the house; which I can understand as they are fire hazards.

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Brigit June 3, 2013 at 6:56 am

The important thing is that you choose a ritual that feels right for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s different to what everyone else is doing. So long as it makes you feel as if your cards are cleansed and you have a stronger connection to them.

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kassondra July 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

Sorry if this is a stupid comment, but when I am arranging the cards by suit am I supposed to stack them face up or face down? I feel like they should be face down..but I am not sure.

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Brigit July 23, 2013 at 6:14 am

Whatever works for you, however I tend to do it with the cards facing up so that I can see which cards they are.

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Michelle August 6, 2013 at 6:18 am

I will apologize now if this gets really wordy :). Ok I am an empath and I have a great connection with my cards(usually). I recently separated from my husband but am still very much connected to him. I know when something is going wrong for him and I will ask spirit to show me. I will see it and send him some comforting words. We do still love each other a great deal. Well they have shown me that he wants to be with me but is carrying a lot of guilt and heavy burdens. I have expressed much love to him but it doesn’t help him. The other day I was some readings that were not making sense to me. Finally The Star came as an outcome, telling me I was about to receive a revelation in the nicest possible way. I really didn’t get it. Then I started doing a reading from my friend and the cards kept coming up signals of my husband. I stopped the reading to focus on what spirit was trying to tell me. When I thought about The Star and looked back, I realized they been trying to tell me for the last 3 readings I had done.They sent me on a journey with my husband telling me to tell him how I truly feel and eventually in a nice way releasing him of some of his burdens without him knowing. Then they told me to take a temporary retreat, which I did. After that I would not get anything but his journey until I would get upset and ask why they were doing this to me. They would tell me I have been victourious and to keep the faith. The next day they had me clear some other things out of my life and now I am back to getting only my husbands journey and his struggle with me. Can anyone tell me why this is happening?!

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Brigit August 7, 2013 at 2:38 am

Hi Michelle,

I think the important thing here is to remember that the Tarot cards are a guide only. You are the one who will know the right decision for you, as opposed to the cards telling you what to do.

If you’re not receiving helpful messages right now, or unable to truly make sense of them, I would suggest putting the cards down for a period and taking a break. Just be present with what is happening and take some space for healing.

Brigit

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Michelle August 7, 2013 at 4:04 am

Hi Brigit,

Thank you. Yes, normally I would only ask to see. This really has been my strangest experience with the cards! I meditated with them this morning and asked to see what they were trying to tell me. They told me I was not being objective and to take the emotion out of my work. A lesson in controlling my empathy I think. I sometimes see an unpleasant experience with him and another really close friend and rather than do what I should, understand and guide, I consume their sorrow which doesn’t help anyone. We all have lessons to learn, mine being to let them learn theirs :) I acknowledged and felt my connection return. Thank You so much for replying! :)

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ellie September 18, 2013 at 2:20 am

I need help

My mother in law gave me some tariff cards from her sister that passed away. I got a regular tariff card deck, a Crowley deck and some sort of stones that are used for reading as well…my question is….can these be cursed?

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Mia December 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

If your worried they are “cursed” just give them an Earth bath with sea salt and some dragons blood resin mixed in with it and maybe some angelica root pieces as well and leave both decks and the stones in that mix for a good week and you should feel that bad juju has left at that point

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ellie September 18, 2013 at 2:21 am

Sorry I meant tarot cards

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Julie September 21, 2013 at 2:54 am

Thankyou for your advice on cleansing, I received a second hand deck just recently and wanted to cleanse it and was asking it mattered in a moon bath if it the cards were left under or behind glass to prevent any further damage? Will you still have the same cleansing effect than leaving them out in the open air?

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Camlica October 25, 2013 at 2:56 am

Iv reacently bought a pack of tarat cards from a local charity shop ;
i knd
ew that all my tools secondhand or new had to be clensed i didnt know how to do this but found your wonderful website through a friend .
I have just done the salt cleanseing and put it into freshair wrapped in an airtight container .
Thank you so much for your tips .
Iv your page on my shortcuts .

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Brigit October 26, 2013 at 6:12 pm

So glad I could help!

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VSN November 3, 2013 at 6:24 am

In the last week or so I did multiple emotionally draining readings and especially YES/NO spreads because I wanted to know how accurate they are. In the end I did so many that confused and drained me so that I believe even my Tarot cards were “exhausted” and stared backfiring me. So I did one last YES/NO one-card reading inquiring if they needed some sort of cleansing. Pulled 8 of cups… guess they even told me their preferred method of cleansing, under a full moon :D Thank you very much for the tips!
P.S.: in the end I believe that out of all the YES/NO types of spread the one-card “says it all” one is the most accurate.

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Brigit November 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Love it! That’s the Universe speaking loud and clear!

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Rebecca January 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Hi biddy, great article!! :)
I have a ‘worry’ I was wondering if you could help with??

I have a pack of tarot cards (aquarium deck)
I brought them new about 3 years ago.
I haven’t used them and they were on my shelf idle for about 2 months. (wrapped in a special cloth)
How ever, I wanted to use them, and placed them under my pillow for a few nights. And shuffled them to reconnect with them.
But lately I didn’t want them in the room with me, (kept in my bedroom, their more for personal use, for now) I was getting scared from them like their was ‘something bad’ with them, almost as if there was an ‘evil energy’ with them, so I placed them out on my dresser in my hallway, before I went to bed last night and I have dreamt that there was a spirit outside my bedroom, who just flung my bedroom door open, I immediately awoke with the fright and the deck of tarot cards popped into my head, I was wondering do you think they are linked?
Is there something wrong with my cards? I bought them my self, I know their better if they are givin to you.

I’d greatly appreciate your advice, thanks in advance :)

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Brigit January 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

You’ve got to go with what feels right to you. If you keep feeling icky every time you think about those cards, they might not be the right deck for you.

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Amateur Empath January 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Hello there!
Being quite new to tarot, I have a question regarding storage. I still live with my parents, being a minor and all, and they are very closed-minded toward these matters and also very controlling. I recently obtained a deck of tarot cards from an older friend- cards of my own to scry with! I have been keepin them in a hidden compartment of a box of jelly beans underneath the head of my bed. I was careful to make it look like I was hiding food rather than tarot cards as this way I would get in less trouble. The thing is, and I’m sorry if this question comes across as strange or offensive, but I was worried that the residual energy of the jellybeans would affect the cards with their energy. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I want my readings to be as accurate as possible. I don’t want my cards getting a sugar rush all of a sudden! ;P

Any advice would be appreciated! Xx

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Brigit January 19, 2014 at 8:54 am

I don’t think it should impact your cards at all, except if the actual sugar started leeching onto your cards!

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Brittany February 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Hi Brigit,

I use the moon bath cleansing. I never thought of using a quartz crystal, but am definitely getting some!

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Maria March 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Hello,
It has been a while since I’ve worked with the Tarot, but recently I have been totally getting back into it. I have a somewhat unique cleansing process.. I like to cleanse my cards with a combination of sage and nag champa incense (which contains vibrations of all 4 elements), while also having a Tibetan singing bowl ringing.. I’ve found that the sound (waves of energy) help loosen up any bad mojo and help enliven them. My husband and I have all 7 notes of bowls, so before I cleanse I think about the cards and ring them and choose one that attracts me most. :)

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Brigit March 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Gorgeous! I love the Tibetan singing bowls – just beautiful!

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alan June 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I use the calabastian cross as a general clearance after i clear ( cars and space)with tamaasha ( magnified) chukura marocosim i can feel the energy clear around my feet also north american indian rattles. drums or chinese bells work for me thanks for your great site

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Johanna August 3, 2014 at 1:05 am

Hi Brigit,

I heard from a very old lady that if you need to clean your cards quickly from negative energies, You must take your cards in the palm of your hand, and with your fist hit the cards quite hard….
Is this true?

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Brigit August 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

You can do whatever you like! Really. For me, I cleanse just by shuffling the cards or taking in a few deep breaths. If hitting the cards works for you, go for it.

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Ella August 17, 2014 at 7:34 am

I actually lost my favorite deck a few months back and today found them in my shed (must have been misplaced while cleaning). So I sorted them and now have them sitting on my window sill for 24 hours. I heard one time this was a good cleanse because they get energy from both the sun and moon to keep them balanced.
Just wanted to share!

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Jester September 13, 2014 at 4:38 am

Thank you so much for this info! I was just gifted my mothers Tarot cards and I can’t wait to cleanse my cards using the techniques listed above and begin my studies to read them correctly, also I now know how to keep them clean and stored correctly, I plan to come back to this site many times for more useful tidbits that you have to offer :) Peace and love to you all.

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