How to Cleanse Tarot Cards (And Why You Definitely Should)

You’ve just got a new deck of tarot cards and you’re ready to do your first reading. Before you do that, it’s important to learn how to cleanse tarot cards first.

Cleansing a tarot deck is a process that many tarot readers do before they begin to use their cards, to clear the deck of any negative energy along with imparting their own energy into the new deck. This spiritual cleansing can help tarot readers conduct more accurate readings.

Why Should You Cleanse Tarot Cards?

The reason why many tarot readers cleanse their tarot deck is because you want a space that is spiritually clean so that readings are not clouded with negative debris from outside sources.

When you cleanse your tarot cards and the spiritual space and objects around them, you remove any traces of negative or blocking energy, thus allowing you to use your deck to the best of your abilities, with clean, positive energy.

Many tarot readers do spiritual preparations like clearing their space and tarot cards of negativity before they begin a reading in addition to their initial clearing (i.e. the cleansing they did when they first got the cards.)

They also may do a cleansing after readings to make ensure any negativity from the reading is removed. Some people clear their cards after every reading and some don’t – this is a personal choice.

Tarot cards are a form of divination and all forms of divination require energy. When you cleanse your cards and space you are ridding them of the energetic “residue” that accumulates from performing readings.This is even more important if you are the type of reader who allows others to handle your cards.

Do I Have to Cleanse My Tarot Deck?

Some people can perform an accurate reading without doing anything to a deck, but most people prefer to put their own energy into the deck instead of just taking them out of the box and starting.

When you clear a deck you are also charging it with your energy as you begin to use it, by removing any other influences on the cards. Clearing the deck also blesses the deck with your spiritual energy.

Of course, the choice is yours. If you feel comfortable not cleansing your new deck of cards, then simply get started reading.

How to Cleanse Tarot Cards

how to cleanse tarot cards with smudge stick and crystals

There are several ways to cleanse a tarot deck. In addition to cleansing the actual tarot deck, man tarot readers also cleanse their spiritual space and the objects in the room in which they conduct their readings.

Here is a list of all the main ways a tarot deck (and the surrounding space) can be cleansed:

  • Prayers, Invocations, Vigils
  • Singing, Chanting or Music
  • Ritual Silence
  • Creating an alter, placing statues, flowers, pictures, a glass of water
  • Using A Power Name
  • Incense, Smoke and Smudging
  • Lighting candles or burning a fire
  • Spiritual gestures or offerings
  • Fasting or Feasting on special foods or drinking a specific herb or tea
  • Using power objects such as crystals or putting on any ritual amulets or talisman or religious or spiritual jewelry such as beads
  • Burying or Unburying
  • Tying or Untying
  • Washing your hands
  • Breathing techniques
  • Shuffling

Most people begin a clearing of the cards and the space they are going to use by invoking good energy to assist them. They ask the good energy to clear the tarot deck and space; and also ask the good energy to give the deck and space a positive charge.

The good energy can take the form of what you perceive as good energy. Examples include a spirit guide, a departed ancestor or white light. Some people may ask for God’s light and intervention.

Choose whatever you feel is a good and positive force for you to clear any negative or blocks from the cards and space. You can also dedicate or consecrate your cards to the use of good when you clear your space and tarot deck.

Simple Invocation to Consecrate Your Tarot Deck

Here is a simple invocation to consecrate your deck or space. When using it for your space, simply substitute the word space for deck.

“I consecrate this deck to bring Light where there is Darkness

I consecrate this deck for guidance and wisdom for myself and others for the higher good for all concerned

I consecrate this deck to enlighten myself and those concerned

May all who use and touch this deck know the love of Spirit and drawn into the light of Spirit

I dedicate this deck to serve others with spiritual growth, for wisdom, knowledge, and to bring peace to all those who seek its wisdom

I dedicate this deck to the development of my intuition so that I may be a source of guidance to others”

Common Ways to Cleanse a Tarot Deck

tarot cards with crystals

There are dozens of ways to cleanse a tarot deck, but some of the most common ways include:

  • Lighting incense or a smudge stick and passing the cards through the smoke
  • Dropping a couple of drops of an essential oil like lavender on the cards
  • Sprinkle the cards with salt
  • Rap the cards hard against a table
  • Keep a crystal on the deck when not in use
  • Perform Reiki on the deck
  • Keep the deck wrapped in silk cloth or in a wooden box when not in use

Alternatively, some tarot card readers prefer to do elemental cleansing, where they use an element (Earth, Fire, Water and Air) or several elements to clear their tarot deck.

How to Cleanse Tarot Cards with Cleansing Rituals

Earth Element Cleansing

These are some methods you can use to clear your cards with earth element objects:

  • Place your deck in a silk bag or wooden box and bury it in sand or salt for 24 hours.
  • Spread the deck in a fan shape on a table with a cloth under it and sprinkle sand or salt on the cards, letting it sit for one to two minutes. Discard the salt or salt.
  • Make a powder by crushing dry herbs and sprinkling the powder on the cards for one to two minutes. Some suggested herbs are basil, lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Water Element Cleansing

How to cleanse tarot cards using the water element:

  • Spritz the cards lightly with water and then wipe them off. You can mix the water with salt, use a herbal infusion or use plain water – it’s your choice.
  • Set the cards out under the moonlight, making sure they are in a safe protected space. Bring them in the next morning.

Fire Element Cleansing

Here’s how to cleanse tarot cards with fire elements:

  • Carefully and quickly pass the cards through a flame of a white candle.
  • Place the cards on a table with a lighted candle in front of them for 5 minutes
  • Place the deck near an oil burner, incense or smudge stick for 5 minutes 
  • Leave the cards in the sun for half a day

Air Element Cleansing

  • Pass the deck 5 to 7 times over burning incense
  • Smudge your deck with sage or herbs
  • Breathe slowly and deeply on the deck three times

How to Cleanse Tarot Cards Using an In-Depth Elemental Ritual

If you feel the need to do a more in-depth cleansing of your tarot deck, the following elemental ritual is a great way to do that.

  • Light a charcoal or incense and place in the east direction on your table
  • Place a lit white candle in the south direction 
  • Place a glass of water in the west direction
  • Place a dish of salt in the north direction
  • Place the deck in the middle
  • Put a pinch of the salt in the water
  • Pick up the cards, fan them out sprinkle salt water over them
  • Now pick up the cards and pass them through the incense smoke
  • Place the cards back in the center of the table until the incense burns down
  • Blow out the candle, then place your tarot cards in a cloth bag or wooden box

Best Wood to Cleanse Tarot Energy

The best wood to cleanse tarot energy is natural wood like mango, sheesham or rosewood. Natural wood contains the vibrational and spiritual energies of the tree it was harvested from – in contrast, engineered wood like particle board contains no vibrational energy.

My top recommendation for the best wood to cleanse tarot energy is mango wood. Mango wood is an eco-sustainable wood which is tough, water resistant and beautiful to look at.

The Dharma Objects mango wood box is what I personally use to cleanse and store my tarot cards. It’s handcrafted by skilled artisans in India using high quality mango wood.

mango wood tarot box

How to Cleanse Tarot Cards After a Negative Reading

If you have a negative reading or encounter negative energy, you should definitely clear your tarot deck.

There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Clap your hands over the deck or use a noise such as a bell, gong or chime to break up stagnant energy
  • Visualize white light around your tarot cards
  • Cross your wrists over the deck then quickly uncross them
  • Using the knuckles on your non-dominant hand, hit the cards while imagining a white light emanating from your knuckles
  • Hold the cards to your heart, imagine a white light embracing the cards

As you can see, there are dozens of ways to cleanse tarot cards and there is no “right” or “best” way to do this. Remember – it’s important to choose the option that feels right for you and your personal situation.

Resources related to “How to Cleanse Tarot Cards”

How to Clear Your Tarot Deck (And Why You Should)
About Dawn

I'm a lifelong spiritual seeker who has spent over 25 years studying numerology, spirituality, the Law of Attraction and the secrets of the universe. One of my greatest passions is helping people awaken their spirit, connect to their higher self and learn how to co-create with the universe. I also love spending time in nature, swimming in the ocean, reading and being with my family.

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