How to Clean Your Tarot Deck

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9 years ago

What do you do if your tarot deck becomes “dirty”? This is probably a problem that every tarologist faces at some point. In the process of handling a tarot deck, the deck could become dirty both physically and energetically. The most effective ways to return the tarot deck to a suitable divination state is by cleansing with water or with fire.

Let’s have a look at two situations where the tarot deck might get “dirty”. If the deck is physically dirty, it would fit to squeeze out a cotton swab which is soaked in soap water and clean the deck with it. If the swab is squeezed well, no harm will be done to paper tarot cards. Too much soap is not recommended. It is important not to forget to clean the tarot cards with a dry cotton swab afterwards, or else the cards will start to stick to each other – and this is something we want to avoid.

The second situation is more problematic, when the tarot deck gets dirty energetically. This happens more often with young tarot decks. Well tried and tested decks are more resistant to such problems, and in certain cases they even prevent the contamination itself.

Here’s an example on how a deck of cards could get energetically contaminated: A young girl, who has little experience dealing with tarot decks, left her deck at home and went out. Her mother discovers the deck of cards and begins to touch and examine it. The examination itself can be accompanied with feelings such as anger, curiosity, skepticism, disappointment and so on. This can break the connection between the deck of cards and the girl. The energy channel gets cut out from the owner of the deck, with which the cards could somehow protect themselves.

So how do you effectively clean your tarot deck? Let’s start with cleaning using water.

Cleansing Water

You will need a plain glass jar for this procedure. The size of the jar should be sufficient to hold the whole tarot card deck without ruining the cards. It is important to remove any labels the jar might have. It is best to put the deck in its original position (the organization of cards as it was when you first bought it). After inserting the cards into the jar, close it as best as you can. It is recommended to seal the jar lid with wax. Place the closed jar under running cold water for about 20-30 minutes.

The whole point of this process is cleansing the deck with the power of water. While doing so, it is important to visualize a tall, beautiful waterfall which washes the deck, cleans it and takes away all the dirt from it. You can listen to some relaxing music (such as sounds of nature, for example) while doing that – it can be a nice addition.

Pay attention to the cleanness of the water itself. If you don’t happen to have clean tap water in your home, it is best to perform the deck cleaning somewhere else. The ideal circumstances to perform such cleansing is with spring water, outside in the comfort of nature.

Also note that submerging the jar in water doesn’t give the same cleaning effect as placing it under running water. Although being inside of water will change the physical and energetic properties of the deck, but the results will not be enough for what you are trying to achieve.

Purifying Fire

This is the second method, which usually follows the first one. The card deck should be organized as it was when originally buying it. The deck is placed with the “head” towards the north, faced down. Some might prefer the east over north.

The deck is then surrounded by four candles. The type of candles are for you to decide, based on your experience and personal preferences. In order to protect your card deck from wax or paraffin, it is best to cover the the deck with something light, like blotting paper. The deck and candles should be put in such a way that when the candle flame of a candle that is almost completely burnt is lower than the last card in the deck.

The meaning of this procedure is that the candles create a “cross” which passes through the deck from top to bottom. That’s why it’s better not to use very long candles, because they can burn for a long time. The most important part is at the beginning when the candle light is higher than the deck, and at the end it’s lower than the deck in order to let the “cross” effect take place.

When you perform such cleanings, you should not be interrupted by anyone in order to maintain a state of meditation and peace of mind.

In general, tarot deck cleaning is rarely necessary, and are not as common as people might think. The true reason behind the need for people to clean their decks might not be because it got “dirty”, but maybe because of loss of channel, which can greatly affect how the cards turn out during divination. Another reason could be personal antipathy. You must know that when cleaning your tarot deck, the cards lose some of your and their experience, so be careful and do it when you actually need to.