How you treat your Tarot cards is entirely up to you as the reader- there is no right or wrong way in how to look after your Tarot deck. You may see your Tarot deck as an ordinary object, as just another set of playing cards, at the most to be handled like a book- with certain care and respect, keeping the cards clean and dry, the deck kept in tact and the cards in reasonably good condition, the corners un-chewed, the image un-creased, the edges looking a little worn from loving use. Or you might form a special attachment to your Tarot deck and wish to treat it with love and special reverence.
You could store your Tarot cards in the original box or packaging the deck came in, but of course this could wear and tear over time. You can purchase various sizes of wooden boxes to keep your deck in, which are available online and in craft or New Age stores. Boxes may be bulky, and so not the most transportation-friendly, but a wooden box will provide waterproof protection for your deck.
A popular way to store Tarot decks is to keep the cards wrapped in some cloth and tied together with a ribbon or length of cord in a neat Tarot bundle. The material can be made of anything you are attracted to using, especially natural materials including silk, satin, velvet, wool or cotton. You may like to choose your favourite colour, or a particular colour (such as black for its protective qualities or white for its cleansing qualities or yellow for communication vibrations or purple for psychic vibrations). The material could be plain or patterned or you may like to sew your own symbols or add patches.
Some people like to keep a special item such as special picture, small talisman or crystal with their Tarot deck, to empower and protect the cards. The pictures could be of anything that inspires or has meaning to you, including sigils (power symbols), totem animals, affiliated deities, guardian angels, etc.. A small talisman such as a charm or pendant of a pentacle, moons, stars, crosses or other special symbols can be easily be attached to the ribbon/cord/string used to keep your deck together, or added to a Tarot card pouch.
Particularly good crystals to keep with Tarot decks are:
- smokey quartz (for its protective, grounding and cleansing qualities)
- clear quartz (for its cleansing and light infusing qualities)
- amethyst (for its psychic and protective qualities)
Just like crystals and other magical tools, Tarot cards benefit from cleansing, as this keeps the energies of your deck fresh and untainted. You may want to cleanse your cards after a “negative” reading or after reading for a person with negative vibrations. There are several different ways to cleanse your Tarot deck, and you can choose whichever feels right to you. Sprinkling some blessed salt or water on your Tarot deck will cleanse the cards. Or you can use incense or a smudge stick for cleansing by wafting your deck by using the scented smoke; for a deep cleanse try using sage, sandalwood or frankincense. Smokey quartz, clear quartz or amethyst are crystals commonly used for cleansing- spread your deck out and use a crystal cluster to “comb” your cards. A quick way to cleanse is to hold your Tarot deck and imagine it surrounded with pure, white, healing light.
To keep your Tarot cards at their brightest, it is a good idea to regularly “charge” your deck, infusing the cards with light energy. Natural light sources are an effective way to charge your Tarot deck- simply leave your Tarot cards on a safe windowsill to bathe in sunlight or moonlight. If using sunlight, take care not to over-expose the cards so that their images do not fade; the cards should be charged in this way for a minimum of an hour, and at the most for one solar day (dawn, noon, sunset). If using moonlight, the best night to charge your cards is during a full moon, when the moon’s influence is at its peak during the lunar cycle. Leaving your deck to bathe in moonlight overnight is effective charging, or you may wish to leave it for the whole full moon (3 nights).
You can give your deck a quick energy boost by holding your cards and visualise them surrounded by pure, white light.
Another way to charge Tarot cards is to use crystals; use 4-8 small quartz points to make a circle around your Tarot deck, with the points facing in (towards the cards) to draw energy Tarot deckinto your deck- or use points facing out (away from the cards) to cleanse your deck.
Again, how you handle your cards is up to your own personal preference- but it’s worth bearing in mind that others may treat their deck differently! It’s always polite to ask someone if you are allowed to touch their Tarot deck- some readers don’t like others handling their cards; others only allow people to touch their cards during a reading. Some Tarot readers may not like other Tarot readers giving readings with their cards. And some Tarot readers aren’t bothered by this at all- everyone has their own boundaries, so its best to ask. If you have your own preferences, make sure you (politely-and-firmly) tell people so they can respect your wishes!
Tarot decks can become very personal and magical to their owners who take special notice of their decks’ vibrational energies. Some Tarot readers like to use a special cloth for laying out their Tarot cards during a reading; this is could be for practical use to protect the cards from wet, dirty, sticky surfaces, as well as to protect the cards from picking up the energy vibrations from the environment. Tarot cloths can be any colour, and may have outlines of spreads drawn or sewn on. Having a cloth for Tarot reading is entirely optional- it depends on what you prefer to use!