How to Cleanse a Tarot Deck

I have discussed cleansing my tarot decks lately, and I am going to share my tarot deck cleansing technique. Now, my way is not your way, and there is no wrong way to cleanse a tarot deck. Whatever works and makes you feel more in tune with the tarot deck’s energies is ideal for you.

When to Cleanse a Tarot Deck

  • After a long period of doing readings. You’ll know how long this period is by the way the deck feels and reads after a time. It starts acting clunky, provides less than clear messages, and feels off kilter. This feeling can also happen after a highly charged reading (one that brings strong positive or negative emotions or energies).
  • When purchasing a new deck. Some people cleanse their new tarot deck before doing their first readings with it. Personally, I like cleansing all of my other tarot decks, to balance out their energies and account for a new deck entering my life. Again, totally up to you if this seems like the right thing to do.
  • After major life changes. Births, deaths, divorces, moves, and epiphanies can all dramatically change your outlook on life, and the energies that you are dealing with. This is a great time to have a fresh start by cleansing your tarot deck.

How to Cleanse Your Tarot Deck

This is my current method. It could change at any time. I don’t do a lot of work with crystals, nor with pagan or Wicca rituals. They are just not on my spiritual path at this time. So I came up with this tarot cleansing ritual, and it works very well for me.

  1. Light some incense. To me, it doesn’t matter which type of incense, as long as it is a scent I enjoy. Right now, I have a lovely vanilla honey incense that I’m using. Many people recommend sage or frankincense.
  2. Run the deck through the incense smoke. This is to open the deck to my intention to cleanse it. I make sure the smoke envelops the tarot deck, and I rotate the deck a few times.
  3. Sort the cards by suit. I place the Major Arcana in one pile, followed by Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. If you prefer a different order, that’s fine. I then order them by number.
  4. Take each suit and run it through the smoke. I spread the pile out over the smoke, allowing the smoke to waft between each space of the cards. I do it face up first, and then face down. Then I set each pile atop one another to complete the deck.
  5. Run the whole deck through the smoke again. This seals the cleansing energy, and signals that the whole deck is done. I also cleanse the tarot bag it will be placed in, to add additional cleansing energy.

Ta-da! My deck is now cleansed. When I want to do a reading with a cleansed deck, I thoroughly shuffle to make sure the cards are mixed well and ready to read with.

What methods do you use to cleanse your tarot decks? How often do you feel the need to cleanse them?


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6 Responses to How to Cleanse a Tarot Deck
  1. Stephanie
    February 18, 2010 | 8:03 pm

    Hi Kimberlee,

    You dust them with incense smoke. Nice and simple.

    Do you say any words or prayer while you are doing that?

    Cheers Stephanie

  2. Kimberlee
    February 18, 2010 | 8:06 pm

    Hi Stephanie!

    I haven’t been saying any phrases while cleansing, mostly because I haven’t thought of anything to say! I think I mostly relax and focus on the calming energies. Sometimes it feels like a form of light meditation all by itself.

    Thanks for the great question!


  3. Shelley
    February 18, 2010 | 9:08 pm

    Great ideas! It is so much easier to get the cards “mixed” if you first separate them like that into five piles, shuffle each pile and then put them back together and shuffle again. I will normally shuffle a new deck randomly throughout the day for several days before trying to draw any cards.
    Have you tried rapping the deck to “unstick” the energy? I hold the deck in the palm of my left hand and then make a fist with my right hand and “rap” the deck a few times. Works really well in between readings or if you feel that the energy needs to be cleared.

  4. Kimberlee
    February 18, 2010 | 9:16 pm

    Hi Shelley! That is a good idea for making sure the deck is well-shuffled. I like to let mine sit for a little while, I’m not sure why. Kind of a fresh start approach. I must think on that one for awhile.

    Also, I have heard of rapping the deck, but I’m afraid it would hit me back! Ha! Worth a shot, and definitely good if you don’t have the time to do a more ritualistic cleansing.

    Thanks for the great ideas!


  5. Stephanie
    February 18, 2010 | 11:30 pm

    I use Moon Cleansing from time to time.

    Silently arranging the deck, in the evening, on the window ledge (inside) usually spread along the ledge.

    Silently collected them up again in the morning before the sun has time to fade the pictures.

    I do this with my crystals, too.

  6. Kimberlee
    February 19, 2010 | 12:53 am

    I have heard of using moonlight, unfortunately, my kids would manage to get to them before I do! Maybe when they’re a bit older I can give it a try.