How to Cleanse Tarot Cards: 8 Ways to Clear Your Deck

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Reading tarot isn’t just about shuffling and drawing your cards and hoping for the best.

In fact, the relationship you have with your tarot deck plays a huge part in your ability to connect to and read your cards intuitively.

And learning how to cleanse tarot cards can greatly improve your relationship and connection to your deck.

Even if you’re a beginner tarot reader and have no desire to go pro, cleansing and clearing your tarot cards is an important part of reading tarot and will make the world of difference when it comes to reading accurate and insightful tarot spreads.

And the good news is that, once you know how to cleanse tarot cards, it’s a very simple addition to your existing practice that can have dramatic results.

This post will tell you how to cleanse tarot cards in a variety of ways so that you can choose the method that resonates most with you, and start experiencing the benefits of being more connected to your deck! 

how to cleanse tarot cards - 8 easy methods for cleansing tarot cards like a pro

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Why do you need to cleanse tarot cards?

But first things first, why do you need to cleanse tarot cards?

Well, cleansing your tarot cards helps to remove old and stagnant energies that might otherwise get in the way of your readings. 

Think about it, if we’re using our tarot cards often then we’re putting all kinds of energies into them that can get in the way of that intuitive connection.

Whatever energy was present at the time of our last reading has the potential to interfere with our next reading, whether we realise it or not.

I like to call this “confusing the deck”.

And not only this, if we’ve just got a brand new tarot deck from a store, just think of all the energies that could have been present with that deck. 

So what can we do about that? Well, cleanse our tarot cards of course.

Cleansing and clearing the cards is like starting on a blank slate and heading into a reading with fresh energy.

This ensures that no stagnant energy will get in the way of your next tarot reading or your ability to read the cards intuitively.

When to cleanse tarot cards

And while you don’t necessarily have to cleanse tarot cards every single time you use them, you can if this feels right.

In fact, I would recommend doing some of the methods for cleansing tarot cards each and every time you use your deck. But more on that shortly. 

Otherwise, as a general rule of thumb you want to cleanse your deck:

  • If it’s a new deck that you haven’t used yet
  • If you feel it is stagnant and your readings don’t resonate
  • If you’ve let somebody else handle your deck
how to cleanse tarot cards

How to cleanse tarot cards in 8 different ways

So now you know the benefits of cleansing tarot cards, let’s look at how to cleanse tarot cards in multiple ways.

Whether you’re looking for how to cleanse tarot cards for the first time or how to cleanse tarot cards without tools… there’s a method here for everyone to benefit from the experience of having a clear deck.

Have a read through the methods and see what you think might work best for you.

I’d also encourage you to try out each of the different tarot cleansing methods because one of them might surprise you!

So with that being said, here’s how to cleanse your tarot cards in a variety of different methods!

1. Incense/smudging your tarot cards

One of the most common methods for cleansing tarot cards is smudging the deck.

Not heard of smudging before? Well, smudging involves waving smoke around yourself, the room or an item in order to clear old or negative energies.

And you can apply this same method to cleanse your tarot cards.

Most people like to use sage or palo santo for this purpose, though you can also use incense for the same effect!

Just a note: a lot of people also consider incense to be the more ethical option, though I won’t go into details about this in this post. I’d encourage you to do your own research and pick your smudging tool accordingly!

To smudge your tarot deck take your smudge stick or incense and slowly wave the smoke round your tarot deck in circular motions three to five times.

Make sure that the smoke is making contact with the deck, but of course take care with any active flames. We’re not trying to set our decks on fire here!

And that’s it! This is a great method to use when cleansing tarot cards for the first time, or if you’re planning on setting a cosy meditation space and lighting some incense anyway.

tarot cards with sage and incense

2. Clearing tarot cards under the full moon

Many people, including myself, like to cleanse crystals under the full moon, but did you know you can also do the same with your tarot deck?

The full moon is a potent time to release old energy within ourselves and any items in our possession.

So if you’re planning on starting a new full moon ritual, or improving an existing one, it’s the perfect opportunity to cleanse your tarot cards.

On the evening of a full moon, spread your deck on a window that will have access to moonlight. 

Let your cards soak up the clearing energy from the moon before collecting your deck in the morning.

It’s a super easy method and the perfect one if you’re looking for how to cleanse tarot cards without tools. The full moon comes every month after all.

Just be wary I probably wouldn’t recommend this method if you’re cleansing your tarot deck for the first time, but it’s perfect to combine with another method like smudging if this is the case.

Otherwise, using this method in your regular tarot reading practice is a great way to release old energy and keep your deck fresh. 

And as a little side note… it is best not to leave your tarot cards outside since they may get damaged by the weather! This is why a window sill is best.

moon magic tarot cards

3. Cleansing tarot cards with crystals

Crystals are a powerful tool to cleanse your deck when it’s not in use.

And it requires little to no extra effort on your part, which is always a win if you’re busy or prone to forgetting to cleanse your deck.

One method (my personal favourite) is to keep your tarot deck in a tarot bag, along with some powerful cleansing crystals such as clear quartz

This means that not only is your deck kept protected in a bag, but the clearing properties of the crystal can work to clear it between uses.

Alternatively, you can leave your deck on a shelf or alter with a singular crystal placed on top.

This will ensure that each time you come to use your deck it has been cleared of any unnecessary or unhelpful energy that would otherwise interfere with your reading!

Related post: The 6 Best Crystals for Meditation and How to Use Them

woman holding crystals
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4. Cleansing your deck with reiki

Reiki is a powerful energy healing modality that can clear negative energy and boost positive energy.

It is often used as a healing method on people, with or without the presence of touch. But it can also be used alternatively on items too (and even animals!)

If you’re reiki attuned, you can use this energy to “purify” your tarot cards and ensure that there is no stagnant energy within them.

This is a great method to use if you’ve just acquired a new tarot deck, or if you feel like your current deck has accumulated some stagnant or harmful energies that are interfering with your readings.

Curious to learn more about reiki healing? Check out some of these books…

5. Knocking on tarot cards

This is a method that I use before every reading, but admittedly it can feel a bit silly when you’re first venturing into learning tarot.

The method is simple – close your eyes and focus on the energy of the deck before knocking on it three times, like you would a door.

This is said to “wake the deck up”, and honestly, who knows if this method actually works or not. But honestly, that’s kinda besides the point with this one.

What I find this method does more than anything else is helps you get into the right mindset for reading your cards, getting rid of your own stagnant energy if you will.

For me it’s become a symbolic ritual that helps me feel more connected to the cards and therefore improves my readings!

Give it a try when you do your tarot readings and notice how you feel or whether your cards feel easier to read.

Remember, I’d encourage you to try all of these methods at least once because some of them might surprise you!

6. Meditation and visualization

Another ritual that is a great way to cleanse your tarot cards is simply to meditate with them. 

Our minds are incredibly powerful, and so when you use visualization to imagine a cleansing or purging of your tarot cards it can hugely shift your connection to them.

This is a step that I tend to combine with the knocking method, and I like to keep my question or intention in mind while doing so to sort of “charge” the deck with this focus.

This is another method that’s amazing if you’re looking for a way to cleanse or charge your tarot cards without the use of tools.

I would honestly encourage everyone to make this a regular part of their tarot reading practice in order to keep their deck fresh and improve their tarot reading experience. 

You’d be surprised what the mind can do.

7. Reorder and shuffle the deck

If you’re looking for a simple way to clear your tarot cards, this is it.

Because when your readings are feeling a bit stagnant and you feel the need to shake things up a bit, a great method is to reorder and shuffle the deck.

This can act as a reset and allow you to start afresh without any baggage from previous readings.

And it doesn’t require any tools or too much effort either! Win-win.

To do this tarot clearing method, stack your tarot cards in order. I like to order each of the minor arcana first followed by the major arcana.

Once in order, you can then go ahead and reshuffle your cards. Keep shuffling until you feel naturally drawn to stop.

You can then go ahead and do your next tarot reading, knowing that your deck has been cleared and any previous energy has been released.

shuffling tarot cards

8. Simple blessing for tarot cards

Another handy tip for how to cleanse tarot cards is to offer a blessing or a prayer. 

It is particularly beneficial to bless a deck that is new to you, but you can bless your deck at any point that you feel is necessary, like if your readings feel stagnant or somebody else has used your deck.

To begin this method, set up your space in a way that is sacred to you. Think of this in the same way as setting up your space to meditate.

You might want to light a candle or incorporate the use of crystals if this helps you to focus.

Then, with your cards in front of you, either on the floor or on an altar you can begin to read a blessing that resonates with you.

If you’re looking for some words to bless tarot cards with, here is a simple blessing for tarot cards that you may wish to offer:

“Blessed Ones in whom I live, move, and have my being. From you all things emerge and unto You they do return. I ask this day for these cards to be blessed with clarity, love, and wisdom.

I ask for Clarity so that what I see and what I show to others is clear, makes sense, is transparent, accessible, and easy to understand. I ask for Clarity so that these cards work as the mirrors that they truly are – reflecting back to myself and to others the deepest truths which are already and always known by Soul.

I ask for Love so that all messages, all words, all visions received are brought forth in ways that are kind, compassionate, fierce, yet also gentle. I ask for Love so that these cards work as the wellspring that they truly are, delivering the healing waters that restore and bless into our lives even and most especially when the truths we need to hear are harsh and jagged.

I ask for Wisdom so that whatever is given by the cards and taken up by myself or by others is taken up with clarity and love intact and is put to use, practical and direct use, in the ways that are best. I ask for Wisdom so that these cards throw down true and their messages contain accurate descriptions of what is and what is to come but also and more essentially, what is always.

May it be so, amen.”

As with some of the other methods, this tarot card cleansing prayer might feel a little unnatural at first.

But I’d encourage you to go in with an open mind and the belief that this might work with you.

As with all rituals and practices, your own energy and openness is what can bring the most dramatic results.

And there you have it, those are my 8 favourite methods for cleansing tarot cards and when to use them.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to cleanse tarot cards, whether it’s for a brand new deck or a deck that’s feeling a little stagnant right now.

I also trust that this post offers you some helpful options for how to cleanse your tarot cards in a way that resonates with you. Because we’re all different after all.

I wish you all the best in your tarot reading journey and I hope you enjoy exploring some new methods to achieve clear tarot cards.

All the best, and if you try any of these methods, feel free to let me know!

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Esther is the founder of Through the Phases, a wellbeing and healthy lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing mind/body/soul practices for self-exploration, healing, and fulfilment. She has a degree in Psychology, is yoga teacher trained (200hr), and is currently pursuing a Neuroscience MSc to further study the mind-body connection. Read more about her story here.

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