When you bring home a deck of Tarot Cards from the store or someone has gifted you with a deck, it’s important to know and understand how to properly prepare that deck for use.
The cards themselves are not magical. They carry no supernatural power. They are not demon possessed or a direct conduit to God or anything else. They are simply cards. The same cards that have been used over the years in various games. While we may use them in divination today, they were never made for that purpose.
To prepare the deck is to put your own energy into it. In preparing tarot cards you are clearing and cleansing them of any past energy and then putting your own energy into them. It is only after this has been completed that the deck is ready to be used for divination or tarot reading.
There are, of course, some people that don’t follow the procedure outlined below to prepare their cards. This is their own choice. Most serious readers I have known, however, have prepared their deck prior to reading. They do this because of their own spiritual belief system. A belief system which holds that outside influences can impact the cards and tarot sessions as can a readers own energy.
Clearing and cleansing a deck of tarot cards is similar to praying over something. Assistance is being asked from a higher power to allow positive energy to surround the deck so that divination sessions may be an uplifting experience for all involved and so that only the most important, accurate, and needed information comes through. At the same time, this act also banishes negative energy.
Here are six of methods for preparing tarot cards for their first use.
Invocations and Prayers
This includes singing and chanting. Singing, chanting, prayers, and invocations have long been used to make a spiritual connection with something. Through the use of mantras, chants, songs, special words, or prayers one puts very important spiritual energy into the cards.
A simple prayer would be:
“In the name of (God/Goddess/Etc), I ask you to cleanse, clear, and protect these cards. In the name of (God/Goddess/Etc), I ask you to make these cards holy so that they may serve as a conduit for your light, love, and wisdom.”
This prayer is simple and effective and is similar to the one that I have been using for years.
Incense and Smudging
This is another popular method of preparing the tarot. Smudge sticks, typically made of sage, or burned and the smoke is used to bless and clear and the energy of the cards. No words or special thoughts are needed as it is believed the smoke itself brings about the energy change needed.
Popular incenses that can have a similar effect include:
- Nag Champa
Both incense and smudging can be very powerful methods for preparing your deck.
The moon is considered by some to be very powerful. Since it is lunar in nature it connects with the feminine. The feminine is also strongly associated with intuition and psychic ability.
A simple way to charge and prepare your tarot cards is by placing them under a window where the moonlight is going to filer through. Many will tell you the full moon is the best time to do this and that the cards should be left there the night before, the night of, and the night after the full moon.
You’ll want to remove your cards prior to sunrise – again the purpose is for the cards to absorb the lunar energy.
Burying the Deck
Just as the moon is believed to contain a certain degree of “power” so to is it said the earth herself contains power. Many tarot students choose to bury their cards for one to three nights before using them. This is said to allow the energy of Mother Earth herself to penetrate deep into the deck.
If you are going to do this it is strongly suggested that you put your cards in a zip lock bag that is water resistant. This prevents moisture from getting to the cards as well as stops unwanted creatures from crawling all over the deck. The cards will still absorb the energy of Mother Earth, but you won’t have to worry about them being ruined.
Sleeping with the Cards
This is one of my favorites. To get your energy strongly connected with your cards try sleeping with them. Put them either right next to your bed on the nightstand or place them inside or under your pillowcase. Not only will you empower the cards with your own energy, but you’ll also empower them with dream time, astral, or non-ordinary reality energy.
Shuffling the Cards
Of course the simplest method of getting your energy into your tarot deck and making it your own is by shuffling the cards. Shuffling the cards helps to mix your energy with the cards. You’ll want to carry the deck around with you for a few days and shuffle every now and again. A popular way of doing this is to shuffle while watching your favorite TV show.
Some people like to combine methods and this is okay too. It’s all about what you choose to do to get your deck ready and what feels right to you.
A little preparation can go a long way in bringing in good energy and getting started on the right foot to good readings. While some people may consider these things religious, they don’t require the belief in a particular deity or any deity at all. Anyone of any faith or even no no faith can find ways to empower the Tarot before using it.
Many readers do this only once per deck. Some readers, like myself, also develop mini rituals to use in-between tarot sessions to help keep them clear, clean, and charged.
For example: When I first get a deck I usually do all of the above to help prepare and charged the deck. Before readings I also typically try to smudge myself, the room, and the deck to help keep the cards clear. I’ll also shuffle until the cards feel right prior to a session, especially if I’m doing a phone session or an email tarot reading.
If you enjoyed this article you may want to check out the other articles in my tarot series:
- Tarot Reading Basics
- The Court Cards
- The Major Arcana Keywords
- The Minor Arcana Keywords
- Simple Tarot Spreads