Here are a handful of times you'll definitely want to clean your deck. (Though for what it's worth, it's never a bad idea to cleanse your deck, especially before starting a reading.)
How to Cleanse/Bless Your Tarot Cards
Times you should cleanse your deck
1. When you first get your new deck.
It's recommended to cleanse your deck when you first get it. Your deck has likely been touched by many hands on its way to you, through packaging, being put on a shelf, handled by a cashier, etc. You want to make sure to cleanse your deck of all other energies who have handled it.
2. When someone else uses it.
If you have tarot-savvy (or even tarot-curious) friends, there's a fair chance they'll use your cards at some point.
In this case, it's a good idea to cleanse your deck afterward.
3. Each time you pick it up for a reading.
That's right—to ensure the most accurate of readings.
Whether it's for someone else, or yourself, it's always best to start with a cleanse to clear the cards for your reading.
4. If the connection feels off.
You should cleanse a deck anytime your connection to your cards feels a little off or you "just feel the need to."
The cards respond to your energy, as well as the energy around you, and the more you tune into what they might be holding on to, the more you'll be able to tell when they need a cleanse.
Ways to cleanse tarot decks
Unlike us, cards don't get cleansed in water. Instead, these are 10 tools that can give them an energetic refresh:
Certain crystals can be great for cleansing decks. You can either set your deck on top of the crystal (if it's large and flat) or place a small crystal on top of your deck to charge it.
Selenite in particular, as she notes it's a cleansing crystal that's also great for connecting to spirit guides. It can help keep the energy of the deck both clear and connected. You can also use clear quartz or you can also choose a crystal that corresponds with the type of reading you're doing. If you're doing a relationship reading, for example, you could use rose quartz.
Smudging or burning sage, is one popular space-cleansing practice.
Simply burn incense or Sage until smoke appears and then simply hold your deck near the smoke of herbal incense or a dried wand, allowing it to waft over and around and cleanse all of the cards. Be sure to open your windows before you start, and never leave anything burning unattended!
"Salt is such a powerful and accessible tool for clearing, put your cards in a bowl of sea salt overnight.
Just like crystals can be charged under the full moon, so can your deck! Place your cards by a window on the evening of the next full moon and let the sky do its thing overnight.
Shuffling is standard practice before a reading, and it can help you get acquainted with your cards.
"If you're getting to know a new deck or simply feeling disconnected from it, you can lay out the cards in order (starting with the Major Arcana and going through the suits) and then just mix the whole thing up in a chaotic way on the table or you can simply do an extra thorough shuffle for a quick reboot."
Have you ever heard that you should knock on your deck three times before a reading? It's a quick and easy way to physically knock old energy out.
Programming your deck with intention
Once a deck is freshly cleansed and ready for a reading, it's time to program it with intention.
Take a few minutes to create an intentional space and to light a candle. Hold the deck in your hands, stating your intention for it out loud.
You can also set your intentions with a verbal declaration. Before each reading, say the intention of the reading—and what you will be pulling cards for—out loud as you shuffle the deck.
"For example, as you shuffle your deck, say out loud, 'I'm doing a career reading for myself and will be pulling three cards that represent my career past, present, and future.
You can even do a tarot spread to help you expand on your intention. Asking your deck questions like, How am I meant to work with this deck in this season? How can I best support my intention for this deck? What approach would be helpful?
How to care for the cards.
Treating your deck with the utmost care will help it stay clear and cleansed for longer.
It's a good idea to keep your deck in a specific place, be it on an altar or a well-maintained shelf. "You can wrap it in a piece of fabric, place it in a box, or put a crystal over it.
And if you have a collection of decks, definitely designate a space to store them like a shelf, basket, or decorative box.
If you've had a particular deck for a while, be sure to take it out from time to time, keeping your decks in dark corners of bookshelves or drawers can lead to stagnant energy.
Much like our favorite crystals can hold onto stagnant energy, so, too, can our tarot cards. If you want a clear reading free from stuck energy, be sure to cleanse your deck frequently—be it with a knock, a shuffle, or in the moonlight.