Choosing a Tarot deck

There is a lot of woo surrounding buying a Tarot deck. You may have heard some of this before, on TikTok or another social media platform.

It must be given to you.

 Oh. Dear. Gods. Buy your own deck. There are so many on the market that you should take your time and get one whose artwork speaks to you. My only caveat to that is that specifically themed decks can be very pretty but difficult to read. I’ve seen baseball, cat, dog, crow, gay, anime, mermaid, dragon, and unicorn decks – just to name a few. They were interesting but most of the time they did nothing for me. Besides, unless you tell someone directly or leave really obvious hints, how is anyone going to know that you want a Tarot deck?

It can’t be touched by anyone else.

 This is entirely up to you. I used to let people touch my cards and then one day, the thought of letting someone do that made my skin crawl. Now I do the shuffling and the cutting. When I let the clients do it, the readings worked. When I do it, the readings still work. It’s a personal choice. Most of the readers I know don’t let others touch their deck but this is not a hard and fast rule.

It has to be brand new out of the wrapping.

 I do advocate using a brand new Tarot that has not been used by anyone else.


 I have purchased old and out of print decks secondhand and obviously they were used.

 And then I used them straight out of the box, with no extra machinations.

 And they worked and all was well in the land.

 If you can’t afford a new deck and you find a perfectly good deck at a yard sale for $2 by all means, snap it up and get to it. I’ve seen people in Facebook groups put their readings down because they were using secondhand decks. I’ve also seen other readers in the group validate this negative thinking. The cards are a tool. It does not matter if they’re new or not.

It must be stored in black silk.

 Most of us don’t have pieces of black silk lying around the house. Silk is popular in occult circles because of the belief that silk repels negativity. I keep my decks in their original boxes. When the boxes wear out, I tape them right back up with packing tape. I had a black silk bag that I’ve used to hold various decks when I’ve gone to do readings at parties. I feel like it looks better than pulling my cards out of some taped up raggedy box. The quality  of readings are fine with and without the black silk bag.

It must be stored with a crystal.

It should never be stored with a crystal.

 The next two points I’ll address together. If you like crystals and you want to store one with your cards, by all means do so. If you don’t like crystals or don’t have any and therefore won’t be storing one with your cards, that’s fine also. I had one small amethyst ball about 1” across that I used to store in my silk bag. One day it wasn’t there and my cards were fine. In fact I can’t even tell you when it went missing because I’m not 100% sure.

It must be left out in the light of the full moon.

 I suck at scheduling things around the moon. When I first learned witchcraft it wasn’t from any books, there was zero religion or deity worship, and it was based on need. There were no moons or planets. If you needed it, you worked for it. All of that other stuff came later when I started mixing with other witches. If you want to try leaving your cards out in the moonlight, fill your boots.

It must be cleansed in a bowl of salt.

 Do you know how much salt I would go through if I did salt cleanses every time I used my cards? Or Lordy. Even if I only did it say, once a month, maybe at the full moon that I always forget about – that’s still a lot of salt to cover a deck of cards. I’m an old school kitchen witch and that is a big fat waste of salt. If you want to do it, go ahead. If you don’t want to, you will be fine, too.

It must be cleansed in incense smoke.

 Now cleaning your cards by passing them through incense smoke is a time honored tradition. I will also say that it’s a pretty quick way of getting rid of the vibes from previous readings. However, I’ve always lived with people who thought incense was outrageously stinky so I rarely did it. Over the last six years my allergies have gotten worse and I’ve developed allergy and exercise triggered asthma so intentionally burning things in the house is a big no no.

 There’s a process I do to clean my deck. It’s very simple and I’ll share it here later.

It must be ritually prepared for a month before it can be used.

 As for ritual preparation, my ritual is simple: open the box, take off the shrink wrap, remove the extra cards, and shuffle the shit out of the deck because the cards usually come in order. That’s it. There’s no month long set of tasks to undertake. Buy cards, use cards. It’s really that easy.

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