How And Why To Cleanse Your Tarot Cards & Oracle Cards

How And Why To Cleanse Your Tarot Cards & Oracle Cards

Why do I need to cleanse my Tarot Cards?

Cleansing your Tarot cards or Oracle deck will help to get rid of any negative, confusing  or stagnant energies associated with the last reading, or with anyone who has touched the deck. Some practitioners of Cartomancy (fortune telling using cards) prefer others not to touch their Tarot cards, saying that their energy can be negative on the outcome of the readings. Others do not mind, and yet others actually get the client to shuffle and/or cut the deck in a reading. Whatever your belief system, cleansing your cards after they have been used by someone else will help to rid them of any negative or confusing energy and allow you to perform a reading starting afresh. 

shuffling tarot cards next to a candle


When do I need to cleanse my Tarot Cards?

Cleansing your cards is a personal choice and is not always necessary. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to when you should cleanse your Tarot deck, rather it comes down to the quality of your readings. 

  • When you purchase a new Tarot Deck
  • When you need to reconnect with Tarot Cards that have been stored away- If your cards have been stored away for a period of time and you feel as though you need to reconnect with a particular deck, it is a good idea to cleanse the deck prior to performing a reading. 
  • If you feel that your readings are consistently off or they are always tending towards the negative side- if this is the case you may want to cleanse your Tarot deck and see if this makes a difference. It may be that they have come into contact with some negative energy, either through a reading or through someone else handling the cards.

  • Before or after a reading- Some practitioners choose to cleanse their cards either before or after a reading.

  • Periodically throughout the year-  such as when it is a full moon etc.


How do I cleanse my Tarot Cards?

  • Smudging & Incense

Smoking ceremonies of all descriptions have been used to cleanse objects and people alike throughout the centuries. This makes smudging and the burning of incense an easy and accessible way of cleansing your Tarot or Oracle Cards as well as cleansing the space in which you wish to use them.  To perform smudging or smoke cleansing of your cards, light a smudge stick or incense and wave it over your fanned out cards. Most readers will actually smudge themselves prior to smudging the deck so that they are cleansed prior to trying to cleanse the deck.

3 tarot cards fanned out with smoke blowing over them

  • Cleansing with Salt

Some people like to cleanse their Tarot Cards with a salt bath. To do this, take the cards and sit them in a bowl of sea salt or rock salt. This way does have the drawback, however that the salt can attract moisture and may ruin your cards if they get wet. 

  • Cleansing with crystals

Placing your Tarot Deck under, on top of, or between quartz crystals can help to draw out negative energies and cleanse your Tarot Cards. You can also use other crystals that relate directly to the reading that you are doing such as using the loving power of rose quartz for readings relating to love.

quartz crystal sitting on top of tarot cards with peacock feather in background
  • Knocking on the deck

Knocking three times on the deck while visualising ridding the cards of stagnant energy is a method that is supposed to wake up the cards and knock any old energy out of them.

  • Blowing on the cards

Blowing on your Tarot Deck after you have fanned out the cards, or laid them on the table, is another way to  cleanse your cards. By blowing away any negative/ spent energy you are then able to start afresh.

  • Singing Bowl

Singing bowls are believed to be able to cleanse and attune objects and people through the vibration of their sound. If you own a singing bowl, this can be a nice way to cleanse your Tarot Cards. Place your Tarot or Oracle Deck either in the bowl or in the vicinity of the singing bowl as you play it. The vibration will re-energise and cleanse your cards.

singing bowl being played by person in white top

  • Re-ordering and shuffling the Tarot Deck 
Placing the cards in order from the Major Arcana through to the Minor Arcana is a great way to re energise and re connect with the deck. After you have re ordered them, you can shuffle the cards again and use them as new!
  • Visualisation and Meditation

Visualisation and meditation can be used to cleanse your Tarot cards and allow you to reconnect with their energies. In order to do this, you must hold the cards whilst visualising removing any negative or unwanted energies from them.

  • Full Moon Cleansing

The cycles of the Moon have been thought to be powerful in Magic for a long time. The full moon is especially good for cleansing negative energy and as such is why a lot of people cleanse their crystals in the moonlight on a full moon. You can do the same with a Tarot Deck. If you want to use the natural energy of the moon to cleanse your Tarot Cards, simply spread your cards out on a windowsill where they will be bathed in moonlight on the night of a full moon (if none of your windowsills are suitable, simply find a safe space where the cards will  be protected but are still in the moonlight. Leave the cards there overnight and they will be recharged in the morning. 

cleansing cards in moonlight


Each of these are valid ways of cleansing your Tarot Cards & ensuring you get the most accurate readings from your cards. Like everything in life, there is no one 'right' way of cleansing your Tarot Cards, just preferred methods. You may even find that your preferred method may change depending upon which Tarot Deck you are cleansing or what you feel is wrong with the cards. Your best bet is to try a couple of ideas and see which technique resonates most with you and your cards.

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