Tarot Cloths have been used for many years by practitioners of Cartomancy (fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards).
Why did Tarot Cloths originate?
The Tarot Cloth originated as a way to keep Tarot Cards safe while travelling. The cloth protected the Tarot Cards from physical wear and tear associated with horse powered travel. The cloth also gave the practitioner a clean space to do Tarot readings wherever they were.
Originally, the Tarot Cloth used was something special. Often a silk headscarf gifted from your mother/grandmother or Aunt. Silk was expensive and signified that the item wrapped in it held deep significance. Headscarves were a perfect size, being square and easy to tuck into your luggage or a pocket with the cards wrapped in them. These days, silk is not necessary, especially with all of the different fabrics that are around. As long as the cards are safe and protected, what you honour them in does not matter.
Why use a Tarot Cloth?
A Tarot Cloth creates a sacred space on which to do your readings, separating the Tarot Cards from the surface (i.e. table) and giving them their own special environment. The Tarot Cloth prevents the cards from damage caused by the surface of the table or anything that may be on it- a cloth can be washed, but your cards -not so much! Some believe that the Tarot Cloth also helps the reader to maintain a higher spiritual vibration than simply laying the Tarot Cards on a table.
Also some Tarot Cloths actually have the Tarot spread printed on them, so if you would normally do a 10 card spread, the cloth is already set up for this. It aids both the reader and the client in visualising the tarot reading.
Do you need a Tarot Cloth?
These days with all of the different storage solutions, and the fact that we do not normally travel around with our Tarot Cards so much, a Tarot Cloth is not a necessity. It still has the same benefits of keeping your cards clean on the surface you want to do your reading on, and many people choose to still wrap their cards in a cloth prior to putting them away.
But...having said that the cloths are not a "necessity", the ritual of unwrapping the cards can be a powerful pre-reading exercise to inspire calm and clarity that can enhance the readings.
We would love to hear your thoughts on why you do or do not use a tarot cloth in the comments below.
If you are looking for Tarot Cloths or Altar Cloths, check out our range here.