How to cleanse tarot cards, 10 ways to purify a tarot deck
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How To Cleanse Tarot Cards

Today we are exploring a very important part of working with tarot cards – clearing, cleansing, or purifying the cards. Working with tarot involves a lot of energy work. Whether you are doing readings for others or yourself, the cards can hold onto energy which can affect future readings. It is very important to regularly cleanse a tarot deck to clear away those energies, leaving it clear and ready to respond to future work.

10 Techniques for Purifying a Tarot Deck

How to cleanse tarot cards, 10 ways to purify a tarot deck

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First, if you are brand new to tarot don’t miss our resources on a Beginners Guide to Tarot and How to Pick Your First Tarot Deck.

What Does It Mean To Cleanse a Tarot Deck?

Cleansing or purifying a tarot deck is the sacred process of removing negative or unwanted energy from the cards and preparing them for a reading, meditation or spell work. No matter which method of cleansing you choose to use, the most important tool is you and your intentions. Ensure your mind is clear and focus your intentions when using any of these approaches to achieve the best results.

When to Purify Tarot Cards

A cleansing should be done with a new deck, a “new to you” deck, in between readings, after someone else touches the cards, or if you have taken the deck into a new space.

You can also do a cleansing anytime you feel an off energy from the deck, when readings are clouded or confusing, or when the cards feel stuck.

There is never harm in doing a cleansing, and many of these don’t take much time at all. So when in doubt, clear that energy out!

Here are a few methods for cleansing a tarot deck. Simply pick the one that works best for you.

The Intentional Shuffle

This is something everyone should do before a reading. Shuffle the deck repeatedly and rhythmically. This is a simple way to cleanse a tarot deck and prepare it for use. You want to shuffle the cards thoroughly, focusing on releasing any negative or unwanted energy that may have accumulated in the deck. To do this, as you shuffle, set an intention to cleanse and clear the deck and visualize bright energy washing over the cards. Do this before every reading. Once you have done the cleansing shuffle, you can set the intention for the reading and do another shuffle focusing on the questions of the reading.

Clear the Energies with Smoke

Another popular method for cleansing a tarot deck is to use smoke from herbs or incense. You can hold the deck over the smoke and visualize the negative energy being released and replaced with positive energy. Some popular herbs for cleansing include sage, cedar, and palo santo.

Purification with Sound

Sound can be an incredible tool to cleanse a tarot deck. You can use a singing bowl, a bell, or a chime to create a vibration that will help release negative energy from the deck. You can even use your own vocalizations. As you sound the instrument, focus on the intention of cleansing and picture the sound waves moving through the deck, washing away unwanted energies.

Sorting a Deck

One way to help clear out the energies and rebalance the energy of a deck is to lay it out in order. This is a favourite techique of mine, especially with a new deck.

This is how I do this technique. Start with the Fool then go through the entire Major Arcana. Then I do each of the Minor Arcana suits in order. I like to do this order: Cups, Wands, Swords, and finally Pentacles. I love to end on the grounding energy of Pentacles.

Once I have placed all the cards in order, I pass each card individually through a smoke cleanse while visualizing a purifying, bright white light infusing the card with beautiful energy. Then I spend a moment opening my mind and letting the card speak to me. This is also a powerful way to connect with a new deck.

Clarifying Salt

One approach some people like is to bury the deck in salt which traditionally used as a cleansing agent. This method involves placing the deck in a small container filled with salt and leaving it for a period of time, usually overnight. The salt will absorb any negative energy from the deck and leave it feeling refreshed and renewed.

Full Moon Tarot Deck Purification

This is something I like to do with any new ritual tool, including my tarot decks. On the night of the full moon, place the cards in the moon light. Use your wand, staff, athame, or even your hand, and visualize the powerful energy of the moon entering your tarot and clearing it of any unwanted energies. If you wish, you can leave your cards in the moonlight overnight. This full moon ritual is a wonderful rite and way to cleanse every month.

Use Crystals

There are many crystals that help remove negative or unwanted energy from a deck. Tarot and crystals are such a natural partnership, this is a great way to keep your cards clear of unwanted energies.

  1. Clear Quartz: Clear Quartz is a popular crystal for cleansing and purifying energy. It is known for its ability to remove negative energy and amplify positive energy, making it a versatile crystal for many different purposes.
  2. Black Tourmaline: Black Tourmaline is another popular crystal for cleansing. It is believed to help absorb and transmute negative energy, making it useful for protecting against negative influences and promoting grounding and balance.
  3. Selenite: Selenite is a translucent white crystal that is often used for energy cleansing and purification. I keep a disc of selenite on my altar for quick cleansings of cards and tools. Selenite not only clears negative energy, it promotes a sense of calm and tranquility.
  4. Amethyst: Amethyst is one of my favourite crystals. Not only is it purifying, it helps promote spiritual growth and awareness, and facilitates the release of old patterns and beliefs. I have a large geode on my altar that I just LOVE!
  5. Citrine: Citrine is a yellow crystal that is believed to help cleanse and energize the aura. It is thought to help promote a sense of joy and abundance, and to assist in manifesting positive intentions. It can also be used to help clear energies.

It’s important to choose the cleansing crystals that resonate with you and your specific needs. When using crystals for cleansing, remember to cleanse and charge your crystals regularly, as they can absorb negative energy over time.

The Cleansing Power of Iron Pentacles

This is my preferred method of cleanings the cards and one I use all the time with my go to decks like True Black Tarot and Smoke, Ash and Embers. Between readings I keep my go to tarot decks on an iron pentacle. Not only is iron grounding and cleansing, but the pentacle is also known for clearing negative energies. The power of these two together makes a perfect tool for your tarot to help purify and ground your cards.

Learn more about Pentacles.

Learn more about Iron.


For my decks that I use more rarely, I love to store them wrapped in silk. This helps to keep their energy clear. When it comes time to use the cards, I can rub the deck with the silk to wake up the cards and clear away any stagnant energy. If they require a deeper cleanse I will move on to one of the other methods.

Earth Cleanse

If you have a particularly troublesome deck that needs a deep purification. Wrap the deck in a silk cloth, then place it in a wood box. I like to include a piece of quartz and nail the box closed with iron nails. Then bury it on the full moon and leave it in the Earth for 7 days. To increase the cleansing power of this rite, I recommend making moon water on the full moon and spritzing the earth over the box nightly until you unbury it.

Learn how to make Moon Water.

So there you go! 10 ways to purify and cleanse tarot cards. It is important to note that cleansing a tarot deck is a personal practice, and different methods may work better for different individuals. You may want to experiment with different methods until you find the perfect approach for your practice.

Happy Tarot Reading!

How to cleanse a tarot deck picture shows an altar with tarot cards, pentacles, candles, iron cauldron, crystals.

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