Common questions in many tarot groups are “what do I need to do to start working with my deck?” and “do I need to cleanse my deck?” and variations of these two.
There is no right or wrong way to go about working with any deck after you get it. It is all preference.
But I thought of these questions as well. I watched several YouTube videos where different cardslingers talked about what they do with a new/new to them deck. From this I came up with my own ritual.
What I do first thing…
Actually, I go through the deck to make sure all the cards are there!!! That would suck to get a deck where you are missing a card.
I will do that rather quickly.
But I think this step is important…look at each card. You don’t have to spend ten minutes looking at each card, unless you really want to. But look at each one. You might see similarities in other decks. You might pick up on some interesting symbolism. You might be able to tell that a deck is very much a RWS clone.
What is important as you do this is that you are TOUCHING each card. You are bonding your energies to the cards.
I smudge my decks.
I smudge whatever will hold the deck. I will smudge whatever will be stored with the deck (the book, extra cards, etc). Then I smudge the deck.
For this, I will usually have a candle burning on my altar to help with the energies in that space. I typically use stick incense. I don’t have to hold it while smudging. Then I smudge each and every card.
Why? To clear any negative energies that might be holding on to that deck. I don’t believe it gives the deck a clean slate. I believe it allows in basic energy (or personality, if you want to call it that) of the deck to be expressed.
Consecration with the Elements
One YouTuber talked about bringing in all the elements to her decks. Until that time, I just smudged the decks. Then I tried my own ritual. I really enjoy it.
What I use are the following:
- Candles for fire (I like tealights)
- Incense for air
- Shells or small fountain for water
- Polished Obsidian or Crystals for earth
Yes, I use to have a small fountain on my altar to symbolize water. It has died. That made me sad.
I place the smudged deck(s) on my altar. I place polished obsidian on each deck and around the deck(s). I place a shell on each deck. I place my two tealight candles outside the obsidian “ring”. If I need to light more incense, then I will. Usually I just use the incense that I used for smudging.
I place my hands over the deck(s).
Using whatever words come to me, I will “pull in” each element. I ask that that element imbue the deck with its energy (fire for passion, expression; air for communication; water for intuition and emotion; and earth to connect to this plain). I then ask Spirit to communicate with the deck(s) and trace a pentagram over the deck(s).
Then I let them sit on my altar until the incense and candles have burned out.
Some clarification/substitutions: By “pull in” I mean I will cup my hand around the incense smoke or near the candle flame and “pull” that energy to the cards. I will do the same when I have a fountain (*sob*). As for the shells and crystals, I touch them as I say the words.
As for the elements, anything that symbolizes the elements will work. Feathers for air, cup of water, salt. Essentially, you do you! Whatever floats your boats!
Sealing the Consecration
After all this, I will place the deck(s) under the new or full moon. And no! It will be a cold day in HELL before I place my decks outside! They go in a windowsill.
I do ask the moon to consecrate the decks.
After all this, I will interview my deck and work with it. I will give a deck an energy boost, every so often, during a new or full moon.
Some might wonder why I don’t use sage or Palo Santo to smudge. I do with items that I can easily hold. Smudging 78 cards is a pain in the ass (and my back). I would rather have something that will continue burning during the whole thing and is in a holder.
Are you wondering about used decks?
Again, I check to make sure all the cards are there with a count. I then re-order the deck. What does that mean? I put the deck back in order: major arcane, wands, swords, cups, pentacles. (I like the suits in that order).
Then I treat it like I would a new deck. I feel the extra step of putting the deck in order helps with clearing the deck of other energies and bond the deck to me through my touch.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to begin working with a deck. Do what feels right. Try different things. This is what I do and it works for me.
Much love and blessings!
Follow me on instagram (@starlightsgifts) and see my responses to the 31 Days of Tarot 2019 challenge