Tuesday, April 16, 2024

There are several items regarding owning a Tarot deck that arouse hot debate. Lets look at a few of them.

1. Storage of Your Deck

Obviously, there are many ways that you can store your deck, ranging from leaving it in the box in which it was purchased, to wrapping it in cloth (some prefer silk; most everyone agrees on a natural fiber), to storing it in a wooden box. Sandor Konraad, author of _Classic Tarot Spreads_ advises to do all three, simultaneously, although I find this too extreme. Generally, the reasons for employing one (or all) of these methods is to shield the deck from unwanted energy.

For my own cards, I usually leave them in the box in which I bought them, and wrap them in either silk scarves or drawstring bags made of natural materials. All of my decks live in a hand-woven basket on the top of the bookshelf in my Working room. (One of the ones full of all of my Craft-related reading.) I have never had a problem with stray
energy affecting my cards or subsequent readings.

2. Should Other People Handle my Cards?

This is probably the 'hottest' topic. Obviously, if you're going to read for someone else, and they're to shuffle and/or draw the cards for the reading, they're going to be touching your cards (although I've seen readers who don't allow ANYONE else to touch their cards, for any reason, period). What about people who are curious about your cards and just want to look at them?

It is a matter of personal preference. There are people who believe that allowing others to handle your cards alters their energy, which may affect readings. There are people, like me, who'll let anyone handle or look at my cards, as long as they treat them with a little respect. In my opinion, these are my cards. I am attuned with them. My own energy is in those cards, and if the energy is altered by contact with other people, I believe my own energy is strong enough to overpower whatever may be residual from handling. Moreover, cleansing one's cards is a simple matter. 

3. Buy The Cards, Or Wait Until They are Gifted To Me?

There are some who believe you should always receive your tools as a gift, others believe that you can purchase them, for yourself, perhaps as a "gift to your Higher Self," and still others have no opinion on this whatsoever. I see this as a personal decision. For me, waiting for tools to be gifted to me is just as silly as never haggling over the price. (Are you sensing a trend in my opinions? I am strongly in favor of individual choice, and as far as I can tell, there are no carved-in-stone rulebooks.)

4. Attuning with Your Deck

There are many ways to attune your deck(s). Some people sleep with their new deck under their pillow for a few nights. Others carry their deck on their person for a day or
two. Still others immediately do a reading or a meditation with the deck as soon as possible after they first receive the deck. I know of people who'll cast a circle and consecrate the deck, much as they do any other tool that they use. I've done all of these, and I can't really say that one works better than another. I find that I sometimes have a "natural" attunement with some decks, maybe because of the artwork, of the symbology. When I get a new deck, I usually unwrap it and look at each individual card for a moment, enjoying and meditating on the artwork on that card. Sometimes, if I feel led to do so, I'll do a reading with the new deck to get a feel for how it reads for me.

5. Setting the Stage for a Reading

I have never cared about the more elaborate trappings of a divination, although I have several friends who need a minimum of an hour to prepare for a reading. When I do a reading I usually spend more time choosing a deck than any other preparation. Usually, I just pull out the cards and spread them and start reading. I've read most everywhere, including my office, bars, friends' houses, and parties. I've read people face-to-face, online, and over the phone.

Where and how you work with the cards is a matter of personal choice. If I plan to work with them within a Circle, I obviously do my normal preparation for ritual (cleansing bath, meditation, etc.) and use all the accompaniments to ritual (candles, incense, and so on). Sometimes, I'll simply light a white candle (for purification). Occasionally, I'll burn some incense, just to get me in the proper frame of mind and to cleanse the area. None of those things are necessary. For me, the only necessary component (other than the cards) is to ground and center, take a couple of slow, deep breaths, and take a moment to focus on the issue at hand.

6. Skeptics

Like it or not, at some point you may be faced with skepticism and dealing with it will depend on the people involved and the specific situation. You may choose to continue with the reading, or perhaps educate people on your philosophies regarding the Tarot (prediction vs. insight, psychic ability vs. cognitive wake-up calls, etc.), or simply stop. Yes, you always have the choice of just folding the cards and saying, "not now." Ultimately, if you're not comfortable doing a reading, it's going to skew the results. Follow your instincts, they will seldom, if ever, lead you wrong.


So many of these issues are very subjective, with the answers relying on you and your preferences. What works for me may not work for someone else, and one way is no better than another. In the end, you will have to figure out what your way is, and then do it.

~© Lisa Mc Sherry  2005, 2016,

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