To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse
A question commonly asked online:-
“My tarot cards are no longer working. I’ve been told I need to cleanse them – how do I do this?”
Answers typically range from smudging, to bathing in moonlight, covering in salt, covering in crystals, tapping (typically 3 times), ‘resetting’ (placing the cards back in original order) and even burying in the garden for several days.
These practices have nothing to do with tarot, instead being inherited from various spiritualist and new age beliefs.
However, ritual is often used to assist reaching the correct state of mind; separating the magical from the mundane. For this reason ritual can be very useful, providing we keep in mind that magic is internal – not external. We are not tapping to ‘knock off bad energy’, we are tapping as an affirmation that this moment and process is special. We are not bathing the cards in moonlight to absorb magical energy, we’re performing this ritual to set the cards aside as something ‘beyond the ordinary’ in our own minds.
The danger with attributing our ability to an external energy or entity is that we start looking in the wrong places when things don’t go to plan. We should really be looking inwards, not outwards, although a little external ritual may be helpful in focusing our minds and attention.
So the answer to the original question – should we cleanse our decks? Firstly, the reader should review their own situation, their own space, their own stresses at work, anything that stops them from relaxing and reaching the correct place required for the purpose at hand. Perhaps ritual may be effective in helping them achieve the correct state of mind – but that ritual should be carefully designed to be meaningful to them, not copied blindly from elsewhere without question.
Esotericist with particular interest in tarot and the underlying magical traditions/systems.