The basic idea here is to treat your deck like your bestie. Spend some quality time with your deck—talk to it, love it, use it. You might feel called to whisper “Good morning, Tarot. How are you today?” as you begin to shuffle the cards. Listen for a response. Do you hear anything? Did any thoughts flutter through your mind? That’s the cards talking to you.
As you’re putting your cards back in their container, thank them for guiding you. You can also experiment with washing your hands or rubbing them together to warm them up before handling your cards. Treat them with love, and they’ll love you back.
Once you’ve purchased your cards, go sit in a place where you feel really peaceful and happy. Being outside in nature is ideal, but anywhere that puts you in a good mood works too. Soft music, pretty candles, relaxing incense, essential oil diffusers or a cup of tea are all good ways to make your space extra welcoming for your first interactions with your new tarot cards.
When you’re ready, open the deck and hold the cards between your palms. Close your eyes and notice any thoughts or feelings (physical or emotional) that arise as you touch the cards. Keep a journal nearby and jot down any thoughts or feelings that come to you.
Now open your eyes and glance at each card one at a time. Look at the card for just a moment, and write down the first thing you notice and what feelings came up for you during that brief instant. Then take another look a the card—for a minute or more this time—and examine all the details you didn’t see before. Write down those observations. Do this exercise with all seventy-eight cards in the deck.
Some witches like to keep their deck in the box it came with, but it’s common for witches to wrap their tarot cards in a special cloth. This can be a luxurious piece of fabric like silk, or a cloth with sentimental qualities like a handkerchief from your grandmother. Anything that “feels” special to you will be perfect for your cards. It’s your way of honoring them.
You can go a step further and store your cards in a nice wooden box. Some witches will put herbs or crystals in the box with the cards so the deck is always cleansed, charged, and ready to go!
If you routinely use other magical tools in your witchcraft, you’re already familiar with the practice of cleansing and charging. Whatever you’re used to doing with your other tools, try it with your tarot deck. See how it affects your tarot readings and adjust your process as needed.
Try to experiment with different ways of cleansing and charging your cards. Note the energy that you feel each time you use your cards. How do the cards feel in your hands as you shuffle? How accurate are your readings? The way you choose the charge and cleanse you cards will affect these things.
For example, I tend to have a lot of “fire” energy. Because I’m usually the one handling my cards the most, I choose to charge my cards in moonlight (water energy) to counterbalance all the fire energy I put on them. I’ve used sunlight in the past on my cards, and that energy sometimes makes me feel anxious when I hold the cards.
Remember, this isn’t a science. There’s no right or wrong here. Just try out different things and see what gives you the best results.