Used Tarot Decks – Yea or Nay?

There are many myths that surround the use of the Tarot. Some of the most common include:

  • Your first deck must be given to you as a gift–if this were true, I’d never have started reading Tarot
  • Your deck must be wrapped in black silk to keep out any “bad vibes”–I’ve never done this, although I did wrap one deck in faux-silk, and still do. It seemed to suit the deck’s temperament.
  • No one should ever touch you deck–While I do keep a few decks just for my use, when I read for another person, I feel the reading works best if I allow them to shuffle

From these three myths proceeds the idea that one should never buy or trade for a used deck. By buying/trading, the deck is not a gift, there is no way to guarantee that it was wprotected from bad vibes, and it clearly has been handled by hands other than one’s own.

In my opinion, trading for or buying used decks is an excellent way to obtain that illusive deck that you’ve been dying to get your hands on. (Yay, Hello Tarot!) It is also the perfect way to get rid of decks that just don’t jibe well. Sometimes it feels as if half my Tarot collection is a revolving door–decks obtained through trades are traded again and again until just the right deck makes its way into my hands.

So, what to do with a used deck? Firstly, make sure all the cards are present. A great way to do this, and to help realign the energy of the deck, is to reorder it completely. The next step is to clean out any smells that may be clinging to the deck, like cigarette smoke. Some suggestions for this include laying the deck out in the sun for an afternoon, or sealing it in a Tupperware/Rubbermaid-type container with cloves, dryer sheets, incense, or a cotton ball scented with a few drops of essential oil (protect the cards from these though).*

Once the deck has been rearranged and cleaned, it can be safely treated like any new deck. Sleep with it under your pillow, if that is your normal procedure for new decks, or carry it with you for a week or so. Study the images and get to know it. And if it turns out that it isn’t the right deck for you, go ahead and trade it for another one. Just be sure to give it a chance before you pop it in the mail.

* Be sure to take care with these methods, as they can possibly damage your deck.