How to cleanse or clear your Tarot cards

Cleansing or Clearing is the process of removing unwanted, unhelpful or negative energy from your Tarot deck.

To maintain the positive energy of your Tarot deck and to keep your cards working well, you will need to clear them (also known as “cleansing”) on a regular basis. There are many reasons a Tarot deck may need to be cleared but some examples include when:  

  • You’ve just gotten the deck. Even if it’s brand new and still in the box, you will need to cleanse and set your intention for a new Tarot deck before use (also known as consecrating). 
  • You are between readings, to remove one querent’s energy before reading another. This prevents confusion and jumbled readings. 
  • Someone with negative energy or draining energy has touched them or you’ve dealt with a really difficult issue.
  • Readings are becoming muddled, the Tarot cards are not making sense to you, you feel you are not connecting to your Tarot cards in the usual way, or all the readings are negative and you sense its not the situations you are reading but the energy of the cards themselves.  
  • You haven’t used the Tarot deck for an extended period of time.
  • You’ve travelled with your deck. Your deck may have picked up all sorts of unusual energies while you have been globe-trotting. It’s a good idea to give it a cleanse when you return home.  
  • Your Tarot cards feel like they’re holding negative energy. Sudden feelings of negativity when you hold them or cards that feel heavier than normal, dirty, sticky, or just unpleasant to touch are all signs of holding negative energy. With time, you will know your Tarot cards so well you will tell by touch whether they need clearing.

There are many methods of clearing/cleansing the cards. Below, are a few mini clearing and full clearing methods. 

Mini Clearing Methods

How To Cleanse or Clear Your Tarot Cards. Top tips for card clearing and cleansing. Image depicts Tarot cards in a spread engulfed in purple smoke with a crystal tower at the centre and other crystals and a pendulum scattered across the cards.

A mini clearing is one you may use a lot and is best suited to maintaining the positive energy of your cards on a day-to-day basis. Between Tarot reading sessions or between questions, the quick mini clearing methods, such as shuffling, tapping, or the breath reset, can all clear the cards quickly. Mini smudging you might perform at the start of the day before you begin or, if you are reading for others, you might do this after your last querent of the day. It can also be done between sessions if you have the time!


Shuffling is a simple way to remove unwanted energy from your cards. As you shuffle, imagine a white light passing through you through your hands and cleansing the cards of any negative energy. Set your intention for the cards. For example, as you shuffle you may say “I remove all negative energies and influences from these cards. May they only bring clear communication for the highest and greatest good of myself and anyone I choose to read for”. Repeat this a few times until you feel you’ve shuffled the deck enough.


Another easy way to reset your deck is to hold the deck and tap it three times with your knuckles or the palm of your other hand or on a hard, dry surface, such as the table you are working on. I do this in between sessions to remove the last querent’s energy from the cards before beginning my next session.

Breath Reset

Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths. Then hold the deck in your hand, take another deep cleansing breath and, as you exhale, gently blow on the deck. As you do, visualise your breath blowing any negative or stagnant energies off your Tarot cards, like blowing away a cobweb.   

Mini Smoke Cleanse

Light a smudge stick or incenseSage, patchouli or sandlewood are all good options (opt for sustainably produced ethical products) but anything with cleansing properties will work. Fan the Tarot deck out in your hands and pass the deck through the smoke several times until you feel the smoke has cleared them. (This will also work on crystals).

Full Clearing Methods

The full clearing is something you may use when you need a stronger Tarot card clearing; such as, if you sense the mini clearing hasn’t been fully effective or there is energy on the cards that is hard to shift. It’s also a good idea to do a full clearing every once in a while to reset and reinvigorate your Tarot deck, even if you don’t sense any negative energy. Full clearings are also suitable consecration methods for a new deck. After consecrating a new Tarot deck, you may need a period of connecting to your Tarot deck before it is suitable to use for reading others. 

Moon Cleanse

On the night of a full moon, place your Tarot deck on your windowsill and leave overnight to bathe in the moonlight. Make sure the window is closed or your cards are placed somewhere they are not exposed to the elements or you could wake to find your cards blew away or got ruined by rain during the night! Using this method, the power and energy of the full moon will clear your Tarot cards and invigorate them. This also works well for clearing crystals too. Do this clearing during any full moon when you get a chance and if it is practical to do so.

Sunlight Cleanse

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of sunbathing? Fanning out your Tarot deck and letting them absorb the sunlight for a few minutes is an easy way to clear them and blow away any stale energy. Just remember to protect them from the elements, make sure they don’t blow away and don’t leave them in the sun for too long or you could accidentally cause bleaching. 

Salt or Crystal Bath

Putting your Tarot deck in cleansing crystals (clear quartz and selenite are good options) overnight is another easy cleansing method. Wrap your cards in a dry soft cloth and put them in enough dry salt or crystals to cover them. Keeping some crystals that are regularly charged under a full moon for this purpose is a good idea as they will hold the cleansing power of a full moon for when you need to cleanse your Tarot cards. 

The Full Reset

Use this method if you feel your cards have taken on negative energy that the mini clearing methods cannot shift. This is also a great way to consecrate your deck for first use

  1. Organise your cards into their original order. First the Major Arcana and then the suits of the Minor Arcana. If you are consecrating a brand-new deck, you may not need to complete this step as the deck should already be in the correct order for you.
  2. Light a smudge stick or incense, Again, sage, patchouli or sandlewood are all good options but anything with cleansing properties will work. Clear your own energy first (fan the smoke around your auric field to
    dismiss any negative or unhelpful energy around you) and then, starting with the Major Arcana, pass each grouping of cards through the smoke making sure the smoke touches the front and back of each card. As you pass the cards through the smoke, set your intentions of what you want to achieve with your deck. For example, you may say as you pass the cards through the smoke “My intention with this Tarot deck is to help my clients (or your friends or yourself etc.) to overcome their obstacles, to find their correct life paths, to feel empowered on their journeys and to guide them towards true happiness and fulfilment” Repeat this for the suits of the Minor Arcana. 
  3. Intermingle the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana back together and give them a good shuffle until they are all mixed again. Hold the whole deck in your hand and pass it through the smoke one last time.
  4. Take any protection crystals or pendulums used with the cards and swirl them through the smoke too.
  5. Hold the cards and crystals in your hands and sit with your intentions for a while. Visualise beautiful white light passing through you, through your hands into the cards and crystals, dissolving any remaining negative energy.
  6. Wrap your cards, and your crystals or pendulums together in silk or a Tarot bag.

Now consecrated and cleansed, your cards are ready for use.

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