Whether your deck was gifted to you, picked up in a bookstore, or purchased online, it’s always recommended to take some time to build a relationship with your deck.
Your tarot and/or oracle deck is a divination tool. It’s a direct extension of yourself, your guides, and your intuition. Because your deck is highly connected to yourself and your friends on the other side, it’s important to have a strong, durable relationship. This is where cleansing, then connecting with your deck comes into play.
First and foremost, pick the deck that you’re innately drawn to. After all, you do have to be attracted to your tool of choice. Spend time browsing your options. There’s a multitude of oracle decks, all with different illustrations and purposes out there. Oracle cards can range from archetypes to angels to animals, and more. When it comes to tarot, the inherent meanings of the O.G. Rider Waite still stand but the artwork can dramatically change based on who created the deck. Different takes on tarot can even incorporate more than the typical Rider Waite Major and Minor Arcana suits. These additional cards are usually left up to the reader’s discretion to use, application, and intuition. Not to mention that oracle and tarot also greatly differ in application of intuition and knowledge. So, take time when deciding on your preferred tool. Do the research. You’ll benefit more by thoroughly thinking through what deck you want as an extension of yourself.
Once deciding on your deck, now it’s time to cleanse. Cleansing decks is similar to cleansing crystals. You can cleanse your deck in any way that you want. Some prefer to use the smoke of incense or herb bundles. If you’re going to use an herb bundle to cleanse, think about the types of herbs that can go into the bundle that can instill positive properties in your cleansing ritual. While it may be “trendy” to cleanse with palo santo or sage, keep in mind that it’s cultural appropriation. You can cleanse your tools without being offensive. So, use incense smoke, herb bundle smoke, or even smoke from cinnamon sticks to cleanse!
Charge your deck with your preferred crystal(s) of choice. For spiritual enlightenment, psychic connection, and intuitive insight, aim for crystals like labradorite, clear quartz, smoky quartz, black tourmaline, and amethyst. If your deck is meant for a specific purpose, like a relationship designed deck, consider finding crystals that correlate with the deck’s purpose. For example, if your oracle deck is strictly black and white answers, consider using crystals associated with the throat chakra to charge that deck. If your deck is related to love, consider using rose quartz or jade. Likewise, if you bought a deck for a specific reason, such as shadow-work, think about crystals that correspond with your intention for the deck. Regardless, you can never go wrong with selenite. Selenite is purifying in nature, all on its own, without needing another tool to clear the crystal itself. Selenite promotes intuitive insight, spiritual work, meditation, and flexibility. Selenite and labradorite are my preferred crystals for my personal tarot deck!
Connect with your deck. It’s another part of you. Building the relationship with your deck can begin with just admiring it. I find that I like to lay out all of my cards in my deck to marvel at the artwork. Once I’ve laid out my cards, I spend time looking at all facets of each card. I allow myself time to connect with each card, then jot down any intuitive feelings I get from the card.
After admiring your deck for what it is, begin to shuffle it. This is a time where you can figure out how to shuffle your deck. Do what feels most comfortable for you. Some readers lay out all the cards, then mess them up. Some readers do a loose shuffle, while some go for a tight bridge fold. Whatever works for you is fine. As you shuffle, talk what you want from your relationship with the deck. You can speak aloud, or focus on your intention quietly. Whatever the case may be, allow for open communication between you and the deck to flow. Some readers like to knock or tap on the deck while shuffling to “open” up communication. Again, do whatever you feel is right.
Shuffling can also be used to open and close communication with the deck. As you open up the channel of communication, don’t be afraid to speak aloud or begin asking your question aloud. Focus on the intention, prompt, or question for the reading at hand. When it’s time to end communication, put all cards back into the deck. I recommend doing a few rounds of shuffling after pulling cards to clear the deck. As I shuffle to clear the deck, I usually think of it as hanging up the phone, or I even ask for the chord to be cut. Post-reading shuffling also helps mix the cards used for the reading back into the deck. If you don’t want to do a post-reading shuffle, then that’s fine too. It’s not the equivalent of leaving the planchette on a Ouija board.
Another way to connect with your deck is practicing regularly. By practicing reading your deck, you’re also honing your intuition. Practice can include using a multitude of spreads, pulling a card a day, and logging what is pulled. What I recommend is to pull one card each day. Shuffle to open communication, ask for advice/insight for the day ahead, and pull one card. Sit the with the card. Is it upright or in reverse? If it’s in reverse, will you read it as such? What’s your initial, intuitive insight? What about the card’s artwork draws you in? Is this card associated with an element, or Zodiac sign(s)? As you ponder these questions, write down your answers. Then compare your answers with the actual meaning for the card. This not only helps you begin to associate your cards with your own meanings, but also with the traditional meanings. In time, this will make reading your cards easier in bigger spreads or with a more intensive spread.
A Run-Down of Tips & Tricks
- Smoke from incense (preferably a type or smell you love), cinnamon sticks, and/or herb bundles
- Crystals: selenite, labradorite, angelite, clear quartz, smoky quartz, black tourmaline
- Shuffling before the reading to cleanse and focus
- Shuffling after a reading to reset the energy of the deck
- Talk to your cards
- Thank the cards for insight after the reading
- Keeping a log of your readings. I suggest this book on Amazon for my people who like structure!
- Sleep and meditate with them
- Utilize spreads! Pinterest & Instagram have a ton of fantastic resources
- Check out YouTube videos to learn more about tarot, see different decks utilized, and see how other reads shuffle/read their cards
- Practice makes perfect! Have a regular, consistent practice with your cards