I have a large collection of tarot cards. I am ruthless about paperwork, donate clothes if I don’t wear them and overall try to be a minimalist about most things. But not tarot cards. I have a few opinions about how best to care for the cards you love.
1. Pretty is important. I don’t think you should keep your cards in the box they came in. Do you want a cardboard house? No. Neither do they. You don’t have to go nuts like I did and make 52 pouches out of black and white cloth and tag them all with hand-stamped names. But keep them in something nice. You can wrap them in scarves, or in hankies, or get a knitted bag. Anything but cardboard.
2. A little cloth goes a long way. Invest in a tarot cloth – a scrap of scrap of silk, chenille, or a special tablecloth – to keep your cards from getting dirty by doing reading on any old surface. This is also nice if you are like me, and regularly need to cover up your cards when guests drop by.
3. Act like an archivist. One of my jobs in college was in the Rare Books Room. I build databases of historical materials and fragile books, but also learned a thing or two about how to treat folios, manuscripts, etc… Dust is the enemy, as it sunlight. You don’t have to go that far, but I do store my cards upright, tucked snugly together so they can’t fall over and get bent. I don’t stack them on top of each other. They are nestled in together in pouches, in a big box that can be sealed airtight. While you might think this excessive, I consider it protecting an investment.
4. Not just cleaned but cleansed. Even if you don’t believe in anything of that nature, it’s pretty powerful to ‘cleanse’ your cards when you first get them or have let someone else touch them. This can be as simple as shuffling them three times to achieve real randomness or as witchy-fabulous as smudging them and leaving them under a big crystal on your windowsill on the night of a full moon.
5. Kisses! I kiss my cards before I put them back in a deck at the end of a reading. I don’t remember exactly how it started, but it must have been a great reading. What started as silly impulse is now key to my relationship with any deck. Also, think about it. How powerful is it to kiss the Death card, or the Tower? Those cards that don’t get a lot of love deserve your appreciation too!
6. Mind your manners. Another thing I do before I put my cards back? I say ‘Thank you’ out loud to my cards. To the universe. To my wisest unconscious self. Yes. Always. Even when the reading is confusing or depressing. Especially when the reading is confusing or depressing.
7. Use ’em or lose ’em. Lastly, the best thing you can do for your cards it to use them! This was the most wonderful lesson of working in the Rare Book Room. Special books and artifacts aren’t much good if you never see them or get to use them. If you are always saving something for ‘a special occasion’ and fail to see that every reading is that occasion, you are missing out on the magic, mystery, and deliciousness of having tarot cards. Rotate your decks. Give them each a little love. Use two decks at once. Let them play together!