It’s raining today, I’m between writing projects, and I’m bored, so that means another blog post. Since I’m pretty sure I lust after a new tarot deck every week, I thought I’d post something about myths I’ve seen around the internet.
Before I do that, I just want to say that I basically subscribe to what the collective mind at the Aeclectic Tarot forum (http://www.tarotforum.net/) says. If one of the things I list helps you with your readings, use it! I know professional readers who don’t do anything special with their cards before reading, and others who go the whole nine yards. Tarot is your tool, you do what you think is right.
That said, here are some common myths I’ve seen:
Your tarot deck must be wrapped in silk. Some books specify that the bag its in must be black, and that the oracle needs to be kept out of the light. To my knowledge, silk is seen as a “purifying substance” (much like salt) and the black bag is meant to shield it from “negative energy” or the deck must be otherwise shielded from “mundane existence” (keeping it out of the light might also have the practical purpose of making sure the colours don’t fade after repeated use).
With one exception, all of my decks are in their original boxes (the box for my Tarot of Vampyres fell apart). The bag I keep the one exception in has black velvet on the outside and red satin on the inside. I only keep a couple “reading” decks out at a time, so I like displaying the rest on the shelf next to this computer.
Your tarot deck must be cleansed before use. This is just one of many rituals some people like to do to ready their decks for readings Doreen Virtue’s decks have a ritual where you knock on the cards with your dominant hand (to clear them of other energies they would have picked up during manufacturing and their time on a shelf) touch all the cards (so that they become attuned to your energy) and then say a prayer (which dedicates them to a particular purpose).
As before, none of my decks have been “cleansed” in any way. My Mythical Goddess Tarot came to me with this really strong “machine” scent, which I alleviated somewhat by taking cloves and leaving some in the box with the cards for a day or two, now they smell nice. One thing I do like to do as soon as I get a new deck is touch every card, both to make sure that there are no repeat cards and because it doesn’t feel like these cards are “mine” until I touch them all.
Which brings me to….
Never let anyone else touch your cards. This is one of those “ceremonial magic” rules, of the “no one must touch your tools and pollute them with their ungodly mundane energies” kind. I have to admit, I get a little anxious when someone touches my decks outside of a reading (YOU ARE GOING TO BEND MY CARDS! GAAAAH!) but I’ll often hand the deck to the querent to shuffle, mind you, I don’t really do in-person readings, because I know too much about everyone I do readings for, online readings are great, though.
You must never buy your own deck, it must be received as a gift. I’ll be honest, this is one of those rules that I just think is….dumb. I’m sorry, but seriously, this is one of those rules that stems from the belief that money is evil and HOW DARE YOU CHARGE FOR SPIRITUAL THINGS, YOU TOOL! Honestly, if I had followed this rule, I wouldn’t have ANY decks, much less decks that I like (and I especially wouldn’t have preordered my Victorian Romantic 2nd edition, because DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I PAID FOR IT? DO YOU?! TOO MUCH!) This rule doesn’t take into account people with relatives and friends who would never think of buying them a deck (who may even be staunchly against the idea).
In all honesty, I’ve found the best way to find a deck that you like is to go shopping for it yourself. There’s no guarantee that anyone around you is going to buy that exact deck for you, even if they know you like tarot and you’ve sent them a wish list. I’d much rather buy a deck that I personally like than be gifted one that I hate and be forced to use it because “that’s what the rule says”.
Anyways, those are a few of the most common, there are other rituals people follow, like sleeping with a deck under their pillow. I personally like to do a deck interview spread with each new arrival (after touching all the cards), and I like to put decks back in order when I’m finished, but lately I’ve been leaving them as is.
Oh, and if anyone wants a FREE reading, let me know in the comments, or if you know me from Facebook, bug me there, I could use the practice. I have a bunch of different decks. You can see a partial list here: http://www.tarotforum.net/member.php?u=1522 (at least, I think you can, I can’t remember if AT profiles are viewable by the public). This list doesn’t have my most recent acquisitions though, I also have the Gaian Tarot, Steampunk Tarot (Barbara Moore and Ally Fell), and the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot. Currently, the only deck I have with any kind of “specialty” is my Tarot of Vampyres (Ian Daniels) which LOOOOOVES readings of a romantic nature. Oh, and my Animals Divine Tarot likes doing readings for role-playing characters (specifically, help with plots and character creation). I’m still a novice, though, so if I don’t seem to know what I’m talking about, it’s because I checked the book. 🙂 I’m trying not to check the book.
Also, the decks marked with an asterisk (*) are available for trade. They are all in good condition, though I have to check if the Art of Tarot still has all its cards. I’m also willing to trade my Paulina Tarot. I don’t like it, I just don’t.