Clearing used decks


I picked up 3 older decks at a flea market today. The Hanson Roberts, Voyager Tarot and the Wheel of Change. All for 12 dollars! I was wondering if any of you have a special method of clearing used decks. Usually I just reorder the cards, knock on it and say a prayer or blessing. Am I just being superstitious? Is it even necessary? Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.


I have LOADS of used decks. The only thing I ever do is if they smell - I put them in with my legendary lavender candles for a week. That's it.

But there's nothing wrong with superstition. I avoid walking widdershins round a church, and I once tried to say the Lord's Prayer backwards to show I wasn't afraid of summoning the devil (or whatever it was supposed to do) but chickened out.

As for magpies (UK)- I REALLY get upset if I only see one...

You do whatever makes you feel comfortable with the decks.


I also have lots of used decks and I'm glad they're used. I love 2nd hand things - I feel it's a blessing to give and get things. I also welcome signs of use, I don't need things to look pristine to like them.

I welcome every deck, new or used, with a little ceremony :) I look at it slowly, put it in order if it wasn't, pick a nice bag for it, do a first spread etc. There is no difference at all.

I never had any problems with used decks.

But if you feel something more is needed, why not do a little ritual? I love rituals. I'm not sure the decks mind but our minds certainly do :)


I think if they are used then they might be better, actually. I wouldn't do anything specific, but I would reorder them just to look and count to make sure they are all there. If you feel any resistance or hesitation at all with the deck, you could smudge it with sage or whatever other cleansing thing you might like to do. It's really a personal choice as to whether you feel it's necessary. See how the decks feel each on their own and take it from there.

What a great find at a great price, I never seem to run across old decks and tools.

gregory, I avoid walking widdershins or deosil around a church. I avoid church whenever possible, but I'm going to look at that link you posted. :)


I picked up 3 older decks at a flea market today. The Hanson Roberts, Voyager Tarot and the Wheel of Change. All for 12 dollars! I was wondering if any of you have a special method of clearing used decks. Usually I just reorder the cards, knock on it and say a prayer or blessing. Am I just being superstitious? Is it even necessary? Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

I don't tend to do this as any used decks I've brought have always had good energy luckily-and one seems more accurate for having had abit of a warm up by someone else! So I don't think its necessary.
I do sometimes smudge my decks if I feel they've been working hard like if I've been going through a tough time,or if one seems to have lost abit of accuracy.

Ah the dreaded magpie,if you bow you're head and whisper 'Good morning mr magpie' its supposed to avert any coming bad luck.
I am quite superstitious really-shoes can't go on tables,ladders are walked around,black cats in my path are welcomed.



I understand the feeling because I personnaly do not really like used decks.

It comes from my grandmother I think. She was extremely down to earth and the least superstitious person, but for some reason, she told me never to used playing cards if I did not know where they came from, and never to throw away in the garbage playing cards that could still be discovered by someone else and therefore used by someone else. When dealing with a playing card deck that had lost a card and was therefore rendered useless, she made me cut the remaining cards with scissors to destroy them, before throwing them in the garbage in a way that the different pieces could not be reunited. That little scene happened in Paris when I was about 5 or 6, so at the time I did not think of questioning her, and later I totally forgot about that. Later I only remember that she was not superstitious, I never have seen her showing the least sign of believing in the supernatural, and she even was frowning a little upon persons who were. But I remember this episode with the cards. So it has left a print on me, because now I am not really fond of second hand tarot decks.
Though I do have a few second hand decks, and it feels different if I know the person it comes from.
I have no qualms at all about super used books, by the way, most of the time. Just cards, and a few other such items.

As a result, I have a little ritual involving salt and selenite, that I do with all decks that I acquire. I do that to new decks. If I suspect that a deck has been used or tampered with, I will just intensify the whole process, let the sit deck a little longer or something. Then once I have done that and spent some time with a deck, perusing the cards, sometimes edging it, or making or finding a nice pouch for it, then it feels mine and I read with it. This is my little welcoming ritual that I like to do when I buy a new deck.

Rituals are very personal. The necessity or lack thereof, for cleaning a deck, is very personal. Many, many members here will tell you that it is not needed at all and that they actually prefer old used decks. Other people will tell you that cleasing is an absolute necessity. And still others will tell you that you should just never buy used decks. All opinions can be found.
But you completely have the right to feel diferently, as they are completely entitled to their opinions and feelings about the matter.
It is just too personal an opinion. It can be shared, discussed, but it cannot really be transfered or imposed from one person to another, because we all feel differently about the matter.

I consider that superstitions, or the need for rituals, is not a problem as long as nobody enforces them on you, as long as nobody prevents you from doing them, and as long as nobody (and no animal) is hurt in the process.
To each their own.
I personaly think superstitions are problematic when they take up the whole life of an individual and prevent them from living freely, but this is just my stand and you can disagree.

If you are after cleaning or cleasing methods, you can find inspiration in many threads here on AT on the subject.
Once again, just do what feels right for you, and disregard the rest. You might have to do a trial and error work, in order to find exactly what works for you.
Myself, as I said, have put together a little rite based on salt and selenite.
I will just tell you that : beware of salt because it can damage cards. Beware of not letting the cards in contact with salt, or if you must, use a spare amount of salf for a very short time. In the way I do things, the salt does not touch the cards. Because otherwise you can end up with a deck that is warped backwards (cards bent) as it sometimes happens when the ink has dried too fast. Or you can also end up with scraped lamination if grains of salt go between cards. So, just a word of caution about salt.

- Other people arrange the cards in order. For me, that does nothing at all as a cleasing method. I would do it to make sure that all cards are there and accounted for, but I do not feel any cleansing result from that method. But apparently, many people use it, and it might very well work for you. If so, all the better for you ! And if you feel it works allright right, then do not let anybody tell you it does not work. Because once again, it is completely personal. It does not work for me, but when people tell me it works for them, I believe them, and I believe it DOES work for them.

- I have also heard of smudging the cards with herbs or incense. I have not really tried that but you can try it. It can also give a nice scent to the cards, and that is nice. Sometimes, when I have incense lit and am handling cards, I will pass them through the smoke, to give them a little scent.

- I have heard of burying a deck in earth, (well wrapped in a waterproof box preferably) but I never tried that. I am pretty sure it would work, though I find the method much too impratical and messy for my taste. Ok for crystals maybe, but not for cards (for me)

- I also saw a video where the lady explained that she cleansed her tarot deck by blowing cigarette smoke through the cards. I never tried that either, because I do not like my decks smelling cigarette smoke. But if it works for her, why not ? Personnaly I strongly dislike the idea of this method because of the smell. But once again, to each their own. Just beware that if you do that, you probably wont be able to resell the decks after, because most people dislike cigarette smell very much. I would really not like if I bought a deck and it smelt of cigarette.

- Other people cleanse their deck by putting them under the moon, or putting a crystal on the deck, or both. For me, these method work more as charging methods rather than cleansing, but once again, to each their own. If it works for them, perfect ! Funnily, it is almost always the moon, and rarely the sun, that is mentioned. I love the moon, but I think the sun is also very powerful energetically, but that's just me. And once again, I think of that kind of practice more as charging than cleansing, but that is personnal. It gives me the impression of adding a scent to mask a smell. I prefer to really get rid of the smell first, and then maybe give a new scent. But that's just me.

- Cleansing by sound is also practiced by some people. With anything like a ringing bowl, a bell, a cello, a piano, or singing. Have never tried it really though. why not bringing a deck to a concert ? That could be fun.

I hope I have given you some ideas to experiment with. You will find a lot of threads here with suggestions, and also many youtube videos on the subject. But, ultimately, what will work for you will be what you will have decided to use, whatever method you prefer.
Or, you might find that after all, you do not need cleansing at all. Fine then ! Anything that will make you feel good will be good !

Enjoy !

ETA : I was totally unaware of the sayings about walking around churches and about magpie ! On Gregory's link, it says that the walking around church anticlockwise legend is specific to Britain ? I think some common superstitions probably differ from culture to culture ! This thread is very interesting ! :)


Thanks everyone! Some great suggestions here. I guess I just have to follow my intuition with things like this.


I just knock on the decks to let them "know" I adopted them.


I love my used decks! I can't recall that I've gotten one (yet) that needed a high-level cleansing. So far, just putting them in order, going through them a few times to get a feel for the images and to kind of let it get used to me, then performing several shufflings (such as described below) seems to be enough. Although, I do have 3 levels of "ritual" for cleansing a deck that I developed for myself many years ago;

3rd level (lowest); After several readings, or a particularly emotional one - I set my intent on clearing the deck, then to shuffle 7 times, pulling out 1/3 of the deck from the middle, rotating it 1/2 turn (reverses some cards, uprights others), and placing it on top of the deck every other shuffle.

2nd level; When a deck starts to feel "muddled" or accumulating unwanted energies - Fan out the deck and smudge with sage - allowing smoke to flow over and around the cards while stating "I invite only positive energies and banish negative influences from this deck." I repeat that 3 times, then perform the shuffling as described above.

1st level; If a deck seems to have negative connections, cord, influences (especially from a previous owner) - perform smudging as above. Using obsidian blade or other ceremonial blade dedicated to the purpose - make cutting motion over each of the 6 surfaces of the deck while stating "this severs all negative ties and energies from this deck" with each cut. Perform shuffling ritual as above.

I developed the 2nd and 1st level rituals from ones I've used for other things (such as crystals). I can not recall that I've ever felt I had to perform the 1st level ritual on a Tarot deck. I believe I have used the 2nd level ritual a couple of times, but I can't recall the specific decks ... so I guess it worked. The 2nd and 1st level rituals can both be used if there is both an accumulation of negative energies and apparent cords / negative connections on a deck. But you should probably always finish up with the 3rd level to complete the clearing.


Having had some bad experiences on both eBay and Amazon Marketplace with other items, I don't buy used decks, and if I did I would like to know something about the former owner. There are people here I wouldn't mind receiving a used deck from, although I'm not presently in the market for one. I'm not in the habit of clearing decks for any reason. By the way, short of being infused with tobacco smoke, how does a deck get to smell bad? Through being stored in a damp basement or attic? The cat peed on it?