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Storing your tarot cards
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Storing your tarot cards

Storing your cards

Now that you are done choosing the tarot deck that will become your closest companion, it is important that you know how to take care of it.

In tarot, as in anything else, you will meet tons of peoples with different ideological and philosophical positions: conservatives, traditionalists, liberals, heretics…fanatics and extremists.

Depending on who you are listening to, the advice concerning care taking of your deck can dramatically vary:

Some will tell you that you should wrap your cards in a black cloth given that it is the colour that concentrate all energies, it is the colour of the night and its mysteries… Others will prefer white as it represents purity, clean energy, angels… For some, the ideal colour is purple because it is the colour of spirituality, while for others, red is more indicated as representing dynamism, hot energy… Then, the material of this cloth should be silk for some, cotton for others, and all of this while a totally different set of persons advocate wooden boxes!

Obviously, there is no consensus on that issue, which usually means that there is no absolute answer. What’s more, I personally think that argumenting on this is ridiculous: tarot cards are an intimate part of your life, and therefore, the choice of how to store it is a personal one. Nobody tells you what colour your pants and bras should be or not be!?! Well, the same applies to your cards.

The point is to store the cards in a way that will allow effective protection from usual domestic damage such as little brothers, kids, cats tearing them off, coffee or nail-polish spilt over, or to prevent colours from fading away with time … It should also be a way that inspires respect for the cards, both from you and from the people that will approach them. Of course, they are not gods or persons to be worshipped, but they nevertheless are sacred tools and should be respected as such. It doesn’t give the same impression to wrap up your cards in an old sock rather than in a beautiful batik, bazin or piece of sari. Finally, the storage method should allow you cards to rest from previous readings, protect them from absorbing any energy hanging around, or keep the smell of your favourite incense.

In general, one would prefer to use natural materials such as wood, silk, cotton, linen… But again, it is absolutely not an obligation.

One of the best tarot readers I met, a Spanish young woman, doesn’t store her cards at all: she just keeps them together with an elastic in her office drawer.

I personally wrap my professional deck in a red and gold piece of bazin that I also use as a layout cloth when I read with it. My personal deck is wrapped in a navy blue and gold wax piece of fabric. My spell deck is in a blue and purple silk-like jewel bag. All of these, along with my caurie shells and my pendulum are stored in a wooden box, finely carved that I bought in a hippie furniture shop.

The choice of material or colour of the fabric is entirely up to you. Choose whatever you prefer and appeals to you the most, and don’t worry about the rest.

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Coral Jade

Your new deck should be treated with respect. For you to work with the cards on a deep, meaningful level, you need to attune the cards to your own vibrations and there are a couple of ways to do this. Try placing the cards, carefully wrapped, under your pillow for a week. Carry the cards with you during your daily activities, such as in your handbag or briefcase when you go to work. In this way, the cards will pick up your personal energies.

You need to handle your deck as often as you’re able to; not only will you be learning about your cards but you’ll feel more comfortable with them the more you interact. What about others touching your cards? There are always myths and superstitions about letting others touch your cards. It’s down to personal choice – I don’t mind someone handling my deck if they are truly interested and want to know more but I always clear the cards afterwards, to remove the energies and vibrations from that person.

Anyone who has a love for tarot will want to take care of their deck. Always keep your cards in a special place; this could be wrapped in silk (the traditional way) or you may have a special box in which you place your cards when they’re not in use. I have a beautiful carved wooden box in which I keep one of the two decks I use regularly and my other decks I keep in special silk-lined bags, hand-made for me by a lovely lady. My favourite deck, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, is kept in a hand-made black velvet bag, lined with lime green silk and decorated with glass beads and I love it! I especially love the fact that the lining colour matches the reverse of my deck, (which I didn’t realise when I ordered the bag, as my new deck hadn’t arrived at that time). Co-incidence? Syncronicity?

You’ll find it useful to use a cloth when laying out your deck for reading spreads. This doesn’t have to any anything special, perhaps a piece of material which you particularly love. Try to make sure the pattern isn’t too dominating or bright, or you may have trouble picking out the details of your cards when they’re laid out on the cloth. My cloth is simply black with tiny gold stars, backed with black silk, which I made myself.

Using a cloth will help keep your cards clean and also makes your readings special – after all, your time spent with your tarot deck SHOULD be special! It also helps keep your cards clean.

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Melissa Martinez

I am sure someone somewhere will try to tell you that the wooden box MUST only be a CERTAIN wood, cut from a certain side of the tree on a certain day of a certain month … yadayadayada. It doesn’t matter, but wood is always best, not plastic, but some do recommend certain metals. I have a lovely box made of stained glass- glass is also natural sand and silica even if man had to fashion it.

Likewise a laycloth – a natural fibre like silk, cotton, rayon, flax, wool…not a polyester leisure suit you bought at the local Salvation Army Thrift Shop!

My Native American friends would disagree with me, but although leather could be considered ‘natural’, it is the skin of a slaughtered animal, and I would not wrap my cards in it.

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Melissa Martinez

Hi Lovea that was a great!

I wrap mine in a pink silk scarf and then place these in a beautiful wooden box (not sure what kind of wood it is actually – maybe beech) and keep these on my altar.

When I first got my deck I meditated and held each card in my hands as I did. I went through the whole pack quite quickly just being with the initial thoughts that they brought me then proceeding to the next. This way I put my energy into the cards and they gave me theirs.

I then did sleep with them under my pillow for a few nights and too had some great vivid dreams!

I have also done a meditation on the Empress card which is a great exercise – Pick a card that you really like and meditate with it in your hands. The Empress is a great one as she is the mother, friend and nutures. Once you are in your meditative state – Imagine you are going into your field and a woman comes towards you, whats her name? what has she got to tell you? do you have any questions for her? Spend time with her then come out of it and write down your thoughts and experience.
When I have some time, I plan to meditate with some of the other cards too.

When I read tarot as when I meditate – I always like to light one or two candles and some incense – this brings positive energy into the room and relaxes both me and my friend.

I use a black satin Laycloth to read my tarot on and keep this by my box, usually under it.

I haven’t got a bag for them but I really like the idea of carrying them around with you – I have been occasionally but with the box which is both heavy and big. Thanks Lovea , I’ve now got my task for this week – I’m going to look for a bag or make one myself for my tarot to travel in safely!

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Melissa Martinez

when I first started out with the tarot, I had no idea there were any special way to keep the cards. I just kept them in the box they came in…..which is fine for the beginner with a limited budget, like I was working with. 🙂 Then I found out…..

Storage
Tarot cards should be stored either in bags or wooden boxes. These should be lined with silk, or the cards wrapped in silk, then put into the storage unit. When I first started out, I wrapped them in a scarf. It is advisable to keep the original box and the little booklet that came with it. You may want to give the cards to a friend, and the original box and book would be much appreciated.

I have sewn myself a couple silk lined drawstring bags. I wrap my cards with my ‘laycloth’, (a 20×20 piece of cloth with the edges sewn) and place them in my bag. This way they are portable. I carry a deck in my purse.

I also use small cedar boxes. I don’t have any that are lined with silk though. I just wrap my laycloth around the cards to protect them. I am waiting the arrival of two hand-crafted boxes that I purchased online.

Laycloths
My laycloth is just that. A 20×20 cloth that I lay down to do my Tarot readings on. (this size cloth will accomodate the Celtic Cross Spread) I don’t know how many times I went to try to read the cards and found that in washing the table I’d missed a spot, but one of my cards would find the only dirty or sticky spot! So, this cloth is just to keep the cards clean. Yet, I have also found that it is much easier to focus on the cards with a dark background ….or a background that draws me to it. The three I have, one is of clouds set against a dark blue sky and the material has what appears to be silver glitter in the fabric; the other two are dark blue with star patterns on them.

Care
If your cards are getting really worn and don’t slide well across your table, you can get armoral for plastic ….then slightly moisten a cloth with it and wipe down your cards. This will help prolong the life of your cards.

You will also want to wash your hands before shuffling the cards. I have a deck that is going on 5 years old, and I have noticed that the edges are getting pretty dirty, though I’ve taken pretty good care of these cards. I chalk it up to the oils on my hands. I thought my hands were pretty clean, but over time…the proof is in the edging! You’ve seen how easy it is to fingerprint a glass that you drink out of, now imagine that same oil residue getting on your cards.

Getting to know your Deck
When you get a new deck of cards you will want to imbed your energies into them. To do this, sleep with them under your pillow (wrapped in a bag as the box they came in would be uncomfortable:) ) or sleep with them on your nightstand (near your head). When I did this with my latest newly acquired deck, I had some fabulously symbolic dreams….they were weird but very vivid, colorful and fun. You will also want to just sit and shuffle your cards. I do this while I’m watching TV.

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