Ten Practical Tips for Maintaining Your Tarot Practice

Stuck at home, in quarantine, self imposed or otherwise, for your own safety and other peoples safety? Here’s ten practical things you could do to sharpen your skills and up your tarot game:

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I. WASH YOUR HANDS

No, really, not only is it a powerful symbolic gesture, but it’s also a nice habit to have especially these days, but also for when you handle your decks. To make sure you have “clean” energy and clean cards that will last a lifetime.

Another method which you could use to get into the mood and mindset of a read is to rub some Florida Water on your hands before you start your read or even touch your cards. Just the smell alone is enough to shift my focus and to STAY in focus. after having made this part of my routine. By the way, you can also get Florida Water soap.

So, not of the traditional kind? Well, hand sanitizers are all the rage these days! And they works just as well, and might arguably be better in many ways, and will certainly help you get into the spirit of things. Let’s make our new traditions!

II. COUNT YOUR CARDS

Every now and then you should make sure that they’re all there. Trust me. I just recently found out that one of my most used decks had been missing The Chariot card for something like half a year!

This also goes for those that are splitting their decks, using only the Major Arcana. Especially check this before you are do read for a client. You’d be surprised how often a card is either missing or misplaced, and you don’t want to look like a fool do you?

This is even more important if you are using multiple decks, as it’s all too easy forget in what state left them in last time they got used. Case in point: I was doing a spread where the actual number of of cards needed to be exact, and I had to redo the read from start when I realized that I had added the four aces to it for some reason last time it was in service. What the hell? I don’t even recall for what reason.

III. WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Shake your box! If you you keep your decks in their boxes that is. I estimate that about two thirds of mine are in their original box, and after use and when it’s time to put it back into its box, a lot of the time I’ll notice that one card was left behind. Make it a part of your practice. It’s kind of sort of like checking the barrel of a gun for obstructions before you fire.

Or just do the opposite, and never ever look in the box until after you’re done reading. Maybe not playing with a full deck is your jam!

IV. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

Literally. Change the container of the cards. Wether it is a box or a drawstring bag or whatever. Put them in another box or make your own pouch.

Don’t know how to sew and you kind of like to keep ’em in their box you say? Why not decorate it with stickers? Pimp it out! Add some unique mojo to it.

Or take it even one step further and go no box at all! Naked tarot! The ultimate punk witch move is to just use whatever random rubber band you find laying around. Even a hair tie will do in a pinch.

Although, all that being said, I very much like to treat my decks as samurai swords, only pulling them out of their sheath (box or pouch) when absolutely necessary and then put them straight back in again as soon as they’ve seen action.

V. RECHARGE & REENERGIZSE

I confess, I’m not always too fussed about the so called “cleansing” of my decks, or even charging them. That’s of course not to say that I don’t do it from time to time, because I do, and if you don’t already, so should you! Here’s my simple methods:

Sing, hum or talk to your decks. You do it for plants, don’t you? Same thing. Can’t carry a tune? Whistle, use a singing bowl or play your favourite song for the cards. Don’t forget to breathe some life into your cards. Blow the dust off, like you would on an old book. Knock three times on the stack. Run it through some incense. Or just let your cat rub up against them for some special cat magic blessing. Works like a charm.

VI. RESET & RESTART

Are the cards behaving suspiciously, or does something feel off? Has the deck suddenly “stopped working” properly? Perhaps it’s time for a good old fashioned restart. How do you reset a deck you say? Well, that’s super simple. Just put the cards back in their “original” order. Major Arcana from 0-22 (although you could put The Fool at the end) and the suits traditionally (or qabalistically) are ordered Wands (fire), Swords (air), Cups (water) and Pentacles (earth). Easy peasy.

Although this varies a lot from deck to deck, so consult the guidebook or just use your intuition (or the internet). Oh, and are you just using digital deck, like an app on your phone? Delete it and download it again and reinstall it. Browser based tarot? Just reload/refresh the page.   

VII. GROUND YOUR DECK

Aren’t any of the above tips doing the trick? Try grounding it. And by grounding I don’t mean send it to its room, although that’s not such a bad idea, but most decks I know doesn’t have their own rooms… I mean quite literally put it into the ground. Dig a hole in the dirt and bury your cards. Leave them there for three days, or however long you want.

VIII. TRANSMOGRIFY 

Give a little used deck a new life by modifying it. By either edging or trimming. Edging being the easier option, and it just means colouring the edges with for instance a permanent marker of some kind. Lots of videos on YouTube for guides on this if you need inspiration.

Trimming is a little more tricky, and it doesn’t really suit every deck, but as long as you have a nice pair of sharp scissors, it’s not as hard as you’d think. You might want to get one of those “round corner cutter things” (technical term) though.

IX. DECKSPERIMENTATION 

Experiment with your decks. Deconstruct and remix. Try using multiple decks at the same time! Break the rules. Bend the cards. Cut them in half. Has anyone done a cut-up deck, or exquisite corpse, yet by doing this and randomly reattaching the pieces?

Use the Major Arcana from one pack of cards and the Minor Arcana from another. You could do an improvised spread where you pull a card from the Major Arcana which relates to the “major issue” and then pull a card from the Minor Arcana stack to focus on the “minor issue” at hand.

Do you own 78 decks or more? Why not make a funky Frankenstein super group tarot by combining all your favourite cards from each deck into one whacky one? Probably works better with just the Major Arcana, as you just need 22.

X. MAKE YOUR OWN PERSONAL TAROT

This doesn’t even have to be a physical one, and could just be a theoretical thought experiment. Map out all the Major Arcana to fit the story and/or characters of a movie, book, video game or TV series you love.

Or why not make a Tarot playlist with each song representing a card? That would be a nice way to practice some modern shufflemancy for you cyberpunk witches. Collect pictures online, print them out and clue them on cardboard to make a scratch-built deck.

Why not see if you can put together a whole deck in just one day, only using the material you have in your house or apartment? The notebook blue bic pen doodle tarot deck just screams to come alive!

Go do!

Stay cool and stay safe. And consider supporting your fellow cardslingers and/or tarot makers by paying them to do a read for you or buying their wares.

Take care ❤

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