• Julie Embleton

How to Charge your Tarot Deck


In one of my earlier blogs I covered the topic of cleansing and dedicating your decks which you can find here. Today, I’m chatting about charging decks; simple ways to boost the energy of your decks, whether they be tarot or oracle.


A woman reading tarot in a coffee shop
Keeping your deck cleansed and charged means clearer readings.

Much like us humans, our decks can get tired and sluggish. Not only do they pick up on our energies, but also on the energies of those for whom we read, and what’s happening in our environment. I’ll know while I’m shuffling if a deck is in need of a recharge. The energy feels sluggish or sticky, and without a charge, I know I won’t get a clear reading. It usually happens after I’ve used the deck three or four times, or if I’ve had a reading with difficult themes.


Charging is different to cleansing as it’s a refresh for your deck, much like us stopping to grab a coffee. Once the caffeine kicks in, we’re back on track. If your deck has been through more than just a few heavy readings, a full cleanse will serve you, and it, better.


Many of the techniques for charging can be used for cleansing too, so it’s just a case of feeling out what’s right for you and your deck at the time. For a charge on-the-go, quick and easy methods include knocking, touch & breath, or reiki. If you have more time on your hands, any one of the techniques below will get your deck back to its sparkly self.


There are many reasons why you’d need to give your decks a charge, including:


  • Your deck hasn’t been used in a while

  • Your deck has been handled by others

  • Readings are feeling a little stuck, or blocked

  • You and/or your cards have been exposed to negative energy

  • You’ve had a difficult reading with sensitive themes

  • Your cards had an accident; fell on the floor, were lost, etc.

  • You want to reconnect with your deck

  • Your deck just needs a spring clean



A Full Moon through branches of trees. Charging Tarot decks under the Moon
Charge under a Full or New Moon

The Moon

My favourite way to recharge is under the light of the Full Moon. I spread a cloth on the inner windowsill, spread out the deck, pop the deck’s crystal on top, and leave them out overnight to soak up the beautiful energy. A Full Moon offers manifesting energy, so your deck will be imbued with those zesty vibes, while a New Moon is a time of introspection, so sprinkles an energy packed with intuitive attributes.

The Sun

Just like with the Moon, you can place the deck on a windowsill and let the sun work its magic. If the sun is very hot, be cautious of older or fragile decks that might ‘bake’. If you live in a climate where weather permits you to leave the cards outside, fresh air and the grounding energies of earth will give an extra boost to your charge.


Charging Tarot Decks with the elements of Earth and Air
The cleansing properties of Air and Earth will give a tired deck a great energy boost.

Earth/Air

As above, if the weather affords you the opportunity, spread your deck out on the ground/grass—ensuring the surface isn’t holding damp or anything that could damage the cards. Watch out for curious children and pets too! The earth will absorb any negative energy and imbue the cards with healing, grounding energy. If outside isn’t an option, your cards will benefit from an air boost by leaving them by an open window. Just remember to weigh them down in case of rogue gusts!


Outside charging is rarely an option here for me. I’m right beside the Irish Sea, and the local seagulls have hooligan tendencies, so I’d lose cards to naughty beaks. I only ever charge my cards on an inside windowsill, but it works just as well (and without the fear of bird poop).

Smoke

Ideal for both cleansing and charging, a blast of sage smoke is great for a deck refresh. I tend to stick to sage for cleansing, and use Palo Santo when I want to charge. With its vibrant, light energy, (and amazing smell) it’s an ideal way to refresh. You can use any type of incense for a smoke cleanse, including dried herb wands. Simply fan out the deck and let it wash in the smoke. If indoors, ensure there’s an open window to let the hard-working smoke out.



Tarot deck on an altar with crystals
Crystals are a great way to return zest to your decks.

Crystals

Decks love a boost of crystal energy. While I always keep a stone or two in each deck’s pouch, they too need a recharge every now and then, so they’ll benefit from a charge along with your deck. Simply fan out your deck and lay as many crystals as you like on top, or if you have a larger crystal, like a slab, or a geode, place the deck on top. Leave overnight if possible. You could also place this crystal set-up under a Full Moon for an extra loving dose of care.


Depending on what subjects you read for, you might like to choose a crystal to boost that energy. Alternatively, if you’re charging with a specific intention in mind, again a crystal corresponding to that energy will assist.


  • For cleansing, protection, and purification: Hematite, Black Tourmaline, or Obsidian.

  • For clarity, clearing blocked energy, peace, and expansion of the mind, selenite is a go-to for many tarot lovers.

  • Rose quartz promotes harmony, peace, and love, and is another popular choice.

  • Clear quartz is the champion all-rounder. For amplification of intent, you can’t go wrong with this gemstone.

  • Sunstone, Carnelian. These two stones bring creative energy, so if like me, you read a lot for creatives, they’re ideal gemstones for a deck boost.

  • Clarity of thought, communication, the written word all benefit from blue crystals such as sodalite, lapis lazuli, or blue lace agate.


Don’t get befuddled by which crystal to use if you’re new to gemstones. They all deliver goodness, so go with what feels right to you.


Knocking

This is an ideal way to quickly shift the energy of your deck if you’re in a hurry. If I’m doing readings one after another, this technique helps to shake out lingering energy to keep the readings clear. Simply place the deck on a surface and firmly knock three times on the top.



Pink Himalayan Sea Salt for cleansing and charging tarot decks
Stick with coarse salt when charging or cleansing decks

Salt

I’m not a fan of salt charging or cleansing, as I’ve found it’s damaged cards on me in the past, but with care, it is a great method for pulling out sticky energy. You can either submerge the deck in a bowl of salt, place the deck inside a salt circle, or sprinkle salt over the backs of the cards, but regardless of which method, be extremely vigilant—especially for older, fragile, or precious decks.


For the submerge method, wrap your deck in an airtight plastic bag, pop it into a second airtight container, and bury in salt. You can leave it overnight, but a few days, or even a week or two is better. Be aware that salt sucks up moisture which can find its way into your deck, so wield caution. Once the charge is done, dispose of the salt.


A ring of salt is ideal as the cards won’t be touching the grains. Place your deck on a suitable surface, and surround it with a ring of salt. Again, leave it for a day or two, or for as long as you feel the deck needs it.


Finally, for the sprinkle method, use large grained sea salt. Spread out your deck and sprinkle the grains over the backs. Allow to sit for as long as you feel necessary.


Coarse sea salt works best for these methods, as fine grain table salt clings, and in my opinion, will cause damage quicker. Once the charge is done, dispose of the salt as it has done its work.


Touch & Breath

If nothing else is available and your deck is in need of a charge, both touch and breath are two simple methods.


Hold the deck in your palms. Ground yourself; imagining roots growing from the soles of your feet and travelling to the centre of the earth. White light rushes up through these roots, and with a few inhales, your body is soon awash with this cleansing, pure light. Cup the deck between both palms and imagine the light now pouring into the cards, evaporating negative energy.


Your breath holds this cleansing power too, so with slow and deliberate inhales and exhales, breathe the white light over your deck.


Take as long as feels right with this touch and breath ritual. When you’re done, you can clap your hands and/or stamp your feet to shake off any residual negative energy.



Healing Hand. Reiki for cleansing and charging tarot decks
Revive your sludgy cards with a boost of Reiki energy

Reiki

Reiki practitioners can hold a deck in their hands and send the golden reiki energy to do its work. Using knowledge of healing, envisage the funk evaporating to leave your deck sparkling clean once more.




Order the Deck

Your tarot deck tells a story and each card has its place within that story. Each card also belongs to its suit family, and with all the shuffling and reading, a disconnect can occur. If I feel a deck is overworked, I’ll cleanse it first, but I also like to use this method as it reminds me of the ‘restore factory settings’ on my mobile!


Order you deck from The Fool to the World, then Aces to Kings throughout each suit. Place a crystal on the deck, and leave on your altar or sacred space for a few days, or longer. You’ll intuitively know when the deck is ready to return to work. You can wrap the deck in a cloth, surround it with crystals, flowers, or anything you feel the deck needs to recalibrate.



Samiramay Tarot by Vera Petruk. Tarot cards and a tarot journal
Happy cards make a happy reader! Deck: Samiramay Tarot by Vera Petruk


With your deck providing a conduit between you and Spirit, it needs to be in good working order each time you take it into your hands. An overworked deck requires a cleanse with intent, while a tired deck can often carry on for another reading or two with just a charge. Practised readers will intuitively know when their decks need a boost or a deep cleanse, but for those of you new to tarot, you could consider scheduling a weekly charge or cleanse, depending on how heavily you use your deck. In time, you’ll instinctively sense when your cards need a time-out.

What’s your go-to charging practice? You can chat to me at julie@creativesoultarot.com