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Buying Used Tarot Cards - Is it Okay?

By Pythia

Beginners in Tarot often ask whether they should purchase used tarot cards. Like many other tarot related questions, there are various opinions. A number of tarot practitioners advocate against such practice. There are tarot experts that think that buying used cards can be a great way to save money, especially if you intend to collect various tarot decks. There is certainly nothing fundamentally wrong if you have made up your mind on buying used cards, but there are some things you should know before doing that.

Why New Tarot Cards

We almost never buy used Tarot cards. Here is why.

several used tarot cards

While it might be true that you will save some money, we personally believe this is not your best option. Usually tarot decks are not very expensive anyhow. The money you will save is not huge, so buying new cards is probably safer. Not to mention that if you purchase used tarot cards you might find that one or several cards are missing from the deck. At the end of the day you might end up with 77 (or fewer) cards instead of the full deck of 78 cards. Such Tarot decks are virtually useless.

Why Used Cards

There is only a handful of reasons why you would like to choose used tarot cards over brand new ones. These would include rare, out of print or exotic deck, collector items and decks difficult to find.

Now, if you are not a tarot collector and if you want to use your deck for divination purposes, always buy them NEW. All divination tools are very personal. Equally so is your Tarot deck, which as a divination tool has to be made personal. Moreover, once you have got your new tarot deck, never lend it to somebody else. Prevent other people from touching the cards, even if they are members of your own family.

What To Do If You Have Purchased Used Tarot Cards?

So, you have got yourself a used deck. If you know for sure that somebody has been using the cards before, and especially if you plan to perform tarot readings with them, there are some things you can do to ensure there are no negative vibrations tied to them from their previous owner.

When you use objects in your everyday life, a part of your own energy is being transferred to them. This is even more true for objects used in meditation, visualization, concentration, imaginations and divination — such are precisely the Tarot Cards.

Therefore, one of the first things you should do with your used deck is to purify the previously absorbed energies by using incense, exposing them to sun light, or simply by not using them for divination a prolonged period of time. Depending on the spiritual and psychic powers of their previous owner, the cleansing time may vary from several hours to several months. In the following, you can find a short description of several characteristic methods of cleansing.

In order to spare yourself from such problems, and to start your journey through the wondrous worlds of Tarot the best possible way, do yourself a favor and purchase a brand new Tarot deck. After that, it might be a good idea to start practicing tarot meditations for a while in order to get to know each individual card and form a psychic bond with them.

If you want to use a second hand tarot deck, you'd have to cleanse it. Remember, you'd also have to cleanse you used (or brand new) tarot deck in cases when other people touch it, you haven't used it for quite some time, some of the cards have fallen on the floor, or they have accumulated negative energy during a challenging reading or otherwise.

How Cleanse Used Tarot Cards


As we said, sunlight can be used for purification. Not only can you (and shuld) use sunlight on your newly purchased second-hand decks, but you should also use this method whenever you feel something might be wrong with your readings no matter the type of deck. For example, if you believe negative energy is absorbed inside of your deck. Just place your deck in the morning or evening light for a couple of hours. If you want to amplify the purification effect, put a transparent quartz crystal on top of the deck.


You can do the same procedure as in the previous case, only this time using moonlight. You can use any of the moon phases, but the fool moon is probably the best if you want the best possible outcome.


If you are skilled with the pendulum, you can use it to cleanse your tarot deck. Just hold it over the cards, let it move around, and visualize the power of the pendulum that cleanses or transmutes any negativity absorbed within. Once the pendulum has stopped, you can be certain the cards are purified.

Incense Smoke

Apply incense smoke on your cards. It is known to be able to cleanse negative energies. It is routinely used to purify stones and crystals. It's no brainer that this methods can be used to cleanse the energy of your tarot deck as well. Hold you cards over the smoke so that it rises to them. Move the deck around, shuffle them a bit, or if you have enough time, take one card keep it above the incense smoke for a couple of seconds, and then move to another until the entire deck is exhausted.


This method uses your own powers of visualization to cleanse and purify the tarot deck. The idea is to shuffle the cards at the same time visualizing all negativity leaving the deck. Your intention for purification is what matters the most in this method. The more focussed you are, the clearer your visualization, and the stronger your intention is, the better result you will get.

Where to Buy Used Tarot Decks?

If you would like to try your luck with a used Tarot, here are some tips. Where to buy one? The first two things that come to my mind are Ebay and Amazon. You should make sure, however, that the Tarot deck in question contains all the cards. Sometimes, the seller might not be familiar with Tarot in general or with the deck they are selling.

Check the shipping and handling fees before making the purchase. As the tarot cards are not that heavy, the fees should not be too high. Sometimes a book comes along with the deck, which can increase the cost. Almost all Tarot decks come with a small booklet, but a booklet shouldn't increase the shipping weight too much.

Last but not least, do your due diligence. Some rare decks cost more than others. On the other hand, there are some decks advertised for a lot of money but are NOT that rare nor expensive. A good example of the former is the rare MAAT TAROT deck (check it out for example on As for the latter not so rare decks, the 1971 RWS tarot deck belongs to this category.

About the Author

Article written by Pythia.


The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


Shannon says:

Used Deck, Yes. But you HAVE to cleanse them! Separate them, look at them, make sure they are complete. Put them together in order wrap them in paper and place in the freezer for 72 hours. Best time to take them out: Full moon.

admin says:

Hi Shannon. Very good point. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Denisha says:

I have a set of cards that a family member bought me for an event, and i dont even use them nor ever used them. what do i do with them? can i just discard them?

admin says:

Yes, you can safely discard them. I don't think they will cause any harm in any way, if that's what you are concerned about.

Patricia says:

Hi! I'm new to tarot and feel attracted to this deck but it's kinda rare and i saw one from barnes that's $14 the deck is a complete of 78 only the book has minor damage an the cards is said crisp and clean, what do I do in order to cleanse it? Should I just knock it?? I was hoping for first and last tarot deck since I'm not a collector

admin says:

Hi Patricia
You can go for that tarot deck if you feel attracted to it. As for cleansing, you can use for example smudging (with incense sticks) in combination with visualization. Or you can leave your cards overnight with a couple previously cleansed clear quartz crystals.

Robert says:

So im going to get a first deck of cards and the first set i see on ebay is A Crowley thoth deck from my birth year. Now my question is Should i get the used or the new sealed deck?

sunnyray says:

New and sealed. No question about it.

nate says:

is it true that if you want to preform tarot readings on someone else you have to have someone else buy the deck for you so your energy isn't influencing the cards

sunnyray says:

I wouldn't go that far. As soon as you get in touch with the deck, your energy will be there, influencing the cards one way or another. So, the trick would have to be to do the reading separating yourself from the client situation, as much as you can.

Layli says:

Hi, I stumbled across some tarot cards from a tag sale years ago. It came with a book and I thought I could learn more about it. I just found it last night and started reading it and actually did a couple readings on myself and my boyfriend. I just read I should have cleansed it before hand.. What should I do?.. Is this bad? Can I get rid of the cards or cleanse? I guess I didn't know any better..

sunnyray says:

Hi Layli. No need to get rid of them. Just cleanse them before your next reading.

Mya says:

Hey, I wish to purchase a pack or tarot cards but I am unsure where to get them and which sort of deck is best for a beginner. I live in the Noosa area and don't want to just buy a random deck from a corner store. Also should I clenches a deck before my first reading even if they are new?

sunnyray says:

Jo Mya. For your first tarot deck I would recommend the Rider-Waite Tarot. And yes, you would have to cleanse it even if it's brand new.

Lynx says:

Merry meet... I stumbled across your website while trying to research the subject of used cards. I see that it is a bit of a controversial subject! Fact is, I don't yet have a "proper" deck of my own, just a color-your-own major arcana suit. I have a deck of Doreen Virtue's "oracle cards," too, but recently came across a very old Rider-Waite tarot deck in a wonderful local antique shop this afternoon. My big question based on the conflicting opinions I've been reading here: is this deck going to require weeks, even MONTHS of cleansing before I can use it? My thought was, this could have been owned by a powerful diviner who had since passed on, and whose kids/loved ones/etc. dug through their things and came across "mom's old tarot deck," and opted to get rid of it. I do love antique shops and the bargains I find there, and I love old things in general. I don't know... what do you think? (Sorry for rambling.)
- Lynx

sunnyray says:

Hi Lynx
Nice to meet you too, and thanks for the comment. Here's what I think. First of all, I like your positive outlook regarding the cards, that is, having been used by a powerful diviner having a good and positive purpose in mind. But we also have to consider the possibility that they have been used by someone having selfish or negative intentions. Unfortunately, there are people using them that way. In that case, cleansing is a must. Sensitive individuals can tell just by touching them if the cards have accumulated positive or negative vibrations from their previous owner(s). In that sense we should cleanse even new decks. Everything we do, everything we see or touch or even think about, carries our own energy, our own seal. Even if the cards are brand new, they carry the intentions of their manufacturer, like, for example, to make money by selling them. In any case, I wish you great experiences with your next Tarot deck.

Knight says:

Hi. I was wondering if anyone could clear something up for me. I have been doing some work in a charity shop recently with 2 ladies that read tarot cards. I was explaining to them that i have always been interested in tarot readings and told them about a reading i had in the past. The next day whilst working with these ladies somebody came into the shop and donated a pack of tarot cards, which were immediately brought to me buy the manager. I instantly wanted them. The manage told me that the cards came to me, so i brought them. When i first touched the cards when i got home i could feel energy coming from the cards so i cleansed each card and the book with sage and then asked my pendulum if they were all cleansed. The answer was yes. I have not used the cards for a reading yet as i believe i need to know more about what im doing. When i'm handling the cards i still feel this energy from them and i was wondering if this is normal or do the cards need cleansing again or should i get rid of them.

sunnyray says:

Hi Knight
I'm not sure exactly how to answer your question, at least not without knowing about the previous owner. Or let me put it this way: if someone donated to me his or her deck as a gift of love, I would be more than happy to use it, even without cleaning. That said, I would like to hear other people's opinions, especially if someone has been using second hand cards without knowing the owner and how they felt about it.

Shell says:

Is it ok for me to sell my rarely used Tarot Cards away? I don't seen to connect with tarot card reading... So was wondering if there will be any negative effect on the past user ( meaning me ) if I wish to sell the cards away?

sunnyray says:

That's a very good question. I think the cards, as all other objects we wear or possess, have an imprint of our energy, so they could potentially be used to affect us. Now, if you know the person you are selling your deck to, or if there's a relationships of respect and love between you, there's nothing to worry about. In general, it is very unlikely that you would attract a buyer that will be that negative.

Gavin says:

I use the Liz Greene tarot and happened to misplace a few cards from one suit while I was suffering from mental ilness. I have since recovered and begun reading again but I felt that I was getting inaccurate readings with the missing cards. The deck is out of print so I ordered a used deck of the same format and pictures I am familiar with(quite expensive I may add as they are now counted as 'collectors items'). To ckeanse the cards and remove any attachments I let the cards sit for a few weeks and mulled over how my cleansing ritual should go...I journaled what my intentions were and what I wanted to achive from the ritual and what my intentions for the future with the cards are. I took the cards and ordered them face up so that THE FOOL was face up followed by THE MAGICIAN and so on and followed by the Four Suits in order respectively (just like you'd have a new deck). I then waited until a full moon, lit 3 white candles and burned frankincense incence. Meditated on my intention until I was ready and then using both hands - on on each short edge of the card, spun it through the incence and said "Out with the old and begin a new, you have come to me and I to you, release your ties from all before and be fully cleansed to be used once more; release your past and start anew so that you and I can be bound in truth, release your memories but maintain your power so with my intuition we can begin to flower; rest now card for when you wake, you and I have work to make, so sleep now deep in the light of the moon and cleanse and charge so we can begin our work soon". I did this with each of the 78 cards putting them in a new pile face up (so that when they are turned at the end face down THE FOOL is on the top followed by THE MAGICIAN etc. Like a new deck would be). I then programmed a clean crystal to absorb any negative energy, detach from previous owner, cleanse the cards for a new bond with me and release into the deck any positive energy that will help to achieve the new ownership. I then set the deck face down in the window that gets the most moon/sunlight with the crystal on top of them. There they will stay until the new moon when I will remove the crystal and cleanse it. The cards will be wrapped in a cloth and I will leave them wrapped in the cloth inside a box until I feel they are ready to be used again, when this happens I will meditate on each card individually to help the cards bond to their new owner. The ckeansing ritual took around 1 hour 45 minutes (and 5 cones of incence!!) To complete. I would say the meditation for bonding will take roughly the same. Hope this helps. Enjoy your tarot. Peace x

sunnyray says:

Thanks Gavin, your comment was really really helpful. Peace and love to you too.

Ester says:

My husband bought a used tarot card in a garage sale. I noticed we have been arguing almost everyday even small things we argue. What do I do with it, should I just buy a new one?

sunnyray says:

It's a good idea, just to be on the safe side. Tarot decks are not that expensive, so why not?

Matty says:

My Mother just passed away. I'm overwhelmed going through her things. I don't know what to throw away, what to sell and what to donate (I just saw her filing cabinet that I threw out cost two grand... I'm in no shape to be doing this).

Anyways... I just came across her tarot deck and I was assaulted with extra strong and conflicting emotions.

I think I would like to sell it, but only if it's safe and only to someone who REALLY knows what they're doing.

This deck is going to be chaos.

My mother had a variety of mental illnesses, the primary being MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) which was later changed to DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder).

I won't go into details here, but she could be as abusive as she could be loving. Truly horrific stuff.

This deck is going to have some wild, chaotic energy with it... to the point that it might be best just to discard it... but her readings were just so INSANELY accurate... every single time. Made me a believer while scaring the poo out of me.

I guess I have two questions.

1.) Is this kind of deck safe to sell?


2.) If safe, are these the kinds of energies experienced people would be interested in exploring before cleansing the deck for themselves?

Thanks for any answers... in private messages I can be more candid about some of the evil... and I'll be happy to talk about her angelic good here on the public from. She was a licensed clinical psychologist and really did save scores of people with her skill and kindness.

sunnyray says:

Hi Matty,

Sorry to hear about your loss. From the description above, I don't think it would be wise to sell the deck, unless you can find a really skilled individual who knows what they are doing (cleansing and purification, as you mentioned above because people usually would like to personalize the deck). As for the second question, I really can't tell with any certainty. Thanks for sharing and all the best.

Matty says:

Thanks for the feedback.

Makes the decision easy.

Will her books on the subject also contain energies?

Are they safe to gift or sell?

sunnyray says:

I could be wrong, but yes, I think the books should be safe enough. After all, no matter the subject, they serve to educate people, so I think the energy of the previous owner should not be essential here.

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