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Principle 1
Tarot is just a deck of cards, the power is all within the reader

I have read a number of books by so-called experts who teach that you must never let others handle your cards, and who claim that a deck can acquire negative "vibrations" or "energy" if the wrong people touch it. Presumably, it because of this that a deck "must" be wrapped in silk and stored in wood. In my opinion, this is a bigger load of bull than a truck heading for the hamburger factory. A Tarot deck is not some magical artifact or sacred treasure - it is a pack of cards that came off a printing press somewhere in Connecticut! They are no more spiritual than a hammer or a saw.

Think of it this way. Bob Vila probably lets his friends handle his tools on a regular basis. Does that make his saw duller, or make his drill turn slower? Of course not. And it certainly does not make him any less of a carpenter. This is because the skill of the carpenter does not depend on the tools they use. Likewise, the power of a reader is not within their deck. It is within their own heart, mind and soul. (Some may cringe at comparing a spiritual undertaking with the menial job of carpentry, but there is no difference at all between the two. Remember, Jesus was a carpenter!)

Actually, the analogy I have given above allows us to quickly determine when someone is mistaken about the kind of treatment we should give a Tarot deck. Just ask if Bob Vila (or any other carpenter) would do the same to one of his or her tools. This simple test lets us see that

If you want to take a few extra steps while caring for your deck, go ahead. It is your right as a human being and any intelligent Tarot reader will respect that right. It is not wrong to do any of these things, and as we shall soon see, if you do them regularly it may even add power to your Tarot work. But do not make the mistake that many popular authors have made, and start proclaiming to the masses that doing these things is essential to a good reading, unless you also sleep with silk-wrapped power tools.

The carpenter analogy does show us some things that we should do with a Tarot deck. Obviously you should have some place to store your deck when you're not using it, but this storage place can be at the bottom of a drawer, at the back of a cabinet or beside your computer if you wish. Equally obvious is the fact that you should try to keep your decks in fair condition - don't go spilling beer on your cards or lighting them on fire. If nothing else, doing so will make it harder for you to tell which card you've drawn and it will not convey a good impression of you when showing your decks to others.

If you really want to improve the quality of your readings, stop "cleansing" your deck and start thinking about how you can "cleanse" yourself. Don't read when you are tired or frustrated or worried or sad because this will affect your readings - not because you're putting out negative energy which "dirties" the cards, but because you are not in the mindset to receive and correctly interpret information. So go for a walk, treat yourself to a movie or take a nap. Make that your ritual, rather than smudging your deck or throwing salt on it. You'll notice tangible effects not limited to your Tarot work.

All of the "special things" you are "supposed" to do with a Tarot deck are really nothing more than occult window dressing designed to make the Tarot seem more mysterious and spiritual. Such pomp and pageantry might have had its place in eras past, but it is not necessary or even desired today. It is time to realize that the only things we must do to our deck are those things we deem necessary. Remember that window dressing can be helpful at times, but if you throw on too much, you may no longer be able to see the world that lies beyond the window.

Copyright 2000 James Rioux