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Tarot Cards Are Nothing Special

Paper Tarot cards, in themselves, are not holy, sacred, or special. They are paper! With pictures on them!

That’s it.

So why, then, is Tarot a powerful tool that engenders sacred and special moments—whether through a reading, contemplation, brainstorming, writing, painting or other endeavor?

It’s because of you. And me. And Spirit. Which, really, is just another name for the unifying All That Is.

If the vast store of cosmic symbols, archetypes and messages are available to you (and, arguably, already within you), then you are the special, sacred and holy one…not the cards.

After all, Tarot isn’t processed, embellished, deconstructed, synthesized and interpreted in a vacuum, right? No, there must be a witness, an observer, an ambassador…someone willing, and able, to tap in, decode and transmit the messages of Tarot.

Peaceful Thus, you don’t need to sage your cards, light candles, bathe a deck in moonlight, spread out a silk cloth, get out the crystals…

Get the picture?

You are the hallowed component of the Tarot, as are all the wise ones who have grabbed the sacred symbols out of the Great Collective, packaged them into an accessible (albeit, mysterious) pack of cards and then actively sought to do something with them.

Dear readers: What do you think makes Tarot special or sacred? Why? Please share!

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013).  



Very interesting post, Janet! And it must be true, coming from an esteemed veteran Tarot reader such as yourself. Helps me to see not to put so much emphasis on the cards themselves as being "inspired," but to find the inspiration within. Thanks for the new perspective!


This is an interesting and wonderful post. I think that people need to realize that all spiritual work truly comes from within and that tools are just meant to help us connect a little easier... but no one should become dependent on the tool.

I will say that I still see the process of cleansing and blessing the cards as relevant because all objects hold energy, whether they are man made or natural. But It may not be as important as one might like to think... but still I think it is very real.

Do you still cleanse your cards from time to time?

Janet Boyer

Hi Lost Droplets! Yes, that's it EXACTLY. I think when we realize that, ultimately, it is we (humanity and is symbols, myth and archeytpes) that imbue with Tarot with meaning, it not only demystifies the cards, but engenders confidence...something often lacking in those new to the Tarot!

Hi Shaheen! Always good to see your posts here on my blog. :o) Let me just ask you this: how do you know that Tarot cards "hold energy"? And, if they supposedly "hold energy", wouldn't everything we touch or encounter? If so, does this mean we need to sage our groceries, our cell phones, our books, our sacred texts...

See what I mean? I think we need to challenge the assumptions we hold. If they still pass muster and make sense, then, of course, any practice that infuses meaning to our life and pratice can be beneficial, even holy.

But it still begs the question: what makes something "holy" or "sacred"?

And nope, I never "cleanse" a deck. If a deck doesn't "feel" right (shuffling or whatever), I'll just grab another deck! :oD


Having only recently started investigating Tarot, I saw a lot of different suggestions on "cleansing decks" that sounded deliciously superstitious and hilarious at the same time. I'll admit, I thought I had to follow these methods to be "qualified" to read the cards. :P However, upon choosing a second deck from an assortment in a shop one day, I just went with the one that stood out to me and started using it right away. I'm glad to hear from a Tarot veteran that this is an "approved" method. :)

Janet Boyer

You know what else is an approved method? Storing your cards in the box it came in, a ziploc bag or with a rubber band. :oD

I sorta see Tarot practioners as belonging to two groups akin to religion: there's "high church" that's full of ritual and verbal hocus pocus...and then there's "low church" (like the disciples just meeting in houses, playing it cool).

It's OK if someone belong to the former, but I don't like it when it's touted to be the best or only way to use the cards. Then, it becomes just another way to keep the masses away from this rich, deep tool (and the reasons for that are another topic altogether!).

So yeah, LD...follow your heart and gut. "When in doubt, toss it out". :oD


I like that illustration of the "high church" and "low church" -- doesn't make the disciple any less spiritual, or in this case, moved by tarot! :)

Janet Boyer

Exactly LostDroplets! Just different ways of experiencing (or preparing to read) the cards! :oD

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