Friday, July 8, 2016

Storing Your Tarot Decks

Whether or not you see your tarot deck as a sacred tool of divination, a practical work of art, or some blend of the two, you want to keep your cards safe and preserve them well.  Cards inevitably wear with use, and no deck will last forever, but you can increase its lifespan by storing it well.

Additionally, how you store your cards influences your relationship with them.  Sliding your deck out of a flimsy, falling-apart cardboard box feels a lot less magical than opening a wooden box or untying a silk bag. If you plan it right, your interaction with your cards begins before you even shuffle them.

While I can't claim to have silk bags or wooden boxes, I thought I would share with you the many ways I store my decks.  See if there are any storage strategies you like!


 My favorite storage method involves sewing a small bag for my cards.  The one pictured to the right is just calico and ribbon; nothing too fancy, but it still feels special.  I hand-sewed it, and while that process did increase my intimacy with the bag and the deck, the only reason I didn't use my sewing machine is because it is broken.

Lots of folks put small crystals or herbs in their bags while storing their cards, with the intent of recharging their magic. I don't use crystals in my bag because I am afraid of them scratching my cards, but I am tempted to add a little lavender sometime.

It's always such a pleasure when a deck includes robust packaging. As you can see in the picture to the left, the Tarot Mucha comes in a thick, crisp box that stands upright with its own lid. The box is quite sturdy and will protect the cards just fine, and there is something very satisfying about opening or closing the lid. The packaging help gives substance to the experience of using this deck.

And here is what happens when your first deck that you don't really care about comes shrink wrapped in cellophane and nothing else.  This was my "false start" deck, that I bought and then ignored when the pips proved too difficult to interpret, quickly replacing it with my Waite-Smith.  It's no surprise, then, that I store it in what is basically repurposed garbage (old index card box and some motivational bracelet).

The thing is.... it works really well! This deck and I already have a playful relationship. I don't use it for serious questions, and it looks so goofy in its make-shift home, that the whole experience is aesthetically and spiritually consistent for me.

Finally, my good old Waite-Smith.  This is my default deck, and the deck I still return to when I need some real talk. I use this deck so often--multiple times a day--that it is never really put away.  On my desk, it sits on top of its bag (machine sewn by me), with my Zuni badger fetish sitting on top.  This deck and my badger fetish are probably the two most spiritually important objects I own; I don't know why I started doing it, but it just seemed right to perch it on top like that.

I will note that this deck is getting quite worn, and there is a risk to leaving it on my desk like this (it will be more likely to fade in the sun).


You'll notice that with each of these methods, I discussed how it influences my relationship with the cards. Your first priority is, of course, keeping your deck clean and preserved, but I encourage you to look to your card housing as another way to enrich your practice.  Maybe sewing your own bag is not in your wheelhouse, but would tying a ribbon around the deck (or a plastic bracelet!) make your tarot practice a bit more magical?

Do you see yourself using any of these strategies?  What other methods are there for keeping your deck comfy?  Let us know in comments!

1 comment:

  1. I want to knit bags for my two decks, but I haven't gotten around to it yet (haven't had a lot of time to figure out what yarn or pattern to use). It helps that I like to knit, and knitted bags tend to be both hardy against the elements and soft for the preservation of the cards.