Reading Tarot cards - setting the mood

There’s much more to giving a good Tarot reading than just shuffling a deck of cards – but it tends to depend on your beliefs as to what you think is involved. Tarot readers, broadly speaking, tend to come from one of two camps. They either believe that the cards are a conduit for their own psychic and intuitive abilities, or they believe they are a hotline to the supernatural forces that influence our lives.

Either way, there are certain rituals that they both carry out – each with similar intent. If you really want to feel like you’re getting the best from your readings, then there are three main rituals you can carry out that will help you set the mood and improve your focus.

Go and clean your room!

Many Tarot readers like to perform a cleansing ritual before they start a reading. This can take any number of forms because, as most readers will tell you, everything becomes personalised to the reader and the way they operate. However, typical methods involve opening the doors and windows and lighting incense sticks. This practice has its roots with the early Pagans, who believed in the cleansing power of smoke and would scent it with ritual-appropriate herbs and flowers. The belief is that the smoke will carry all the residual negative energy from a space, leaving it much like a blank canvas.

For those who work with ancient Pagan gods, rituals such as these are often accompanied with prayers to the relevant deities. Again, this helps to remove negative energy and also generates a protective psychic shield to act as a barrier to any malign forces that might be present or make themselves known during a reading.

Those who prefer to believe in the more psychic tenets of Tarot reading often use crystals to purify a room before a reading. Certain crystals are thought to be able to absorb or repel negative energies and, if left in a room overnight, can either be removed and purified for use again or left there to create a vibrational barrier against any negative energy that might try and enter during a Tarot session.

Ultimately, these rituals help to make a space more welcoming and accessible for both the reader and the querent. Whether you subscribe to the psychic or Pagan beliefs or have a more psychological point of view, there’s no denying that undertaking a ritual of this sort can make you feel better about the environment you’re reading in.

Go and clean yourself!

As a reader, your duty is to ensure that you give the best reading you can. To make sure that this is possible, you too need to be free of any negative energy that might be clinging onto your subconscious. Harbouring negative energy might mean that the way you interpret the cards is inaccurate and it may also hamper your abilities to forge a strong and clean psychic connection with your querent. In other words, you need to prepare yourself for a reading. If you read professionally, you might want to start the day with a cleansing ritual and undertake quick refresher rituals as and when you need them. However, if you just read when the fancy takes you, then you ought to take the time to get yourself in the mood and cleanse yourself at the same time.

The majority of Tarot readers use meditation and visualisation to prepare themselves for a reading. Entering a meditative state sends a message to the subconscious that it’s time to go to work. Many readers like to combine this with a visualisation involving a burning white light that travels through the entire body, burning away and absorbing negative energy before it passes out of their feet and into the ether.

However, for those who practice Pagan religions, this ritual can take on an aspect of prayer. Often, readers will ask for a blessing from their gods and that they are made ready to undertake this work. In addition, they may ask for protection from malign forces. Those who think of Tarot reading as a psychic process often create their own psychic shields, once again through the process of visualisation. As with creating the right mood for the room, a ritual of this thought sets the ‘inner scene’ for a reader, priming the subconscious and ensuring that the energy that’s being focused is as positive as possible.

Scrubbing the deck

The other factor that many readers like to take responsibility for is the deck. Many believe that the cards themselves can pick up residual energy; they are used as a conduit for psychic or supernatural forces and, rather like water can stain wood, can become tainted by psychic energies. Even those who prefer a more scientific approach to Tarot reading believe that there might be something to this theory. They believe that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration.

However, even energies that vibrate beyond the matter state can interact with solid objects. To this end, there are a number of rituals available that readers use as a method through which they can cleanse their cards.

One of the simplest and the most popular methods of cleaning the deck is to put a candle at each corner of the deck and light it. These are used to draw out any negative energy from the cards and burn it away – much like the way Native American Indians use ear candles. Others will offer up a prayer to their god or even leave their deck out in the moonlight, which the Pagans believe has the power to destroy negative energy.

Many psychics will use meditative and visualisation techniques to cleanse their decks, treating them in much the same way as they treat the reading room and their own subconscious minds.

Setting the mood isn’t just about dimming the lights and lighting a few candles. It’s as much about setting the mood within as it is about setting the mood without. While incense and arcane artifacts might create an ambience, there’s no substitute for cleaning your inner canvas and preparing yourself to receive and communicate psychic energy – wherever you believe it originates from.


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