Should You Let Others Touch Your Tarot Cards?

To touch or not to touch? That is the question!

I am often asked “is it okay for others to touch my Tarot cards?”
There is a belief that if someone else handles your cards, their energy will be absorbed by the deck and mess up the accuracy of future readings.

This is a legitimate concern and it is certainly possible. BUT…..

To be concerned that someone’s energy could mess up your cards is kind of like being worried that someone might get their germs on your doorknob. Yes, it happens, but that’s what Purrell is for!

So yes, when you let other’s get their grubby mits on your cards, you run the risk of them contaminating the deck – both energetically and germ-wise. But there are so many methods of clearing your deck, that this shouldn’t be a concern for you.

Some Zippy Ways to Cleanse Your Deck:

  • Simply shuffle it and intend that the shuffling is removing any unwanted energy
  • Place your cards on your windowsill over night on a Full Moon! Witchy!
  • Put a crystal, like clear quartz, on top of the deck for a few hours
  • Knock on your deck to break up and dispell any leftover energy
  • Waft burning sage over your cards (sage is a wonderful energy cleanser – its like the Purrell of the spirit realms)
burning sage

Burning Sage can cleanse your Tarot cards of negative or unwanted energies

Having said all that, some Tarot card readers just prefer to be the only one handling their cards and letting others touch their cards would be just plain wrong, like sharing underwear. And that’s okay too. Do what you feel most comfortable with.

Personally, if I am having my Tarot cards read, I like to choose my own cards and touch them as much as possible! This makes me feel like I am participating fully in my own reading and that the cards I end up with couldn’t be wrong since I chose them. And if someone tells me I can’t touch something, I feel like a five year old in an art gallery and I WANT TO TOUCH even more!

So here’s my two cents:

If you have been reading Tarot for years and never let anyone touch your cards and this is the way you like it – keep doing it that way. If it works, do it.

But if you are new to Tarot and are wondering whether or not you should let other’s touch your cards when your reading for them, RELAX! It’s totally fine for others to touch away. In fact, I feel like this enhances the authenticity of a reading. You just need to trust in the power of your intention to clear your Tarot deck of any unwanted energies afterwards.


It’s okay to let others touch away! (Cards shown: Druidcraft Tarot)

I am curious to hear what your take on this is! So let me know in the comments below how you feel about people touching your cards – are you okay with it? Or do you have a strict no-touch policy?

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This entry was posted in July 2013, Saturday Posts, Tarot Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Should You Let Others Touch Your Tarot Cards?

  1. Air says:

    Would like to receive your newsletter.

    Blessed be…

    Airamil (Air)

  2. Tabby says:

    Hi! A few years back, I purchased a deck for my significant other, not realizing that he wasn’t really interested in it. I was wondering if it would be okay for me to keep it as my own, and cleanse it before using it.

  3. Lo de Vera says:

    I’ve been very strict when it comes to not touching my decks and just last night my mother accidentally admitted that she is also using my tarot whenever I am not around and I am really disappointed. For me my tarots are as personal as my toothbrush and what she did bothers me. I feel like I am losing my tarot deck’s loyalty over my mother. Now it makes sense to me why I feel strange whenever I am touching my tarot and it’s because somebody else has been using it.

  4. JC says:

    I have a question, I went to my first reading yesterday and I was able to shuffle the card ones and I tried to repeat it and it just stopped. I tried it again, and it stopped. I did this 2 more times of which the cards wouldn’t allow me to shuffle (deck of card shuffling style). Does this mean anything?

    Thank you!

    • Kate says:

      This happens to me sometimes if the cards are too big. I usually just change up the way I’m shuffling when this happens. It doesn’t mean anything to me when it happens, although i might wonder if it started happening all the time!

  5. Michael Treglown says:

    do,t care if they touch or not trouch if it work then what the if,y about got 30 decks my self . l am just learning to do the tarot. l have giving off spooky reading, which came through great got the ansure their are looking for and yes l am a spooky artist if its work use it i say
    PS use protection

  6. Anabel says:

    Hi there,

    My friend stayed over last night and was up later than me.
    Once he had gone to bed, I awoke with a nightmare and ran straight into my lounge room where I had left my tarot deck. I noticed that he had been using them and had laid 5 cards out. I was really unhappy and unsettled by this. I explained to him that I believed it was like me going into his studio (he’s an artist) and using his paints & easel without permission. He apologized and said that he felt compelled to use them.
    Earlier that day he had seen a tarot reader and obviously wasn’t happy with his reading, or he was confused or wanted more answers. I just felt really disrespected and now am going to cleanse my cards because I feel like his energies will be coming through.
    As I am a beginner, I like to keep my cards for myself to use. I somehow felt like he had invaded my personal space. We did discuss the cards he pulled and I was happy with the way I was able to help him, however, I asked him nicely to not touch them again.

    • Kate says:

      Hi Anabel,
      Gosh, that would annoy me too – having someone play with my cards without asking!
      I think it’s best to go with your gut on these things and if it bugs you when someone handles your cards, then it’s good to honor that feeling.
      Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience 🙂

  7. Erika says:

    Hey Kate,

    I always ask the querent to shuffle while they focus on their question, and then I deal the cards into the spread. So really every person I do a reading for usually touches my cards. I think energy contamination (ha) would only happen if someone else used my cards for giving a reading to someone else entirely. So I let tons of people touch them, but I would never let someone else use them as a reader. I definitely think that causes confusion. I’ve never felt the need to clear out the querent’s energy after a reading, because it’s almost like the answering of their question was under my supervision and so my energy was mainly in charge of the situation.

    I just discovered your videos and website, and love it! I only have 2 decks to my name and your reviews are helping me consider others.


    • Kate says:

      Hi Erika,
      I’m glad you found me – welcome! 🙂
      I hope I won’t turn you into a Tarot deck addict with all my reviews, LOL! Once you start, you can’t stop, so beware.
      Thanks for commenting here and sharing how you do your readings 🙂

  8. Thank you for bringing this topic Kate!

    I personally was a control freak about letting others touch my decks last year. I even “cleansed” my Earth Magic Oracle cards with a barely damp wet wipe after letting a group of people, most whom I’ve met at the occasion hold, shuffle and pick cards. No worries, they are in perfect condition like it never happened. I can say that those cards are literally indestructible! 😀

    Then I was completely strict about not letting others touch my cards, and if someone tried to, I’d immediately say no. My boyfriend told me to relax a bit more, and then I realised that this was too much. Yes, I had my own boundaries but why would I be so freaky? The answer was clear: I was letting others push those boundaries too much, as if there were no boundaries at all. I couldn’t say no to people for myself, so I became more sensitive about my cards, books, etc. Because saying no on behalf of another person or thing is easier.

    So I worked on it, now I’m respectful for my own boundaries and also let others respect them too, most important of all, I learned to say no! And now I’m more relaxed about letting others touch my cards, of course I let people whom I don’t feel bothered from their energy! Interestingly after this awakening, people started to ask “Can I take a look at your deck” instead of suddenly trying to grab them. 🙂

    I shuffle the deck, let the person cut the deck and then pick extra cards. After having a reading, wether I let people touch my cards or not, I cleanse my deck because if we were in the same place, energy can attach to cards simply by staring too. I do the cleansing with Reiki+Lavender Flame. I’s so simple and for sure. Lavender Flame works wonders about intuition by the way, so it feels really powerful to charge my decks with this energy too. I usually keep pieces of crystal quartz loaded with these energies to keep my decks charged and clean. 🙂 My Crystal Visions Tarot and (of course) Earth Magic Oracle are my two decks that I don’t let others pick cards very often, because they’re more like my special decks.


    • Kate says:

      Thank you so much Deniz for adding to the discussion here! You bring up a really interesting point about boundaries. I think that is such a valuable way to looking at this whole issue. I remember going over to a friend’s house many years ago and she was very aware of energy and all that and she seemed absolutely paranoid about people (including me) touching her crystals and cards as she didn’t want those items to absorb foreign energies and mess up the energy of her home! It was almost comical, but now I realize, after reading your comment that the real, deeper issue was that she was uncertain that she could develop strong boundaries. And like you mentioned, once you felt you had good boundaries, people asked to touch your cards, instead of just doing it – that is really interesting!
      Love your method of cleansing your deck!!! Crystal Visions is my “special deck” too 🙂

  9. Ricky Hale says:

    I let anyone touch my cards, unless I feel someone harbors a lot of negative energy, then I just use my own discretion. But overall, I think it’s beneficial to have them handled by the querent.

    • Kate says:

      Ricky, your comment got me thinking – there needs to be some kind of energetic “condom” to protect your Tarot cards with, just in case someone with a lot of negative vibes touches them. Kind of like cleansing your deck beforehand, but more of a preventative measure. I should have included that in this blog post!

      • Nicole says:

        A little over a year later…..hopefully, you’ll see this response!! You mentioned an energetic “condom” of sorts, and a perfect solution is smudging with cedar. Cedar is commonly used to protect a person, place or object from unwanted influences and energies. My favorite is a blend of both Sage and Cedar to thoroughly cleanse and additionally protect myself, my “tools” and the space I’m practicing in.


        • Kate says:

          Hi Nicole – thank you for sharing this. It’s funny because I was just reading about how Cedar is often used as an energetic cleanser and I thought “why have I never heard that before?” and now you mention it too! Weird syncronicity!

  10. Emily says:

    I’m so excited about beginning to learn tarot that I practically shove the cards in your face, excitedly saying look at my deck! I love sharing it! I let people hold and shuffle if I feel comfortable and confident that they wont mess them up. I feel that shuffling is a good cleanser, although I did buy a smudge bundle thing, and it isn’t sage. I forgot what it’s called, but it smells better than the dried sage does. Haven’t tried it yet though.
    I showed my cards to a more experienced reader, and she asked if it was okay if she touched them. I was thinking, of course! Why else would I hand them to you?? After looking at them (The Golden Tarot by Liz Dean), she insisted that I smudge them. I said I never had, and to top it off, some of my decks are used! She became more insistent. I’m still learning, and my readings are pretty good so far. And when they’re not accurate, I’d blame inexperience before I’d blame a contaminated deck, though, I do believe it is a possibility.

    • Jamie Morris says:


      I love your excitement about tarot! I too have some used decks, and I really like them! They came to me feeling “smart” already. Only one, out of maybe a dozen, felt icky. And I just passed that one along.


    • Jamie Morris says:

      Oh, BTW, how do you like Liz Dean’s deck. I’ve been attracted to it, but since it doesn’t have scenic minors, I’ve held off.

      • Emily says:

        Thank you! I’ve also gotten the feeling that the used deck is a little bit wiser. I haven’t gotten any icky feeling yet, unless it was not my deck and it didn’t connect. I’ll cleanse them later! When I’m more used to the cards. Besides, I don’t want my house all smokey from smudging, not into that!

        Liz Dean’s Golden Tarot is a Beautiful deck! The pictures seem alive, yet magical. I really felt a connection to it! I chose it because I love historical things and I thought it might be a good one to bring to all the renaissance faires I go to. It’s based a lot on the Rider-Waite, but also draws inspiration from the Visconti-Sforza tarot. This makes the deck approachable for me, while introducing other elements into the deck. Though it’s not totally “historically accurate” it is historically appropriate, for me. Not having the scenic minors was a bit daunting, but I believe it’s good to have. Again going with the history side of it. Reading with this deck seem pretty accurate so far, for me. The book it comes with is very helpful too! Its a good one! I will do more readings with it after I’ve had more practice with my Rider decks. I’ve only been reading a few weeks!

        I say go for it! I love it already and I’ve hardly used it!

        • Jamie Morris says:

          Thank, Emily, for your thoughts about the Golden Tarot. I might get it and use it as a Majors-only deck, if nothing else. I have a used copy in my Amazon cart … Will let you know if I hit BUY NOW!

  11. Britton says:

    I’ve been pondering this topic myself. I’m not in the position to have a lot of people touching my cards, but I don’t think I would let someone touch them without asking. I wouldn’t mind someone handling my cards if they were respectful.

    Sage is a powerful cleanser. I love to use Florida Water before and between readings. I pour a little in my hands, let it dry and then I rub the sides of my cards. I feel like it resets them and in a way, feeds them! It also gives the cards a very subtle scent, which is pleasing.

    • Kate says:

      Florida Water? I have never heard of that…will have to look into it. I sometimes use an Aura Spray which is basically a bunch of essential oils, gem essences and water.

  12. Jamie Morris says:

    Hi, All–

    So glad to join this conversation. Thanks Kate for bringing it up!

    I’m a bit of a control freak, so unless I feel otherwise moved, I shuffle, cut, and layout the cards on the querent’s behalf. But it’s not about not having them touch the cards! In fact, once the cards are on the table and I’ve had a chance to look at them, I’m very likely to invite the querent to pick up any of the cards they like for closer inspection.

    I think people are rightly fascinated by tarot art. I know I am. And I’m happy to share my decks openly just so my friends can look at the pictures, even if they’re not into tarot as a form of self-discovery.

    On the Fourth of July, I was at a cook-out with a bunch of lawyers, doctors, architects, and psychiatrists (mostly lawyers). Not the most intuitive, open group in the world. But when I said I had a tarot deck with me, they were all fascinated. I read for several people in a separate room, then rejoined the others around a huge dining table, and just passed my deck around–even split it in half so half the cards were moving in one direction, the other half in the other–so everyone could take a look.

    They ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the card art (Baroque Bohemian Cats, mini) and asked some questions, then went back to discussing politics! I didn’t feel at all as if there were any residual icky energy on the cards, and happily shuffled to “clear” them as I always do, then tucked them away.

    Like my cats, I think my cards respond better to some people than others (and I’m probably talking way more about myself than either cats or cards, here). If for some reason I don’t feel open with someone, they are definitely not putting their hands on my cards or my cats–and they actually probably aren’t even in my house!

    But other than that, tarot, for me, is a conduit for connection, and sharing my love of the cards and their art is one way for me to allow others to connect.

    Happy Saturday!

    • Kate says:

      Jamie, thanks for sharing your Tarot party experience – that sounds like an interesting party – I am picturing you at a white mansion, poolside, perhaps in one of those cabanas with the white net curtains and poolboys serving cocktails…maybe I have been watching too many old MadTv skits!
      I agree – Tarot art really does fascinate people – there is something very universal about it.

      • Jamie Morris says:

        Hahaha, Kate. Nah, much more bohemian than that. These are more your do-gooder type lawyers. Very serious and sincere and sort of granola. Nice people. I enjoyed my time with them. And one of the husbands made a FANTASTIC rhubarb pie–my first time eating one. (He was an architect.)

  13. Mel says:

    Great topic, Kate. I usually do not let others touch my decks other than to cut the cards when doing a reading for them. This is what feels comfortable to me, it’s just enough for a connection for them and the energy of the deck and it’s not “interfering” with the energies on my behalf as the reader. I believe that the person seeking the reading brings their energies of inquest to the table, literally, upon requesting a reading so therefore as they cut the deck, however feels right for them, is the “light switch” so to speak that the deck needs to give them an accurate reading. I do cleanse the deck after their reading just to “clear the air” and allow for it to reset itself for the next reading. This works well for me. Thanks for this opportunity to share this, Kate 🙂

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Mel, for sharing your thoughts on this – that’s a nice way to think of cutting the deck – as the “lightbulb” being switched on. I like that! 🙂

  14. Erica says:

    Touch away!! Lol! I used to let readee shuffle cards but the deck I was using at the time ended up really warped. So I prefer not to let them shuffle but I don’t mind my deck being touched. There’s been a few times I even became dizzy from the reading and readee’s negative energy and they didn’t even touch my cards! To me it doesn’t really matter if my decks are touched or not. I think I pretty much love all my decks so its hard for me to just choose 1 deck for my personal readings. I always grab which ever deck I’m drawn to. Well there is 1 deck I don’t like sharing…my Shadowscapes Tarot deck. 🙂

    • Kate says:

      I don’t blame you – the Shadowscapes is a special one! Thanks for adding your perspective, Erica – I find that most people aren’t used to shuffling cards so they do it all clumsy and rough – in fact, I usually do the shuffling part of the reading, simply because I often cringe when I watch others shuffle my cards!

  15. Kris says:

    Kate, thank you again for all of this information!

    And Ellen, agree. I’ve been intuitively drawn to getting a new deck and was wondering what that was about. I sense it’s time to also get a journal and tarot deck dedicated to something new that’s emerging for me. You named it for me. I desire a deck that only I see and touch. Hard when you’re living with a curious, inquisitive 4-year old, but need to do it.

    Also on this topic of people touching our cards, and us for that matter, the truth is that we are all one. And, what we think of as the “worlds” are really one. A dear friend and one of my clients said to me, “The ancestors are yet to be born.”

    We are the future ancestors. And, in a sense, all the energy of our ancestors past and present are touching every aspect of our physical lives.

    Just another perspective to throw in the mix.



  16. Ellen says:

    Most decks are allowed to be touched, but some, my most precious, aren’t. I use those decks only for my personal readings.

  17. Margaret says:

    I always offer my querents a choice of pack, which means I let them go through the packs on offer to see which they feel drawn to. I then ask them to hold the cards to their chest – roughly the heart region – with the suggestion that they ask what they need to know for their life now.
    At the end of a reading I merely reshuffle the cards with the thought that so-and-so’s energy is leaving/has left and only mine remains until they are needed again to help someone else.
    P.S.I enjoy your site Kate

    • Kate says:

      Thanks for your comment, Margaret. I am so glad you like my site! 🙂
      I love your practice of having the readee hold the cards to their chest – I am going to try that next time I do a live reading for someone.

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