How to Discard a Tarot Deck: 5 Respectful Ways to Let It Go

It is a fact that the 78 cards of the Tarot have an extensive historical background. This background can be traced back to more than 600 years ago. Tarot may have begun its history as a mere card game played by the nobility.

However, nowadays, Tarot cards are associated with spirituality. They are, sometimes, used as a means to unveil hidden truths and messages. Reading the Tarot can also work as a simple guide in our everyday lives.




Over time, Tarot decks become infused with your own energy, that of your consultants and possibly the energy of your ancestors or spirit guides. This and the fact that we use them for such intimate purposes is why many people worry about which is the correct way to get rid of their Tarot deck. This is mainly because there are different myths regarding the matter of how Tarot cards should be discarded.

A tattooed hand with red nails over a Tarot spread
Photo by Alina Vilchenko

To begin with, it is important to clarify that there is no unique method to dispose of your Tarot Cards. This is so since every person performs their magic differently. Whatever information you take from this post, it will work best for you if you adept it to the different aspects of your practices, as well as your own knowledge and beliefs.

Having said this, in this post, you will find some useful information and tips on how to dispose of your tarot cards. We encourage you to find the way that resonates the most. This will most likely be the one that works for you and your witchcraft practice.

Is it necessary to dispose of your Tarot Deck?

You may be reading this post because you have been thinking about getting rid of your used Tarot cards but… is it really necessary to do so? This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are some reasons why you may be considering this:

A black and white photo of the Tarot card The Hanged Man
Photo by Lucas Pezeta

#1: The Cards are Damaged and No Longer Usable

The cards may be too damaged, say, by humidity or other external factors, to use them effectively. Their energy may feel stagnant or dull and does not respond well to your attempts to energize the deck.

A woman looking bored sitting in front of a small table where there are Tarot cards, a candle, and a hairbrush
Photo by cottonbro

#2: You were not able to form a bond with the deck

Perhaps it is a troublesome deck you never connected with. Sometimes, we like the look of a deck, purchase it, but find ourselves disconnected from its energy, no matter how hard we try. Not all decks are made for all practitioners. This is a normal occurrence and it has happened to most (if not all) seasoned Tarot readers. This deck you do not really connect to is occupying physical space that could be taken up by other things – be it a tangible thing that will serve you better, or simply energy.

A black and white photo of an eye spying over the cracks
Photo by Rene Asmussen

#3: A low-vibrational being has attached itself to the deck

Your deck may have been possessed by a low-vibrational being. You need to be an experienced practitioner to get rid of the most stubborn ones. If hiring the services of a professional witch to do it for you is not an option and you have exhausted everything you could do and the parasite is still there, it is probably best to discard the deck.

A black and white photo of a person kneeling, seeming to study a three card Tarot spread. There is a crystal tower, too.
Photo by Lucas Pezeta

#4: You feel the deck can no longer serve you

You might find yourself feeling that your Tarot cards have already accomplished their mission in your Divination practice.

A setup with a candle, Pendulum, and a single Thoth Tarot card facing backwards
Photo by Anete Lusina

#5: The set is no longer complete

Another common reason for the desire of a Tarot reader to get rid of their cards is the simple fact that you may have lost one or more cards from your deck. If you still have the full set of Major or Minor Arcana, you can still use those, though. If you have lost cards from both sets, perhaps it is better to give it another use. 

Whichever the cause may be, there are also various ways in which witches tend to throw away their Tarot Cards.

Is there a correct way to go about it?

This has been a controversial topic among practitioners over many years. There is definitely no correct answer to this question. It could be said that there are as many methods to get rid of Tarot cards as witches in the world.

Before addressing the most popular and effective methods, it is important to clarify something.  I believe that Tarot cards are hallowed tools. Because of this, we should handle them with care, even when letting them go. Especially at the time of letting go of them.

A person holding a small crystal ball. In front of them, a cauldron, Book of Shadows and the Thoth deck
Photo by Anete Lusina

Are Tarot Cards inherently magical?

Tarot Cards should not be handled carelessly. Tarot cards by themselves are not sources of magic – you and your spirit guides are.

It is a fact that they are merely objects. They were once manufactured, like many other objects you use in your daily life, in an ordinary factory.

Then, they are sorted out into different packages and sold to the masses. This is why many witches believe that Tarot cards do not possess magic by themselves. It is actually the reader who is able to perform the Divination practice. The cards are just the medium, the Tarot reader is the artist.

The hands of what seems to be a woman pondering over some Tarot cards and crystals on the floor
Photo by Mikhail Nilov

If you feel your spirit guides and/or ancestors have bonded with the Tarot cards, do not worry. They can easily move on to another deck. However, remember that these decisions are not unilateral.

Ask for their opinion before tossing the deck. Light their candle or start your usual ritual of worship. Communicate your intentions to them clearly.

In most cases, they will be okay with you disposing of the cards. However, some of them may wish for you to keep them, even if you no longer use them. Try to respect their wishes, there is a reason for this, even if you do not know it at the time. Wrap the cards in some silk to insulate the energy and store them away if this is the case.

5 Ways to Get a Deck Out of Your Hands

A trash bag with some papers outside
Photo by Monstera

1. Tossing it out in the trash

It can be said that Tarot Cards do not possess any magic by themselves. As long as you and your spirit guides have not developed a connection with them, throwing them in the paper basket is an option. Avoid this at all costs, however, if the cards that haven’t become the home of a parasitic, low-vibrational spirit.

The way to respectfully discard Tarot cards by placing them in the trash is to wrap it in some sort of cloth to insulate the energies in some way. While silk serves this purpose best, it does not fit all budgets to purchase some silk only to throw it in the trash. Cotton will do. You can cut up an old shirt for this purpose. You can also put some sort of sweet offering inside the cloth you use to wrap the cards. Some examples are flowers or brown sugar. This is a way for you to toss them out with gratitude.

A compost bin
Photo by Sasha Kim

2. Compost it

You can also do some research online, if the deck is well-known, to find out whether its materials can be composted. You do not need to get rid of the parasitic spirit if you do decide to compost the cards. The Earth will absorb it in a way that is harmless both to herself and others.

If you compost a deck with a parasitic entity in your garden, take some extra precautions. It may be a good idea to build a protective circle with Clear Quartz around the compost bin to keep the energy in place.

3. Give it away

If you want to avoid generating more waste, you could also give your cards away. They could be a gift or donation to a friend or someone you know is trying to dive into this magic and mythical path. You can also sell them to places like Goodwill.

This is just an option in certain situations. If you’ve never vibed well with the deck in the first place, this could be a good route. Of course, this is so if it has not been intervened by any sort of parasitic spirit, and the deck is still in good condition.  You should also perform a cord-cutting ritual between yourself and the deck before giving it away. Otherwise, were it to fall in the wrong hands, the deck could be used to gain energetic access to you.

Before you go down this route, make sure to neutralize the energy of the cards first. You can do so by burying them in a bowl full of salt. Table salt is fine, no need to spend a fortune on Marine Salt or Pink Himalayan salt. 

You can sever the bond between yourself and the deck by visualizing a light joining your physical body to the deck and then grabbing a tool like scissors (either real scissors or ones you grab in the visualization) to cut the light. Obsidian can also cut across planes, so you can cut the bond you visualize with an Obsidian tumble that has a bit of a sharp edge.

4. Let it go with a Magic Ritual

On the other hand, if you believe that Tarot Cards are inherently magical, there are other ways for you to dispose of them. In fact, many witches prefer to perceive the disposal of their Tarot Cards as a ritual that severs the bond between themselves and the deck. Thus, in order to perform this “ritual”, they need certain elements to complete the task.

A bonfire
Photo by Oussama Elhaidi

Fire

The most common method may be to burn the cards and wait until they turn into ashes. While doing so, you may chant some words or think about your own wishes and hopes for what comes next.

It is encouraged that you thank your deck for its contribution to your witchcraft practice so far. Observe the act of destroying it and let it go. Embrace your new deck with a feeling of openness and positive expectations. Energy is never destroyed, it is transmuted. Trust that your guides will guide the positive energies that were present in your deck to the new one.

I very much like this option. In my personal practice, I like to let the ashes go into the air. Sometimes, I choose a particular and meaningful phase of the moon that goes with it. The New Moon is the best phase for burning a deck and manifesting a new beginning in your Tarot practice.

Remember to take precautions. I highly doubt you want a fire in your house, after all. Make sure to burn the cards in a fire-safe container. Burn it indoors with all windows closed so the wind does not strengthen the flames. Keep flammable items like curtains away. Store this kind of item away if needed. Make sure you don’t fall asleep or leave the house while the fire is alight. Doing this ritual under the influence of substances like alcohol and drugs is a bad idea. It is a bad idea spiritually because you won’t be fully present during the ritual. It is an even worse idea speaking in purely pragmatic terms because you could fall asleep or lose consciousness, and this can cause you to neglect the fire.

A book with Amethyst geodes and dried flowers over it
Photo by lilartsy

Cleansing

Some others would rather cleanse the cards in order to do away with the bond that unites them and the card. Note that this is also a good option if you are in doubt of getting rid of your deck.

You may even feel you no longer need to dispose of them after this procedure.

In any case, my favourite crystal to use in this ritual is the Selenite. This crystal is known as lightworker and can open up portals, as well as close them. It cleanses itself and can cleanse anything it comes into contact with. It can create a barrier of light around an object, too.

It can also clear confusion away. This is great if you feel that your deck is not working the way you need it to. It is also appropriate if you can’t make up your mind as to whether to toss it or not. Thus, you may experience that you do not need to get rid of your deck after all.

Although I personally like Selenite, you can feel free to use any other crystal of your preference.

The Moon Tarot card surrounded by the petals of a bright pink flower
Photo by Alena Yanovich

5. Reuse the Cards for Purposes Other than Divination

If you want a new deck just because, a good idea is not to dispose of them at all and just reuse them. You can give your old deck a new purpose in your life. This is a great alternative if you have a deck with nice energy but you have misplaced one or more of the cards.

A useful resignification for your Tarot cards is to use them as charms. You can also choose one specific card that heightens your purpose or goal for a particular day. It would be great if you could pair a crystal with the card in order to ensure the odds remain in your favor. 

Another possibility is to place your cards on your altar with the rest of your magic tools. as a means to help you summon the energies you want in your everyday life or to add them to your daily rituals.

You can also make art out of these cards, as long as any negative energy has been cleared. You can also hang them up in your room.

You can use them as an educational aid by pasting them inside a nice notebook you devote to your study of the Tarot. You can leave a few blank pages next to it to document your understanding of the card as time goes on. You can alaso literally write on the card itself, so it becomes a flashcard of sorts.

All things considered, it could be said that there is no one definite way to get rid of your old Tarot deck. In fact, there can be as many methods as witches in the world. This is so because every potential route you could follow does its magic in its own unique way. 

A person in front of a table with a large, lit candle holds a Pendulum over Tarot cards
Photo by Anete Lusina

Depending on the reason why you consider it necessary to discard your Tarot Cards and what your gut tells you, you can make your choice.

As I said before, although Tarot Cards can be viewed as ordinary inanimate objects, I do think they have a significant meaning for us. Especially if we have been using them in our readings for a prolonged and/or important period of time. This is why it is important to do what we feel is right for us and our deck. You are good as long as you handle them with the care and gratitude they deserve.

Have you ever had to deal with letting go of a Tarot deck or another Divination tool? How did you go about it?

Julieta Schvabbauer Schek
Julieta Schvabbauer Schek

Julieta Schvabbauer Schek is a Content Writer and Editor at Aquamarine Content. She is a Taurus Sun and Gemini Moon and Rising. She is an ESL teacher and holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She is also a certified Community Manager and Copywriter. She has always been attracted by spiritualism but has only recently started to dip her toes into it. Her favourite tarot card is The World.

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