When you do frequent Tarot or oracle card readings, it's often a good idea to cleanse your cards. This process is known as "clearing the deck".
Any form of divination involves energy, and using cards is no different. Energetic "gunk", if you will, accumulates on the cards. This can be a result of allowing people to handle your deck, doing multiple readings in a row, having a negative state of mind when performing a reading (something that is not recommended!), or experiencing negative feedback from a the seeker (the person receiving the reading).
You may find that the cards become sticky, or that shuffling becomes difficult. Sometimes, you may just feel a flat feeling after awhile...like your deck needs a breath of fresh air. This is a good indicator that a deck cleanse is in order.
Some individuals clear the deck after each and every reading. Others do it only periodically as a part of deck maintenance. Whenever you choose to clear your deck, here are some ways to do so:
Smudging - Smudging is when you burn certain herbs to create a "smoke bath" to cleanse the energy around a person, room, or object. There are a variety of herbs you can use for smudging such as sweet grass or cedar, but the most common herb used for cleansing is Sage. Using a smudge stick, braid, or bundle of herbs, waft the smoke around your deck or the place you conduct your readings.
Crystals - After a reading, place a crystal of your choice on top of the deck in between readings. If you keep your deck in a silk cloth, bag, or box, you can store a crystal with your deck. I've been using this method recently, especially since I've been doing a lot of phone readings. I find that I'm most drawn to using rough clear quartz and rough amethyst.
Re-ordering the Cards - Some readers choose to re-order the deck after every reading. That is, putting all the cards upright and in order. For traditional Tarot, that would be putting the Majors and Minors in order. For an oracle deck, it would depend on how it was ordered by the deck creator, e.g. number, suit, subject, etc.
Make Some Noise - Clapping your hands or jangling some bells above your deck is a good way to displace stagnant energy and introduce some chi (life force energy).
Aromatherapy - Incense, candles, and essential oils can be used to clear your deck. Just pass your deck through the smoke or aroma, or have the cards lying out while you use aromatherapy.
White Light - Visualizing your deck surrounded by white light is another effective way to cleanse cards. You may also visualize white light emanating from your hands, and pass your hands over the cards.
Cross/Uncross - Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone have a neat method for clearing a deck: Cross your wrists over your deck, forming an X. Quickly uncross your wrists, as if breaking loose, to dispel negative or stagnant energy.
Use Another Deck - Sometimes, imbuing a reading with fresh energy is a simple as using a different deck.
Knuckle Rap – Hold the deck of cards in your non-dominant hand and rap the middle knuckle of your dominant hand on the top of the deck. Imagine white light filtering through the deck, clearing it. Hold the deck to your chest and imagine golden light surrounding your cards, say a prayer or mantra, and re-dedicate your cards for the highest good of all you read for, including yourself.
Whether you read for yourself, clients, or friends and family, clearing the deck is a great way to dispel negative, stagnant energy. This ritual creates a sacred space around your divination deck--inviting peaceful energy and promoting psychic clarity.