Second, in my myth busting series I’m addressing the question of the need to keep Tarot decks in a silk scarf or a special box. This is another one of those tiresome things I kept hearing as a newbie reader. When I received my first deck I was told, heard from others as well as read on books about the Tarot, that decks should be removed from the boxes they are sold in and be wrapped carefully in a silk cloth. Initially I took this very seriously. I went out and tried to look (quite earnestly) for a proper silk cloth. I found pieces of cloth in metaphysical shops that didn’t appeal to me, they seemed soaked with the aroma of incense, too bright or sometimes too dull to wrap a deck in. As a result I didn’t buy them and continued my search for the best cloths to wrap my deck in. I decided all through this process to use my intuition as my guiding light and only pick a piece of silk that resonated with me and with the energies of the deck as I perceived them to be. Not easy!
In the end while walking down the road I found a seller of scarves. He had some really brightly patterned scarves made of cotton that caught my eye. I thought of my new Rider Waite deck back at home and decided that this was the cloth for it. So I bought it and have wrapped my deck in the brightly patterned cotton cloth ever since. I’ve never kept any of my decks in any special carved/wooden box, though I do have a corner in my cupboard where they are kept. Most of my decks are still in the boxes they came in and I read with them regularly following which I put them back in their box.
My point with this anecdote is not to suggest that one should not keep decks in boxes or special cloths. I believe this tradition has a place in Tarot practice. To me at it’s heart, this tradition is about respecting the instruments we work with, honouring them and using them for good. Wrapping them in silk and putting them in a special box is meant to do just that. Automatically by doing this the Tarot is lifted from the world of the mundane to the world of the sacred and special. Regardless of whether I wrap my decks in silk or not my readings and work with the Tarot for me, is a sacred thing. It is here that I access a deep part of myself and connect with my essence as well as the essence of all that is. In this way the Tarot is truly special and deserves respect. For me though, the respect I feel doesn’t come from things like cloths and boxes. This is not how I choose to show my respect for the cards. I handle them carefully and then put them back with gratitude; that’s the real silk cloth and carved box for me.