Can I Buy A Used Tarot Deck? A Tarot Consultant's Perspective

If you’re here – you probably don’t believe the icky hype that tarot decks are evil. You’re a lifelong tarot student who wants permission to be able to buy that incredible 70’s art-deco tarot you saw in a record shop. As a professional tarot consultant, I am happy to give you that permission.

Sometimes I hear from other tarot consultants the online witchcraft community that is always better to buy a new deck so only your energy is on it. It’s totally fine to have differing opinions, and I get some of their reasoning. But again, we are in the business of giving you permission to get that tattered tarot box with the perfect price tag.

I am a sucker for a used tarot deck of any kind and double trouble if its out of print and rare. However, I didn’t always think like this. I used to agree with the New Deck Only Camp. When I was a younger witch, I was much more preoccupied with safety and the logistics of owning a used metaphysical item. I was not very skilled in dealing with any residual energies or potential spirit attachments on objects, so I avoided a lot of these objects in the name of protection. It took me years of learning and dealing with spirits to come to this casual and cool attitude about used metaphysical items.

Here’s the thing though, anything you buy used could have residual energies on it.

There is really no reason that a tarot deck would have a higher percentage of attachments other than the stereotypes, which is unhelpful to the tarot student. In fact, I think used decks are generally prone to positive energy because the previous owner was likely a witch or was using it for self-development. I have heard an argument that the deck could have been owned by a person who was “messing” with the energies – but to be honest I feel like tarot decks are one of the safest divinatory tools. You can use tarot when you are communicating with spirits, but usually when you use tarot it does not involve getting information from entities or spirits. So even if a band of teens decided to sit around, smoke, and give the cards a shuffle – they likely would not be communicating with spirits, just the tarot’s own wisdom and their spirit guides. Unless a malevolent spirit specifically decided to attach to a tarot deck – through a series of unfortunate events and ended up in your hands – your good. Yes, it could happen, but the chances are much lower than your Catholic grandma would want you to think. Again, I’m here to give you permission to explore- not scare you.

So here are 5 reasons why its amazing to purchase a used deck:

1. Its Easy to be Ethical

There’s a high chance you will be buying from a small business if you are buying a used tarot deck. Places I’ve sourced used decks are: flea markets, vintage markets, local witch stores, used bookstores, and ethical online merchants. Places I never seen used tarot decks: corporations. So depending on your area, it might be worth it for you to search for a used deck on Etsy or in your local used book store, than to order a new one online from a corporation. Browse online from small merchants or at a ethical online store like thrift-books or alibris (be an a n t i- a m @ z 0 n witch) if no area shops are carrying them. If you are open to one coming into your life organically – set the intention to attract a super cool used tarot deck. You can get really specific and set intention for a certain vibe you’d like the deck to have. When I do this, it really increases the chances of me finding one.

2. It's Cheaper (usually)

Unless the deck is rare or out of print – you are likely to get the deck at nearly half price when you buy it used. I recently bought a used tarot deck for $10 dollars – almost a third of the price it was going for new. I even snagged a rare 1990’s out of print deck for less than $40 with the matching guidebook- which is totally worth it for me.

3. They Come Broken In

Have you bought a new tarot deck and hesitated to connect to it? Thought the cards seemed too crisp and stiff to shuffle? It needed to be broken in like a pair of stiff jeans before you could really use it? Stop delaying your tarot studies because you don't connect with a brand new deck or can't get the hang of your usual shuffles. This is where a used deck comes in – the first time you shuffle it, its soft and pliable. You can get the hang of your favorite shuffling methods in a second. The aesthetic is on point, it just feels right, and you might want to use it more for your tarot studies.

4. The Vibe Index

Yes, we already discussed situations where the vibe can be off—but let’s focus on when the vibes are on. As a tarot consultant, part of my job is creating relationships with my tarot decks. Getting to know them and building up trust and a language of communication. It’s helpful to use a deck that already has a vibration and a personality – so we can build a connection that much faster. Even for tarot students, its easier to bond with something that already has a distinct vibration. Its easier to tell the past, present, and future when the object itself has a past – and now with you as it’s owner, they have such a bright present and future ahead of them.

5. Save The Decks

The idea of a tarot deck being thrown away makes my eyes get watery (And I’m a Capricorn so not a lot of things can do that). Hot take but treat used tarot decks like rescue animals –save the decks that may otherwise go unused or goddess forbid—thrown away. I try to rotate my decks every once and a while and re-home decks that would be better suited for a new owner. Don’t be afraid to ask your witch friend or tarot consultant if they have a deck that needs rehoming. Next time you see a used copy of a deck you’ve been lusting for – take it home instead of ordering a new one copy. Think of it as a rescue mission and you and your deck will inevitably bond so much faster.

Any tarot student will need to build relationships with their tarot decks. Jumpstart this bond by saving a used deck and brining them home to your altar. Its better for the environment, small businesses, it may be a better choice for you. Of course, it’s hard to source every single deck used, and I have certainly purchased many new decks the last few years for my tarot consultant work—but when I can I do. When one crosses my path, I’m happy to bring it home. I asked a tarot deck I saved recently “Are you ready to do client readings and be a part of my business?”

and they responded with the Ace of Pentacles – the card of business, of work, of prosperity, of being completely ready to take on that responsibility.

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