Don’t Use Someone Else’s Tarot Cards! Unless you do this…

Can you use someone elses tarot cards

You’ve become interested in learning about tarot and that’s great, but what can you do when you don’t have your own deck? Maybe you have a couple of other spiritually inclined people surrounding you who may have decks of their own. But is it okay to use someone else’s tarot cards?

Yes, you can use someone else’s tarot cards. It all comes down to the owner of the cards allowing you to do so.

You should never use someone else’s tarot cards without their permission. Just as you would never borrow anything else that doesn’t belong to you without asking, the same respect should be given to tarot cards.

However, sometimes things can go wrong when using another person’s deck. We’re going to cover what you can do to avoid some issues from arising and what happens when things go a different direction in the reading.

You’ll also find included what to do if someone denies you permission to use their cards and how to cleanse your cards if you’ve lent them to someone else.

Before I get into more detail, I want to highlight to you the section at the bottom of this article, the Related Articles section. I’ve included a list of articles that go very nicely with this one.

Table of Contents

Things to Consider When Using Someone Else’s Deck

You’ve borrowed a deck, now what?! If you are lucky enough to know someone who has allowed you to use their deck (or even better, has gifted a used deck to you), I’m sure you’ll want to be careful with them.

Here are some ways to help alleviate any stress of using someone else’s cards and how to respect them accordingly.

Of course, as mentioned above, make sure you have permission to use them! It is never okay to use someone else’s tarot cards without them saying you can do so.

It’s basically stealing even if you have the intent to return them afterward. This starts everything off with a bad vibe overall and will affect your reading and energy greatly!

The Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot by Lana Zellner.  Cards include the Two of Cups, The Fool & The Four of Rods.
Eight Cons Tattoo Tarot by Lana Zellner

Always treat the cards with ultimate care. A lot of people are deeply connected to their tarot cards. Personally, I would be upset if they were to be damaged when entrusting them to another person.

Cards not only can become attuned to the owner’s energy, but some are valuable and irreplaceable.

It’s important that you do not physically damage them! Treat them as you would your electronics or any other expensive item.

Wash your hands before handling them as so that you don’t transfer anything oily or sticky to the surface of the cards or booklet. It is hard to get the cards physically clean if something has stained or marked them.

Keep all food and drinks away from the area you are using the cards so that spills are unlikely to happen. 

Water damage destroys the cards beyond repair in most cases and can, at the very least, cause them to ripple and become unable to shuffle.

Lay down a placemat or silk cloth to keep the area (and cards) extra clean. Also, it looks and feels a lot nicer when you have a fancy setting for your reading! It’s easier to focus on the reading when your space is calm and clear of distractions as well.

Shuffle them gently so that you do not fray the edges or bend the cards. Don’t handle them like old playing cards. Some decks are more resilient than others, but you are using someone else’s property after all.

Here’s an article that I wrote about shuffling tarot cards… “How to shuffle your Tarot cards. A step-by-step guide” Handle them as if they are a dear friend about to have a conversation with you!

You always want to return anything borrowed in the same or better condition than before. If they were lent to you in a box or bag, place the cards gently back into their container when you’re done with your reading.

Always return them on time and thank your friend for allowing you to be a part of their energy! I’ve also written an article about cleansing your cards between readings, “How do you cleanse tarot cards in between readings.”

Things That May Interfere with A Borrowed Deck’s Reading

Don’t be distraught if you don’t appear to get a clear reading with someone else’s cards. Sometimes different decks work better for different people.

Sometimes decks that have been used a lot by one person tend to almost favor that person’s energy and can seem defiant to others.

If you’re new to tarot, it can be even more difficult to read with ease. Especially if you only have a short amount of time to use the cards.

This may add extra stress to a reading you’re already dreading the answer to. It gets easier when you have the time to tune into the reading and study each card.

The difficulty level goes up more so if you can’t concentrate during your session. Make sure the area you will be reading in is free from distractions and you have the time to devote specifically to your reading.

The cards are an extension of your intuition and will reveal only gibberish if you’re especially anxious or distracted… no matter where they came from.

universal waite tarot cards, The Magician, Three of Cups & The High Prisetess
Universal Waite Tarot

I’ve found that over time I build up a bond with my tarot cards, when you borrow someone else’s cards, you don’t always have the time to build up the same bond. Here’s an article about building that bond, “How to bond with your tarot cards.”

What If Someone Says You Can’t Use Their Cards?

Don’t be offended if someone denies you permission to use their property.

Sometimes people do not want to allow their decks to be handled by anyone else for multiple reasons, such as upsetting their personal energy of the cards or it could be as simple as they don’t want to worry about them being harmed in any way.

If you’re asking to use them because you have a question you want answers to, it’s possible they may give you a short reading if you ask them. Some readings only take ten minutes while others could take up to an hour. They may be able to schedule you in!

Perhaps you are asking them because you’re interested in starting to learn tarot or purchasing your own deck. Ask them to show you the cards and explain a couple to you.

You could even ask their opinion on what makes their deck special to them or worth purchasing in the future if you vibe with the deck yourself.

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What to Do If Someone Has Asked to Borrow Your Cards

First off, it’s okay to say no to someone using your property and you don’t need to give a reason as to why.  If you are uncomfortable with letting someone use your cards, offer them a reading instead.

If you don’t have enough time or energy to give them a decent reading, offer them some advice on purchasing their own deck(s). Obviously, they are trusting your opinion for a reason!

An alternative could be to suggest that your friend use an online deck, here’s a couple of articles I wrote about these types of decks…

You should always cleanse the cards if they’ve been handled by someone else.

There are many ways to reset the energy of your cards. You can use sage to help rid any negative energy or leave them on a windowsill during a full moon.

If you don’t have access to sage, or if the full moon is weeks away, you can go through the deck and put the cards back in their correct order before shuffling them again. This helps to give the reader (and cards) a ritual of closing out the prior sessions and to successfully reset the energy.

It’s okay to allow a trusted friend to use your tarot cards if you are comfortable with doing so. Cleansing the deck helps to bring your cards back to your own energy afterwards.

Here’s a list of items that you can use to cleanse your deck (I found on Amazon):

Here’s an article about cleansing your tarot deck, “How do you cleanse tarot cards in between readings.”

Tarot Cards Are Meant to Be Used!

In conclusion, it’s possible to successfully get great readings from borrowed decks. If you take care of the cards, there shouldn’t be a real downside from using someone else’s.

Of course, readings could be less accurate, but at least you’ll have the chance to try out tarot for yourself.

Just be prepared for the readings to not work out as well as they would with your own personal deck. Be careful in your surroundings to protect the cards themselves.

Take as much time as you can to form a relationship with them before and during a reading.

Hopefully after borrowing someone’s cards, you’ll be interested enough to purchase your own. This will allow you to spend the time meditating on the cards to get your intuition tuned into future readings.

This becomes more important if your question is a difficult one to answer to begin with. Plus, it’s always nice to be able to pull out your cards whenever a question arises without having to wait.

Good luck and happy reading!

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