I think about spirit guides and animals often. In fact, I believe they’re with us all the time. We just have to sit still long enough to hear the messages they want to give us.
No matter what you want to call these spiritual archetypes — angels, guides, totem animals — I believe that most of us have them with us, whether we realize it or not.
When I first started using The Wild Unknown’s Animal Spirit Oracle deck, I had no idea just how much this truly special deck of cards would help connect me to mine. I had been fascinated by tarot cards for a long time, without ever really “connecting” with a deck.
But after I found this deck — or should I say, the deck found me — all of that changed. So today I’ll be talking about how to get started with a tarot or oracle deck in order to form that bond. I’ll be focusing primarily on the Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans, but these tips will work for any set of tarot or oracle cards.
Keep reading for my beginner’s guide to breaking in your deck. You’ll want to check these off before jumping into any sort of reading!
First, you’ll want to take some deep, calming breaths. If you meditate or do yoga, try some relaxing breaths or poses in order to find the level of calm you’ll need to really appreciate the insight the reading will give you.
Make it feel special, like a ritual of sorts, and it’ll be all the more effective. Relax, put on some calming music, light some candles or incense, and curl up in a little nook or cozy corner of the room before opening up your deck.
Get to Know Your Cards
Getting to know your cards is the first step in creating rapport with the deck. This is super important, since using tarot cards as a spiritual tool is first and foremost a way to tap into your own intuition.
Eventually, you’ll build up a sense of trust with the deck, one that’s pretty much essential to all readings you’ll do with it, whether for yourself or others.
The Animal Spirit deck, and many other tarot decks, come with a mini guidebook to help you decipher what each card means. For example, the Gazelle card symbolizes elegance and beauty, but also a hyper-vigilance that can keep one from being present. To bring Gazelle energy into balance, the guidebook suggests sitting with your breath in order to find a sense of calm, as well as taking care to appreciate the present moment.
Try arranging all of the cards face-up to get a feel for the art and imagery. The Animal Spirit deck in particular is known for its gorgeous artwork, designed by Wild Unknown creator Kim Krans. I could spend hours looking at all the cards!
Clear the Deck
If you’re at all familiar with crystals (or if you’re a crystal hoarding addict like me), you already know how important it is to clear them. Because crystals absorb energy, it’s crucial to cleanse them of all programming they may have absorbed before you took them home. So, too, is the case with tarot and oracle cards.
Note: Cleansing and recharging crystals and other metaphysical tools, like your new tarot deck, should be a regular occurrence! I like to harness the power of a full moon by cleansing them in the moonlight — maximum magic that way ✨
Here are 2 other methods you can use to clear your deck:
Clear it with smoke from a bundle of ethically sourced sage.
Place the deck in a small cloth bag with several quartz crystals. Quartz is known as the “master healer” and has incredible cleansing, grounding and psychically enhancing properties. You can also keep a small stone inside the deck itself.
Do a Daily Card Pull
No matter what tarot cards you’re using, it’s important to stay in tune with them. The best way to go about doing this — and getting to know your deck in the process — is to do a daily card pull. You can sit with the cards each day, either morning or night, to ask their insight on any pressing situation or issue. I would compare this to the “reading your daily horoscope” of tarot readings.
Before you pull your card, hold the deck in your right hand, and knock on it three times with your left to signify that you’re ready to begin the reading — and to hear the knowledge and insight they want to give you! Next, separate the deck into three piles with your left hand, and then back into one in any order you like.
Sometimes it may seem like a certain card “falls out” randomly, or it feels as though your attention has been drawn to it. If that happens, I’d recommend pulling that card! It wants your attention for a reason. Otherwise, pull whatever card feels right or good to you at that moment.
Note: You’ll want to make sure to get comfortable with the daily pull method yourself, before trying it out on friends or anyone else.
Take Care of Your Deck
And of course, be sure to take care of your deck. These cards are an incredible metaphysical tool that can, if used properly, help you to tap into your intuition every single day! They should be treated as such.
So, always be sure to thank them after a reading. Keep them stored in a cool and clean place. Wash your hands before using them. You know, the usual stuff. But just as importantly, don’t take out the cards when you’re angry or feeling scattered. Remember, this is where finding your calm is an essential step of the process.