What is that cloth Tarot readers use during their readings? Sometimes you see the beautiful fabric wrapped around decks, sometimes as underlays. But what do they do, and do you need one? Let’s take a closer look.
A Tarot cloth is a square piece of fabric protecting the cards from dust, dirt, and energy during and between readings. The size is between 16-26 inches (46-66 cm) and is commonly made of velvet, silk, or cotton. Use the Tarot cloth as an underlay for card spreads.
Tarot cloths are most commonly made from velvet, silk, satin, or cotton. They are storage and protection for decks, decoration, and part of the reading ritual. I asked fellow peers on social media to share their knowledge and experience using Tarot cloths.
WHAT A THREE-CARD TAROT SPREAD IS
A Tarot cloth is a piece of beautiful fabric made of silk, velvet, or cotton. It is often square-shaped, between 18×18 – 26×26 inches (46×46 – 66×66 cm) in size, and large enough to cover the area of the reader’s card spreads.
The reader places the cards on the Tarot cloth during a reading. It is also common that you wrap your cards in between readings.
Tarot cloths can be patterned, printed, or plain. There are no set rules on how a Tarot cloth should look. You choose the one that fits the taste, personality, and size of your card spread.
There are Tarot cloths with spreads printed on them as well. This can come in handy if you are a beginner. This is a beautiful example I found on Etsy.
I love velvet Tarot cloths with discreet patterns that are easy on the eye. As the Tarot cards have lots of imagery, I don’t want to get distracted by ” background noise”. But we all have different tastes and styles, of course!
I use a Tarot cloth that is very similar to this one. I love velvet as it makes picking and flipping the cards easy. Velvet also has a wonderful shine – they make the reading feel special. This Tarot cloth is found on Amazon.
You don’t need to use a Tarot cloth if you don’t want to. No rules say you must incorporate a Tarot cloth in your practice.
You don’t need to buy a special Tarot cloth if you don’t want to either. A scarf, pillow sham cover, table cloth, handkerchief, placemat, tea towel, or fancy fabric you have lying around at home.
Sometimes I use a silk scarf to wrap my Tarot deck. The most important thing is that you do you. There are no fixed rules or doctrines when it comes to the Tarot.
TAROT CLOTH SIZES AND FABRICS
A Tarot cloth is usually square-shaped and between 16-26 inches (46-66 cm) in size.
A regular size that allows the reader to perform a Celtic Cross is about 21-22 inches (53-56 cm). Larger spreads, more than ten cards, needs a 26-inch (66 cm) Tarot cloth. This is estimated with regular-sized tarot cards – 2-3/4 x 4-3/4 inch (6.7 – 12 cm).
When you decide on the size of your Tarot cloth, be sure it allows you to use your favorite spreads. You are good with smaller cloth if you do 3-5 card spreads. If you are prone to 10-15 card spreads, choose the larger alternatives.
The most common fabrics are velvet, silk, satin, or cotton. Some use linen as well, but it is not as common.
I asked what fabrics and prints were the best in the “Tarot Professionals” Facebook group. The preference amongst professional readers was silky fabrics. The silky surface made it easier for the reader to pick up the cards.
Gray, red, green, deep blue, or black single-colored fabrics were the favorites. Solid single-colored fabrics were not distracting from the cards. This is in line with my personal opinion too.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
How to use a silk tarot cloth
HOW TO USE A TAROT CLOTH
When it is time to read your cards, you unfold the Tarot cloth before you. You can place it on the floor, grass, bed, table – everywhere you have a flat surface so that the cards won’t slide. Place the cards on the cloth to protect them from dirt and dust.
When the reading is done, wrap your deck and place the bundle in a sacred place until the next reading.
How to use your Tarot cloth for a reading
- Unfold your Tarot cloth
- Place it on a flat surface (floor, table, bed, ground)
- Shuffle your tarot deck
- Set the intention for your reading
- Place the cards on your Tarot cloth
- Do the reading
- Use the Tarot cloth to turn the spread towards the seeker if needed.
- When your reading is done, wrap the deck in the Tarot cloth
- Place the deck and cloth in a sacred place between readings
There are many ways to use a Tarot cloth besides as an accessory for readings. The beautiful fabric enhances the reading experience and gives you a mental queue to get into the “zone.” This can be seen as a part of the reading ritual itself. Here’s a handy list of things you can use your Tarot cloth for. This list is gathered from my poll in the “Tarot Professionals” Facebook group. I got 35 answers in total.
Tarot cloth usages
- Altar covers
- Rune casting
- Part of the reading ritual
- Help to remember spreads (printed card placements)
- To keep unwanted energies at bay
- Create a sacred zone
- Enhance the reading experience
Tarot cloths come in handy when readings outside, at fairs, cafes, etc. It instantly creates a sacred zone and gets people (and you!) in the mood for readings.
At the same time, you protect your Tarot cards from dirt and surrounding energies. Tarot cloths are also lightweight and easy to take wherever you go for readings.
Place a crystal inside or on top of the cloth for extra protection between readings. My favorite crystals are selenite and clear quartz.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Protect and cleanse your Tarot deck with selenite and clear quartz.
WHAT IS A TAROT CLOTH FOR?
A Tarot cloth is a part of the Tarot reading experience and ritual. The beautiful fabric helps you to create a unique and sacred area. The Tarot cloth gives a signal to calm down and connect to Spirit.
This is perfect if you travel a lot or do reading for others. You can instantly create a cozy and relaxing space for your client or seeker.
The ritual helps you get in the zone and acts as a trigger for your intuition. This is why the most important thing is finding a Tarot cloth you connect with and love.
A Tarot cloth is also a perfect tool to turn spreads towards the seeker. This will enhance the experience and make it easier for the seeker to look at the imagery of the cards.
A Tarot cloth is a very versatile accessory. You can use whatever you are drawn to, everything from a kitchen towel to a designer cloth. It’s multi-functional and acts as a protector, storage, and enhancer.
The wonderful thing about the Tarot is that there are no rules. Use a Tarot cloth if you want to, or leave it out. I use it on occasion, but not all the time. Go with your groove and feeling. The most important thing is that you do You.
THE DEFINITIONS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE BASED ON THE RIDER WAITE DECK AND SYSTEM.