Last weekend, I visited a good friend who lives a few hours away. This woman and I have done a great deal of ritual and magick together, and we in fact met through a Pagan organization over a decade ago. In that time, her spirituality has taken a different path, and she no longer practices in the same way as she once did. So, during my visit, we went through her Pagan supplies and tools so that I could take the things I would love and use.
I came away with two divination tools — The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto and Amy Sophia Marashinsky, and the the Robin Wood Tarot. I’d owned and loved a copy of the The Goddess Oracle for many years before losing it in a move, so I was excited to get a replacement copy. And the Robin Wood Tarot is one I’ve always wanted to try reading off of. I was also excited to get tools from someone I love and had made magick with, tools that had both her energy and the energy of the work we’d done together permeating them.
Some Tarot readers hold that one should never use a deck that belonged to someone else. Others contend that a deck must be a gift from someone else — that buying your own deck is bad luck. I fall in the middle. I’ve bought decks, been given new decks, been given previously owned (but never used) decks, and now been given previously used and loved decks. I’ve also given away decks that came to me but were clearly not “mine.” The concept of “used” divination tools doesn’t really bother me, but that may be because I’ve known the previous owner of any used decks that have come my way. I’m not sure how I would feel about a deck that, say, I found in a used bookstore — though my thrifty heart would probably buy it.
I won’t be smudging with sage or otherwise ritually purifying the decks I got from my friend — I want her energy to interact with mine when I use those decks. If I picked up a deck at a garage sale or thrift store, I probably would do some sort of clearing on it before using it — if only to get rid of any “ick” from it being handled by however many people walked past the shelf or table and handled it before I got there. Of course, before purchasing a used deck, I would have handled it myself, and if I got a seriously bad feeling off it, back on the shelf it would go. But if I felt truly drawn to a tool, I wouldn’t let the fact that someone else had owned and used it stop me from bringing it into my life.
How do you feel about previously owned divination tools? Do you cleanse or purify tools that belonged to someone else? Does it make a difference if you knew the previous owner?