A new phenomenon is sweeping the world of tarot. Some tarot enthusiasts are trimming their tarot cards to remove the borders, or to make them smaller and easier to handle.
Some readers feel this is a desecration of the cards. Others feel it is a way of marking them, personalizing them, to make them specific to the energy of the reader. Still others think it’s an interesting idea, but don’t have the confidence to cut a straight edge.
The question of desecration is an interesting one. The cards are sacred tools. Many cultures have very specific taboos about the altering, or perceived disrespect of, sacred texts, images and tools.
I think desecration happens in the intent, not in the action. If the intent of trimming tarot cards is to create a deck that is more connected with the reader, then that cannot possibly be desecration.
I did have a concern about the intent of the artists. Talented artists put a lot of time, heart and soul into their work to design tarot decks. As it turns out, many artists find their publisher has added a border, or changed the card size, without their consent. Most do not seem to be concerned if a reader wants to alter the size or shape of the deck to suit personal tastes.
I do feel my cards are sacred. What is sacred, to me, is not the cardboard, but the images and the energy. Most tarot decks cost $20 and are mass-produced in factories. I wear out professional reading decks at the rate of four a year. If I felt like cutting my decks, I would do so without qualms. But I don’t feel like cutting my decks, probably because I am too lazy, and too clumsy.
For a reader who is having a hard time bonding with a particular deck, the exercise of trimming the borders off might make a difference.
Some readers even buy two copies of the same deck so they can experiment.
If the deck in question is out of print, hard to find, or otherwise a collector’s item, I would think it unwise to alter it in any way.
Even though tarot decks are mass-produced, each deck is, in a way, unique. There aren’t a lot of ways to personalize a deck in a way that is visually identifiable. We all personalize our decks when we dedicate them, and put our energy into them. Card trimming is just another way of doing that.