Donnaleigh's Lessons



Tarot Strip Tease - Removing the Borders & Finding the Story

Posted by Donnaleigh on June 5, 2011 at 5:13 PM

"Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence."

Lemuel K. Washburn

Borders on tarot cards can create just that for me...boundaries. Fences. Edges that can't be crossed without further inspection. But take the fences away and you'll find yourself some pretty free-flowing tarot stories that blend and weave.

Let's tear down some fences today.

Removing the borders on tarot cards is quick and easy. Easy instructions can be found HERE. I decided to remove only the side borders of this Sidhe deck, as I use and enjoy the title at the top and bottom of each card.

Using the Tarot of the Sidhe by Emily Carding, you'll be able to witness the magic of a card without boundaries. Below, I offer a couple more decks shown with trims so you can see how they flow.

The backs of the cards maintained their dignity despite the new coiffe. A small piece of the glyph was removed with the border, but it still looks symmetrical and I like the effect. It feels remarkably smaller in my hand, and very easy to manage and shuffle.

And now, a little Tarot Strip Tease!

Let's look at some of the pictures, before and after.

Below, the Warrior Five (5 of Wands/Fire) and Pan (The Devil).

The top photo shows the cards before the borders were cut.

The photos below show the cards mingling & meeting after the cut.

Note the continuation of the characters' arms flowing from one card to the other, depending on which side the cards fell.

Next: Dreamer Six (6 of Air/Swords) and Dancer Princess (Page of Water/Cups)

Notice the flow of air from the wind on the left that becomes the water in the river on the right. The 2 dark flows over her thumb becomes the river/land boundary on the right.

Next, The Empress and the Maker Six (6 of Pentacles/Earth)

Her rose seems to become one of the apples to pick, or an offering, or a clear comparison. The two red symbols seem to echo or mirror each other.

The branch of the apple tree on the right becomes the flow of wind that circles the moon on the left.

I also love that these cards look like the flip version of each other, with the tree leaves (field/grass) in her dress, while the tree takes the leaves to the top. Maybe her hand is touching that apple so that her bloom can become a fruit?

Below, now let's go from two cards to three.

The Sun, Warrior 7 (7 of Wands/Fire), and then we add Dancer Princess (Page of Cups/Water).

Play close attention to the landscape'[s horizon and  how it attaches from card to card once the borders are lifted.

Doesn't it feel like they all become part of one story?

Let's look at a few more trimmed cards  from the Sidhe deck.

Use your imagination and your intuition.

What do you see them doing with each other?

How do they blend?

What lines or colors or themes or characters meet to become part of one story's flow?

I love the connection and flow of water and landscapes.

Characters reach out to each other and interact.


Below, the Cosmic Tarot.

The card backs still look terrific:

Look what happens to the lion

between the cards at the bottom, below.

And more from the Cosmic Tarot:

Below is a favorite of mine.

The horizon blends beautifully.

The woman in the lower side of the right card is escaping to become part of the serene circle in the image to the left of her.

The trumpet horns on the right aim directly at the dancer's foot (which reciprocates by becoming part of the rainbow that arches in the card to the right of her, even the colors match). The man's raised arms create the opposite shape of the pyramid to the left of him. What is he opposing?

Next, the Alchemical Tarot: Renewed, by Robert Place.

These card backs were more in need of more precision because of the simpler lines and remaining inner border lines on the back. But it was still very "doable."  The fronts were more forgiving. I was not as careful with the card backs as I could have been, but it's easy to go back and repair later.

The visual impact of Robert's art increased tenfold. I felt I became a part of the card, as it pulled me right in without a frame to look past. I was "in" the scene with them.

Below, the Wildwood Tarot by Will Worthington

Below, the Druidcraft Tarot, debordered:

Below, Tarot of the Magical Forest (lighting is off here):

Below, Tarot of the New Vision

So you can see how removing the borders allows cards to interact better, and therefore allows us to interact better with the cards.

What a wonderful metaphor to our world.

Imagine if we could really remove the psychological fences and borders,

how much better we as people could interact?

Here's wishing you a tarot-filled week of borderless exploration.



Categories: Tutorials