There’s a trend happening in the Tarot world that for a very long time I just didn’t dig. That trend is borderless decks.
I got my first borderless deck a few years ago for my birthday. It was the Silver Witch Tarot. It’s very Wiccan-based, beautiful imagery, and has silver sides which truly is stunning.
I found, however, that I never used it because I just wasn’t digging the lack of borders. I literally just never read with them. I did use them as a study tool as they had some interesting aspects about them, but that’s a whole other thing.
My Tarot world has always been very physical. I dealt with people face to face, I talked to people about Tarot face to face (except for with my bestie, but she and I are in constant communication), and I rarely if ever looked at decks online—and if I did, it was via Aeclectic.
It wasn’t until I started this blog that I got involved with the online Tarot community, and all of these trends that I had no idea existed came popping up. There were a lot of very white cards with a single image in the middle, a lot of oracle decks with lots of words on them, and then finally, the obsession with borderless decks.
I didn’t get it. I liked my images to be contained, framed nicely, keeping their own little taor t world to themselves.
You know, I even got the Prisma-Vision Tarot and still—STILL—I wasn’t sold on borderless decks. It just wasn’t for me.
Then, to my absolute horror, I was seeing posts and articles about people making their own borderless decks out of previously bordered decks. I nearly dropped my coffee when I read this. To me that’s as painful as desecrating a book—you just don’t do it! They’re all sacred! They’re all an expression of an artist, of a person who put time and care and spent who knows how long deciding on the edge of that damn deck—and these people just wanted to hack it off???
It took me a few months, but I calmed down a bit.
I still didn’t get it until I started following other Tarot readers on Instagram, readers who either had borderless decks or who had done it themselves. And these readers openly shared their readings, their spreads, with these borderless decks—and then it clicked. I understood.
Right, wander with me on this bird walk here.
I used to be a writing tutor at a community college. I had students from all backgrounds—vets, retirees, stay-at-home moms, stay-at-home dads, students going to the college to learn English from all over Asia, 16 and 17-year-olds in the Running Start Program, people with learning disabilities, people with mental health difficulties, people with physical difficulties who might be blind deaf—and I tutored so many people.
Part of the most common thing I found with all of them is that they were absolutely terrified of writing, of college, of reading, or some combination of those aspects. They built a wall around their minds so sturdy and so high that they were inhibiting their ability to take in the information, to put words on the paper, to even crack open a book. And so my job became finding creative and flexible ways of breaking down those walls.
My job was to help their student world become borderless.
Jumping back to Tarot cards, when I saw these decks laid out in a spread, I saw the value that a borderless deck had to offer. It was disengaging the compartmentalizing of individual cards, and allowing my brain to create a whole picture.
These cards without any frame was doing for me what I was trying to do for other students.
I began looking at these Instagram pictures of other people’s spreads, and pretending they were my own, reading the layout. The borderlessness allowed meaning to flow in different directions, expand and morph. I could see card combinations so much easier, and the stories I told about the cards became much more fluid.
I don’t know how I feel about trimminging for yourself, however, I absolutely think that borderless decks are a way to release the mind from strict and rigid definitions, and be more creative. And the more your mind can play, the more your mind can make connections and thus the more expansive your understanding becomes.
It took me 15 years to see the value of borderless decks, which means I have 15 years of expansion that didn’t happen, or at least, not to the extent that it could have.
So if you’re against the borderless decks, ask yourself why. Then get a borderless deck and try it out any way. See what happens.