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altering your deck? / leaving out a card?

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violetvoice  violetvoice is offline
Join Date: 08 Apr 2010
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Posts: 18
Question altering your deck? / leaving out a card?

I saw a couple of threads about this in the tarot subforums & wondered whether any of you have done this for your oracle decks too?

I'm asking particularly because, I adore the oracle deck I have, except for one particular card-- the Coffin card. I don't have any problems with the symbol itself, I know it is a powerful symbol for transformation, and I know that life and death are 2 sides of the same coin, and that troubles and upheavals are part of living. It's really just a problem with the image itself. The coffin itself is okay. But below it is a ghoulish, diabolical face engulfed in hellish flames. !!! It's really very disturbing to me and also seems out of place with the energy of the other cards. It also makes it difficult for me to read the card as anything but trouble and discord, even if I know that it can also symbolize transformation and new beginnings.

I've given it some thought and decided I'll probably leave it out from now on, unless I feel I need to use it for a reading. The idea of marking or coloring over the part that bothers me, I thought about that too but I really don't want to draw on the card-- partly because I don't know where I can buy another one of this deck locally, and partly because I can't think of a way to mark it that won't just sit on top of the card's surface and get faded / rubbed off over time and also make the other cards dirtier in that way (literally).

I don't want to leave the 'death' symbol out of the deck, so from now on I plan to just add the 'death' symbol and meanings to the Cross or Scythe cards.

So I'm wondering what you guys think about that-- I'm very new to cartomancy (only started last Sunday - Easter Sunday) and have zero experience prior to that.

You can check out the card images here:
Perhaps also let me know what you think of that coffin card?
Top   #1
Sinduction's Avatar
Sinduction  Sinduction is offline
Join Date: 28 Feb 2007
Location: oHIo
Posts: 5,727

Wow, ok. I see nothing scary there.

I personally do not leave cards out (esp in a small oracle) or alter them. If I happen to come across an image I don't like, I tend to meditate on it to figure out why I have a problem with it. Sometimes there is something it reminds me of or it represents something I don't want to face.

I would spend some time with the image and think about why it bothers you. But keep in mind, those feelings may be useful when you are doing readings.
Top   #2
mary ventura's Avatar
mary ventura  mary ventura is offline
Join Date: 05 May 2008
Location: Sonoma County, California (US)
Posts: 451
mary ventura 

VioletVoice, I haven't altered a card, but it's not unheard of on this forum. They're your cards, and unless you plan to sell or gift them in the future, you should do whatever you want. Maybe you could get a sticker at a craft store and cover up his face. It is kind of a creepy face.

There was one instance where I took a card out of a deck before I did a reading for a friend -- because the picture showed a man holding a gun to his own head --- and a mutual friend of ours had very recently commited suicide in this same manner. I just had the feeling that I should remove the card before doing that particular reading.

Mary V
Top   #3
AJ's Avatar
AJ  AJ is offline
Join Date: 01 Aug 2006
Location: Pacific NW, USA
Posts: 12,683

If you overlaid the face with a cross sticker would it help?
I've got some like these I'm going to put on the Saints deck I'm altering. The rub-on type of stickers are so thin you'd never know they were on the deck.

a search for cross stickers will bring up a ton of sites. It would at least balance the bad feeling you get when you see it.

If you didn't want to add anything extra to the deck surface you might see if you can get two or three pens in the colors on the sides of the face and just copy the movement all the way across the bottom. The face would take a back seat and be less glaring?

Good luck, let us know how you deal with it.
Top   #4
Mellifluous's Avatar
Mellifluous  Mellifluous is offline
Join Date: 15 Jan 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 2,314

I don't alter cards but I take them in and out of non-tarot oracle decks all the time. I just put them somewhere else, because later I may (and often do) change my mind and put them back in.

In my case, it's not for the reason you're doing it, but that hardly matters. It's your deck, so do what you want with it.
Top   #5
hunter's Avatar
hunter  hunter is offline
Join Date: 08 Feb 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,544

I always feel like I'm doing something wrong when I take out a card, because I don't have enough confidence in myself to do what I feel is right. To leave the card in means we trust the artist/author more than we trust ourselves :-0
Top   #6
Aerin's Avatar
Aerin  Aerin is offline
Seeker, Patterner, Questioner, Dreamer
Join Date: 26 Mar 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 7,266

Lovely deck.

It is your deck - cards tend to work with or without cards in my experience (have left a card or two in the deck before now). However, I would be inclined to meditate for a while on the card and get some personal meanings from it (oh, like Sinduction says). Death CAN be scary, all change can be scary whether or not it is a good thing. It is never a good idea to use a deck when you are afraid of certain cards turning up.

Then decide what you want to do.
Top   #7
violetvoice  violetvoice is offline
Join Date: 08 Apr 2010
Location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Posts: 18

Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I certainly appreciate the open-ended nature of this art. So far, the deck still seems to work for me even without the Coffin card in it, yay.

Sinduction & Aerin:
The face bothers me because it looks so evil, like it is planning something malicious & enjoys seeing others suffer. This kind of association, seems, for me, not to fit with the idea of death as transformation, so whenever this card pops up in my readings I'm always inclined to interpret it as a negatively (unless I don't look at the card anymore and just concentrate on the meaning of "death" in my head ).

Mary V:
Ah, that reminds me of my grandma-- I should've removed the Mice card before reading for her because she's deathly afraid of rodents! Hehe.

Thanks for the suggestion! As of now I'm not altering it since I may change my mind about it in the future-- and as it is my first and only deck at the moment, I sort of want to keep it as reasonably pristine as I can manage.

If you feel inclined to share-- what are your reasons for taking them out?

"To leave the card in means we trust the artist/author more than we trust ourselves" -- good point, thanks! I'll keep it in mind.
Top   #8
Zelmira's Avatar
Zelmira  Zelmira is offline
Join Date: 29 Jan 2007
Location: Moving along the path of enlightenment
Posts: 946

I look at all the cards, and that specifically seems to be odd in the style, especially the face of the devil, perhaps it is the size compare to the rest of the card or the way it is painted. There are other devils in my tarot decks and they dont bother me but that card I had the feeling it belongs to another deck. Just my 2 cents. Peace,
Top   #9
Mellifluous's Avatar
Mellifluous  Mellifluous is offline
Join Date: 15 Jan 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 2,314

Originally Posted by violetvoice
If you feel inclined to share-- what are your reasons for taking them out?
Different reasons at different times. For example, I don't find a card suggesting something I do everyday anyway to be helpful. lol If I'm doing a reading at all, I'm looking for something more.

What else...?

I often combine decks, so I'll remove all but one 'duplicate' (i.e., cards in different decks representing the same concept). Mostly to keep the deck size shuffle-able. (I did an experiment a while back though, of putting all of my Doreen Virtue decks - the complete decks - into a large container and swirling or shaking them around, then drawing the cards.)

I've taken out cards with a meaning/interpretation/keywords/concept I disagree with or just don't believe in... if I think it's actually harmful, or if I just can't ignore the part that bugs me (when it's a mixed message type of situation). Sometimes though, if I put it back in later, I end up finding value in it, or a new meaning for it, because of the context in a reading. More than once, I've had cards like that come up for something literal in the image or to do with the title/keyword when I've put them back in. And once in a while, I find my beliefs have shifted a bit and now I do believe in whatever it is.

There've also been a few times where I drew the same card in every reading or almost every reading for months. I figured either I've gotten the message by that point and don't need the constant reminder anymore; or, clearly, I'm not going to get it anytime soon from that particular card, so it was time to give some others a chance to rephrase the message, so to speak. Or even to just come back to that life lesson later. (Plus, when that happens, it's just really annoying! I don't want reading to become associated with frustration and boredom, if I can help it.)

I've also taken out cards that, in hindsight, were wrong or misleading about something important to me, because... I was angry about it and/or just couldn't trust the card anymore.

I journal my readings though, so sometimes I can figure out what the more impenetrable cards were saying in hindsight, with some distance - and it's usually been from some roundabout angle I never would have thought of no matter how many times I stared the particular card down. Other times, they remain a mystery.

So, there's a few examples.

It's really just dependent on where I'm at in life, during that period of time. I don't change them around day to day, but every few weeks or months I'll look through the ones I've taken out and think about why; and decide if I want to take any others out or put some back in, or to put any whole decks back together the way they came in their boxes.

Just as we're drawn to the right deck or to choose the right card(s) at the right time, I believe I have whatever cards I need at hand for any given reading - no matter what I've done with the decks. There's no mistakes, so I just do what I want and go from there. That's also why I save the cards to put back in later though. lol


(1) I usually just read for myself these days. I'd probably feel obligated to use an entire oracle deck for someone else's reading.

(2) This doesn't apply to tarot usage, only other types of oracles.

(3) I don't omit any cards until a deck is well worn in and I've drawn all the cards in it multiple times.)
Top   #10



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