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Free Printable Tarot Cards

Hand holding cards from the Tarot Nouveay Tarot Deck

Free Printable Tarot Cards
Free Printable Tarot Cards:
Rarely look as good as bought Tarot Decks.

Free Printable Tarot Cards and even just "Printable Tarot Cards" have become popular online search terms within the "Tarot" topic or subject area. Why is this ? The more one wonders about such an increasingly popular query, the more interesting the question of motive behind this interest becomes. Several issues around the subject of free printable tarot cards spring to mind:

  • Is the interest in free printable tarot cards because people particularly want to print their own tarot cards ?

    This is the first, and most obvious possibility. However, before even getting as far as commenting on this, one wonders why people would want to print their own tarot cards - afterall, time, effort and costs are involved. This initial possibility is therefore insufficient to consider in any detail on its own. Possible reasons for this choice form some of the following points listed below.

    Before thinking further about why one might one to print one's own tarot deck it is worth recognising that interest in this possibility indicates creativity. Most professionals such as project managers, business leaders and scientists would not create their own facility from scratch if it could be sourced externally either more cost-effectively or at higher quality. Tarot Decks produced (printed, finished and boxed with information leaflets) by professional publishers typically cost about £15 - £20 (or around 30 USD). It is difficult to imagine the average computer-user being able to print their own deck, even to a barely acceptable/useable quality for less than this. We're assuming that at least very thick paper or thin card capable of photo-quality images would be required and not forgetting that there are 78 cards in a Tarot Deck but there would inevitably be some wastage in a home-production process.

    Cost is therefore a consideration that should not be ignored, especially as many people may not consider their home-printing costs, especially if someone else pays for the ink and there are already a few sheets of photo-paper to hand. However, it is a matter of simple costings research to conclude that it isn't likely to pay anyone to make their own Tarot Deck, so why else do so many people search online for free printable tarot cards ?
  • Is the interest in free printable tarot cards because people don't want to pay for tarot cards - but do want to own some ?

    The logic, or rather the lack of logic, of this possibility has already been mentioned above. However, not all decisions are truly rational. There may be satisfaction in the "feeling" of having created sometime oneself and therefore "not paid for it" (even though, of course, one has - in card, ink, possibly laminator sleeves, etc.). That is an interesting motive. There can be no question that psychology plays a part in Tarot, as it does in most aspects of life. It is therefore very interesting that free printable tarot cards have so much general appeal. Why do you think this is ? Are tarot enthusiasts generally mean - so seeking the feeling of getting something without paying for it ? Alternatively, are they mean and stupid - so wanting something for free and genuinely not understanding that someone had to pay for the materials used to print free printable tarot cards ? No offence is intended so we won't purse this line of thought further, but you get the idea ...
  • Is the interest in free printable tarot cards because people want their new tarot cards quickly, that is they don't want to wait for their new tarot deck to arrive by post a day or two later (if ordered online) ?

    Okay, so here's another possibility: You'd like to enjoy using a new Tarot Deck NOW. You haven't got time to go to the shops, or can't get to somewhere that sells tarot decks for some reason - maybe you live in a remote location and have no transport, or maybe the shops are closed, whatever. However, the lucky thing is that you do happen to have a plentiful supply of suitable materials with which to make the cards yourself, if only you can find a set of all 78 beautiful images ... so you look online for "Free printable tarot cards". Must admit, that makes some sense.

    Obviously it will take quite a while to print, trim, and finish them, but maybe you have time too. Perhaps you happen to have all weekend to do this.

    There are, of course, still a few disadvantages to printing your own tarot cards (though you might just have to live with these). Our thoughts on the "disadvantages" side include issues about:
    • Choice - There are not many full decks of Free Printable Tarot Cards available online, so your options may be severely restricted.
    • Quality - Perhaps you can't afford to be fussy (due to time constraints) but do be aware that some of the symbolism essential for an excellent tarot experience is depicted in the small detail on some cards.
    • Copyright - What are you going to do with the cards you print ? Do be aware of the legal implications concerning intellectual property and any acceptable use criteria that apply. We strongly recommend reading the small print and ensuring that you understand and comply with it.
  • Is the interest in free printable tarot cards because people want to personalise their deck in some way, e.g. by having their own initials or symbols on the reverse side of the cards ?

    Personalisation can take many forms and be done for various reasons. Perhaps your use is to make available access to certain people who cannot use commercially available cards (perhaps because they cannot distinguish certain colours or require a particular size, etc.).

    The following possibilities spring to mind:
    • Size - e.g. very large format versions required for a stall, teaching or demonstrating to a large group, or to promote an event.
    • Colour - e.g. adaptation for certain types of colour-sight issues, or just for aesthetic reasons.
    • 'Own Brand' - e.g. including your logo or initials on the reverse side.
    • Disability issues - e.g. incorporating braille, special textures, scents, or other special access facilities.

Finally, it is possible that users searching for Free printable tarot cards do not actually want to print all the cards, but merely to use the images electronically, e.g. to create illustrated online readings for a website. That would, of course, be technically possible but it may or may not be legal, depending on the "Terms of Use" of the images available online.

We appreciate the many aspects of tarot, including artwork, the range of situations emotions and characteristics represented, its fascinating history, cultural significance, and of course the skill and intuition of expert tarot readers. With this in mind we have found it more practical, ethical and economic to buy Tarot Decks (rather than print them at home). We hope these thoughts have amused and inspired and that if you do decide to home-print some tarot cards you have a fun and interesting learning experience.

- Article added 28 October 2010.




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