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What are the differences between Tarot Cards and Oracle Cards?

Posted by Esra Dagtekin on

Tarot and oracle card decks are distinct but their readings can be complementary. A tarot card deck usually consists of 78 cards (22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana) while oracle cards are arbitrary, ranging from 12 to 100 cards. In this sense, tarot cards have some structure while oracle cards present countless possibilities. 

Themes and meanings

Most tarot cards are derivatives of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, whose symbols and imagery are influenced by Eliphas Levi (1801-1875), considered the greatest occultist of the 19th century. The images of tarot cards vary but their meanings are similar. This commonality is missing in Oracle cards: each deck has its own set of meanings. 

When to use each

Major Arcana cards represent the major themes and lessons unfolding currently in your life, while Minor Arcana cards have to do with day-to-day experiences. Given the similarity in themes, it may be easier to adapt to tarot cards and use them routinely as a divination tool. Tarot card readings can be focused on an area of your life such as love, family, or career, or help you find the answer to a specific question. 

The variations in readings and decks in the case of oracle cards offer their own advantages. You can choose a deck that you feel particularly connected to at any given point in time. And you can get targeted advice from that deck. As there are countless possibilities when you use oracle cards, they allow flexibility in interpretation, such as if you want to read intuitively from the images and messages of each card. In fact, you can even mix up different decks to add more precision to readings. 

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Using Tarot Cards and Oracle Cards together

We advise using both types of divination tools to understand which one works better for you. You can, of course, use both separately to find the confidence to make the right choices proactively. A third choice is to use tarot cards and oracle cards together. 

For instance, you can start a reading with an oracle card to set the theme of a current life situation. Say you’re planning to quit your job. What energy does the oracle card suggest? Follow it up with a tarot reading to see the full picture. You can conclude the reading by drawing an oracle card as a reinforcer or for closure. These additional perspectives are especially helpful when you’re at the brink of making potentially life-changing decisions. 

How to do an easy reading with tarot or oracle cards

So, you've fallen in love at first sight with a tarot or oracle deck. Using them is actually super simple—it can be as basic as pulling a single card. The key is to work with your deck you're using, as it will help you build a more personal relationship with the cards and their meanings. You can check out some of the more popular spreads here if you'd like to learn more about them.

Also, if you're new to using oracle cards try starting each morning with an oracle card meditation. Sit holding the deck, and when you are ready, begin shuffling. Feel free to ask about a specific situation, such as your love life or career, or simply ask the deck, "What do I need to know today?" Pull a card. Focus on the cards. Feel what it is trying to tell you. It's as easy as that.

Oracle cards spread out on a table with a black cloth

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