I became low key obsessed with tarot cards earlier this year and a friend recommended oracle cards to me to sort of complete my newfound card collection.
Tarot card reading to me has been incredibly therapeutic. I’m not deep into the world of “magick” nor am I a particularly religious person – but I would say I’m fairly spiritual. I do believe everything happens for a reason and also believe there is a universal power of some kind helping direct the flow of life and the balance of nature. I don’t believe you have to be particularly religious, spiritual, or believe in magick to enjoy tarot or oracle cards. They’re a great way to pause, reflect, and direct.
You’ve likely heard far more about tarot cards than oracle cards. Oracle cards don’t seem to be quite as common or well known, but they’re worth getting to know because they’re unique and different. Oracle cards, to me, feel sometimes easier to interpret and more fluid than their tarot cousins.
Whatever journey has brought your here – hi! Hello. Let’s talk all things oracle cards and why I personally love oracle as a practice.
What exactly are oracle cards?
Oracle cards, like tarot cards, are cards often used for meditation, magick, or just some good ol’ fashioned reflection. Card magic, as I fondly call it, is really mostly about the magic within you. I don’t personally believe cards can fully predict the future or have magical properties, but rather they allow us the space to assess where things stand today and how they could stand in the future.
And most importantly – do we like where things are heading? Tarot and oracle cards allow us the opportunity to self reflect and change our course if we’re not happy with the direction.
A good self oracle cards reading might look like a single card pull and a quick meditation on the topic at hand. Or maybe you prefer to pull even more cards to fully tell a story. Whatever way card magic works for you, an oracle deck might make a great addition to your card collection.
What makes oracle cards different than tarot cards?
Although oracle cards and tarot cards have a lot of similarities, there are several key differentiators when it comes to oracle vs tarot.
Oracle cards don’t have a specific number of cards.
The tarot cards most of us know and love are based off of the traditional Rider Waite deck. This type of commonplace tarot deck will always have 78 cards.
Oracle cards do not have the same prescribed number of cards in the deck as tarot decks do. In fact, oracle cards can actually have any number of cards the creator of the deck wants.
Oracle cards do not contain major or minor arcana.
Another key differentiator between tarot and oracle decks are that oracle doesn’t contain the traditional tarot major or minor arcana. You’ll find no High Priestess, Cups, Swords, or anything in between. Essentially there are no specific types of oracle cards. Oracle cards are often unique and the decks are often themed per the artist’s inspiration. In this way, oracle readings can often be much less structured than a tarot reading.
Oracle cards just generally have less structure or pre-determined rules.
The long story short here is that tarot cards are more structured and have specific cards and meanings, while oracle cards are more free spirited. Every oracle deck will be different and all cards can have much looser meanings to interpret.
Oracle cards can sometimes be easier to “question.”
This is just a personal observation, but I’ve found oracle cards to be easier to “question.” When discussing my tarot journey with a friend, I had been complaining that sometimes the tarot cards don’t really help “answer” the question I’m asking them. This may mean the cards are showing me things I hadn’t yet thought of or even things yet to come, but I personally found them hard to work with as a beginner sometimes. My favorite tarot spreads are often just simple one card draws where I’m asking the deck a specific question – and I often found myself confused by the answer given.
That’s where oracle comes in.
My friend recommended oracle cards as a fun addition to my tarot practice. Because oracle cards lack the major and minor arcana structure – and really just any structure – they’re a lot “looser” and sometimes easier to interpret. Oracle cards often have less strict definitions and are much broader in terms of topic, so I’ve found them easier to “question” at times than my tarot deck.
How to choose the right oracle cards for you.
The best oracle cards are the ones that really speak to you – similar to tarot! There are so many decks on the market for both tarot and oracle. Because oracle decks do not have the same clear cut structure as tarot decks, the best oracle decks are honestly the ones where the art and structure call to you.
I’ve personally been loving this literary witches oracle deck. Anything with a good witchy vibe is usually right up my alley. I’m also an avid reader so am able to learn about some badass female authors while I’m practicing my card magic. Into it.
There really is no gold standard best oracle card decks. Oracle cards are very personal! The good news is there aren’t specific oracle decks for beginners or anything specific you “must” pick up to start reading oracle – it’s really all about whatever deck catches your eye and feels right!
Where to buy oracle cards.
There’s an entire oracle cards Amazon section to peruse if you so choose – that’s where I bought my deck from. There are a lot of strong opinions on the legitimacy of buying your own tarot deck, but thus far I’ve heard no such stigma around buying your own oracle deck.
And honestly, stigma be damned.
ETSY is another great place to pick up very unique, more one of a kind oracle and tarot card decks. Artists are frequently taking oracle and tarot cards and adding their own themes and perspectives. Some people even collect decks and break them out for different occasions!
My favorite oracle card spreads.
Like I said earlier in this post, I’m a huge fan of single card spreads when it comes to both oracle and tarot. I’m a total beginner! For me I enjoy the self reflection and meditation that comes with card magic, without all the stress of needing to memorize an oracle cards meaning list and engage in complex spreads.
Here are some of my absolute favorite oracle card spreads.
Draw a focus for the day card.
Similar to setting your intentions in a meditation or journaling session, pulling a focus card for the day really helps set the tone and mood!
Ask your deck what you need to know right now.
Sometimes life is just trying to tell you something – and if you don’t pause to assess what they may be you might miss it! You can ask your deck what exactly it is you need to know right now, draw a card, and ponder the result.
Ask your deck what you need to get through your current situation.
In a pickle? Your tarot and oracle decks may be able to help. I love drawing a single card when I’m trying to work through a sticky situation. I meditate on the issue at hand and ask my desk what it is I need in this moment to persevere.
Have you tried oracle cards yet? If so, drop your favorite spreads and decks in the comments down below!