Tarot vs Oracle cards
Hello everyone and thank you for stopping by!
I wanted to do a post on the main difference(s) between tarot cards and oracle cards.
Are tarot cards better than oracle cards? Are we supposed to be using one more than the other? Are tarot cards easier or more difficult to use than oracle cards? Should you start with tarot cards or oracle cards?
I’m sure we have all wondered about this at some point during our lives, especially when we first started looking into reading cards. I know I have 🙂
Based on what research I’ve done over time as well as my experience with reading tarot as well as oracle cards, here are a few key differences between the two types of cards:
Story – There is a story to the Tarot cards. The Major Arcana cards are taking you through the Fool’s Journey and this helps you understand the Fool better and how he goes from taking a leap of faith into an unknown direction to coming full circle having learned all the lessons along the way. The story also helps you better understand how the cards work together, why certain cards come after other cards in the deck etc. You don’t necessarily have a story to follow with an Oracle deck, there isn’t a set number of cards or necessarily a succession to them. At least not in the ones I’ve used thus far (and I have quite a few). But this gives you complete freedom on how you interpret the cards and you can create your own story with the cards by using questions to guide the readin and then tying in the answers that the oracle cards give you to make up the story.
Structure – There are 2 Arcanas making up a Tarot deck: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana, made up of all the suits. In any Tarot deck you will have 4 suits in the minor arcana: Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. They may be called differently – like Wands being also called Rods, or Pentacles also being called Coins – but you always have the 4 suits. Same with the Major Arcanas, depending on the deck they may have different names – like the Wheel of Fortune is called The Wheel in certain decks or Wheel of the Year in a different deck etc. – but you always have the 22 Major Arcana Cards. An Oracle deck on the other hand does not have a set structure, it can be anything, it can have any number of cards. The cards may be just an image, just some text on the cards, a sentence or perhaps just a word with the image. This again gives you complete freedom to interpret the oracle cards in which ever way feels right for you.
Meaning – Each tarot card has one or a few specific meanings, usually not too many (maybe up to 5 core ones). For example, The Hierophant can signify marriage, a comunity of likeminded people, tradition or perhaps joining a company where there is a hierarchy, red tape etc. With the Oracle deck, there are no set meanings to the cards. You may have a booklet explaining the author’s view on the cards, however you are encouraged to use your own intuition to discover the meassages of the cards. It can be anything really, it depends on what each individual reader sees in the cards.
Combined decks – tarot and oracle cards – There are a few decks that combine the Tarot and the Oracle “styles”.
For example The Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck by John Holland. Here are some examples of cards from this deck. What you are looking at are the first 6 MajorAracana cards, except in this deck they are called New Beginnings = The Fool, Awareness = The Magician, Intuition = The High Priestess, Fertility = The Empress, Authority = The Emperor, Wisdom = The Hierophant. The deck has the structure of a Tarot deck, with the Major and Minor Arcana cards and all the 4 Suits, but what the author did was focus on the core meaning (according to the Tarot) of every card, created an image to suit that (and so now you have a version of a tarot card) however this image and the message of it can also be interpreted intuitively by someone who does not read Tarot cards for example (hence the oracle card feel to the card). You can use this deck as a Tarot deck and interpret the cards exactly as you would any other Tarot cards, or you can use the deck as an Oracle card deck and completely disregard the traditional tarot meanings of the cards, reading them by simply using your intuition (picking up on what the images are telling you, how the word on the card may play into the message of that card etc.).
In a nutshell, for me the key difference between reading Tarot cards and Oracle cards is the level of freedom (to use your own intuition) you have in the interpretation of the cards, whether you have to follow a set meaning or put your own spin on it. Some people prefer Tarot cards and others prefer Oracle cards. It just depends what you’re more comfortable with in the end.
I invite you to share your experience with Tarot cards and Oracle cards, your views on this.
I hope you find this post useful.
Until the next time,