Oracle vs Tarot – Which is best and why?

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Hello Gorgeous Reader! You’ve come here with a question I LOVE to answer – so let’s get to it!

If you’re wondering whether you should use a tarot card deck or if you should invest in a new Oracle Deck, then this post is going to help you to make the right decision for YOU. I’m going to share more about the Oracle vs Tarot debate and help you to find the right solution to help you on your journey.

Personally, I found out about Tarot Reading a LONG time ago – when I was probably about twelve years old or so. I bought my first deck, wrapped it in silk and started learning about how to use tarot as a divination tool.

I loved tarot from the get-go – the spiritual and mystical history, the beautiful imagery… Not to mention the amazing comfort I took from reading through the meaning of the cards that I pulled and seeing how the meanings of each card was so potent in describing exactly what was going on in my life.

I was hooked for sure. Fast forward to many years later and I started to deepen my tarot card practice for my own personal growth. I purchased the Wild Unknown Tarot Deck by Kim Krans and started learning the traditional structure of the Tarot.

The Oracle vs Tarot debate never entered my mind, as I was so focused on learning all about my gorgeous Tarot cards! But then the Universe intervened, as it has a way of doing… I felt called to go into a beautiful little woo-woo shop, whilst I was on holiday in Cornwall, and there on the shelf sat the most gorgeous looking Oracle Card Deck… I was totally drawn towards it, and purchasing it took no decision at all. I spent the rest of that holiday doing readings for myself and exploring how Oracle cards could help me in the same way that my Tarot cards always had.

The main differences you need to know

The Main Difference between a good tarot deck and oracle card decks is that the Tarot is steeped in a lot more history and usually has a set structure. Tarot decks cover Major Arcana Cards, of which there are 22. The Major Arcana are big Archetype cards taking the Tarot reader on a life journey – from being the Fool (just setting out into life) through to The World Card (completion of the life journey – ‘wholeness’). You will also find the Minor Arcana Cards inside a standard Tarot deck – of which there are usually 56 cards. These are the ‘suit cards’ and follow a playing deck type pattern – ie cards 1 to 10 in one of four suits, and with four ‘court cards’ per suit. These four suit cards are usually Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacle, although sometimes you will find slight variations on these themes dependant on whom has created the Tarot deck. The respective court cards tend to take the form of Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages. Although, as in my beloved Wild Unknown Deck, these court cards are referred to as Father, Mother, Daughter and Son.

So, as you can see, there is quite a lot about Tarot that is set with specific themes. The idea is that you become very familiar with the Tarot Card meanings and then as you become more and more skilled as a Tarot Card reader, you will easily be able to decipher the messages coming through for your divination purposes. So, this should give you an idea of the structure that is present in Tarot cards when it comes to questioning Oracle vs Tarot decks.

Now lets have a quick rundown on Oracle Card readings and the key difference from Tarot Card readings

Oracle Cards have a far less specific structure – in fact, it would be fair to say that there is next to no structure at all! We can absolutely still use Oracle Decks as Divination Tools, but there is no overarching structure to how different decks should look or indeed what they should include. There is no set number of cards in any given Oracle card deck and the different meanings can cover of absolutely any topic at all.

You will usually find that Oracle Card Decks have an underlying theme – for example, I currently own Oracle Card Decks where the theme of the deck is as varied as yoga, astrology, light work, animals and alchemy! So, as you can see the different types of decks can be huge, so it really is up to you and your own personal preference as to which deck of cards you feel a connection with.

I really appreciate the beauty in the work done by artists of Oracle Cards – in fact, I remember telling a friend that my Kim Krans Archetypes Oracle Deck is a Mona Lisa to me! My very first Oracle Deck was the Work Your Light Deck from Rebecca Campbell and Danielle Noel – I felt so much comfort and joy as I did my first Oracle Reading and I knew right away that the use of cards would be a massive part of my own spiritual practices.

So which set of cards should you get when it comes to Oracle vs Tarot?

Personally I use both Tarot Cards and Oracle Cards regularly as a common practice in my own spiritual journey. I love how my favorite decks offer such a great way for me to build on my own personal development and the spiritual guidance they give to me.

I feel very connected to the decks of cards that I choose to use – and in fact I have been known to literally throw away packs that I don’t resonate with! It’s so important to me that I truly connect with my decks – and if they don’t cut it, then they don’t deserve a place on my Tarot and Oracle Shelf!

So, if you are just getting started on your Divination Cards journey and you’re debating whether to buy a pack of Tarot Cards or a pack of Oracle Cards, I would offer the following advice.

Pointers for making the right decision for YOU

1. What kind of person are you?

If you’re looking to learn a tradition – to learn how to use a fixed tool with a rich history that has been around since the late 14th Century / early 15th Century and you love symbolism and learning the meaning behind a set series of card meanings, then Tarot will be an amazing place for you to start! You can dive into the intellectual side of The Tarot – immersing yourself in the meanings of each of the cards – and then you can take great pleasure in finding either modern tarot decks that really resonate with you – or by using the more traditional decks like the Rider-Waite deck – and enjoy learning how to read Card Spreads that really help you to develop spiritually! I think the Tarot is a wonderful place to start if you really enjoy learning the ‘rules’ so that you can then go ahead and find your own unique way of connecting with the cards and the messages that they have for you.

2. Are you a fan of free flow or of structure?

If you love the idea of different types of cards – without any particular structure and more free flow, then Oracle Cards may well be the way for you to go. My best advice here would be to find a great deck that really ‘sings’ to you – ie you really feel something about the deck. As I mentioned above, the only card decks that I keep in my home – whether thats Tarot or Oracle, are the ones which I really connect with and that I feel so joyful and lucky to use. I feel you should set the same bar for yourself! And with the sheer amount of cards that are available on the market now, I’m absolutely confident that you will be drawn towards an Oracle Creator that suits YOU and what you find to be beautiful when it comes to your first Oracle Deck.

3. All sweetness and light? Or a bit of raw reality?

Something that I would keep an eye open for when it comes to choosing either an Oracle Card Deck or a Tarot Card Deck is the CONTENT of the packs. The wonderful thing about Tarot is that it covers all elements of life – and of course, that does include the shadow work that needs to be done. The Tarot covers off all parts of life – not just the sheeny shiny bits that we may be hoping for!! But this is what I love so very much about Tarot – that full 360 degree look at life and what needs addressing. It’s the yin and the yang. The Sun and the Moon. The Lovers and the Devil. To me, it’s like I don’t appreciate the warm cosy fireplace and snuggly jumper, unless I’ve been outside and felt the cold nipping at my toes. To me, we need both – to deny our shadow side or to say that ALL of life should be fireworks and roses would be a sham – and when it comes to the tarot, we see all facets – which I believe is the way it should be.

With some Oracle Card Decks however, you may find a more one sided common theme to the cards. They may all be sparkle and light – which does not cover the real, raw human experience in my mind. However, I also believe that there is indeed a time and a place for this type of Oracle Deck – I own one for example where the Creator of the Oracle Deck wants to help the reader to manifest their desires. The deck is very positive – and these cards prove to be great tools when it comes to manifesting – helping us to focus in on what we DO want, rather than addressing the areas that we do not wish to focus on.

What about Angel Decks? 

You will see that there are a few different names for what I refer to as Oracle Cards – you may see them marketed or written about as Angel Cards, Spirit Guides Cards, Goddess Cards – these are (in my perception at least!) just a different take or slight variation on Oracle cards. The most important thing is that you choose a deck that you really, really like. If you feel like you need a second opinion, then maybe it’s not the deck for you? Oracle Card decks can make incredible directive tools to help you on your spiritual path – but only if you really do feel connected to the particular deck.

How to do Psychic Readings with a Tarot Deck or Oracle Card Deck

For me, the way I carry out a reading whether with a deck of Oracle Cards or a deck of Tarot cards is exactly the same. I ask a question, keep it in my mind and ask for guidance from the universe to come through to me in the reading from the spiritual realm. Whether that answer comes through as a story through different suits and major arcana cards in the Tarot or with some incredible Oracle Cards, then the outcome for me remains the same – I still get the guidance, clarity and comfort that I desire, whichever type of pack it is.

So, which are you going to go for first? Tarot Deck or Oracle Deck? Or one of each? Which resonates more with you when it comes to Oracle vs Tarot? I wish you so much enjoyment on your new journey – I know this world of divination through the cards can mean so much more direction, confidence, comfort and joy for both ourselves and for the people we read for, so have fun!

And if you’re now ready to absorb the wisdom of the Oracle Cards, check out our Human Design Oracle Club – beautiful readings for your own Human Design Type for the month and week ahead sent direct to your inbox – complete with a gorgeous image of your reading, weekly Oracle guidance, a full colour Human Design Oracle Journal plus an affirmation to help you live your best life throughout the month.

Laura x