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What are the Differences Between Tarot Cards and Oracle Cards?

    difference tarot and oracle cards

    Did you know that tarot cards and oracle cards are two very different tools?

    Sure, there are some similarities that both hold, but when you truly examine them, they become two unique tools that you can use separately or simultaneously to empower your spiritual practice.

    What are Oracle Cards?

    These cards that I pulled for a question about a project I am working on ( what I need to know for the project) are from the deck called Angels and ancestors by Kyle gray. You can find it on amazon here if you are interested 🙂 )

    Oracle cards are much less traditional or standard compared to tarot decks.

    These cards come in just about any number; sometimes, a deck is small, while others, it’s thick and full of powerful messages.

    Usually, oracle cards include a word(s) or affirmation that can guide you on how to move forward throughout a situation.

    The imagery on these cards is often much less complex than tarot cards, but not always. These images are there to evoke a simple message that isn’t too complex or difficult to understand.

    Oracle cards are great for beginners and experienced readers due to their easy-to-follow message; they can be a powerful way to gain the access and guidance you seek.

    tarot vs oracle quote 1

    What Are Tarot Cards?

    rider waite tarot deck

    Tarot cards are a more traditional tool compared to oracle cards.

    Usually, a tarot deck contains 78 cards divided into two sections, the major and minor arcana.

    Some tarot decks will only include the major arcana, but this is less common. Tarot cards often follow a standard structure, and each of the cards in a deck is universally known.

    The Rider Waite Smith deck is the tarot standard, and most cards and literature on the market are based on this deck’s images and card descriptions.

    A single tarot card usually has a very intricate image containing many unique symbols associated with the card’s meaning.

    Each card’s meaning is very complex, containing so much depth that you can never truly learn everything there is to know about tarot.

    Can Tarot Cards and Oracle Cards be Used Interchangeably?

    Whether or not you can use these decks interchangeably really depends on your preference and what you’re trying to gain from a reading.

    If you’re looking for a simple answer or just a piece of guidance, you can pretty much use either deck.

    But, if you’re looking for a more complex reading and want to gain vital information, you may want to consult your tarot deck.

    While oracle cards are great and provide powerful insight, they aren’t as descriptive, which is sometimes needed when you’re dealing with a complex situation or when there are many moving parts.

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    Is it Best to Start with Tarot Cards or Oracle Cards?

    If you’re unfamiliar with either set of decks, learning oracle cards is definitely going to be the easiest option.

    Oracle decks are simple and user-friendly, so starting with a deck that you’re drawn to can help you start your practice.

    You can also start with tarot ( which is what I did because at that time i did not there were oracles cards haha), but many people find it challenging in the beginning due to how complex each card can be and trying to learn all of the interactions of the cards within a reading.

    It’s not impossible, and it’s often a route that many people take, but if you’re looking for the easiest way to open yourself up to these practices, oracles may be your best bet.

    The Overall Differences Between Tarot and Oracle Cards

    tarot vs oracle

    The theme of the cards

    Tarot follows a fairly uniform structure. The images of the cards are often similar in nature and appear to tell a story. so they all tend to have the same structure.

    Oracle cards are less traditional, and some decks include images in different styles and have no correlation between each card used. It is more free flowing with no specific structure.

    The number of cards

    tarot card decks mostly have the same number of cards, 22 major acrds and 56 minor arcana cards so a total of 78 cards.

    oracle cards don’t follow a specific rule. It really depends of the author’s style and decision. Some go with 20 cards and others can even reach 80 cards…. I know I took the extreme cases lol but you get my draft haha.

    The meanings of cards

    The good thing about tarot is that if you have a good understanding of tarot you can more or less use any deck provided it is based on the same style ( example rider waite) as the cards have the same common meanings.

    As for oracle cards, that is a different as each decks or cards have their specific meanings that is specific to the style and theme of the oracle. ( of course there are exceptions if we think of lenormand oracle cards for example…)

    Historical Influence

    Tarot has technically been around from the late 14th century to the early 15th century. Originally, the cards were used simply for entertainment, but they developed into a divination tool over the years.

    Oracle cards are much more modern and are more commonly used due to their function and ease of use.


    When it comes to answering questions, some may be too complex for just oracle cards to answer. You can receive answers from the oracle deck, but they may miss out on vital information you can use to most accurately interpret the situation.

    While tarot may be more complex, it’s also more difficult to learn, while oracle cards can give you the gist of what you’re looking for without providing additional depth.

    tarot vs oracle quote 3

    Which Cards Are Best For You?

    tarot cards

    If you’re deciding between tarot and oracle cards, it’s important to decide what you want them to assist you with.

    Are you looking to use the cards for daily readings? Predictions? Or to help others with some of life’s most difficult questions? If so, you may want to go the tarot route. If you’re looking for a simple tool for guidance that doesn’t take very long to learn and that you can use in various settings, consider starting with oracle cards.

    How to Use Tarot and Oracle Cards Together

    You can use tarot and oracle cards together for even more powerful reading.

    For example, you can use tarot cards to form a spread that outlines the different components of a specific situation in detail. This gives you a clear understanding of the undercurrents of energy in your life right now, which empowers you to make beneficial choices moving forwards.

    Many times, there’s still a bit of confusion or unclear guidance after a reading that oracle cards can assist you with.

    After a reading, ask the oracle card how you can overcome the situation and use the message it provides to tie into the overall reading.

    You can also pull one tarot and one oracle card as a daily reading; tarot provides a more in-depth idea of what your day looks like, while oracle often teaches you what you should do in order to move through it in an empowered state.

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    Final Thoughts

    Regardless of your preference, both tarot and oracle cards are powerful tools that truly benefit you whether you’re looking to create your own practice or simply want to have a sense of motivation whenever you need it.

    Both options provide their own perspective and opportunity to grow and become aware of the energies around you.

    The key is to find a method that works, whether it’s oracle, tarot, or a combination of the tool. There are no set in stone rules when it comes to divination; follow your intuition and let it guide you toward empowerment. That is probably why every one’s has his or her ways of using tarot and oracle cards 🙂 every tarot or oracle journey is unique 🙂

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