An Introduction To Oracle Cards


If you’re an avid fan of tarot cards, then chances are you may be familiar with oracle cards too. I often get asked about oracle cards - what are they, how do you use them, how are they different from tarot - these are all valid but difficult questions to answer. I will try my best to explain though. 

Many tarot readers are often sceptical about oracle cards at first, simply because oracle and tarot are both very similar but very different at the same time. I was completely uninterested in oracle - even with all the beautiful decks that are out there - I didn't understand it and I was plenty comfortable with my tarot that I didn't feel the need to use other forms of cards. I was very wrong.

For Christmas, I received my first ever oracle deck (The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck). It was a complete accident, the gift -giver thought it was a tarot deck - it's an easy mistake to make, like I said, they're very similar - I've heard of so many professional tarot readers who have purchased oracle decks by mistaking them for tarot decks. As adamant as I was that I didn't want to use oracle, I became curious - I'm a major animal lover so the imagery was hard to resist, plus since purchasing The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck I've become obsessed with Kim Krans' artistic vibes. Anyway, I tried oracle... and as much as it pains me to say - I connected with it instantly.

Oracle cards seem to be growing more and more popular as the days go by, so if you've ever wondered what they are, how they work and the difference between the two divination methods, feel free to read on!


What Is Oracle?

Oracle cards, much like tarot, are a tool of divination, often used to foresee certain events, receive guidance on certain situations and for personal growth and self-discovery. They are mostly used, however, for guidance and personal growth. Oracle decks are thought to be more of a New Age divination tool, but many believe that it has been around for years - much like tarot.

Every oracle deck is completely different - there are no set rules and messages when it comes to this tool. The cards often include images, messages and affirmations that can be used to guide you in the right direction and help you overcome obstacles that may be in your way. The images and messages in the cards will be something that you can relate to - this is why you must choose your oracle deck carefully.- you must be able to relate to it. Oracle is often used when you need quick guidance, insight and inspiration - there is no need for preparations, rituals or to be in the right head space - oracle can be read anywhere, anyhow and anytime.


What Is The Difference Between Tarot & Oracle?

Although tarot and oracle are very similar in concept and design, they both work on completely separate systems - they look the same, they think they same but they work and act completely different!

A traditional tarot deck consists of 78 cards - 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The 56 Minor Arcana cards are split into four suits - Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. Although some tarot decks will try and be different and may change this structure around, this is what the structure of a tarot deck should look like. An oracle deck, however, has no set structure of cards. There are no categories to an oracle - no Major Arcana, no Minor Arcana, no four suits - there are just cards and meanings. Also, there are no set number of cards in an oracle deck - some decks may have 15 cards, some decks may have 75 cards - it's all down to that specific deck.

The structure of a tarot deck does not only apply to the number and categories of cards - it also applies to the card names, numerology, themes and meanings. Tarot decks are often derived from the Rider-Waite deck, and because of this, each deck will have the same card meanings, themes and symbolism. For example, the first card of the majority of tarot decks will be The Fool and will relate to innocence, freedom and new beginnings. An oracle deck is completely free of structure and touches on any kind of content - there are no textbook meanings, no set in stone themes - just freedom.



Ways You Can Use Oracle Cards

Draw A Daily Oracle Card

If you saw my post Improve Your Intuition With A Card A Day, you will know where I stand with daily tarot cards - why not swap your daily tarot card for a daily oracle card instead. Personally, I feel that oracle cards are much better for this task than tarot cards are - they are more equipped for spiritual guidance in daily life and their messages and practices are much easier to put to effect throughout your day. 

Quick & Direct Reading

If you're struggling for time but need guidance to make an important decision, or you're head is all over the place and you need some clarity, then a quick and direct oracle reading may be in order. Much like the daily oracle card, just pull one card and keep its message in mind when you make those tough decisions or face that difficult situation.

Oracle Spread

They may not be tarot cards, but that doesn't mean that they can't be used in the same way. If you need the guidance of the oracle but have many questions to ask, do a spread! There are no rules when it comes to oracle spreads - much like tarot - use as many cards as you feel necessary in order to get your answers.

Mix It Up

Since dabbling in oracle, my favourite way to use it is with my tarot cards during a reading. Their similarities and differences make them the perfect partners. I find since using oracle and tarot together, my readings have been much more insightful and accurate. The way I do this is by going about my usual tarot routine but at the end of the reading, I draw one oracle card to portray the overall theme of the reading. Works like a charm!


If you're looking for resources to learn more about tarot, take a look at my post Resources To Help You Make The Most Of Your Cards

Don't forget to stop by the Black Moon Gypsy store for custom made artwork and personal tarot readings from a professional tarot reader.

What are your thoughts and experiences with oracle cards? Let me know in the comments below!