Tarot or Oracle: What’s the Difference?

Tarot or Oracle

At the highest levels, Tarot cards are structured decks. When using Tarot cards, there are more rules than with oracle cards. Oracle cards tend to be free-flowing in comparison, featuring almost every type of content. There are about 78 cards when using Tarot, though some have as few as 44 or as many as 80 cards in the deck. Oracle cards vary greatly with no set numbers. Some decks may have 12 cards, while others have 100.

Tarot cards also have common meanings with structure, most being derivatives of Rider-Waite. So they share themes, even though images or pictures may vary. Oracle cards have no common theme. Think of oracle cards as a complete meal, but Tarot with more individual ingredients. Oracles hold big energy with overall insight given, but Tarot offers the details. However, one form is not better than the other; it simply depends on what you want.

Oracle cards are largely considered a tool for self-reflection and are not used as often with professional readings. Oracle readings may also be considered much more vague when compared to the structure of the Tarot. Tarot does allow room for interpretation, but readings between decks still has a basic foundation. When it comes to actual spreads, both Tarot and oracle cards can both be used in designated readings, but oracles are also commonly used to pull a single card to provide insight into a situation. Some oracle cards contain self-care tips or inspirational points depending on the creator which is very different from Tarot. In addition, oracle card meditation is likely more common than that of Tarot.

Using Both Types Together

Using Tarot and oracle cars together can be fun and informative. There are two simple ways to do this.

  • At the beginning of a reading, draw an oracle card to serve as a general theme to influence the reading. Find the surrounding energy. Then choose multiple Tarot cards to gain a full picture of the situation. Keep in mind the theme as the Tarot is read.
  • Another option is to wait until the end of a Tarot reading to draw an oracle card to find an underlying theme. It can also serve as a parting message, advice, or closure to the Tarot reading.

Types of Oracle Cards

Just as there are options with Tarot cards in choosing a specific deck, most are based off the same Rider-Waite version, oracle cards offer options. However, oracle cards offer many more variations, a few of which will be share here:

  • Archetype Cards – These cards use archetypes to help the user connect with the most sacred parts of themselves. This is where the self-care tips and positive affirmations can be helpful.
  • Literary Witches – The Literary Witches oracle cards are based on famous authors like Plath, Lorde, and Dickinson with the additional cards featuring witches familiars. These can be fun and interesting to use for readings.
  • Goddess Power – These cards include goddesses from a wide range of traditions. The deck is great for those connecting to their feminine power, even if biologically male. Wonderful for meditation and a positive booth.

Whether you choose to use Tarot, oracle cards, or a combination of both the goal is to help yourself and others on the journey of life.