Walk into any New Age store and you will be faced with a plethora of divination cards. Where do you even start? Well, a good place is understanding the difference between Tarot and Oracle cards to make sure you get the right style for you.
Both Tarot and oracle cards are excellent tools for spiritual development and growth; however, there are a couple of fundamental differences between the two.
Tarot decks are illustrated in many different and beautiful ways, but they all follow the same formula. They all contain 78 cards broken down into 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana is broken down into four suits with numbers 1 through 10 and court cards.
Oracle decks have as many cards as the author of the deck dreams up. As well, the categories of the cards in the deck are also up to the author, if indeed there are any categories at all. The theme of the deck is of the author’s choosing. Some common oracle themes are faeries, animals, and angels.
My favourite oracle deck is a Brian Froud’s Faeries. He has chosen to break the deck into the following categories: The Singers of the Realm; The Sidhe; Faery Guides and Guardians; The Help-Line Troupe; The Faery Challengers. To demonstrate the diversity of oracle cards, Froud’s other deck is also a faerie theme, but is broken down into The Faerie Queens, The Queens’ Consorts, The Archetypes, Sprites, The Ladies, Tricksters, The Journey.
The other difference between Tarot and oracle decks is the way they are interpreted. Tarot cards are chock full of archetypal symbols. A basic understanding of mythology and astrology is beneficial. You are also guided by symbols on each card, such as a bridge indicating crossing from one place to another.
Oracle cards, on the other hand, allow for much more flexibility in their interpretation. The illustrations tend to be self explanatory, and you can also simply zero in on an image and go with whatever pops into your head.
I use both Tarot and Oracle decks depending upon the mood I am in. For my workshops and Tarot Girlz Nights I use Tarot decks, as it is easier to guide beginner readers in the interpretation.
If you are new to divination cards, I recommend you start with the classic Rider-Waite deck. It gives you a broad understanding of how to use cards for spiritual development. From there, feel free to experiment with both Tarot and Oracle. You will soon find the style and theme of deck that works best for you.
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