What Is The Difference Between Oracle Cards And Tarot Cards?

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By Anna Marikar

So… oracle cards vs tarot decks? Let’s get into an explanation and exploration of two magnificent divination tools that have graced our spiritual journeys for centuries.

As you explore these powerful decks of cards, you’ll uncover their mystical origins, divine purposes, and the magical ways in which they can enhance your personal growth and spiritual guidance. 

what is the difference between oracle and tarot deck?

Oracle and Tarot decks both serve as divination tools, but they differ mainly in structure and flexibility. Tarot cards follow a set structure with defined meanings, making them more formal and systematic in their approach to divination. 

Oracle cards, on the other hand, offer more freedom and creativity, as each deck is unique and doesn’t adhere to a fixed pattern or number of cards. Oracle decks allow for more personalized and intuitive readings, while Tarot provides a more traditional and standardized form of guidance based on established symbols and meanings.

Delve into the rich history of tarot cards, and you’ll travel back to the 19th century, uncovering tales of mystical practices and spiritual seekers.

Tarot, initially emerging as a card game, transformed over time, evolving into a profound divination tool embraced by tarot readers worldwide. 

Oracle cards, a different form of oracle, don’t share the lengthy historical tapestry as tarot, but they’ve made a significant mark in the realms of divination, offering a modern touch with varied themes and artworks.

Tarot cards, like the standard tarot deck from the early 1900s, have fixed card meanings, ensuring a common theme throughout, while oracle decks and oracle readings offer the freedom to explore a spectrum of themes, from personal belief systems to universal spiritual concepts, making each reading a unique exploration of the divine.

What Are Oracle Decks?

Oracle decks are a tool used for divination and spiritual guidance. Each deck is uniquely created with various themes and artworks, and they don’t follow a specific structure or set number of cards. Oracle cards are more flexible and open to interpretation, often used to tap into one’s intuition and receive personal insights and messages from the universe or higher powers.

Stepping into the world of oracle cards, you enter a space of limitless possibilities. Each oracle card deck is uniquely crafted by its oracle creator, blossoming with a myriad of themes ranging from angel cards to spirit guides, and thousands of other sublime subjects.

Choosing a new oracle deck is like embracing a new spiritual friend, each bringing a different take and a special theme to guide your spiritual path.

Oracle readings offer you a cosy, intimate space for receiving divine insights and spiritual lessons that resonate with your personal development.

The cards act as directive tools, extending the wisdom of the higher power to grant clarity, perspective, and a second opinion on life’s various facets, be it love life or a recent decision.

Beautiful Oracle Decks

Here are a few beautiful oracle decks to get you started on your journey. Whether you’re picking out your first personal oracle or adding to your collection, there is the perfect oracle deck for you.

Click the link below each of these pictures to find out more, and buy then in our shop if you would like.

Moonology Manifestation Oracle Deck

The Healing Waters Oracle 44 Card Deck by Rebecca Campbell

The 44 card Rebecca Campbell Work Your Light Oracle Deck

The mini 13 card pocket oracle deck

The daily crystal inspiration 52 card oracle deck

Super attractor 52 card oracle

What Are Tarot Card Decks?

Tarot decks are another form of divination tool with a specific structure that typically includes a set amount of cards. There are 78 cards divided into Major Arcana (22 cards) and Minor Arcana (56 cards). 

Related: Your Guide to Tarot Card Meanings All 78 Cards of the Deck

Tarot cards follow a traditional pattern and symbolism, often based on historical concepts and images, with some specific and traditional well known designs like the Rider-Waite deck.

Tarot readings usually involve spreading the cards in specific layouts and interpreting the cards based on their positions and relationships to each other. Regardless of the different decks and types of card decks you can find within tarot, they will all have 78 cards following the set structure. 

Related: Free Printable Tarot Cards Deck With All 78 Cards

Tarot cards, with their roots intertwined with the mysteries of the 15th century Italy, have danced through history, enriching the spiritual practices of seekers.

The traditional structure of a tarot card deck is like a well-choreographed dance, consisting of the Major Arcana cards, Minor Arcana cards, and Court cards, each with its unique rhythm and role.

Tarot card readings involve various card spreads, such as the card Celtic cross and card horseshoe spread, where the cards unveil their meanings in harmonious synchrony, guiding the seekers through the mysteries of life with precision and depth.

The tarot spread sets the stage for the unfolding of a mystical narrative that caters to queries from different aspects of life, from personal to spiritual.

Related: 7 Tarot Card Myths and Misconceptions Debunked

Different Types of Decks

Oracle cards bask in the artistic freedom, allowing artists of oracle cards to infuse their decks with personal touches, themes, and creativity. Each oracle deck could have its own underlying theme and the main difference is the structure and number of cards. You can find oracle decks with just a few cards, or with a larger amount. 

Oracle decks vary widely in the number of cards they contain, and there isn’t a strict rule or standard number.

An oracle deck might have anywhere from around 20 to over 60 cards or more. The creator of each oracle deck decides the number of cards based on the concept, theme, or system they are using.

Since oracle decks are more flexible and personalized compared to tarot decks, you’ll find that the number of cards in each deck can differ quite significantly based on the oracle creator’s vision and intention. So, there’s no typical or standard number; it’s all about the unique essence and purpose each deck brings to the divination experience.

In contrast, tarot cards like the Rider Waite Tarot uphold a more traditional essence, maintaining common meanings and a connection to the historical roots of tarot, such as the high priestess symbolizing intuition and mystery.

This does not mean that all tarot cards have to look the same. You can find many tarot decks that use the traditional structure of major arcana and minor arcana cards, with their own unique and modern depictions on each card. 

Unique Tarot Decks

Sufi tarot 78 card deck

78 card fairy tarot deck

Is it okay to use both Oracle and Tarot Decks? Do we have to choose?

It’s not only okay, but it’s also a wonderful idea to work with both Oracle and Tarot decks for your spiritual growth!

There’s no rule that restricts you to choosing one over the other. In fact, embracing various decks can enrich your spiritual journey, offering you a colorful spectrum of energies, insights, and guidance to draw from. 

Many enthusiasts build up a heartwarming collection of diverse decks, each resonating with unique vibrations and artistic expressions. 

Depending on your mood, question, or the guidance you seek, you can choose a deck that feels aligned with your current state or inquiry. This flexibility allows you to have a more personalized, intuitive, and multifaceted divination experience. 

So, feel free to let your collection blossom with an array of beautiful decks that resonate with your spirit and enhance your divination practices!

Your Journey, Your Choice: Finding Your Divine Deck

Both Oracle and Tarot cards are profound tools for divination purposes, illuminating paths, and providing robust spiritual guidance. 

Your personal preference plays the maestro in this symphony of spiritual tools, guiding you towards the deck that resonates with your soul’s rhythm.

Whether you are drawn towards the enchanting world of the Lenormand deck, or seek the wisdom of the Major and Minor Arcana cards, your chosen deck will be a radiant beacon on your path of spiritual exploration and personal growth.

In the heart of divination, both Oracle and Tarot cards emanate a universal language of symbols, energies, and messages, inviting everyone, from beginners to tarot enthusiasts of all experience levels, to embark on a transformative journey towards enlightenment, wisdom, and a better understanding of life’s majestic tapestry.  As we’ve explained, the key differences are in the structure of the decks. 

So, whether it’s your first tarot deck or a new oracle deck whispering to your soul, you’re in the right place to receive the universe’s profound messages and blessings

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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.

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