Comparing Oracle and Tarot Cards: Which One is for You?

The world of divination can be both fascinating and intimidating for those who are just starting to explore it. With so many different tools to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Two popular forms of divination are oracle cards and tarot cards. While both types of cards can be used for similar purposes, they each have their own unique characteristics and strengths. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between oracle and tarot cards, as well as provide guidance on how to choose which type of cards to use based on your personality, preferences, and level of experience. Let’s dive in to this intriguing world of divination cards.

What are Oracle Cards?

What Are Oracle Cards?
Asking the universe for guidance and insights is not a new concept, but oracle cards have become a popular tool for those seeking spiritual guidance. Oracle card readings can provide clarity, validation, and direction when making important decisions or facing life’s challenges. These cards can offer a unique perspective that is tailored to the reader’s personal journey. As we dive deeper into the world of oracle cards, we will discover their origins, how they are used, and their unique strengths. By the end of this section, you will have a better understanding of what oracle cards are, and you can decide whether they are the right tool for your spiritual practice. If you want to learn more about the comparisons of oracle and tarot cards, check out our previous section.

Origin of Oracle Cards

The exact origin of Oracle cards is not clear, as they have been used for divination and spiritual guidance throughout history, across different civilizations and cultures. Some of the earliest known mentions of divinatory practices that involve cards or other similar tools date back to ancient China, Greece, and Egypt.

In China, divination was a crucial part of the early civilization’s religious practices, and a variety of tools were used for that purpose, including bones, turtle shells, and cards. Some of the first recorded instances of card divination date back to the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), where a set of engraved cards called “the game of leaves” was used for divination.

In ancient Greece, the practice of divination with cards was also prevalent, as evident from various myths and legends. One of the most noteworthy references to cards in Greek mythology is the story of the Oracle of Delphi, who was believed to have delivered prophecies to seekers using cards with symbols and images.

Similarly, Egyptian civilization also had various tools for divination, such as the Ostraka, which were potsherds used for divination, and the Book of the Dead, which contained various spells and incantations that were believed to help guide the dead through the afterlife.

The origin of Oracle cards can be traced back to ancient civilizations that used divination tools to gain insight and guidance. Today, Oracle cards offer a modern approach to divination and self-exploration that can be used for daily decision making and personal growth. Whether you choose to use Oracle cards or Tarot cards, it is important to rely on them as a tool for insight and guidance rather than a definitive answer to your questions.

How are Oracle Cards Used?

Oracle cards are used for divination, personal growth, and self-discovery. They have become increasingly popular over the years due to their accessibility and ease of use. The cards are usually shuffled, and then a spread is chosen. The spread is the pattern in which the cards are laid out on a table or any other surface. Each card in the spread represents various aspects of the user’s life, and the overall interpretation of the spread is used to answer a question or provide guidance.

Oracle cards can be used for various purposes, such as gaining insight into relationships, career decisions, financial matters, and even everyday decisions. They can be used for one-time questions or during a daily meditation routine. The cards can also be used as a tool for personal growth and self-reflection.

In addition to divination, oracle cards can be used for journaling, art projects, and even as a source of inspiration. They can provide the user with affirmations and messages to meditate on throughout the day. Oracle cards can also be used to connect with one’s intuition and higher self.

It is important to note that while oracle cards can be a helpful tool, they should not be relied on solely for making important decisions. It is always important to use one’s intuition and common sense when making decisions.

For more information on the benefits of oracle cards, check out our article on the benefits of oracle cards for daily decisions.

Strengths of Oracle Cards

Oracle cards have numerous strengths that make them stand out as a divination tool. Here are some of the benefits of working with oracle cards:

  • Flexibility: Oracle cards are very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. They can be used for general readings, specific questions, daily guidance, and even for manifesting intentions.
  • User-friendly: Oracle cards are relatively easier to interpret than tarot cards, making them an excellent option for both beginners and experienced readers. For instance, Oracle cards commonly feature simple messages, such as “Trust the journey” or “Ask for help.”
  • Customizable: There are countless oracle decks available to choose from, each with its unique artwork, theme or intention. This makes it easy to find a deck that resonates with the reader and the person receiving the reading.
  • Emphasis on intuition: In contrast with tarot cards that contain a defined set of symbols and meanings, oracle cards are more intuitive. A reader can draw meaning from the imagery, messages, and their own intuition.
  • Positive messages: Oracle cards often provide uplifting and encouraging messages that can help people feel more empowered, positive and optimistic about their future.

Oracle cards are a great choice for anyone who wishes to get quick, reliable and easy-to-understand answers to their questions while reminding them of their power and potential. They are a perfect tool for those who prefer a more intuitive, less rule-bound approach to divination.

What are Tarot Cards?

As we delve into the world of divination, another notable player is tarot cards, which have caught the imagination of many around the world with their intriguing symbols and meanings. Tarot cards are a type of cartomancy that have been used for centuries to gain insight and guidance in one’s life. Origins of tarot cards can be traced back to 15th century Europe, where they were primarily used for playing games. Over time, they evolved into a tool for divination and spiritual exploration. However, their use is not without controversy, as some believe relying solely on tarot cards for major life decisions can have drawbacks.

Origin of Tarot Cards

The origin of Tarot Cards is shrouded in mystery and has been the subject of much debate among scholars. Here are some of the theories that have been put forth:

  • One theory suggests that the Tarot originated in ancient Egypt and was brought to Europe by the Gypsies.
  • Another suggests that the Tarot was created in Italy during the Renaissance as a game.
  • Yet another theory proposes that the Tarot was created by the Knights Templar to encode esoteric knowledge.

Despite the lack of consensus on their origins, it is generally agreed that the Tarot emerged in Europe during the 15th century. At that time, cards were commonly used for gaming, and it is possible that the Tarot evolved from these games.

The Tarot was originally made up of four suits, much like a regular deck of playing cards. These suits were typically called wands, cups, swords, and coins. Later, an additional suit known as the Major Arcana was added, bringing the total number of cards to 78.

Over time, the Tarot became associated with mysticism and divination. Each card in the deck came to represent a different archetype or symbol, and the cards were often used for fortune-telling and spiritual guidance.

Today, the Tarot is one of the most popular tools for divination and self-discovery. Many people believe that the cards have a special power to reveal hidden knowledge and insights about the world and ourselves.

How are Tarot Cards Used?

Understanding how Tarot Cards are Used

Tarot cards are typically used for divination purposes. Divination is the practice of seeking insight into the future or a situation by supernatural means. Tarot readers, also known as tarotists, use the cards to receive messages or guidance from a spiritual realm. Below is a table outlining some common ways in which Tarot cards are used during readings.

Method Description
Celtic Cross Spread A popular spread that uses ten cards to provide insight into various aspects of a question or situation.
Three-Card Spread A simple spread that is frequently used to provide an overview of a situation or to answer a yes/no question.
One-Card Draw A quick, easy method of drawing a single card for guidance or insight into a specific question or situation.
Reverse Card Interpretation Some tarot readers interpret reversed cards (cards that appear upside down) as having an opposite or contrary meaning to the upright card.
Intuitive Reading Some tarotists prefer to rely on their own intuition and psychic abilities to interpret the cards, rather than adhering strictly to traditional interpretations.

It’s worth noting that the above methods are just a few examples of how tarot cards can be used. Ultimately, the approaches and techniques used by tarot readers can vary widely depending on their specific beliefs, experiences, and preferences.

Strengths of Tarot Cards

Tarot cards hold immense value not only as a tool for divination but also as a tool for personal growth and empowerment. Some of the strengths of tarot cards include:

  • Rich Symbolism: Tarot decks offer a plethora of symbols and deep archetypes that can be used for exploring the collective human experience. These symbols can help individuals gain insight into their own struggles and triumphs and provide a universal language for exploring the human psyche.
  • Detailed Meanings: Each card in a tarot deck has a rich history and a multitude of meanings, which can allow for a more nuanced and detailed interpretation of a reading. This means that tarot readings can be tailored to individual situations and can provide more specific guidance.
  • Cross-Referencing: Tarot readings involve drawing multiple cards and interpreting how they interact with each other. This cross-referencing allows for a more in-depth analysis of a situation or question and can provide a deeper understanding of complex issues.
  • Diverse Decks: Tarot cards have been around for centuries, and as a result, there are many different decks available. Each deck has its own unique style and interpretation of the traditional tarot archetypes, which can allow individuals to choose a deck that resonates with them on a personal level.
  • Empowering: Tarot cards can provide individuals with a sense of agency and control over their lives. By offering guidance and insight into their situation, individuals can feel more empowered to make decisions and take action.

Tarot cards can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth, offering individuals the opportunity to explore both the strengths and challenges of the human experience.

Oracle Cards vs Tarot Cards

Oracle Cards Vs Tarot Cards
Now that we have a basic understanding of both Oracle and Tarot cards, it’s time to compare the two and highlight their differences and similarities. For those new to divination, the decision between Oracle and Tarot cards can be overwhelming. Both have their unique features and uses, and choosing between the two requires careful consideration. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the differences between Oracle and Tarot cards, looking at aspects such as the number of cards, card meanings, imagery, and use in divination. By the end of this section, readers will have a better understanding of which type of card may be more suitable for their practice.

Number of Cards

Oracle and Tarot cards differ in the number of cards included in a deck. Oracle cards come in a variety of deck sizes, ranging from 36 to 72 cards per deck. There is no set number of cards in an oracle deck. This allows for a great deal of creativity and customization when it comes to creating an oracle deck. The number of cards in an oracle deck is often determined by the author or creator of the deck and is based on their unique vision and purpose for the deck.

On the other hand, Tarot decks are typically made up of 78 cards. This number is set, and every Tarot deck has the same number of cards. The Tarot deck is broken down into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana contains 22 cards, each depicting a significant spiritual or archetypal theme. The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards, divided into four suits, each representing a different aspect of life.

The difference in the number of cards between oracle and Tarot decks means that Tarot decks offer a more structured and detailed system, while oracle decks allow for a more flexible and personalized approach to divination. Oracle decks can be useful for quick daily reflections or for exploring a specific theme, while Tarot decks offer a more in-depth exploration of the past, present, and future. Ultimately, the choice between oracle and Tarot cards will depend on the reader’s personal preferences and the purpose of their readings.

Card Meanings

One of the main differences between Oracle cards and Tarot cards is in the way the cards are interpreted. While both types of cards contain symbols and images that are open to interpretation, the meanings of the cards are defined differently.

Oracle Card Meanings

Oracle cards rely heavily on intuition and personal interpretation. The meanings of oracle cards are not set in stone and can differ vastly depending on the deck. Some oracle decks may have a general theme or message, while others may have specific meanings for each card. In most cases, oracle cards offer guidance or advice rather than a definitive answer.


| Feature | Oracle Cards |
| — | — |
| Interpretation | Relies on intuition and personal interpretation |
| Meaning | Not set in stone; differs depending on the deck |
| Theme | May have a general theme or message; specific meanings for each card |
| Purpose | Offers guidance or advice rather than a definitive answer |

Tarot Card Meanings

Tarot cards, on the other hand, have a more structured and defined meaning. Each card has a traditional interpretation that has been passed down over time. While there is still room for personal interpretation, a larger part of the reading comes from understanding the traditional meaning of each card.


| Feature | Tarot Cards |
| — | — |
| Interpretation | Combines personal interpretation with traditional meanings |
| Meaning | Each card has a structured and defined meaning |
| Theme | Each deck follows a traditional structure and theme |
| Purpose | Offers guidance and a specific answer to a question |

When it comes to choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards, the intended purpose of the reading and personal preference should be taken into consideration. Oracle cards may be more suitable for those seeking general guidance or advice, while Tarot cards may be preferred for those looking for more specific answers.


When it comes to imagery, Oracle cards and Tarot cards differ greatly. While Oracle cards tend to have a wider range of imagery, Tarot cards have specific symbols and archetypes that are consistent across different decks.

Oracle Cards: Oracle cards often feature diverse and unique imagery that can incorporate elements from different cultures and belief systems. This is because Oracle decks are not bound by a specific tradition or set of symbols. For example, one Oracle card deck may have cards with images of animals, while another may have cards with abstract or geometric designs. The imagery on an Oracle card is often accompanied by keywords or phrases to help the reader interpret the card’s meaning.

Tarot Cards: Tarot cards, on the other hand, have a consistent set of archetypes and symbols that are present in almost every Tarot deck. These symbols, such as The Fool, The Magician, and The High Priestess, have specific meanings that have been developed and refined over time. As a result, Tarot cards are steeped in a rich history and tradition that can add another layer of meaning to a reading. The imagery on Tarot cards often incorporates elements of numerology, astrology, and other esoteric systems of knowledge.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences in imagery between Oracle and Tarot cards:

Oracle Cards Tarot Cards
Range of Imagery Wide and diverse, often incorporating elements from different cultures and belief systems Consistent set of archetypes and symbols across different decks, steeped in tradition and history
Accompanying Text Keywords or phrases to help interpret the card’s meaning Specific meanings and interpretations developed over time

In terms of imagery, choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you are drawn to diverse imagery and want more flexibility in your interpretations, Oracle cards may be a better fit. If you are interested in the rich history and tradition of Tarot cards and want to work with established symbols and archetypes, Tarot may be a better choice for you.

Use in Divination

Both Oracle and Tarot cards are often used to provide insights into a person’s future or a situation they may be in. However, the way in which each type of card is used in divination can differ.

Oracle Cards:

  • Oracle cards generally focus on providing guidance, rather than pinpointing specific outcomes or events.
  • They often offer affirmations or messages of encouragement, rather than predictive information.
  • Readings with Oracle cards may involve drawing a single card to provide insight into a particular situation or asking a question and drawing several cards to create a more complex reading.
  • Interpreting Oracle cards often relies more on intuition and personal associations than on traditional symbolism or structured meanings.

Tarot Cards:

  • Tarot cards offer more detailed and specific information about a person’s future.
  • They can provide insights into potential outcomes and may highlight specific events or circumstances that are likely to occur.
  • Readings with Tarot cards often involve drawing several cards and interpreting them within the context of a specific spread or layout, such as the popular Celtic Cross spread.
  • Tarot cards are steeped in symbolism and each card has a specific meaning that can be interpreted within the context of the question or situation at hand.

In terms of which type of card to use for divination, it largely depends on the individual’s preferences and needs. Oracle cards may be more suitable for those who are seeking guidance or affirmation, while Tarot cards may be more appropriate for those who are seeking specific insights into their future. It’s important to keep in mind that both Oracle and Tarot cards are simply tools for divination and the true power lies within the person interpreting the messages they receive.

Choosing Between Oracle and Tarot Cards

As a beginner, choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards can be an overwhelming decision. Each deck has its strengths, weaknesses, and unique features that cater to different needs and preferences. However, by understanding your personality, purpose of readings, and level of experience, you can find the right fit for your divination journey. In this section, we’ll dive into the key factors to consider when making this challenging decision.

Personality and Preferences

When it comes to choosing between Oracle and Tarot Cards, it is important to consider your personality and preferences. Everyone has unique traits and characteristics that influence their decision-making process. Some individuals may prefer a more structured and traditional approach, while others may enjoy using tools that are more open-ended and free-form. Here are a few factors to consider:

Personality Type Preference
Structured and Analytical Individuals who are detail-oriented and prefer a systematic approach may find that Tarot Cards are a better fit for them. Tarot Cards typically have a set number of cards with specific meanings, so this can be appealing to individuals who like structure and order in their lives.
Creative and Intuitive Individuals who are drawn to free-form expression and enjoy using their intuition may prefer Oracle Cards. Oracle Cards typically have more open-ended meanings that allow the reader to use their intuition to interpret the cards. This can be appealing to individuals who enjoy exploring their creativity and imagination.
Combination of Both Some individuals may find that they enjoy both Oracle and Tarot Cards, and may want to use them in conjunction with each other. For example, they may use Tarot Cards for structured readings and Oracle Cards for more open-ended exploration.

It is important to choose a tool that resonates with you and your unique personality and preferences. Both Oracle and Tarot Cards can be powerful tools for self-discovery and introspection, and the key is choosing the one that feels most natural for you to work with.

Purpose of Readings

When it comes to the purpose of readings, Oracle and Tarot cards can differ in their approach. Oracle cards are perfect for those who want to gain insight into their current situation, find guidance and purpose, and explore their innermost emotions. Oracle cards are designed to provide more intuitive and personal interpretation of the situation, focusing on the present rather than the past or future. They can help gain clarity and assist in making decisions about how to move forward.

On the other hand, Tarot cards are often used for divination and prediction of future events, while providing insight into the past and present as well. Tarot cards contain a specific set of symbols and archetypes, which can lead to more precise and detailed readings. They can help identify patterns and trends and understanding how they relate to one’s life.

It is important to consider the purpose of readings when choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards. If you are looking for more spiritual guidance and exploring your inner self, Oracle cards are the better choice. However, if you are more interested in detailed predictions and understanding how events will unfold, Tarot cards may be suitable for you. Additionally, for those who are unfamiliar with either Oracle or Tarot, it may be beneficial to start with Oracle cards as they are easier to interpret and require less prior knowledge.

Level of Experience

When considering whether to choose Oracle or Tarot cards, your level of experience with divination is an important factor to consider. Both Oracle and Tarot cards can be used by beginners with no prior experience, but Tarot cards tend to have a steeper learning curve due to their complex symbolism and traditional structure.

If you are a beginner: Oracle cards may be a better choice for those who are new to divination or just starting to explore their spirituality. Oracle cards typically have simpler imagery and interpretations, which makes them easier to understand and use.

If you have some experience: If you have some experience with divination or are familiar with the traditional structure of Tarot, then Tarot cards may be a good choice. Tarot cards offer a greater depth of interpretation and can provide more detailed insights than Oracle cards, but this also means that they require a greater level of understanding.

If you are an experienced diviner: If you are an experienced diviner, then Tarot cards may be a preferred option. Experienced diviners are likely to have an understanding of the traditional structure of Tarot and be familiar with its complex symbolism. They also may have developed their own interpretations of the cards.

Ultimately, your level of experience with divination should guide your decision when choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards. Remember, there is no right or wrong choice, and both Oracle and Tarot cards can provide valuable insights and guidance.


In conclusion, both Oracle and Tarot cards are valuable tools for divination and gaining insight into one’s life. While Oracle cards are relatively new compared to Tarot, they offer a diverse range of themes and imagery that can speak to a wide variety of people. On the other hand, Tarot cards have a rich history and established meanings that have stood the test of time.

The choice between Oracle and Tarot cards ultimately comes down to personal preference and the purpose of the readings. Those who prefer a more intuitive and flexible approach to divination may lean towards Oracle cards, while those who value tradition and consistency may prefer Tarot. Additionally, the level of experience with card reading may also play a role in choosing between the two.

Regardless of which type of card is chosen, it’s important to remember that the cards themselves are only tools. The true insight and guidance come from within, and the cards simply offer a pathway to accessing that knowledge. So, whether Oracle or Tarot cards are used, approaching them with an open and receptive mindset can lead to profound insights and personal growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an Oracle and Tarot Card deck?

The main difference between an Oracle and Tarot Card deck is the structure – Tarot follows a strict card sequence and has 78 cards, while Oracle has more flexibility in structure and can have any number of cards.

What is the origin of Oracle Cards?

Oracle Cards have been used for divination for centuries and have origins in various cultures, including ancient Greece and Egypt.

How are Oracle Cards used?

Oracle Cards are shuffled, and the person drawing the card may ask a specific question or keep an open mind to see what the card reveals. The interpretation of the card’s meaning can provide guidance and insight into the situation at hand.

What are the strengths of Oracle Cards?

Oracle Cards offer a more flexible structure and can be used for various purposes, including self-reflection, spiritual guidance, and personal growth.

What is the origin of Tarot Cards?

Tarot Cards were first introduced in the 15th century in Europe, likely as a game, and later became popular for divination purposes.

How are Tarot Cards used?

Tarot Cards are shuffled, and the person drawing the card may ask a specific question or keep an open mind to see what the card reveals. The interpretation of the card’s meaning can provide guidance and insight into the situation at hand.

What are the strengths of Tarot Cards?

Tarot Cards have a structured sequence and a specific meaning for each card, allowing for more detailed and specific interpretations for guidance and insight.

What is the difference in imagery between Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards?

Oracle Cards often have more abstract, symbolic, or nature-based imagery, while Tarot Cards often have more structured and specific imagery, often including human figures or scenes.

What is the difference in use for divination between Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards?

While both Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards can be used for divination, Tarot Cards have a more detailed structure and specific meanings for each card, allowing for more detailed and specific interpretations.

How do I choose between an Oracle and Tarot Card deck?

Consider your personality and preferences, the purpose of your readings, and your level of experience with divination to choose between an Oracle and Tarot Card deck.


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