What Are the Major Differences Between Oracle and Tarot Cards and Which Should You Choose?

Divination tools have been widely used for centuries to tap into one’s intuition and gain insights into different aspects of life. However, with so many options out there, it can be challenging to decide which one to use. Oracle and tarot cards are two of the most popular divination tools, but what makes them different? How do they work, and which one should you choose? In this article, we will dive into the key differences between oracle and tarot cards to help make your decision-making process easier. So, grab a cup of tea, sit back, and let’s explore the mystical world of divination together.

Oracle Cards

Oracle Cards
As you explore the world of spiritual guidance, you may come across cards that are not Tarot cards – Oracle Cards. While Tarot cards have distinct meanings for each card, Oracle cards vary in that the user can create their meanings from the images and words on the card. However, Oracle cards still serve as a tool for divination and personal growth. In this section, we will explore what Oracle Cards are, how they work, and their pros and cons to help you determine if this type of card deck is right for you. For more information on the differences between Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards, check out our comparison article.

What are Oracle Cards?

Oracle cards are a divination tool used for spiritual guidance and self-discovery. They are comprised of a deck of cards, each with a unique image and message, that is used to gain insight and clarity for the user. Unlike tarot cards, oracle cards do not typically follow a specific structure or format. The images on the cards can range from nature scenes to mystical creatures to abstract designs.

Oracle cards can be used for various purposes, including daily guidance, spiritual growth, and problem solving. Some people also use them for meditation or as a tool for creative inspiration. Additionally, oracle cards can be used in conjunction with other divination tools, such as crystals or pendulums.

There are many different styles and themes of oracle cards available on the market, each with its own unique energy and message. Some popular styles include angel cards, fairy cards, animal spirit cards, and chakra cards. Depending on the user’s preferences and interests, they can choose a deck that resonates with them.

Oracle cards are relatively easy to use and do not require any specific knowledge or training. The user simply needs to focus their intention and ask a question, then draw a card from the deck. The message on the card provides guidance and insight into the question or situation at hand.

However, it’s important to remember that oracle cards should not be used as a substitute for professional advice or therapy. It’s also important to choose a deck that feels right for the user and to take care of the cards by storing them properly and cleansing them regularly.

For more information about oracle cards, check out our article on different styles of oracle and tarot cards, as well as our tips for choosing the right card deck.

How Do They Work?

How Oracle Cards Work

Oracle card decks are typically composed of 44 to 55 cards with each card containing specific imagery or messages. These decks are created by individuals or companies with varying degrees of spiritual understanding and tarot experience. Oracle decks usually come with an accompanying guidebook or booklet that contains the interpretation and meaning of each card included in the deck.

To use Oracle cards, the reader must first select a deck that resonates with them, shuffle the cards, and then ask a specific question or focus on a particular intention. Once the question or intention is set, the reader can draw a card from the deck and interpret the image or message presented on the card. Oracle cards are not bound by any specific structure or layout, and each card can stand alone or be read in combination with others in the deck to gain deeper insight.

How Tarot Cards Work

Tarot card decks, on the other hand, consist of 78 cards divided into two categories: the Major Arcana, consisting of 22 cards, and the Minor Arcana, consisting of 56 cards, structured around four suits. The imagery on each card has specific symbolic meanings, and each card can represent a specific archetype or event, as well as a range of interpretations.

Tarot cards are used similarly to Oracle cards, with the reader selecting a deck that speaks to them, shuffling the cards, and then asking a specific question or setting an intention. The reader then draws cards from the deck and arranges them in a specific layout, or spread, such as the popular “Celtic Cross” spread. Each card is interpreted within the context of its position in the spread and is read in conjunction with the other cards to provide a comprehensive answer.

Oracle Cards Tarot Cards
Decks usually consist of 44 to 55 cards with each card containing specific imagery or messages. Decks usually consist of 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.
Can be read alone or in combination with others in the deck. Interpretation of each card is influenced by its position in a spread and the cards surrounding it.
Not bound by any specific structure or layout. Readers use specific spreads, such as the popular “Celtic Cross” spread, to gain insights into specific questions or areas of life.

Choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards ultimately depends on personal preference and the type of insight or guidance one is seeking. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of each before making a decision. For a deeper dive into the pros and cons of choosing Tarot over Oracle cards, check out our article Pros and Cons of Choosing Tarot Over Oracle Cards. For tips on selecting an Oracle or Tarot deck, check out our article Oracle & Tarot Deck Tips.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Oracle Cards?

The Pros of Oracle Cards:

  • Flexibility: Oracle cards are more flexible than tarot cards because they do not have a specific structure or set of rules to follow. This means that users can interpret them in a way that works best for them.
  • Versatility: Oracle cards can be used for a range of different purposes, including divination, spiritual growth, meditation, and more.
  • Accessibility: Because oracle cards do not have the same level of complexity as tarot cards, they are easier for beginners to use and understand.
  • Personalization: Many oracle decks come with guidebooks or online resources that help users to connect with the cards on a deeper level and personalize their readings.
  • Creativity: Oracle decks are often more visually appealing and creative than tarot decks because they are not bound by traditional symbols or meanings.

The Cons of Oracle Cards:

  • Lack of Structure: While the lack of structure in oracle cards can be a pro, it can also be a con for some users who prefer a more defined set of rules and interpretations.
  • Less History: Oracle cards have less historical significance than tarot cards, which may be a deterrent for users who are interested in the history and tradition behind divination systems.
  • Inconsistency: Because each oracle deck is unique, there is a potential for inconsistency in readings and interpretations across different decks and users.
  • Subjectivity: Oracle cards rely heavily on the interpretation and intuition of the user, which may not be appealing for those who prefer a more objective or scientific approach to divination.

Tarot Cards

Moving on from Oracle cards, let’s delve into the world of another divination tool – the mysterious Tarot cards. With its origins traced back to 15th century Europe, Tarot cards have been a subject of intrigue for centuries. Unlike the straightforward nature of Oracle cards, Tarot cards are known for their deep symbolism and enigmatic aesthetics. Let’s explore the world of Tarot and understand what sets it apart from Oracle cards.

What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards are a deck of 78 cards that are often used for divination, meditation, and self-discovery. They were first used in Italy during the 15th century as a card game, but their use for divination began in the 18th century. Tarot cards are divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana cards and the Minor Arcana cards.

The Major Arcana Cards

The Major Arcana cards consist of 22 cards, each with its own unique symbol and meaning. These cards represent major life events and archetypes that are common to all individuals. Some of the most well-known Major Arcana cards include:

  1. The Fool: represents new beginnings and taking risks
  2. The Magician: represents manifestation and the power of intention
  3. The Empress: represents abundance, nurturing, and creativity
  4. The Tower: represents sudden change and release
  5. The World: represents completion and fulfillment

The Minor Arcana Cards

The Minor Arcana cards consist of 56 cards, divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit has 14 cards, including ten numbered cards and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana cards represent the everyday experiences and challenges that we face. Some of the most well-known Minor Arcana cards include:

  1. Ace of Wands: represents new opportunities and inspiration
  2. Five of Cups: represents loss and emotional transition
  3. Ten of Swords: represents endings and a need for release
  4. Page of Cups: represents emotional intelligence and creative energy

Tarot cards are read through different spreads, or arrangements of cards, with each card in the spread representing a different aspect of the question or situation being asked about. The meaning of the cards can vary depending on their position and the context of the reading. Tarot readings can provide insight into past, present, and future events, as well as guidance on decision-making and personal growth.

How Do They Work?

Both Oracle cards and Tarot cards function as divination tools used to gain insight and understanding of one’s life, relationships or future events. However, the way they work and the methodology behind them differ.

Oracle Cards
Oracle cards are a type of divination tool that don’t follow a particular system of rules and are usually not structured in a specific manner. Oracle decks usually contain a set number of cards, typically ranging from 44 to 64 cards with each card having its unique symbol or image.

The reader can interpret these symbols based on their intuitive feelings or the guidebook that comes with the deck, and this forms the basis of the reading. Oracle cards commonly cover areas like love, relationships, work, personal development, and spirituality.

Unlike tarot cards, oracle cards can be easily used by beginners as they require no prior knowledge of symbolism or interpretation, and the cards can be used straight out of the box.

Tarot Cards
Tarot cards have more structure compared to Oracle cards, based on centuries-old symbolism and archetypes. The traditional tarot deck consists of 78 cards, divided into two categories known as the Major Arcana (22 cards) and Minor Arcana (56 cards).

Each card in the Tarot deck has its unique meaning and symbolism, and the reader interprets these based on their position in a spread, as well as their interaction with other cards. Tarot is often associated with occultism, mysticism, and esoteric knowledge, and each card represents a particular stage of spiritual development, from the Fool’s journey to the attainment of enlightenment.

Tarot Cards are great tools for gaining insight into complex and challenging situations and are often used by professional readers who have undergone years of study and practice.

Comparison of Oracle and Tarot Cards

Oracle Cards Tarot Cards
Require no prior knowledge of symbolism or interpretation Require study and understanding of symbolism and meaning
More intuitive and flexible in interpretation Follow a specific set of rules and structure
Can be used by beginners Require more practice and expertise


While both Oracle and Tarot cards can help gain insight and understanding into one’s life, they have distinct differences in terms of structure, methodology, and interpretation. Those who want a more intuitive and flexible tool may find Oracle cards more suitable, while those who want a more structured and in-depth tool may find Tarot cards more appropriate. Ultimately, the choice between them depends on the individual’s preference and level of experience.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards have several pros and cons that must be taken into account when considering whether to use them for divination or personal growth. Below is a table that outlines the main advantages and disadvantages of tarot cards:

Pros Cons
Rich Symbolism: Tarot cards are steeped in mystical symbolism and can offer profound insights into the human psyche. Learning Curve: Learning to interpret tarot cards can be time-consuming and requires a good deal of study.
Versatility: Tarot cards can be used for a wide range of purposes, including divination, meditation, and personal growth. Intimidating: Tarot cards can be intimidating for some people, especially those who are unfamiliar with them or have preconceived notions about their use.
Accuracy: Many people find that tarot cards provide accurate and insightful information about their lives and circumstances. Skepticism: Some people are skeptical about the accuracy or legitimacy of tarot cards as a tool for personal growth or divination.
Self-Reflection: Tarot cards can help individuals explore their own thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a deeper way. Dependence: Some people may become overly dependent on tarot cards for guidance, and may struggle to make decisions without consulting them.

It’s important to weigh these pros and cons when deciding whether to use tarot cards for personal growth or divination. While they are a powerful tool for self-exploration, they also require a significant investment of time and energy to master. Those who are intimidated by the cards or skeptical of their accuracy may prefer to use a different tool for divination or personal growth. Ultimately, the decision to use tarot cards should be based on personal preference and individual needs.


Now that we have a clear understanding of Oracle and Tarot cards, it’s only natural to compare the two and highlight their differences. Both these divination tools hold their unique significance and offer distinct benefits. However, it can be perplexing to decide which one to choose for your spiritual practice. Thus, we’ll dive deeper into the key differences between Oracle and Tarot cards so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s explore the pros, cons, and uses of each divination tool so that you can understand which one resonates with you the most.

Major Differences

There are several major differences between Oracle cards and Tarot cards that are worth exploring. Here are some of the key differences:

  • Structure and Design: Oracle cards typically have a simpler design structure compared to Tarot cards. While Tarot cards have a standard set of 78 cards, Oracle card decks vary in the number of cards they have. Oracle cards also have different themes, ranging from angels and fairies to colors and animals.
  • Meaning and Interpretation: The meaning and interpretation of Tarot cards are grounded in a set of traditional symbols and archetypes. These symbols and archetypes provide a foundation for interpreting the cards. Oracle cards, on the other hand, don’t have a set of traditional symbols and archetypes. The meaning and interpretation of Oracle cards are based on the imagery and theme of each card.
  • Questioning: Tarot cards are well suited for answering specific questions. Each Tarot card has a specific meaning associated with it that can be used to answer questions about the past, present, or future. Oracle cards, on the other hand, are better suited for providing guidance and insights on general life themes or situations. They are not necessarily designed to provide specific answers to specific questions.
  • Reading Techniques: Reading Tarot cards involves shuffling the deck and drawing cards, either in a spread or randomly. Tarot readers then use their knowledge of the symbols and archetypes associated with each card to interpret the reading. With Oracle cards, readers may choose to shuffle the deck and draw cards or simply choose the card that they are drawn to. The interpretation of Oracle cards often relies on intuition rather than traditional symbol interpretation.

Each type of card has its own strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, the choice between Oracle and Tarot cards depends on what you want to achieve with your reading. If you are looking for specific answers, Tarot cards might be the best option for you. If, however, you want guidance and insight on a more general level, Oracle cards might be a better fit.

Which One Should You Choose?

When deciding between Oracle and Tarot cards, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and intuition. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice:

  • Purpose: Determine why you want to use the cards. Are you seeking general guidance, specific answers, or a deeper understanding of yourself and your path?
  • Symbolism: Consider which set of symbols resonate with you more. Oracle cards typically have a wider range of illustrations, while Tarot cards follow a standard set of major and minor arcana.
  • Complexity: If you are new to card readings, you may find Oracle cards easier to work with due to their simpler interpretations. Tarot cards may require more study and practice to fully understand and interpret.
  • History: Tarot cards have a longer history and deeper cultural roots, while Oracle cards are a more modern invention. Consider which appeals to you more.
  • Intuition: Ultimately, trust your intuition and choose the deck that speaks to you. It’s important to establish a connection with your cards in order to receive accurate and meaningful readings.

Remember, both Oracle and Tarot cards can provide valuable insights and guidance, so there is no right or wrong choice. It’s important to choose the deck that resonates with you personally and supports your spiritual journey.

Do’s and Don’ts When Choosing Between Oracle and Tarot Cards

When it comes to choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards, there are certain do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind to make a well-informed decision. Here are some tips to help you choose the right deck:


  • Research the meanings behind each deck
  • Choose a deck that resonates with you and your personal beliefs
  • Consider the artwork and imagery of the cards
  • Trust your intuition when selecting a deck
  • Read reviews and recommendations from others who have experience with the decks


  • Choose a deck solely based on popularity
  • Assume that one type of deck is better than the other
  • Buy a deck solely based on a recommendation without researching it yourself
  • Choose a deck that doesn’t fit your beliefs or personal style
  • Choose a deck solely based on the artwork without understanding the meanings behind the cards

Keep in mind that selecting the right deck is a personal decision and what works for one person may not work for another. Take the time to research and explore different options before making a decision. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can make an informed decision and find a deck that suits your needs and preferences.


In conclusion, it is important to understand that both Oracle and Tarot cards can be valuable tools for gaining insight and guidance. While Oracle cards offer more flexibility and variety in their messages, Tarot cards have a more structured and traditional approach.

Ultimately, the choice between Oracle and Tarot cards depends on personal preference and individual needs. Some may find Oracle cards to be more approachable and user-friendly, while others may prefer the depth and complexity of Tarot readings.

When choosing between Oracle and Tarot cards, always consider the purpose of the reading and what you hope to gain from it. It is important to approach these tools with an open mind and a willingness to receive whatever messages come through.

Remember that although Oracle and Tarot cards can offer insight and guidance, they should never be relied on as the sole source of decision making in your life. It is important to use them as a supplement to your own intuition and common sense.

Overall, Oracle and Tarot cards can be powerful tools for self-discovery and personal growth. Whether you choose to work with Oracle or Tarot cards, or both, always approach them with respect and gratitude for the guidance they provide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between oracle and tarot cards?

Oracle cards are used for divination and guidance, while tarot cards have a more complex system of symbolism and structure.

What are some common types of oracle cards?

Common types of oracle cards include those based on angelic guidance, animal totems, and nature spirits.

What does it mean when an oracle card is reversed?

A reversed oracle card suggests that the guidance it provides may be blocked or delayed in some way.

What are the origins of tarot cards?

The origins of tarot cards are unclear, but they are believed to have originated in Italy during the 15th century.

What are the major arcana cards in a tarot deck?

The major arcana cards in a tarot deck include The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, and The World.

What does it mean when a tarot card is reversed?

A reversed tarot card suggests that the traditional meaning of the card may be blocked or inverted in some way.

Can oracle and tarot cards be used together?

Yes, both types of cards can be used together for divination and guidance.

What should I ask when using oracle or tarot cards?

You can ask for guidance on a particular situation or question, or ask for general insight and direction in your life.

How often should I use oracle or tarot cards?

There is no set frequency for using oracle or tarot cards, but it is recommended to use them only when you feel called to seek guidance or clarity.

Is it possible to learn to read oracle or tarot cards?

Yes, with practice and study it is possible to learn to read and interpret the symbols and meanings of oracle and tarot cards.


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