How Are Tarot Cards Different From Oracle Cards?

Tarot or Oracle cards, how to know which is which?

How Tarot Cards Are Different From Oracle Cards unsplash

Both Tarot and Oracle cards are tools of divination which is possibly the preeminent similarity between the two. Both can be use as a compliment to astrology interpretations and understanding transits affecting your zodiac sign.

There are more differences between the two tools and the ways they differ can be subtle but are important. 

RELATED VIDEO: Where Do I Begin? 5 Baby Steps For Tarot Beginners


Tarot and Oracle can both be used completely alone if you have a leaning for one over the other, it's really about which type your zodiac sign is able to connect with on an intuitive level. You may be the kind of reader that also enjoys using them both for the individual strengths they offer. 


Tarot and Oracle cards are frequently used together by seasoned readers. There is a rather intuitive pairing for these as Tarot stations as the foundation for the reading and the Oracle cards fit seamlessly into the position of "additional" guidance for the Tarot cards main points.

This method is especially useful for times when a tarot card's insight poses a new question to the reader and looking deeper is needed.  Using these cards in that way adds depth to any tarot reading or astrological problem you face at that time. 



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Tarot decks are standardized to 78 cards, 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana there are some interesting decks that step out of that format slightly.

Tarot is a defined system and that system is repeated in symbolism and the image themes that are usually present in all tarot decks regardless of the deck style you've chosen. 

Ideas for beginner two card Tarot spread:  

  • Laugh/Cry
  • Stay/Go
  • Remember/Let Go
  • Past/Present
  • Present/Future
  • Past/Future
  • Love It/Leave It
  • Dream/Work

For Tarot, you will see that the themes present in the major and minor arcana are pretty standard across the many artist created decks. Regardless of the artistic take on the card presentation, which can vary quite a bit.


For instance, the High Priestess card will be present in all tarot decks but the artist may create a different depiction of her but her overall themes still remain consistent to other High Priestess cards. 

When working with tarot you can really benefit from first working to memorize the all the cards in the deck you've chosen. This is going to allow you to have a quicker flow to your understanding of the first impressions your cards are giving you. 

There are many ways to lay the cards out for your readings, the sky's the limit, or rather the stars are the limit, after all, it is cosmic energy your working with. 

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Oracle cards are the other divination tool we'll look at to better understand. Oracle cards are quite different from Tarot cards. There is, first of all, no standard number of cards in an Oracle deck.

The amount of cards included can vary wildly from deck to deck, allowing you to use a deck with whatever number of cards you wish to work with. 


Ideas for beginner 2 card Oracle card spread:

  • Rest/Work
  • Reality/Fear
  • Gain/Loose
  • Strength/Weakness
  • Reality/Illusion
  • Thought/Emotion
  • Lesson/Mistake
  • Hope/Fear

Oracle cards do not contain the same system of symbols or sets of cards like the Tarot has. Oracle cards are intended to be guide cards for discerning what in yourself you should focus on to answer the question you've posed. 

For example, Oracle decks can be used in a wide variety of useful ways, including as mantras for meditations and yoga, to add a focal point. You can also use oracle cards to glimpse what energy you are vibration-wise so that you can work toward adjustments if you feel the need to. 


Remember when you're using Oracle cards they work with inspiration and many of the messages of Oracle cards are encouraging you to look deeper into yourself and what drives you. In these insights, if your really looking, the messages will be clear.

That's not to say it will always fit a preconceived notion for what you want to see. It's important to approach any divination with as little expectation as you possibly can, that way you can actually use the insights for real growth. 


Amanda Ilene Sawyer is a writer and Mississippi native who is interested in science, anthropology, and spiritualism. When she's not writing about astrology, numerology, and tarot, she enjoys running her business and designing macrame pieces for her Etsy shop.


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