August 24, 2023

Tarot vs Oracle cards

By Pearlyn Neo
Tarot vs Oracle cards

If you're first entering the world of Cartomancy, it's easy to get overwhelmed between tarot decks and oracle decks. I thought I'd do a quick post to talk about the difference between the two!


  • Tarot Cards: A standard Tarot deck usually consists of 78 cards, divided into two main parts: the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards, divided into four suits). There are certain decks that might include an extra 1-2 cards with the artist's illustration and take. E.g. The Ethereal Visions Illuminated Deck comes with The Artist card that is not traditionally found in a standard deck. It is entirely up to you to decide if you want to use the extra cards! If it calls out to you, feel free to include it in your reading. 
  • Oracle Cards: Oracle decks can vary widely in terms of the number of cards and the themes they cover. Some oracle decks may have as few as 30 cards, while others could have more than 100 cards. The structure and themes of oracle cards are often more flexible and depend on the creator's intentions.

Art and Imagery:

  • Tarot Cards: Tarot cards have a structured set of imagery and symbols that have specific meanings. Many traditional tarot decks use a consistent art style and symbolism across the cards. There are some decks that are more abstract but with the standard suits (Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles), the deck is fixed and will not differ much. 
  • Oracle Cards: Oracle cards offer more artistic freedom. The imagery on oracle cards can vary greatly from deck to deck, and creators may draw from a wide range of themes, such as angels, animals, chakras, affirmations, and more.
Divinatory Use:
  • Tarot Cards: Tarot readings typically involve the use of specific spreads and a structured interpretation based on the symbolism and placement of cards in the spread. The meanings of tarot cards are often well-defined and rooted in tradition. 
  • Oracle Cards: Oracle readings are more intuitive and flexible. Readers may use a variety of spreads, or they may simply draw a single card for guidance. Interpretations are often based on the imagery, keywords, and personal intuition of the reader.
Intention and Focus:
  • Tarot Cards: Tarot readings are often seen as a means of gaining deeper insights into a situation, exploring subconscious influences, and getting some clarity on complex life issues. 
  • Oracle Cards: Oracle readings tend to focus more on immediate guidance, emotional support, and inspiration. They can help users connect with their intuition and receive messages from the spiritual realm.

In summary, while both oracle and tarot cards are tools for divination and self-discovery, tarot cards have a more structured history and symbolism, whereas oracle cards offer greater artistic freedom and intuitive interpretation. The choice between the two depends on your personal preferences, beliefs, and the kind of guidance you seek. I personally enjoy using both tarot and oracle in a reading; more often using an oracle deck to substantiate my reading and provide deeper insights. Pick and use your decks intuitively and you will be guided!