It is difficult at first sight to differentiate between a tarot deck and an oracle deck. Many people confuse them or think that the oracle is a secondary name for the tarot. "What are the differences between the two?". "How to read and understand an oracle?". "Should you go for the tarot or the oracle when you are a beginner?". These are the recurring questions I get asked every day. For these reasons, we are going to approach the subject today in order to clarify the differences between the oracle cards and the tarot cards.
Difference between oracle and tarot
What is tarot
The name "Tarot" defines a deck of cards composed of:
- 22 major arcana
- 56 minor arcana
Tarot cards have a traditional deck structure and common meanings. There are generally 78 cards with a similar ratio of major and minor arcana. Some decks like to stand out and be a little different. You might end up with 80 cards or 44 cards, but most of the time, 78 cards will make up the tarot. The "minor arcana" are the most concrete and clearest cards, because they speak to everyday themes and help to complement the major arcana, which raise broader themes.
The major arcanas such as the goddess, the moon or the world will bring you indications and trends to your questions. Don't panic, we have already prepared a guide to interpreting the Tarot to help you learn 😃
The illustrations of the cards may be completely different, but the message they deliver is the same. So with tarot cards, the interpretation will be the same regardless of the deck used.
What are oracle cards
Unlike Tarot, Oracle cards allow complete freedom in the structure and interpretation of the cards. Oracle cards can contain almost any type of content. With Oracle cards, there is no set number of cards. You can have a deck with 12 cards or 100 cards at the author's discretion.
Oracle cards do not have a common theme. Some will be based on spirituality, others on self-confidence and learning to love.
Energetically, the oracle cards are real catalysts and contain a lot of energy. They give a sense of the larger meaning of what is going on, but tarot cards can provide more detailed interpretations.
In terms of illustrations, I personally find the artistic side much more worked in the oracle cards. One can easily get lost in the beauty of the oracle cards.
If we take the metaphor of a book, when you do a reading with tarot cards, it looks like a storybook and each of these cards is a page in that book. With Oracle cards, on the other hand, it's more like a whole book or a chapter in the book.
Which is better tarot or oracle cards
No, both are complementary. It is up to the user's preference to choose the deck that best suits him/her and with which he/she feels in osmosis.
Because of its universal nature, learning the Tarot allows you to use different tarot cards without having to learn everything from scratch. The reading of the cards will require a more substantial investment, but will bring you more precise answers.
The oracle has a more artistic vocation. We are immersed in the heart of the author's world. Easier to approach, it immediately gives the keys to read the cards to facilitate the understanding of the message delivered. However, the author's world can limit the answers brought by the cards when one wishes to have answers on complex subjects.
How to use oracle cards with tarot
As we have said, the Tarot and the Oracle cards are complementary. Here are two of our favorite ways to use them together:
At the beginning of the reading, draw an Oracle card to understand the general theme or feeling that is influencing the situation. What is the surrounding energy? Is it positive? Then do the Tarot reading with several cards to get detailed answers. Also look for the theme of the Oracle card in the tarot reading. You will often find that the tarot cards explain in more detail what is going on.
At the end of a tarot reading, draw an Oracle card to understand the underlying theme, or to give advice and recommendations, a parting message to the consultant. It closes the Tarot reading and adds a dimension of reflection.