The Difference between Oracle and Tarot Cards

Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards have always been mistaken as one. Put together as “the same thing” and one will often be confused by the other. What is the difference? What makes Oracle and Tarot cards separate?

Both provide guidance and while they have similarities, are used for different purposes.

To put it simply, something written in “The Guide To Oracle Cards” - “Oracle cards are free-flowing and aim to highlight themes and energy. Tarot is here to give more detail and look at the “what” and “why” things are happening. Tarot has 78 cards in a tarot deck and is more structured. Whereas Oracle decks can have any amount of cards”.

While it is a battle of the structured and unstructured, there are any elements of Tarot and Oracle Cards that we need to explore. This way you can make an informed decision of which ones you will purchase next.

What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards have a long history. It is known that they date back to the 1300s. While they were used more as playing cards, they started to evolve. We don’t need to go into it all, if you want to, you can here. Because of the patterns and synchronicities in the cards, they were useful for fortune-telling and were used for divination. Tarot Cards started to become more “explosive” in the 80s and 90s, which led to different Tarot decks. Now you can choose from a range of different decks in any type of theme.

But they are different from Oracle Cards because of their structure. Within a Tarot are 78 cards. The cards are divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards.

The Minor is also divided into four suites (Wands, Cups, Pentacles and Swords).

All cards mean (basically) the same thing within each deck. So once you learn one deck, you can read all. With the addition of numerology and astrological symbolism over the course of Tarot history, there are many more layers you can read within a deck of Tarot Cards. The more you work with them, the more you will learn.

Tarot allows for an in-depth description of timings, people and situations just from reading Tarot. This isn’t what Oracles offer. Tarot is also connected to the Celtic Cross, which we have written about. You can position Tarot Cards to give meanings to specific areas in your life.

Compared to Oracle Cards, Tarot requires a lot more time to learn. There is an in-depth analysis embedded into the cards and requires a lot of practice to fully understand. We do now live in a time where information is easily accessible, making it an easier experience.

What are Oracle Cards?

Oracle Cards are seen as more of a modern ritual. And is more of a divination than Tarot. The history of Oracle looks a bit like this. They were designed for fortune-telling. They were cards with simple images of symbols, animals and people. They became more popular than Tarot until Tarot was “reinvented”.

Oracle Cards were set to be more popular within the the 90s-2000s. Decks created have themes, just like Tarot, that range from animal to goddess and all decks have their own system. Their own card spread you can follow. Each creator of an Oracle deck has freedom to create what they wish.

No set numbers or meanings. They can channel it all on their own. But usually what you will get with any deck you purchase is a set of cards and a book to guide you.

Oracle cards are a great investment for those who want to experience card readings with more flexibility. Or if they are starting out with card divination. They are great for when you need a quick answer or some guidance.

If you want to know what deck is good for beginners, you can get out the top 5 oracle cards for beginners.

Final thoughts

Oracle Cards are part of my daily rituals. I pull them for clients, friends and family. Tarot Cards are something used for a more in-depth look at things that are happening. Both card decks serve a purpose and can be used for different elements of life and business.

Each person has their own preference. So why not try both and see which style you like best! We have many resources on oracle cards to guide you!


Masterclass: how to use oracle cards

The guide to oracle cards

The oracle card spread for the new year

The top 5 oracle cards for beginners

How to use lunar oracle cards

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