Tarot vs Oracle Cards: Which One Is Right for You?

Growing up as a Latina in a Catholic family, the word “bruja” was never mentioned in a positive context

tarot for beginners

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Growing up as a Latina in a Catholic family, the word “bruja” was never mentioned in a positive context. It was typically spoken with a tone of trepidation. So one can imagine how I was initially received when I brought my first tarot deck home. I say this to put divination in context for what it’s often perceived to be. This was the late 90s and how things have changed.

Gone are many of the stigmas associated with divination, specifically Tarot and Oracle decks. In the past few years, we’ve seen what was a highly taboo practice go mainstream with decks being sold at retailers like Barnes and Noble and Target.

There is literally a deck for just about everything. I have a collection of approximately 100 decks that range from erotica to religion, and everything in between. I even created my own oracle deck two years ago for personal brand mastery and business development. Now, before you run to Amazon to buy your next deck, take some time to learn the difference between a Tarot deck and an Oracle deck.

Tarot Decks

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These are the most well-known type of divination cards. They use a very specific structure, breaking up into two parts: the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards, each representing life situations and/or experiences. These cards follow a story, very similar to the Hero’s Journey. The first card is the Fool and the last card is the World. As you go from the Fool to the World there are opportunities to learn from all the cards in between.

The Minor Arcana has a similar storytelling structure, but these cards are broken up into four suit types: Cups, Pentacles, Wands, and Swords.  There are 56 Minor Arcana cards, bringing a full tarot card deck to 78 cards total.

The Minor Arcana cards resemble the traditional playing deck used for Poker, Spades, or Solitaire. The Cups are represented by the hearts, the Pentacles are represented by the diamonds, the Wands are represented by the clubs, and the Swords are represented by the spades. Whereas a traditional card deck only has 3 court cards (Jack, Queen, and King), the Minor Arcana has 4 court cards for each suit (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).

Each suit represents a journey or story that corresponds with that type.

  • The Cups represent a journey of emotions and creativity.
  • The Pentacles represent a journey of money and wealth.
  • The Wands represent a journey of spirituality and taking action.
  • The Swords represent a journey of intellect and power.

Oracle Decks

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These decks are the ones that have gained momentum in popularity because there’s no set structure for how each oracle deck is created. Anyone can create an oracle deck and assign to it whatever purpose and outline they want. Coaches often create their own oracle decks to use with their clients, while artists often create decks to showcase their creativity.

When deciding which deck is right for you, the best thing to do is understand what exactly you want to gain from a reading. A good reading will offer you the insight to reflect on whatever you need to reflect on or gain clarity with.

Oracle decks are great for short term types of questions that require you to do some inner reflection and soul searching.

  • What should I focus on this month?
  • I’m stuck between two choices.
  • How do I figure out my purpose?

Tarot cards are great for long term type of questions that speak to your overall life journey.

  • How should I prepare for the new year?
  • What do I think about before quitting the job I hate?
  • WTF am I doing with my life?

The more you know about decks, the better you can leverage them to help give you that fresh perspective and insight that you’re looking for.

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