So, I’m going to go on record and give you the answer RIGHT at the beginning of this blog and say that there is no right or wrong answer as to which set of divination cards, tarot or oracle, are the best to use.
It’s up to you!
There are some people who do not use oracle or tarot cards at all. Instead they use bones, cowrie shells, runes, or playing cards. I just wanted to preface this writing with the note that there is no best or worst tool for divination.
Your First Tarot Deck
I suggest purchasing a deck that has imagery that sticks with you, and learning with that deck for as long as you are comfortable. When you first get your deck, instead of jumping into reading, I suggest just sitting with it or sleeping next to it. If you have some downtime, overhand shuffle or standard shuffle your deck. This is what I call channeling, and it will help attune the deck to your energies.
Another good starting tip is to flip through each card of the deck. Yes, all 78 Major and Minor Arcana cards! This action is to, hopefully, allow you to get familiar with the images. Pick out cards that have imagery, symbols, persons, or animals that speak to you. There may be many, or there may be one or two, and once you’ve found them. Do some research on the cards indicated and see if they have any meaning or connection to current situations that you may be experiencing.
Guidebooks and Research
Most Tarot and oracle decks come with a Guidebook. A guidebook is the author’s interpretation of each card, and often what it means in comparison to the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, as that is the longest and most common tarot deck in use today. Often, for a beginner, it is good to go by both the guidebook provided to give you a gist about what the card can mean in upright or reverse pulls – if you choose to read card reversals, and most importantly, your intuition. There are some tarot readers that do not, and some that find that reading reversed cards and the meanings attached to them to be a bit difficult for newer readers. That is your choice.
Ultimately, this is to get your eye and intuition familiar with cards that may show up during readings for you or another person, should you choose to read for others.
Oracle decks are decks that utilize specific imagery and meaning for divination purposes. Each card in the tarot deck, from The Fool to the Queen of Swords, has a dedicated meaning based on the creation of the Rider-Waite in the 1900s.
Research states that before the Lenormand deck, which is considered the first oracle deck created in the 1800’s and named after Madame Marie Anne Adelaid Lenormand who was a fortune teller for Empress Josephine Bonaparte – the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, recently, the Burning Serpent deck, published in 1775, has been credited as the oldest iteration of an oracle deck.
How to Read with an Oracle Deck
Oracle decks are, specifically, up to the authors interpretation. You would want use the same care in selecting an oracle deck that you would a tarot deck. However, I would suggest using a little more caution – as the meanings, imagery, and use is up to the author. This is what makes oracle decks so interesting. Each one is individually created by the author with certain intention in mind. Some oracle decks are used to provide positive affirmations. Some decks are used to indicate which chakra you may want to work on, and some can be used to provide song lyrics.
Tarot and Oracle Together
What people can do, commonly, is do a tarot spread and supplement that reading with the oracle deck to solidify the message. Some may choose to do a simple one card reading with the oracle deck and pull one to three cards from the tarot to focus the broader message that an oracle deck can provide. Some people only use tarot and oracle decks singularly, without using them together as a whole.
However you choose to read, or whichever deck you choose to purchase and use, both types of divination tools can provide powerful messages for you and those you’re reading for. All it takes is practice and consistency!