Oracle Cards – Choosing The Right Deck and How to Use Them

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card reading

Oracle cards have a rich history. Their origins date back to the 19th century in France, though their popularity truly soared during the later years of the 20th century. These card decks are primarily used to reveal information, help you receive guidance, and enhance personal intuition. Each card deck is different. For instance, some sets include only pictures while others have both pictures and a quote. Many oracle card decks come with a small guidebook that features deeper and more detailed readings as well as additional meanings. It all depends on the deck you choose. Interested in learning more? Or trying oracle cards for yourself? Keep reading to find out how to choose the right deck and how to put this metaphysical tool to use.

What Are Oracle Cards?

oracle cards

Essentially, oracle cards (which may also be referred to as divination cards or an oracle card deck) are sets of cards that have specific pictures, quotes, themes, or meanings. One set may be dedicated to certain spirit animals while another could be focused on Archangel Michael, crystal healing, fairies, mermaids or another type of mythical creature. The cards and their themes can vary dramatically from deck to deck.

Oracle cards are unique because they do not have dedicated “rules” attached to their use. The pictures and quotes can vary. So can the number of cards in each deck. (Some have as little as 20 cards where others have over a hundred!) Each card tends to have an illustration that ties into the theme of the deck along with a word, quote, or phrase with a targeted message. Some examples of the latter include, “Say Yes,” or “Focus on Forgiveness” or even “Spend Time Resting Today.”

So, what exactly is the purpose? Oracle cards are something the divine speaks through. The cards themselves are not magical in any way…but they can be used to focus your own personal intuition and help you connect to spiritual guidance. These cards can answer questions, offer guidance, and help strengthen your sense of self. The more you use the cards, the easier it is to understand what is being revealed. As your energetic and emotional connection to the card deck increases (and as your intuition builds), it becomes easier to understand how the revealed message applies to your life.  

Choosing the Right Card Deck

Now that you know what oracle cards are – and what their intended use is – it is time to find a deck that works for you. Though many people think this a complicated process, it doesn’t need to be. Simply rely on your intuition. If you are at a metaphysical shop or even a bookstore with a selection of cards, take some time to gauge how you feel. Pick up different decks, look at the covers, read the description on the back of the box, and pay close attention to your gut reaction. Whatever deck you are most connected to is the one you should choose. It all comes down to what feels right and what deck you want to work with. Try not to over think. Instead, just listen to what your body is telling you.

As for the number of oracle card decks you own, that is entirely up to you. Some people have a deep connection with one or two decks and prefer to stick to just those sets. On the other hand, some people have many different oracle card decks and choose which deck to work with based on either intuition (where you select the deck by listening to your gut or intuitively reaching for a particular set of cards) or a specific need (for instance, if you want to connect to the angelic realm or hear from spirit animal guides, you choose a set of cards specifically related to these areas). When it comes to using or purchasing oracle card decks, always do what feels right to you in the present moment. 

How to Use Oracle Cards

oracle card session

Once you have a specific deck that you want to use, it is time to begin your reading. If this is a brand new deck, clear away any outside energies and shuffle the deck thoroughly beforehand. Start by:

  1. Setting an intention. Focus your mind on the area of your life you would like to receive guidance on. You may want to keep it general or ask a specific question. Then call in the divine by asking for clear knowledge and truth during the reading. (Many oracle cards come with a short prayer to say before a reading. For instance, “I ask that only divine love and wisdom comes through during this oracle card session.”)
  2. Shuffle the cards for as long as you feel guided to do so. There isn’t a right or wrong way to shuffle. You may feel called to shuffle for a short time or for much longer…so listen to your instincts.
  3. Choose your card or cards. There are many different oracle card layouts that you can try. Or you might feel that pulling just one card is appropriate. Remember, there are no rules. Do what feels right to you! You can pull a card from the top of the deck, the middle, or pick up a card that fell out of the deck during shuffling. Once again, this really is about intuition. Those choices will become more natural the more you use oracle cards. 
  4. Look at the card. Study each image, read the quote, and look at the guidebook. These steps will help you gain a stronger understanding of what you are being told. Focus on what resonates for you. Does anything specific come to mind? Is an ah-ha moment happening? Pay attention to whatever is coming up for you mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

The Difference Between Oracle Cards and Tarot Cards

You might be wondering…what about tarot cards? Are they the same thing? Though many people who use oracle cards are also interested in tarot cards, they are decidedly different. Oracle card decks do not have any hard and set rules. The number of cards in a deck may vary from one to another. The pictures can change, the amount of words or information can vary and so on.

When it comes to tarot cards on the other hand, there are certain characteristics that make up each deck. For instance, tarot cards always have 78 cards in the deck. Regardless of the design or theme of the tarot deck, there are absolutes. Like the major and minor arcana and the four suits. Learning to read and interpret tarot cards is a skill that takes a lot of time to learn, whereas oracle cards are more beginner friendly but also suitable for advanced and intermediate skill levels. 

Oracle cards are a wonderful way to gain insight and wisdom. They strengthen intuition and allow you to connect to the divine on a deeper level. Once you find the right deck for you…incorporating these cards into your life will be oh-so-simple.