Probably one of the most Iconic forms of divination is Tarot Cards. We see their art in home décor, pop culture and so much more. Oracle cards can sometimes be confused with Tarot cards, and quite often you’ll hear their names being used interchangeably, but they are in fact two completely different mediums. Both effective and wonderful in their own way! I personally own both and use them frequently! So, what are the differences? where do you start?
Something I find helpful in my own practice is to research where certain methods came from to find out which resonates with me the most.
With that being said - where the heck did Tarot come from?!
Regular playing cards have been around for a long time but It wasn't until 1440 that the cards that were most likely the origin of Tarot cards were first mentioned. In a letter from the Duke of Milan, there was a request for several decks of "triumph" cards to be used at a special event. The letter differentiated triumph cards from regular "playing" cards. There were four suits with cards numbered 1 through 10 and also court cards that included a queen, king, knight and page. The deck also included 22 symbolic picture cards that did not belong to any suit. The decks were used to play a game called triumph that is similar to our modern-day bridge. The game spread quickly to all parts of Europe. People began referring to as tarocchi, which is an Italian version of the French word tarot, around 1530.
In 1781, in France and England, the secretive occult world discovered Tarot cards. They saw the symbolic pictures of the cards as having more meaning than the cards they were used for at the time. They therefore adopted the cards as a divination tool, and occult writers wrote about "the Tarot." After this, Tarot became a part of the magical world permanently.
While Tarot cards were originally created for playing games, the oracle deck was created as more of an inspirational tool in a more modern time for the specific purpose of divination. Unlike tarot cards that don’t tend to sugar coat bad information, oracle cards typically stick with more positive images and quotes focusing on healing themes. There are 78 cards in tarot decks; however, the number of cards in an oracle deck can vary from deck to deck as every deck is different and there are no set rules. Intuition reigns supreme rather than rules and traditional use.
Once you’ve decided which method you’d like to try, you may ask yourself “how do I pick a deck with so many out there!?”
Regardless of which method you choose to start out with, make sure your deck resonates with you. Remember to keep in mind what you want from your deck and what you personally connect with. Is it Angels? Animals? Past lives? Etc. It is important to remember you can never make a bad decision when it comes to choosing your deck. If it resonates with you, use it. One deck may work for you one day but not the next, that’s ok. Our energy shifts, it will come back.
I recommend choosing the first deck you were drawn to, the pictures, theme and colors all speak to you. Make sure you listen.
Both are wonderful forms of divination, but they are an art form, sometimes taking years to master. This isn’t to say anyone cannot learn, but be patient with yourself, and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Ask questions if you get stuck, one thing I have found is that most practitioners or dabblers in magic LOVE talking about their craft.
You can practice with your deck by pulling a card a day to focus on the meaning of your cards, let it resonate… what does it mean to you? Does the image on the card speak to you? What does it say? By doing this every day you’ll build a relationship with your deck and create your own connections with your cards.
Please feel free to leave me questions in the comments! I would love to help you on your divination journey!