The Difference Between Oracle and Tarot Cards - The Shankara Experience

The Difference Between Oracle and Tarot Cards

In the realm of spiritual health, you can look to divination, astrology and numerology (among others) as tools to better understand yourself and your experiences. A popular form of divination is done by using tarot and oracle cards in order to ask for (and receive) guidance on many issues or questions that you need answered. Tarot and oracle readings are a great tool to use for self-improvement- you just need to know which one you need! The good thing is too, is that you can integrate both of these tools together once you’ve learned their key differences and similarities.

Let’s jump in!

What are Oracle and Tarot Cards?

You may have seen the magic eight ball used to predict information about a person’s life. Well, there are so many ways fortune tellers predict this information, and among the items they use are the oracle and tarot cards, referred to as cartomancy. These decks of cards often contain beautiful artwork that is based on a common meaning (Tarot) or up to interpretation (Oracle), and they can help you glean some insight and clarity on personal growth, your future endeavors and give you some new perspective on a situation that you’re currently facing. They can even inspire you as well! At its simplest, to use either deck of cards, you have to focus (your intention is key) and ask a question as you shuffle, and draw multiple cards, or a single card from the deck to answer your question. Oracle cards tend to be easier to learn, whereas when reading tarot cards you’ll need to know the card meanings, or at least have a guide handy.

Tarot Cards

Historically, tarot cards evolved from playing cards believed to be used as early as the mid-1300s.  Tarot cards have a predictable, traditional structure and have about 78 cards. The cards have common meanings, and most decks are derived from the Rider-Waite deck (the very first tarot deck) with standard themes and similar messages behind the cards, even though the pictures and images may differ. There are 22 cards that correspond to the Major Arcana, the core foundation of the deck that is full of archetypical significance, and the Minor Arcana, which are the suit cards that contain cups, wands, swords and pentacles.

What Makes Tarot Cards Unique?

Let’s take a look at what makes these cards different, shall we?

  • Tarot cards have a common theme running through most cards.
  • Due to the years and years of numerology, astrological symbols, and history in the tarot cards, there are layers of meanings in the cards you can read as you continue working with tarot cards. Tarot cards offer in-depth descriptions of people and situations so much so that you can tell someone’s star sign, the time you will meet them, and a basic description of the person.
  • Tarot cards follow a set of rules that the original masters laid out.
  • You invest a lot of time learning tarots. Due to its vast history, there are many courses, books, and content on the internet to help one learn and understand the meaning of Tarot cards. With the many guidebooks, if you are not a fan of studying, you can use the basic meanings to do your readings.

Oracle Cards

While tarot is riddled in archetypes and its own lore for each card, oracle cards are not so strict, and instead are open to interpretation and feeling. The Lenormand deck, named after a French fortune-teller, is one of the earliest examples of oracle decks. They had simple images corresponding to regular playing cards; they were of symbols, people, and animals. Like tarot, these cards had many themes ranging from angels and goddesses to animals. The Oracle cards’ popularity soared before the Rider-Waite deck was created, and afterward, they regained their popularity in the 90s and 2000s’ New Age movement.

What Makes Oracle Cards Unique?

  • Each oracle card deck has its unique system. Oracle card decks have no structure and lack history, giving the authors the free will to create cards however they feel.
  • The Oracle deck has no set number of cards; it can have as low as ten cards or as many as 100; it also has no suits.
  • Each deck has a unique meaning; there is no set meaning across various decks. When buying the cards, there is a guidebook that comes with it to explain what each card means.
  • Oracle decks are broad and have many different interpretations, messages, meanings, and perspectives. Oracle cards are simple to understand and suitable for beginners in card divination.

The Major Differences Between Tarot and Oracle Cards

What differentiates tarot cards from Oracle cards? Going back to the big cat family analogy, looking at the various unique features of the cheetah and the leopard can help one find the differences between the two. Away from the jungle, now that we have seen the features and have walked through the history of both tarot and oracle cards, it is easier to pinpoint the several differences in these cards.

  • Tarot cards have a traditional structure with rules to follow, while Oracle cards don’t have and are free-flowing.
  • Tarot cards have a lot of history since they have been in use since 1300, while the Oracle cards do not have a lot of history; therefore, the artists have a lot of freedom regarding what content they can include in the cards.
  • Additionally, one needs a lot of time to learn Tarot; you need a level of mastery and proficiency, unlike Oracle cards.
  • Oracle decks have no set number of cards or suits, unlike Tarot decks with four suits and mostly 78 cards per deck.
  • Tarot cards have a common theme, while oracle cards do not.

Does this mean that one is more effective than the other? Not at all; the decision on which one is better than the other wholly depends on the user. It is also common today to use tarot and oracle cards together. So how can you use them together?

  • At the end of a Tarot reading, you can draw a card from the oracle deck to understand the theme, give recommendations and advice, and give a parting message to add closure to the reading.
  • You can also draw an Oracle card at the start of a Tarot reading to understand the situation’s general feeling or theme. The Tarot reading is then used to give the complete picture.

Starting the divination journey may be quite challenging, especially if you don’t know what you are getting into and which tools to use; however, with the knowledge of tarot and oracle cards you have acquired from this article, you can confidently choose what would work for you. There are so many benefits of using these cards and working with them. So, embrace your intuition and create an amazing life for yourself with the guidance that you get from your cards, and remember, the power is within you to create the reality that you desire!

The Shankara Experience and Shri Krishna

The Shankara Experience is the world’s most advanced divination system, combining several ancient oracle tools and sacred processes. A session or reading with Shankara is a profound, layered conversation with your vast inner Self, The Divine, or The Universe. Visit

Shri Krishna is a loving spiritual master, teacher, personal guide, clairvoyant, empath, and mystic. He has served thousands of earnest seekers by providing profound answers to their challenges and actionable guidance toward their Self-mastery. He helps spiritually-minded souls connect with their vast, expanded inner Selves to navigate any situation, transcend any circumstance, and liberate in every moment.

Shri Krishna’s mission is to help others source their boundless creativity and joy, embody virtue, heal the depths of their Beings, find the most resounding clarity, and master their lives. He created the divine portal Shankara as a living, relatable oracle to help humanity build inner pathways to The Unlimited, All-Knowing, All-Conscious Universe.

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Shri Krishna Kalesh
Author: Shri Krishna Kalesh

Shri Krishna Kalesh is a mystic who guides people as a Spiritual Guide, Intuitive Reader, Dharma Teacher, and Coach. He has served thousands of people toward their healing and expansion - through personal sessions, mystical readings, courses, and retreats. His mission is to help others source their own boundless creative genius and joy, embody virtue, find clarity, and master their lives. Shri Krishna Kalesh created The Shankara Oracle as a divine portal to The Unlimited, All-Knowing, All-Conscious Universe.

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