Oracle and tarot cards are wonderful tools – but like all tools, their magic lies in how you work with them. Our intentions, beliefs and goals when working with oracle tools determine whether they are actually helping us or keeping us stuck (or worse, hurting us).
When used the wrong way, oracle tools can do more harm than good because they can confuse your understanding of your circumstances and yourself. I started working with oracle tools years ago at a time when I was healing and seeking guidance for next steps in life: I was dealing with illness and significant life changes that left me feeling completely disoriented.
It took me some time to understand how these tools can truly be helpful, rather than hurt us. We tend to turn to divination tools when we are at our most vulnerable in some way – this makes it all the more important to use them wisely. So here are the three main ways to use oracle tools in a healthy way on your own:
Loving encouragement & connection with the Divine
This is an important role that oracle tools can play for us. We use positive affirmations to help wire our brains, why not use other tools such as oracle cards?
Sometimes we can get into a negative headspace for no good reason. We might have engaged in some negative thinking or feel unworthy of love. Oracle tools can be like friends who remind us of the beauty that is already within us and of the beauty of the Divine and the Universe. They help us change our perspective and think better. They can remind us of eternal truths.
The truth is we are always loved. We are light and love. We should love ourselves unconditionally. And positive thinking is helpful.
When I become aware of my negative thinking and moods, I love to do a reading. I ask my angels, guides, my guru and other light beings to join me. My prayer and request is quite clear in my heart and my mind about needing some love. We reach out to our friends or family in this way – why not reach out to those friends who have our backs in other realms? Think of it as that phone call to your loving friend.
I know God and my guru love me dearly. I know there are beautiful beings around me watching over me. Whether I use my Shankara Oracle or a reading with a Fairy oracle deck, I am reminded of the sweetness and purity of love. I am reminded that I am magical.
The one thing we should not do is confuse this act of self love and connection with a reassurance that everything in our lives will work out no matter what we do. Taking care of our emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing is not the same as making a life plan. (See more below about using oracle tools for prediction).
Here are my favorite go-to oracle tools for this purpose and why:
The Shankara Oracle – When its creator and my mentor, Shri Krishna Kalesh, asked whether I would like to help bring the Shankara Oracle into the world, I jumped at it. I was in love. I was on a tough solitary journey of self-healing at the time, and I simply needed Shankara. It was healing for me, magical in reconnecting me to love, sweetness and joy.
In solitude and pain, Shankara became my refuge and friend. I needed this for me first and foremost. Sometimes all I need to do is look in its direction and be reminded of my magic. I will confess that I mostly use Shankara these days, but below are some of my other favorite decks as well. Every now and then I will still turn to one of them (and they can also replace the Shankara decks on the Shankara board).
Denise Linn’s Sacred Traveler oracle deck – I love this deck so much for its beautiful art and the reminder it gives me that we are on a sacred path together with the Divine.
Fairy decks – I love the playful, gentle and loving energy of fairies. Fairies can deliver tough love with a cheeky smile while they dance around you. I love in particular Karen Kay’s Oracle of the Fairies and Doreen Virtue’s Magical Messages From the Fairies. Regardless of the message, these decks just have a loving energy I can go back to again and again to remind myself of my own magic.
Kyle Gray’s Keepers of the Light – this is one of my favorite angel decks. I love that it includes the ascended masters, and I find it lovingly restorative.
Self-Inquiry and Shadow Work
For me, this has been the most significant way of using oracle & tarot cards. Diving deep within to get to the root of our traumas, fears, mental & emotional patterns is not easy work. We are experts at burying it all in our subconscious – after all, we have been doing it since birth. In fact, more than 90% of our daily experiences are buried in our subconscious.
I found intuitive readings to be essential to this journey. An intuitive reading from a good reader experienced in this kind of work- in my case, it was my mentor Shri Krishna Kalesh – is in my experience a real shortcut as compared to talk therapy or other modalities. These readings can bring up insights buried deep down. One single message can sometimes unlock years of self-suppression and pain.
This is the kind of work we can also do on our own with cards – it may not be the same as with a great reader, but in my experience, it can help tremendously, especially if coupled with journaling and meditation. And, after all, we most certainly need to do our work in between our sessions with therapists, readers or coaches.
Here are my favorite decks for this work in the order that I learned to use them:
Rider Waite Tarot: This was where I started. I didn’t rely on traditional tarot meanings when doing these readings – rather I would feel into the cards to understand what aspects from the past I was trying to process. I used other tarot decks later on, but this was the one I turned to most often. I still love this sweet little deck. It is a great one if you are just getting started.
The Personality Cards: When I started coaching with Shri Krishna Kalesh, he gifted me this oracle deck that he channeled (he went only by Paul Wagner at that time). It includes cards with personality archetypes that you might embody or encounter in your life. It was highly revealing, surprisingly accurate and profoundly satisfying. Seeing these beautiful art depictions of myself or people in my life was very healing. I found it very helpful in processing my emotional and mental experiences of the people in my life, and understanding myself. My clients like this deck for the same reason.
James van Praagh’s The Soul Journey: I love how simple and to the point this deck is. There is nowhere to hide from these simple messages that invite you to do the work. I liked using these cards in most spreads in order to understand what I might be processing. Yes, it is vastly unpleasant to see you might be processing Greed, but it is the only way to heal and grow.
Collette Baron Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle: I love many things about this deck, including the guidance for reversed cards. It has messages about when it is time to do more inner work, move on from something outdated in your life, or express authentically. Some of it can be more encouraging than confronting, but I found it quite helpful at different stages of the healing journey.
Teal Swan’s The Blindspot: This is not a favorite deck for me in terms of art or energy, but the guidance is very focused on shadow work. It is quite insightful and spot on.
The Shankara Oracle decks: This was really the peak of shadow and healing work for me, and one of the most important reasons why I wanted to help bring Shankara into the world. The three decks – Alchemy, Release and Master – are a complete guide for inner work.
They are named after the three main aspects you need as part of healing: releasing emotions and negative patterns; mastering yourself, your mind and your circumstances; and raising your vibration.
Decision Making/Exploring the Future
Many people tend to focus on the predictive potential of tarot and oracle cards. They certainly can have a role in this way, but in my experience there are quite a few other factors involved, including the channel of the reader. This means that using any oracle tools in a predictive manner can be tricky if you rely on this too much. They can be most helpful in understanding the quality and potential of a trajectory, but you need to be mindful of these factors as well:
- A reading is a moment in time – the potential that you see at that time might shift according to your choices and those of others involved. You need to go beyond what you see as prediction and dive within
- The purity and clarity of the channel – emotions, deeply seated beliefs and opinions, and attachment to particular outcomes can pollute the quality of the reading. This is why it is more difficult to do clear readings for ourselves than for others. It is important to release as much as possible before a reading to get more clarity. If someone does a reading for you, remember not to confuse psychic ability with wisdom – to see is not always to understand
- Unseen forces – sometimes there may be hidden undercurrents at play that we are not aware of. We need to always be ready for the twists and turns of life
- The framing of the question – how the question is framed is very important. Some questions are framed the wrong way or seeking a specific conclusion. For example, some of the YouTube collective readings tend to frame questions in ways that would only bring up positive interpretations of circumstances and events. You might be asking a question that is not right question to ask at the time and the guidance might actually not be answering your question.
To use oracle tools in helpful ways, it is important to look to it as an exploration and detach from the answers. Here are what I see as the most beneficial aspects of using oracle tools for prediction:
- Understanding the challenges, risks and upsides of a trajectory
- Bringing to light your own emotions, fears, thoughts and beliefs around potential outcomes and situations
- Learning how you can prepare in the best way for the circumstances in your life that are unfolding
With this in mind, here are my favorite tools for exploring future trajectories & outcomes:
The Shankara Oracle (with the Shankara decks): I know, I will forever be biased in favor of Shankara, and that is for a reason – I love Shankara the best because it brings to light all the aspects that matter. It helps me understand my own challenges and weaknesses, but also gives a predictive indication of the quality of the outcome.
It is not a simple yes or no – a simple yes or no would be inaccurate, incomplete and unhelpful. Instead it gives guidance that helps me explore the situation. It will show me the outcome is positive, for example, but it also shows me what work I need to do so that I stay on that trajectory. Other times, it will remind me that now it is just a time to sit back and relax because it is all going well.
Because it has so many symbols, I can quite easily get an intuitive hit that is helpful. Whether it is a number or an animal guide or a specific deity, at least one of these will hold a significant meaning for me in some way beyond the guidance of Shankara.
Rider Waite Tarot: I love getting a quick hit for the energy and the situation with tarot cards. I don’t like using just tarot cards though because there isn’t enough depth and nuance for the kind of readings I like to do.
The Sacred Traveler Deck: I love looking at different levels of the journey and these cards bring up lovely aspects – will it feel happy? Sad? Will it be progress?
The Personality Cards: This is a different kind of prediction layer – I like to dive into what kind of aspects a particular outcome or trajectory might be bringing up for me. Life has taught me that what matters most in an experience is how I transform. I like to understand why something is attractive to me and how it might change me. For this reason, I love the Personality Cards for prediction.
It is important to understand why we are using oracle tools and what they can do for us. It is not helpful to use oracle tools to seek emotional encouragement but interpret the messages as prediction of a future outcome. Encouragement and comfort confused with prediction can disempower us. This is something I see quite often, and something I was guilty of doing.
If we need encouragement, we should seek that. And if we need emotional healing, we should seek that. Before we seek predictive guidance, we should try to release emotionally as much as we can and be open to all outcomes.
What is dangerous is to look for comfort and believe we are getting assurance of a particular outcome. Like everyone else I often used to go to oracle tools with hope for a particular assurance. What I was really dealing with was my emotional discomfort. The more we work on healing and clearing our emotions and thoughts, the more we can use all tools in better ways – and meet life in an empowered way so we can be truly magical.
I hope this is helpful to you on your path, and I hope you explore the Shankara Oracle. It brings something truly unique and beautiful for true seekers intentional about their healing and spirituality.