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Quick Guide 102: Oracle / Angel / Tarot Cards? What's the Difference?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Oracle Cards? Angel Cards? Tarot Cards? Which one is right for you? We compiled a guide highlighting the differences between them and how they are each used

Most people often wonder what the difference is between these three types of decks when they come across them online or in store and are often surprised by difference and similarities.

The Most commonly seen in movies and mainstream media is the deck known as Tarot. The history of the Tarot is often debated between Tarot historians and practicing Tarot readers. They Estimate that it appears sometime during the 14th century and slowly evolved into a tool for divination. Two famous French occultists, Jean-Baptiste Alliette and Antoine Court

Tarot Cards

Oracle Cards

Angel Cards

Tips for Readings


Tarot Cards

Tarot cards consist of 78 cards, 22 are Major Arcana, 56 are Minor Arcana with four suits and court cards. The cards are filled with archetypes and deep meaning included with each card's imagery and the meaning attributed to each card. Within each card is a story filled with variations on interpretations depending on how they are placed in a spread, whether they are upside down or right side up, or what kind of spread they are included within for a tarot card reading.

The Major Arcana represents the life lessons a person should complete in our life, whereas the Minor Arcana gives details about our dad to day life challenges and experiences. Every deck also includes 16 Court cards that are usually seen as archetypes that tend to represent personality traits.

The suits of a Tarot deck represent each of the four elements, while the Major Arcana is said to embody the fifth element, which connects us to spirituality in a grander sense.

Why do we use Tarot?

They are used to help offer guidance with past, present, or future, allowing one to understand oneself better. Some believe that reading Tarot is a journey into the soul and one's purpose in life.

Deck's Design:

  • Complex imagery and meaning

  • 78 cards in a deck

  • 22 Major Arcana

  • 56 Minor Arcana (include court cards and four suits)

  • 4 Suits representing the elements

  • Court cards embodying archetypal personas

Oracle Cards

Oracle cards are cards with specific messages meant to be used solo as a daily message for spiritual guidance but can be used in a spread or combination with a Tarot card reading. Deck volume varies, and they can consist of 12 or more cards. Most decks tend to be around 30-44 cards.

The first kind of Oracle deck created is considered the Lenormand deck, which came to be in the 18th century. Known back then as the "Game of Hope," these decks are traditionally 36 cards with well-defined symbology and messaging. Still, many modern decks have deviated from this tradition and have developed their thematic imagery and messages.

Decks can include many different types of symbols and imagery and poetic words of wisdom and guidance. It is not uncommon to see decks featuring astrology, numerology, Celtic themes, indigenous beliefs, sacred geometry, and varying spiritual beliefs include decks that have a worldview within them.

Why do we use Oracle cards?

They are meant to assist with spiritual enlightenment as each card usually offers self-growth and reflection.

Each Deck's Design Elements:

Simple image meanings

  • Clear and concise messages

  • Thematic and easy to interpret

  • Variety of shapes, sizes, and styles

Angel Cards

Angel cards provide guidance from the angelic realm.

Most Angel decks are about Angels. They can include Ascended Masters, fairies, goddesses, these decks can be simple or complicated to use

Why do we use Angel cards?

Angel cards, in general, are meant to uplift and enlighten. They help encourage growth benevolently, but inclusive as a Tarot card deck can have higher and more in-depth meanings and messages.

With an Oracle deck style of 36-44 cards, an Angel Card deck is focused on thematic yet uplifting messages meant to be interpreted as a takeaway message for the day or week. They generally do not adhere to the Lenomor and style of Oracle decks but instead will incorporate meanings and messages from specific Angels or spiritual beings such as fairies and goddesses.

Novices may consider Angel cards to be beginner's decks, but that is not true of the Angel Tarot card decks. When Angel cards come in the form of traditional Tarot decks, they are the most complex out of the divination tools to interpret. Psychics who use Angel cards value them highly, regardless of the style of deck.

Each Deck's Design Elements:

  • Varied: Oracle or Tarot or combination of them

  • Range in complexity from simple to intricate

  • Great add on for an in-depth tarot card reading

  • Profoundly spiritual and healing in nature

  • Encouragement

  • Builds confidence or pushes for actionable change

Pros and Cons of Using Each Deck

Tips for reading

  • Take time to get to know your deck

  • Learn the history of each deck and each card

  • Pick decks by intuition rather than comfort

  • Keep a journal

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