Oracle Cards: What They Are, How to Read Them

Have you ever wondered what your subconscious mind is trying to tell you?

Oracle Cards are a type of divination that can be used to tap into the wisdom of your subconscious mind. They’re also great for self-reflection and personal growth. In this blog post, we will explore what Oracle Cards are, how to read them, and some tips on how you might get started using them!

We’ll cover everything from choosing which deck is right for you, the difference between Tarot and Oracle Cards, and how to interpret the cards themselves.

If you’re ready to start exploring your inner world with an ancient practice—keep reading! 

What Are Oracle Cards?

Oracle Cards are used for divination and self-reflection. A deck is usually shuffled and cards are picked from at random. The reader then tries to make meaning from the symbols and words. Oracle decks often have themes, such as romance, masculinity, affirmations, or many more.

  • Oracle decks have any number of cards per deck (unlike tarot cards, which have 78 cards).
  • Oracle cards enable you to tap into your inner voice and intuition.
  • Oracle cards are meant to offer advice and leave room for personal interpretations.
  • Each deck has its own theme and internal logic.
  • Most Oracle decks come with a guidebook with descriptions of the cards.
  • Cards are normally put out in a spread, which is a certain pattern to help with interpretation.

Oracle Deck Example: Masculine Archetype Deck

How Are Oracle Cards Different from Tarot?

Tarot Cards have a much more traditional structure, such as 78 cards in a deck, four suits, and major arcana. Oracle Cards, on the other hand, usually don’t have as many specific rules. They are more open to interpretation, feeling more dreamlike.

Not all Tarot Decks are 78 cards, but in general, they are more structured and based on a linage. When you use Tarot, you are working within a very specific framework.

Oracle Cards also differ in that they are not just for divination, such as the Masculine Archetype Deck, which can be used to connect to the different aspects of masculinity. They can also be used in meditation, affirmations, and other spiritual practices that Tarot Cards cannot always do so well.

Benefits of Using Oracle Cards

Oracle Decks can be a great asset for your personal growth. They can be used as an outside perspective on your life that you may not have considered. Oracle Cards give you clarity and insight into what is happening in your life right now, things to come, or even the past.

Learn a new way to tap into your subconscious mind – The symbols of Oracle Cards can give you new ways of exploring your mind. They can act as mirrors and give you a new perspective. A Masculine Archetype Deck could give you a very different reflection than an Animal Spirit Deck. But both help you find a new way of connecting to symbolism.

Help with self-reflection and personal growth – Taking time to reflect is one of the cornerstones of personal growth. Some people do well sitting in silent meditation, while others prefer looking at the images of the cards. Oracle decks can be an easy way to approach self-reflection and lead to new growth.

Provides clarity and understanding –  When using Oracle Cards, you can draw a card to answer any question. This offers clarity for confusion or trying times in life.

Stimulates creativity – Oracle Cards can be used to help you find inspiration for creative blocks. The symbolism in an Oracle Deck is often quite different from what we’ve been exposed to our whole life. This offers the possibility of new perspectives and ideas that might have seemed impossible before.

Utilize Oracle Card readings to relieve stress – The act of reflection has been proven to show health benefits and lower stress. A study done by Concordia University illustrates how Tarot and Oracle cards can be used for helping with anxiety and stress:

The Different Types of Oracle Decks

There are many different types of Oracle Decks. On Amazon alone, there are 224 Oracle Decks being sold. They have a wide range of themes, art, and use.

I went through the list of 100 Oracle Decks and made general categories for each deck. The top seven categories, in order of popularity, are:

  • Occult/Magic Decks
  • Affirmation Decks
  • Animal Spirit Decks
  • Gemstone/Crystal Decks
  • Angel Decks
  • Romance and Love
  • Astrological/Planetary Decks
list of type of oracle decks and popularity in graph

One of the powerful things about Oracle Decks is you can find one that has the right theme, art, and intention that you want to work with, giving you a theme to explore.

You can also find decks that speak more on the psychological aspects, such as the Masculine Archetype Deck, or others that center around the more esoteric/mystical. 

How Do You Use Oracle Cards?

You use Oracle Cards by shuffling the deck, asking a question, and then drawing a card. The cards can be laid out in different spreads to help add layers of meaning. 

When you pull a card, or many, let your mind wander and explore how your question connects to the images before you. This open exploration is what will help you reflect and find new insight. 

I have used many decks without ever reading the guidebook. It’s more important that you listen to your intuition and enter a dreamlike state of exploration than it is to know the “exact” thing written in the book. 

Your mind is really good at making correlations and connections. Just try and observe the card. 

Ask yourself:

  • What is happening with the art? 
  • How do the different elements interact with one another? 
  • Why were certain colors used in the image?

Asking a question when pulling a card:

Asking the right type of question really helps when working with the cards. You don’t want to be too vague or too specific. 

An example of too vague is pulling a card and asking how the world feels today. You might find something useful from that, but if you get a little more specific, it could help you emotionally connect to the answer.

For example, you could ask, “What energies would support me the most today?”

The key is to ask a question that evokes emotion and leaves some room for intuition.

Learn  More: Asking Yes/No questions with Oracle and Tarot

Using a Spread with Oracle Cards:

A spread is a pattern of cards laid out on the table.

There are many different spreads,  but for a beginner, I recommend using a one- or three-card pull.

With a one-card pull, you can ask a question and see the response. However, using more cards will give you more points to triangulate your answer.

A three-card spread gives enough information to start exploring the overlap of the different symbols and how they interact with your inquiry.

Try one of the following options for the three-card spread:

  • Past/Present/Future  
  • Current situation/Obstacle/Advice  
  • Situation/Action/Outcome  

Tarot Spread Past Present and Future
five card spread tarot and oracle cards

The five-card reading and four-card reading are also common spreads that work really well.

Check out my collection of spreads from the Masculine Archetype Deck to get ideas.

Using Oracle Cards with Tarot

Oracle Cards can be a good supplement and used alongside Tarot. You can do a reading with Tarot and then pull extra Oracle cards to add clarity.

Tarot is very good at exploring the fool’s journey, or as I like to think of it, the evolution of consciousness. I have found Tarot to be great for questions concerning every day, such as asking about relationships, jobs, or family. If I have a question that is more expansive, then I turn toward an Oracle Deck for further guidance.

Here is a way you can use both types of decks together:

  • Start a reading by choosing an Oracle Card to get insight into the general feeling in your situation.
  • Next, do the Tarot reading with multiple cards to get the full picture of the situation.
  • Notice any themes that interweave between the Tarot Cards and the Oracle Cards.
  • Once you finish drawing cards, you can choose to draw one final card that will represent the theme or underlying advice of your reading.

In Conclusion

Working with Oracle Cards can help you connect to deeper aspects of your subconscious. They provide clarity and understanding, stimulate creativity, relieve stress, and can be used as an effective tool for self-reflection. 

I didn’t talk about the deck I created much in this article because I wanted to give a clear overview of what Oracle Cards are, but if you are interested, check out the HeroRise Masculine Archetype Deck.

Isaac Cotec
Isaac Cotec
Creator of HeroRise, Isaac Cotec has dedicated his life to empowering others through art and creativity. He is a scholar of the subconscious and has studied the power of symbolism to help create enduring change.