oracle cards spread on table

Should you start with Oracle or Tarot?

Last Updated: July 29, 2022

You’ve decided that the time is now right for you to learn to read and learn from either an Oracle or a Tarot deck – but having no idea where to begin can be extremely confusing! In this post we will take a good look into the differences and similarities between Tarot and Oracle cards. How well they read, how knowledgeable they may seem to readers, and most importantly, how easy they are to learn because that’s where we start, right?

Table of Contents

Tarot vs Oracle: How are they different?

When looking at the Tarot and Oracle decks they can seem to be the same thing, but this is untrue. There are differences that we will be looking into here.  Most Tarot decks, available from any store or location, can normally be found based off of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck meaning they all read the same. 

Although certain decks may have subtle variations, all 78 cards in a deck of Tarot are the same in principle when based on the Rider Waite Smith Tarot for the most part. For instance, the card titled Death might be drawn as a change, or The Lovers could be drawn as friends. These are merely name changes, though, and if you figure out what the variation is, it will read similarly to every other Tarot deck with this basis. 

However, you can find variations separate from the Rider Waite Smith layout. Certain decks are different such as angel Tarot cards and the like. I would suggest if you’re going to go down the route of Tarot to use the Rider Waite Smith style setups as they are the most universally available. On the other hand, Oracle is totally different. You can choose any deck of Oracle cards, and each one will have a different set of symbols and card meanings. 

For some the joy of obtaining a new Oracle deck is it’s new and therefore amazing! Getting to know each of the new cards and developing a strong understanding of how to read and interpret them. With Oracle decks there isn’t a set amount of cards with each deck being different and much of the interpretation will depend on the reader’s personal insight and intuition.

Tarot vs Oracle: Which one is easier to learn?

This all depends on the individual, and I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear but it’s true. Some will take to the Tarot like a duck to water while finding Oracle tiring to learn with every new deck. Then others find the whimsical call to the Oracle, with your own interpretations, easier than knowing all of the direct meanings of the Tarot.

A tarot reading can seem very difficult to certain people, as I have experienced. With Tarot being the Oracles’ much stricter and more dramatic older sister, I feel as though I have discovered a similar pattern over the years of working with both. But when you take the time to learn the Tarot properly, Tarot is reassuring, precise, and solid.

Tarot vs Oracle: Which one is easier to read?

Whichever way you choose to learn, practice such as pulling a card of the day to familiarise yourself with the deck that calls to you as a wonderful place to start. Tarot decks are appealing because of their familiarity. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll always be able to read any deck with the same ease. 

Whereas the appeal of Oracle cards is that any deck you choose may be read almost instantly, provided you pay attention to the card’s images, and general meanings (most decks still include a guidebook), and the cards may also have printed on them words such as “Love” “Grounding” or “Happy Hour” whereas others will have a small sentence! 

If you choose to start with Oracle decks as your starting point I would highly suggest going with a smaller deck of around 30 cards than a larger deck which can be up to 100 cards and may be more difficult at the start. From personal experience, Oracle cards are the simplest to read right away, but only if your intuition enables you to do so. 

The more organised Tarot cards with in-depth interpretations may be a better option for you if you don’t feel as naturally inclined.

minor arcana cards

What are the pros & cons of Tarot?

Tarot Pros 

  • Consistency 
  • Transparency 
  • In-depth
  • Universal 

The messages that come through tend to be clearer because the Tarot’s meanings are consistent. With each having its own description, you are more likely to receive in-depth readings with Tarot than you are with Oracle as a novice. As you learn the Tarot, despite the author of the deck, it can be picked up almost worldwide. 

Tarot cons 

  • Detailed
  • Harsh
  • Confusing

The Tarot has straightforward interpretations, so for some people, the direct information can be quite overwhelming at first. Readings you receive with their descriptions may also seem harsh until you work with them intuitively. At first, the lengthy descriptions may also be confusing because learning the Tarot is one thing, but using it intuitively is another.

What are the pros & cons of Oracle?

Oracle pros

  • New
  • Explorative 
  • Intuition based
  • Designs 

It can be exciting since every time you pick up an Oracle deck, it will be a new experience. You get to really concentrate on and work with your intuition since the cards each time have new meanings and images to explore. As an extra bonus you can pick the designs you’re more inclined to such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloween Oracle, Astrosoul Deck and more!

Oracle cons 

  • Expense 
  • Re-learning
  • Confusing 

One thing is that once you own an Oracle deck, you can—and are probably going to—want to buy more. Over time, this could add up to a sizable expense, so you’ll need to decide whether it’s worthwhile for you. It’s advisable to start with one deck at a time because, in addition to this, you will need to learn the cards with each new deck, which can be intimidating and perplexing for a beginner.

tarot decks with crystals around

Tarot vs Oracle: Which one should you learn first?

You will ultimately be responsible for that. If you ask me, I’d always advise dipping your toes in rather than staying completely out. You can even start with daily affirmation cards and work your way up to others using Oracle cards, which can be a gradual introduction. 

Yes, start with Tarot if you’re curious because whilst it seems to have a huge mystic superstitious red flag over it (that is actually counterproductive and completely unjust) then definitely start with Tarot! It’s a wonderful skill to pick up because it will serve you well throughout your life and help you develop your intuition. 

As a result, when the time comes for you to use an Oracle deck, you’ll feel more at ease doing so.

If you’re still not too sure which way to go then I’ve included some links down below so you can look into the Tarot and Oracle further yourself 

Resources for learning Tarot & Oracle 

YouTube – Hearthwitch, the differences between Tarot and Oracle decks 

TikTok – terminallyhomosexual, Tarot bed Oracle 


Written by Eve

A spiritual individual with a love for the universe… I enjoy life as it comes, with a passion for reading, gaming, and crafting!

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