What are Oracle Cards?

What are Oracle Cards?

Oracle Cards are useful tools for divination. They are a deck of cards often with words or pictures on. They are very free flowing and allow the artists and readers to craft decks to their taste. Unlike traditional tarot decks. We are not confined to a set number or cards or type of cards. Which makes them brilliant if you want to craft your own deck.

Oracle decks normally have a theme such as yoga poses or mantra cards or questions. Some have things like fairies or a subject as a theme such as romance or career. Some popular ones you might see a lot of are oracle cards such as romance angels by Doreen virtue or lovers oracle cards. I love using an empowering questions deck to help me with my tarot readings.


How to use Oracle cards

Oracle cares can be used on their own or with tarot cards. You can use them in traditional tarot card spreads or on their own as single cards. As well all divination tools they are using your intuition. First relax and focus on your question. It’s a good idea to have a layout or amount of cards in your mind but feel free to flow with what your intuition tells you. Then shuffle your cards and pull the cards you feel drawn to. When reading them some use the books provided with the decks other simply use the cards to trigger their own intuition depending on the reader.

oracle deck example

Crafting your own oracle deck.

Many readers often craft their own oracle decks to use in their practice. Many people use playing cards or simple blank paper cards to write down words of meaning to help them with their readings. Because of the freedom they provide you as a reader are free to craft them in any way you like. Some people even use things like magic the gathering cards as oracle cards or colourful postcards.  

You don’t have to stick to a set number of cards either. The Rider-Waite tarot deck has 78 cards in the deck, But oracle deck sizes are up to you. They could be as low as 10 or even 100 or more cards. I would make sure that you make them small enough to comfortably shuffle and big enough that you feel like you have enough variation in the deck.

It can be also helpful to find a theme for your oracle deck. It may be a subject such as messages from your soulmate or simply questions. Many oracle decks have themes such as love, romance, career, life purpose, messages or simply themes like dragons, cats or fairies. Knowing your theme before you start crafting your deck will help you to get inspiration for cards. 

Many oracle decks combine a picture, card name and text. But some are simply text.   Many popular oracle decks have a large picture predominantly on the deck and a small title followed by a description of the card. 

Use whatever you feel comfortable with but starting with text may help you define the cards in your deck before you add in images. Though use what you find comfortable with and what resonates with you.


Where did Oracle decks come from?

The exact date of the first oracle deck is unclear. Though many people see the “The Burning Serpent Oracle” published 1775, “The Game of Hope” published in 1799  and “petit Lenormand” published in 1972 as the first oracle decks.

“The Burning Serpent Oracle”

Hooper’s Conversational Cards

published in England on October 2, 1775"


“Das Spiel der Hoffnung (The Game of Hope)” 

Johann Kaspar Hechtel

published in Nuremberg 1799"


"‘Petit Lenormand’

Prof. Detlef Hoffmann and Erika Kroppenstedt

published in 1972"


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