As part of my service to Spirit and my clients, I read Angel cards, but it’s surprising how often people come for readings and expect me to use Tarot cards. The thing is, although all cards are divination tools, the ways in which they are read varies considerably and significantly. I have done readings with Tarot cards, Angel cards and Oracle cards, but these days I feel called to read mainly with Angel cards, although I have about 60 different decks of cards in my collection. In this article, I want to briefly explain the main differences between Angel cards, Tarot cards and Oracle cards.
Unlike Angel or Oracle cards, there are always 78 cards in a Tarot deck – 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 cards in the Minor Arcana. Major Arcana cards are archetypes with traditional meanings and life and soul lessons, while the Minor Arcana is similar in design to regular playing cards, with four suits, each with ‘pip’ cards with numbers and ‘court’ cards. If the Major Arcana are life lessons, Minor Arcana is all about the nuts and bolts of day-to-day living. Many Tarot decks are based on the Rider-Waite cards, originally published in 1910, and share common themes and meanings, although as with all cards, intuition also plays a big part in readings.
To read Tarot effectively, you need to learn the traditional meanings and themes of the cards. As the cards are dealt, a story unfolds, and each card relates to the others in the spread. For this reason, it can be difficult for inexperienced people to read Tarot. Also, there are negative associations with some cards, which makes some people wary of Tarot readings. That said, there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ card reading – the client should always feel empowered and optimistic following any card reading, although the cards may deliver a metaphorical kick up the backside, if it’s needed!
If Tarot unfolds a story, then Oracle cards carry the self-contained episode of a drama! There is no specific structure to Oracle cards, and no tradition of themes or meanings. An Oracle deck can be anything from 12 cards to 100 or even more, and they can be on any theme. In my own collection, I have Oracle decks based on mermaids, dragons, unicorns, the moon, numerology, Avalon, sacred sites of the world, crystals, animals – and that’s just the ones I can think of without going and checking!
Oracle cards are more immediately accessible to people just beginning to read cards, and because there is no structure to the deck, the possibilities for readings are unlimited. However, the sheer diversity of decks and subject material can be confusing for some people. The client may find it easier to follow the meanings of Oracle cards though, so it really comes down to personal preference. And there’s more flexibility, as you can combine more than one Oracle deck in a reading by drawing one card from each of three decks for a three-card reading, or shuffling two decks together. The size of a standard Tarot deck makes it difficult to combine two decks comfortably.
Angel cards are very similar to Oracle cards, but whereas Oracle cards can be themed around pretty much anything, Angel cards, by definition, feature beings from Spirit. This immediately imbues them with the loving, gentle energy that Angels are renowned for, so there will be no boots up the backside from Angel cards; their messages are meant to encourage, empower, and help you know yourself better. You may also find other ethereal beings such as fairies, unicorns and Ascended Masters in Angel card decks, and they may be themed around one angel or a number of different angels.
For me, the wonderful thing about Angel cards is that they can strengthen the connection with the Angels, for both the reader and the client. I always feel that the cards you draw have two main purposes, to bring confirmation that you are on the right track, and to gently guide you in the right direction if necessary. I find that everyone – whatever religion they follow, or even if they have no religion – feels more hopeful and optimistic after an Angel card reading. Angel cards offer a more personalized reading, in my opinion, than any other type of card deck, especially for people who are already familiar with angels and communicate with them on a regular basis. And for people new to working with angels, a card reading with an Angel deck is a great introduction.
What to choose?
Whether you read from, or have a reading with, Tarot, Oracle or Angel cards is down to personal preference, and what you expect and need from the reading. Tarot cards can cover more aspects of life in a single reading, but clients may not find it easy to be interactive during the reading, especially if they don’t have much knowledge of how Tarot works. Oracle card readings can be more user friendly and creative for both readers and clients, especially if the client has an affinity with the deck in the first place. For example, someone who loves unicorns will enjoy a reading with a unicorn deck and may pick up on messages within the cards as well as the stuff the reader connects with. Angel cards are excellent when the client is at a low ebb and needs encouragement and inspiration, and if the reader has a strong connection with the angels, it’s possible to get a really insightful reading. The thing is, you will always get the reading you need, when you need it most, so go with your instincts, and enjoy the experience, whichever side of the table you sit!