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Oracle cards vs Tarot: what's more difficult?

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View Poll Results: What's more difficult, oracle cards or Tarot?
Tarot cards are more difficult 8 22.22%
Oracle cards are more difficult 9 25.00%
They're just different 17 47.22%
Obligatory "Other" option 2 5.56%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

Julian Jaymes  Julian Jaymes is offline
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Join Date: 25 Sep 2016
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Julian Jaymes 
Oracle cards vs Tarot: what's more difficult?

Basically, I feel like a lot of people think oracle decks are easier to read than Tarot "because they have the meanings written right on the card!" I certainly used to take this viewpoint, and unfortunately I definitely had bad a case of Tarot Superiority.

However, since actually starting to work with oracle cards...It's freakin' difficult!! SUPER challenging, at least for me. I feel like, with my Lightworker Oracle (which uses a lot of esoteric and somewhat obscure symbolism and terminology), I'm learning the Tarot all over again. It's a totally new system to me.

Personally, when I work with oracle cards, it's like...its' another system. I use my intuition a bit more, and the books a bit less, partly because the oracle deck books are usually so short. BUT, it's still a lot to learn, and while it's still cartomancy, I feel like I'm "stretching my intuitive muscles" a lot to work with it. Like I'm learning a totally new form of divination.

So I definitely no longer think of oracle cards as "Tarot Lite" or "Tarot, but easier." If anything, I find it MORE challenging, because there aren't universal meanings of oracle card decks - or even a set number of cards! It's such a new, exciting challenge.

So what are your thoughts on the difficulty of Tarot vs oracle cards? I personally think they're mostly just different, but I'm voting "oracle decks are more difficult" because frankly, that's how they are to me.

Top   #1
Ace's Avatar
Ace  Ace is offline
Life is an Elephant
Join Date: 06 Jul 2004
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 4,223

Good Poll, JJ!

I feel that oracle cards are "just different" but for some (especially if you DON'T relate to that oracle) you may feel they are more difficult. EVERYTHING is more difficult until you get good at it. Then it looks easy and everyone wants you to teach them!

Top   #2
AnemoneRosie's Avatar
AnemoneRosie  AnemoneRosie is offline
A star-gleam on a stone
Join Date: 02 May 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,969

It depends. The Moon Oracle is definitely its own system, and takes a lot of study - even just to figure out what phase of the moon we're in, let alone how to use the Oracle at this particular time. On the other hand a DV deck doesn't take much study because the symbolism is more like "it's a lotus flower. Buddhists see the lotus as a symbol of rebirth so this card is named 'rejuvenation' " or something like that.

Whereas because I had a solid understanding of medieval passion plays (for the major arcana - each card is one of the floats or stages in a passion play) and could read playing cards, I find a TdM deck wildly intuitive. I have so much background knowledge that I could just pick them up and read them with almost no study at all.

And yet, can I read the Thoth as it's meant to be read with all of its GD correspondences? No.
Top   #3
gregory's Avatar
gregory  gregory is offline
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Join Date: 01 Jan 2004
Location: The world of the things that could have been.
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For me - oracle decks are more difficult. I have yet to get a message from one. I think it's partly because there is no underlying structure. Every oracle deck has its own system; I suspect you need to "get it" before you can read the cards in any given oracle - and there's nothing common to them all, which is one thing that helps so much with tarot.

I do realise that this, coming from someone who reads as I do, sounds odd - but I still think that you can feel the structure of the tarot even when you aren't "using" it. It has bones. Oracles are like cotton wool. If that makes sense, and for me, anyway.
Top   #4
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rachelcat  rachelcat is offline
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Join Date: 30 Oct 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,403

Ooo, I get the be the annoying person who uses the "other" category!

I like oracles decks that are based on other divination systems: runes, I Ching, 72 names, astrology, etc. So they are just as difficult (or as easy) as tarot because they have an underlying system. I like learning systems.

BUT I admit that I have passed on some oracles because they have their own system, and I decided it was just too much work to put the effort into learning a unique system, when I could be learning an established system. (Graven Images Oracle it was, for full disclosure.) I appreciate and encourage deck creators to create beautiful unique systems! I just feel like I have to make a choice for myself of whether to study it.

Hope this adds to the discussion . . .
Top   #5
MysticMoonlight's Avatar
MysticMoonlight  MysticMoonlight is offline
Join Date: 04 Oct 2013
Location: Saturn
Posts: 320

Oracle cards are quite difficult for me. Like others similarly mention, I just don't "get" them like I do Tarot. It's a structure thing for me, definitely. Tarot has this basis/foundation that I can pull from that sets my intuition off and allows me to read the "story". Oracles, not so much. While I love Oracle cards for their beauty and supportive messages, I'm a Tarot girl for details and the nitty-gritty.
Top   #6
Barleywine's Avatar
Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
Elder Jabberwock
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
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I find oracle cards to be substantially more difficult to get a handle on because they can be "whatever they want to be," which too often turns out to be "nothing much at all."
Top   #7
think's Avatar
think  think is offline
Join Date: 16 Jan 2016
Location: grounded in existence
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Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
I find oracle cards to be substantially more difficult to get a handle on because they can be "whatever they want to be," which too often turns out to be "nothing much at all."
Like the term 'sustainability'.
Top   #8
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celticnoodle  celticnoodle is offline
Join Date: 17 Aug 2006
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Posts: 29,152

I think they are just different. Like Ace says, yes, some people may think one or the other is more difficult to learn, but once you learn it and practice with it--you become proficient and its no longer the difficult thing to learn.

When I first began to read, I thought tarot was ridiculously difficult to read then, I realized, you don't need to memorize anything. Just be intuitive and read what YOU see in the picture.

After awhile the usual system of meanings for each card is apparent, but I still try to read intuitively rather then just spit out some meaning that is the same in every tarot book out there. So, as a result, I also really don't have much trouble reading oracles either. I do my best to pick a deck that I can find meaning in each card and read the pictures as they tell the story--NOT what someone else has assigned a meaning to, though after awhile, you may begin to actually see what is the "accepted" meaning anyway.

So, tarot and oracles both, while they may seem very hard in the beginning, as long as you find what works for you in reading--whether it is to memorize meanings or if it is to read intuitively--I think either of them could be easy. So, the trick is to find what works for you and stick with it! Regardless of what others think. These are TOOLS. You may use the tool differently from another, but as long as you get the job done, who cares how it is used?
Top   #9
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Le Fanu  Le Fanu is offline
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Le Fanu 

Depends how deeply you want to go. You can just skim the surface of both.

For my own private differentiation, I don't include DV decks - these are affirmation decks even though she uses the word Oracle. And affirmation decks for me are just cards with messages to make you feel better and life's too short for that.

If you're talking proper oracle decks, they often take quite a lot of study and like gregory says, it isn't always easy to get a message from them.

But I allow myself the luxury of brazenly consulting the books with the denser oracle decks. Something I don't do during a reading with tarot. The Moon Oracle was mentioned above. I love this deck and get messages from it, really quite clear ones in fact, but I have to use the book and read the cards as indicated. I allow myself this luxury. I mean, one can't be expected to internalize ALL oracle systems and read effortlessly with them. You need to find which ones work for you and which ones don't and it's all part of the journey. With the Moon Oracle I cannot imagine myself ever being able to read with it without consulting the moon cycle, for starters.
Top   #10



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