While both are useful tools for guidance, Tarot and oracle decks have unique strengths and uses. With its structured system and widely recognized card meanings, tarot offers detailed insights and is particularly adept at highlighting the energies and potential outcomes around specific situations. On the other hand, Oracle decks tend to be more fluid, with each deck offering different messages often rooted in intuition, affirmation, or divine guidance. By integrating both into a reading, you can harness the specificity of tarot with the expansive energy of oracle cards.
Benefits of Fusion:
Depth and Breadth: Tarot, with its intricate 78-card system and traditional meanings, has been used for centuries to provide deep insights into the subconscious mind, spiritual paths, and tangible life situations.
On the other hand, Oracle decks are diverse in their themes and often resonate with broader energies or archetypal messages. They might not have the tarot's structured system, but they can capture the essence of a situation in vast, expansive strokes.
For example, if you draw the Three of Swords" in a tarot reading, symbolizing heartbreak or betrayal. While the tarot card pinpoints the emotional pain, an oracle card drawn afterward, such as "Eclipse" from the Liminal Forest, adds another layer of introspection. The message from "Eclipse" advises that masking this pain with forced optimism won't lead to genuine healing or understanding. Instead, it's crucial to acknowledge the hurt. To move forward and grow we must first allow ourselves to see the truth behind the pain. This combined reading underscores the importance of facing our feelings honestly rather than burying them under a veneer of positivity. Integrating the "Eclipse" card adds depth to the reading, encouraging us to approach emotional challenges with authenticity and clarity.
(Three of Swords, Unfinished Business, a ghostly Tarot)
(Eclipse, Liminal Forest Oracle )
Clarity and Confirmation: There are moments in a tarot reading where the message may be intricate or feel convoluted, presenting both shadows and light. Sometimes, a tarot card's myriad meanings can lead to varied interpretations depending on the context. In such instances, pulling an oracle card can serve as a beacon, providing clearer direction or emphasizing a particular aspect of the tarot message.
For example, if you seek guidance on a relationship, and pull the "Two of Pentacles" from a tarot deck, symbolizing juggling or balancing multiple priorities. The meaning might be ambiguous - are you balancing work and love? Emotional and practical needs? Drawing an oracle card like "Trapped" from the Urban Crow Oracle Expansion Deck can clarify that the reading may suggest feelings of confinement or restriction within the relationship. Perhaps resentment is brewing due to juggling too many responsibilities, creating a sense of being trapped in your current circumstances. In this context, the "Trapped" card provides a more nuanced understanding of the situation, pointing towards feelings of entrapment or overwhelm, potentially stemming from the dynamics of the relationship or the challenges the you are trying to manage.
(Two of Pentacles, Raven's Dream Tarot )
(Trapped, Urban Crow Oracle Expansion Deck)
Balance of Structure and Intuition: The tarot system, with its Major and Minor Arcana, set suits, and traditional meanings, offers a structured approach to divination. It's like reading musical notes on a sheet—there's a method to it. With their varied and unique decks, Oracle cards can be like a jam session, relying heavily on intuition and your connection to the card's imagery and message. By using both in a reading, we benefit from the grounding and methodical approach of tarot complemented by the boundless, intuitive realm of oracle cards.
For example, if the reading centers around spiritual growth, pulling from the tarot deck, you draw the "Hierophant," suggesting traditional beliefs and structured learning. This card could indicate learning through conventional religious or spiritual paths. However, when complemented by an oracle card like "Amelia Bloomer" from my ROAR Oracle, it hints that although you may be grounded in tradition, you are being called to explore new ways of doing things, of breaking from norms so that progress can occur.
(The Hierophant, Unfinished Business, a ghostly Tarot)
(Amelia Bloomer, ROAR Oracle)
Putting the two together:
Layered Readings: The easiest way is to begin is with a traditional tarot spread to understand the situation. Pull an oracle card at the end to offer an overarching theme, advice, or energy surrounding the situation.
Integrated Spreads: Design a spread where specific positions are reserved for oracle cards. For instance, in a five-card spread, positions 1-3 could be tarot cards indicating past, present, and future, while positions 4-5 could be oracle cards indicating overall guidance and an action step.
Parallel Readings: Conduct a full tarot reading and a full oracle reading separately but on the same query. Compare and contrast the messages from each to gain a comprehensive insight.
Try it out with this sample spread:
- Past (Tarot): Indicates the energies or events from the past influencing the situation.
- Present (Tarot): Sheds light on the current situation or challenge.
- Future (Tarot): Shows potential outcomes or energies to come.
- Overarching Energy (Oracle): Highlights the prevailing energy or theme surrounding the reading.
- Guided Action (Oracle): Offers actionable advice or steps to consider moving forward.
How to Choose the Right Oracle Deck to Pair with Tarot:
Understand the question/motivation: An oracle deck focusing on relationships or heart-centered themes might be appropriate if the question is about love. A more ethereal or divine-focused deck could be suitable for spiritual growth questions.
Know Your Oracle Decks: Because oracle decks come in all shapes, sizes, and themes, it is important to spend time with each of your oracle decks to understand their unique energies and messages. The more you know them, the better you can select which one aligns with a specific tarot reading.
Intuition is Key: Trust your instincts. There's likely a reason if you feel drawn to a particular oracle deck. Your intuition can guide you to the deck offering the most relevant insights.
Consider the Artwork and Imagery: The visual language of a deck can be just as important as its written messages. If the imagery of a tarot deck is very earthy and grounded, an oracle deck with a similar aesthetic may pair well.
Feedback Loop: After a reading, reflect on how the oracle cards enhanced or clarified the tarot message. Over time, this reflection will refine your pairing skills.
Consistent Practice: The more you practice pairing tarot with oracle decks, the more adept you'll become at making meaningful connections and insights between the two.
While tarot offers a structured and detailed roadmap, oracle decks provide thematic signposts. The art of blending these tools is a dance between structure and intuition, precision and expansiveness. Understanding each tool's essence and trusting your intuition, you will find that combining the two brings deeper and more well-rounded insights to your reading.