A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot and Oracle Cards and How to Use Them

A Beginner’s Guide to Tarot and Oracle Cards and How to Use Them
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I’ve been dabbling in the ancient divination practice of tarot reading for the better part of a decade now. Having been a fan for so long, I’ve been through a range of different phases and methods of my practice. There have been times when I pulled tarot or oracle cards almost daily, and others where I’ve only pulled cards when I’ve really needed answers. Lately, I’ve noticed a real resurgence of the practice, especially since my TikTok For You page seems to be flooded with tarot card readings.

If, like me, tarot readers on your FYP have re-sparked or piqued your interest in the ancient practice, and you’re keen to invest in your first deck, I’m here to help.

But first, what are tarot cards?

It’s said that tarot cards originated around the mid-15th century somewhere in Italy. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that tarot was used for the divinatory (or occult) it’s more commonly known for today.

There are three common styles of tarot decks. The Rider-Waite-Smith is the most common (you’ve probably seen it all over TikTok) and good for beginners. The Tarot de Marseilles is one of the oldest decks and was born in Italy, and the third most common decks are the Thoth and Golden Dawn.

While all tarot decks are unique, they typically include 78 cards divided into two groups: the major and minor arcana. The major arcana are the deck’s 22 big cards, meaning when you pull them, they represent significant life events and/or figures in your life.

The minor arcana consists of 56 cards that often refer to smaller, more everyday matters. This part of the deck is typically divided into four suits: wands, swords, pentacles (or coins depending on your deck), and cups, with each suit representing a different facet of life.

For most decks, wands are a symbol of creativity and passion, swords represent intellect, pentacles symbolise work and money, and cups are all about emotions. It’s also believed that each of the suits is aligned with astrological signs too, e.g. wands align with fire, swords with air, pentacles with earth, and cups with water.

If you’re new to tarot, that all probably sounds pretty complicated. However, most decks will come with a little booklet that will help you interpret each of the cards as you start to learn and lean into your deck.

So how do you find a set of tarot cards that’s right for you?

Personally, I find picking a set of tarot cards all comes down to personal choice — we each have our likes and dislikes, and a set of images and words that we’re drawn to. Whenever I’ve found myself investing in a new deck (I have several), I find that for some magical reason, my intuition draws me to one deck over the others. Mystics say that individual decks can call to our inner spirit, and we fall in love with that deck for a reason.

What’s the difference between tarot cards and oracle cards?

Oracle cards are often a little gentler and easier to use as a beginner. Unlike traditional tarot decks, which come in packs of 78, oracle decks can include any number of cards, and they don’t follow the traditional structure of the Major and Minor Arcana. There really aren’t any rules when it comes to Oracle cards, which makes them great for beginners who are learning to tap into their intuition.

Where can you buy tarot cards?

If you’re looking for a brick and mortar to buy your tarot and oracle cards from, places like crystal shops, occult stores and some bookstores are your best bet. Otherwise, you can find a range of different decks online from places like Amazon and Etsy, or if you follow a particular psychic or medium on social media, they often sell decks they’ve designed too.

Ahead, I’ve rounded up some of my favourite tarot decks to serve as inspiration for you. Enjoy!

The Best Tarot Decks in Australia

Rider Waite Tarot Deck

oracle cards tarot cards

The Rider Waite Tarot Deck is one of the most common and easily identified tarot decks. First issued in 1910, the Rider-Waite Tarot quickly became one of the most widely used tarot card decks in the world. Designed by Pamela Colman Smith in accordance with A. E Waite’s instructions, there are 78 tarot cards, divided into the Major and Minor Arcanas. Each set comes with a mini-booklet of instructions and explanations of each card that is handy to use while you’re getting to know the deck.

Where to buy: Amazon ($22, usually $29.99), Booktopia ($30.95, usually $39.99)

Luna Somnia Tarot Deck

If you’re looking for a deck that’s a little less traditional, might we suggest the magical Luna Somnia Tarot Deck (Latin for moon dreams)? Inspired by the symbolism of the classic Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, the Luna Somnia deck combines celestial and astrological symbols to inspire connection with your cosmic spirit and channel your intuition.

Where to buy: Amazon ($92, usually $110.80)

Luna Soleil Tarot Deck

oracle cards tarot cards

To say we’re absolutely spellbound by this deck is an understatement. The Luna Soleil is a complete deck of 78 cards in the traditional tarot format, with numbered cards and suits for the major and minor arcana. They might just be the most beautifully designed deck we’ve ever seen. Designed by Annalise Dragonetti, the founder and creative director of Terra Soleil, the back of each tarot card has a mesmerising zodiac constellation, with printed flecks of gold shimmer woven through the stars.

Where to buy: Etsy ($76.28, usually $84.76)

Angel Tarot Cards

Previously published as Angel Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine, the Angel Tarot deck is a very gentle and safe deck that’s great for beginners. All of the words in this deck, as well as the illustrations by Steve A. Roberts, are positive and beautiful while still retaining the magical effectiveness of traditional tarot. It’s filled with symbolism and imagery of mystical creatures like angels, archangels, unicorns, fairies, and mermaids, and will provide you with inspiring guidance on your life journey.

Where to buy: Booktopia ($24.25, usually $29.99), eBay ($28.25)

The Best Oracle Cards in Australia

The Psychic Tarot Oracle Cards

oracle cards tarot cards

If you’re looking for a little introspective guidance, The Psychic Tarot Oracle Cards will certainly deliver. The deck contains 65 beautifully illustrated oracle cards that will help to create a powerful bridge between your psychic abilities, the ancient knowledge and the meanings of the tarot. Over time, you’ll develop intuitive insights about all areas of your life, including love and relationships, business matters, and even career changes.

Where to buy: Amazon ($24.95), Booktopia ($24.25, usually $29.99)

Work Your Light Oracle Cards

Whether you’re searching for an instant hit from your intuition, guidance on making a decision, or a deeper investigation into the whispers of your soul, this beautiful and unique oracle is the perfect tool to help you work your light. Each stunning card was designed to amplify your own inner guidance and create a dialogue with the angels.

Where to buy: Amazon ($22), Booktopia ($31.99, usually $24.75)

Moonology Oracle Cards

If you’re already someone who charges your crystals under the power of the full moon, then this deck might be calling to you. Created by Astrologer Yasmin Boland, The Moonology Oracle cards bring more answers and guidance for those who feel a connection or are drawn to working with the moon’s natural magic.

Where to buy: Amazon ($19, usually $24.99)

Earth Magic Oracle Cards

oracle cards tarot cards

The Earth Magic Oracle cards are perfect for those who feel drawn to the Earth. In this deck of 48 oracle cards created by Steven D. Farmer, you’ll find beautiful descriptions and images of the Earth elements along with clear and concise messages from the spirits of each to help guide you on your endeavours.

Where to buy: Booktopia ($21.25, usually $24.95)

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