How to Use Oracle Cards for Guidance, Inspiration, and Encouragement

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What Are Oracle Cards?

An oracle set is a deck of cards with images and words, often includes a booklet that offers greater insight into the meaning of each card. and usually comes in a box. An oracle set is used for inspiration, guidance, divination, and connection to Spirit. The general approach is that you select a card at random to receive a message. The theory is that you will pull a card that aligns energetically with your situation or intention. Here is an example of an oracle set with a sampling of cards displayed.

Are Oracle Cards Tarot?

Oracle cards are not Tarot cards. The content, card count, and imagery of oracle cards are at the discretion of the author, artist, or creator. Oracle cards are accessible to anyone seeking clarity or connection to Spirit. The messages are benign and inspirational. I respect oracle cards, and I enjoy using them at home on a daily basis.

Tarot is a well-defined system with a specific format, and I believe it requires a level of education on the subject. The cards are interpreted based on order, context, and experience. If you picked up a Tarot deck and pulled the Angel of Death card, that could be alarming and misleading. I respect Tarot, and I enjoy getting a professional Tarot reading about every five years.

There is also a superstition that you should not buy your first Tarot deck, it should be a gift. If you buy your first Tarot deck, the superstition is that it won’t work for you. Since I have never been gifted a Tarot deck, I am content to stick to oracle for my personal use.

When to Use Oracle Cards

Oracle cards are a wonderful source of guidance, inspiration, and encouragement that can be used daily or as needed. I keep cards on my desk, in my meditation space, and by my bed. I often travel with a deck as well. As a general rule of moderation, I don’t use my oracle cards more than once a day.

1. Use oracle cards to seek guidance on the following types of questions.

What message does Spirit want me to know today?
What is the root of this issue?
What should I know about this situation?
What should I consider when moving forward?
How can I align with a solution to this obstacle?

2. Use oracle cards to obtain inspiration.

I often pull a card when I have writer’s block, when I am looking for a focus for my meditation, or when I am looking for a theme for my yoga class. You can extrapolate these examples to your own needs and situation.

3. Use oracle cards for encouragement.

I often pull a card when I am feeling blah and need a pick me up. Oracle cards are a great reminder that Spirit is conspiring for your greatest good. They are a nudge to keep you on track in a world that can be confusing and overwhelming at times. I find them to be an insightful friend who is always available.

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Four Ways to Choose an Oracle Deck

Full discloser here, oracle decks are addictive. I have fifty plus card decks and more on my wishlist. They are my go-to purchase when I treat myself or as a souvenir when I travel. Let me help you get started since there are so many from which to choose.

1. Theme Oracle Decks

Since you are interested in oracle cards, you have probably already been exploring spirituality. Use your established interest to guide you in selecting an oracle deck. If you are drawn to the moon, fairies, numerology, or Reiki, there are oracle decks for all of those topics and more.

2. Recommended Oracle Decks

Ask your friends or spiritual teachers which decks they use the most often. My favorite decks listed here were all purchased based on recommendations.

These decks are the ones I recommend most often for beginners. I also most often gift The Universe Has Your Back. It is a beautiful, nondenominational gift of encouragement.

3. Favorite Author Oracle Cards

If you have a favorite author in the spiritual genre, they may have a corresponding oracle deck. It is an easy transition since their content already resonates with you. You may have already noticed cards from some of your favorite authors above.

4. Intuit Your Deck

If none of the suggestions thus far resonate with you, follow your intuition to select your deck. Enjoy the process of discovery.

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Three Steps to Prepare an Oracle Deck for Use

Once you have purchased or acquired your oracle deck, you need to do some energy clearing and calibration before using it. You can use this same process if you haven’t used a deck for awhile, if you shared it with someone else, if your kids played with it, etc.

  1. Tap or knock on the set three times while it is all in the box with the intention that any energies the deck accumulated be cleared.
  2. Open the box and hold the cards to your heart center with the intention that the cards align with your energy. You can do this one card at a time or while holding the entire deck, do as you are guided.
  3. Hold your hands over the set with the intention that the messages you receive from the cards are aligned with your highest good.
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How to Pick an Oracle Card for a Message

  1. Take three deep breaths to center yourself in a calm and open to receive energy.
  2. Shuffle the cards three to five times while thinking about the question or situation that you would like to receive guidance about.
  3. Hold the cards between your hands or at your heart center, again think about your intention or a question you may have for Spirit.
  4. Select a card at random from the deck to receive your message.

If a card ever falls out of the deck at any point during the process, set it aside while you continue through the steps. The card that fell out is meant for you but may not pertain to the question you had in mind.

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How to Interpret Oracle Cards

Read the card and read the corresponding booklet page if one is included in the set. See if the message resonates with you. If it does, great. If it does not, consider if the opposite of what the card is expressing resonates with you. In either case, allow you intuition to guide you in the interpretation, the words are a prompt not necessarily a complete view.

For example, if you pull a card relating to children there are numerous potential meanings. It may indicate that your inner child needs attention, that you need to nurture a new project, or that you will acquire new responsibilities that include teaching. This is how your intuition paired with your intention will provide you guidance in interpreting the card.

Also, look closely at the art on the card to see if there is any symbolism specific to you. You may find your favorite bird, your favorite color, a flower with special meaning to you, or an object that is specific to your situation. I find the art to be equally as important as the words when seeking inspiration and encouragement.

Some cards are numbered, and those cards allow numerology to enter in as well. Reduce the number on the card to a single digit by adding together the digits. For example, a card numbered 23 would reduce to 2 + 3 = 5 and a card numbered 29 would reduce to 2 + 9 = 11 => 1 + 1 = 2. Here is a quick numerology reference for gleaning more information from your oracle card.

  1. New Beginnings, Independence, Innovation
  2. Union, Cooperation, Relationships
  3. Joy, Optimism, Imagination
  4. Preparation (for change), Hard Work, Endurance
  5. Change, Freedom, Promotion
  6. Family, Nurturing, Service
  7. Spiritual Focus, Wisdom, Investigative
  8. Preparation (for completion), Organization, Power
  9. Completion, Transformation, Vision

If you still don’t understand what the card means in reference to your question, pull a second card with the intention of clarity. If that card does not resonate either, set your oracle deck aside for another time or another day. You may realize the relevance of the message at a later time or not. You set the intention that the messages you receive would align with your highest good, and no message is an indication for faith and trust.

Oracle Ethics

Unless you are doing a reading for someone else with their consent, oracle cards are for personal use only. It is an invasion of privacy and bad karma to pull a card for someone else or to try to get information about someone else. All of your questions should pertain to you, your actions, and your responsibilities.

With that said, if your friend is having a difficult time with something, you may offer to pull a card for them. Sometimes when someone is weighed down by emotion it is helpful for someone else to pull a card for clarity and support. If they decline, honor their wishes.

Thanks for Exploring Oracle Cards

I hope you found this introduction to oracle cards helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. As in all things, there are many more advanced techniques out there, but this should give you a solid foundation.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and affiliate marketer, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. All views and opinions are my own. Thank you for your support.

7 thoughts on “How to Use Oracle Cards for Guidance, Inspiration, and Encouragement

    1. I have a few decks on my phone too, and I do use them every so often. I crave holding them in my hands though. I feel more connected to them when they are physical. Thanks for the visit! πŸ™‚

  1. Tarot cards are so personal for the reader it’s hard to imagine that a gift would be the right deck, and that said, the deck I have been using for 25 years was indeed a gift (The Tarot of the Cat People). I bought myself a tarot deck called The Tarot of the Goddess and that deck only gives positive readings – so strange but lovely.

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