There are many ways that we can communicate with the Divine, the Universe, or however you choose to think of the great big spiritual world. But honestly, sometimes it’s hard to feel like the messages coming through are clear. Thankfully, nowadays, more and more people are branching out and expanding their toolbox to include things that they perhaps shrugged off in the past as being too “woo woo.” As our collective awakening continues, techniques such as tarot and other oracle card readings are becoming more commonplace. Which is wonderful, since these can be powerful tools for our own personal clarity and empowerment!
Using the tarot, arguably the most well-known of the divination cards, was rumored to have started in the 1500s, by European elite. They were thought to be a way to see the future, and better understand oneself, not to mention be a fun party trick. The art of divination has, of course, been used since the dawn of tribal times, but the overt use of printed card decks didn’t gain popularity until much later. Now, tarot card decks can be found nearly everywhere, coming in a wide variety of styles. Learning how to read and interpret the tarot takes some time and practice, as it works with more nuanced and deep patterns and meanings.
Beyond tarot cards, oracle cards are an amazing new tool that is available to all of us, and are typically quite easy to read. The purpose of these cards is to illuminate something specific, or give guidance to the reader. There are oracle cards featuring spirit animals, chakras, nature elements, goddesses, angels, and dozens of other themes. Because of the wide variety out there, it’s easy to find a deck or two that really resonates with you! Card decks can be a great way to communicate with the spiritual realm, and get clarity for life decisions, or simply to feel supported.
Many people are intimidated by using oracle or tarot cards, because they’re afraid they’re not going to “do it right.” However, the truth is, there is no wrong way to use oracle cards! Everyone has their own technique, and everyone interprets the meanings in the context of their own experience. This is one of the most magical things about these cards: they will always show you what you need to know in that moment, and your reading will always be different from someone else’s. It’s important to personally connect with your cards, and invite your guides to speak through them. Just like with any other divination technique, your results are tailored for you, and you can always (always!) ask for clarification if you’re unsure of the message.
Cards reveal certain themes or archetypes that are alive within us or in the world around us. You may ask your oracle cards anything you wish, but it’s important to always approach your reading with a clear question. These questions don’t need to be super specific, but at least have an idea of what guidance you’re hoping for.
Some good questions to start with might be:
- “What do I need to know right now?”
- “What angel/guide/animal do I need to listen to?”
- “What dynamics are at play in my relationships/career/health?”
There are dozens of different spreads you can choose from as well, depending on how in depth you want to go with a certain issue.
The following images/card spread ideas are from the Wild Unknown.
Some common card spreads include:
A simple pull of 1 card to gain insight or a theme for the day or during a healing session
Sometimes known as the “obstacle” and the “path,” you can pull two cards to illuminate these factors:
Sometimes used for a basic relationship spread, as illustrated below. You can also pull three cards in a straight line, to represent past, present, and future (ask about a specific theme, like your romantic life, career, etc…).
A fun expansion on the 2-card spread, this 5-card spread can offer deeper insights and how to move forward through potential obstacles.
Another creative way to work with 5 cards, is the element spread. You can interpret your cards like this:
- The Earth card represents your “foundation”, or sense of stability with finances, work, family, and home.
- The Water card represents your emotional world and the health of relationships, as well as the flow of creativity.
- The Fire card represents aspects of your ego; confidence, sense of self, and your willingness to grow and transform.
- The Air card indicates your current relationship to movement, change, travel, and inspiration.
- The Spirit card represents your relationship to the infinite and Spirituality.
One of the classic tarot/oracle card spread is called the Celtic Cross. This is great for when you really want depth on a certain issue. You can mix and match card decks in any spread, but especially in large spreads like this one!
Often used for a yearly overview- one card for each month, along with an additional “overall year” card.
Once you have a hang of these spreads, you can branch out and research other, deeper ways of working with your cards. Remember that your oracle cards are never wrong; even though the message may not make sense at first, give it time. Often, we don’t notice or fully understand a dynamic at play in our life until later, or until we’re pointed in the right direction.
Oracle cards are wonderful to incorporate into another spiritual practice, too. For example, many of my clients like to pull a card or two before a Reiki session, as this gives new depth and direction for our time together. It can also be nice to do a spread before journaling, doing yoga, going out in nature, or any other contemplative activity.
Taking care of your oracle cards is easy, too. Keep them in a place that you see regularly, so you’ll be inspired to use them- a special shelf or altar is wonderful, especially if you have other healing goodies nearby. If you use your cards a lot, or let other people use them, just remember to cleanse or smudge them with sage every now and then, to realign their energy.
Have you used oracle cards? Which decks do you like? I’m excited to keep playing with mine! And if you’d like to pull some cards before your sessions with me, just say the word!