Witch Tips: Tarot and Oracle Decks

Divination is a practice that shifts the focus of the mind to clarify a situation or question.  It is not for seeing into the future, but rather to clear up any lingering questions regarding an existing relationship, problem, or event.  One of the most worked-with forms is tarot or oracle decks.  Tarot decks are pictorial representation of common archetypes.  Oracle decks are very similar, but they usually have a phrase or piece of wisdom along with the image.  There are a couple of practices that assist to acquaint the reader with this form of divination.

  • Buy Your First Deck in Person: Buying cards off the internet is a little difficult because you don’t get to see and feel the deck. I know that sounds a little kooky, but trust me.  You have to be comfortable with what you are working with when it comes to divination.  If you’re not, you’ll never use it, and decks are an expensive investment to sit in your closet.
  • Tarot or Oracle?: Each has their own benefits.  Oracle decks are good for first-time readers or the quick session.  Tarot decks are better for complex readings and for the more independent reader (the messages on oracle decks sometimes irritate readers because the illustrator supposes the wisdom that goes with the image).  I have both, but prefer tarot.
  • Okay I’ve Picked a Type, Now What Deck?: There are thousands of tarot and oracle decks.  If you are buying an oracle deck, pick one attuned to your interests (fairies, Egyptian myths, animal totems, etc).  Tarot decks come in similar varieties, but also have some classic forms.  My favorite it Rider-Waite.
  • Cleansing and Programing: Cleanse as you would any magical object, although I recommend not using a water method.  Afterwords, sit down and look at every card in order. Study the images.  You don’t need to commit them to memory (that will come in time).  Grab a notebook and jot down some buzzwords that come to mind for each card.  Afterwords if you have a method of programing an object, use it for a week.  My personal favorite is to sleep with the deck under my pillow.
  • Housing: What will protect your deck the most? A box, a bag, or the original packaging?  You could even use a soap container for a deck you take on trips.  Also, do you want to keep a crystal or an herb in your deck box or bag?
  • Spreads: How you use the cards is largely intuitive.  There are models and spreads you can use as a jumping-off point (Past, Present, Future; Celtic Cross; etc.) if you are absolutely unfamiliar with how to create a spread.  I encourage you to come up with your own, whether they are elaborate or simple.
  • Ritual: Do you want to do a formal ritual for every reading?  Or do you want to just light a candle? Experiment a little.

© Ariadne Woods


2 thoughts on “Witch Tips: Tarot and Oracle Decks

  1. I have always found connecting with my tarot deck difficult. (We’re all kooky in some way.) I will be utilizing these methods mentioned in the post!

    I also think that not only should you not buy the first deck online, but one should buy all their decks from local shops and/or explicitly Pagan shops. The energies surrounding these stores resonate on a much more similar wave length. There is just something industrial and unnatural about big name stores. These items are used in magickal workings, not light reading.


    1. I definitely agree with your point and want to add if you don’t live in an area with pagan or new age stores, a deck is a great souvenir to pick up on vacation.

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