All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Thus, so it goes that all Tarot cards are oracle cards, but not all oracle cards are Tarot cards. I have used an embarrassing amount of both oracle cards and Tarot cards. I have noticed that oracle cards seem to always have the following:
Something about love; Something about letting go; Something about forgiveness; Something about transformation; Something about being enough. You know you can expect these themes to come up, but other than that every oracle deck is very free form.
While these themes are present in the Tarot, the Tarot is a very structured form. When you pick up a Tarot deck you know what to expect. There will be 22 Major Arcana cards (big spiritual soul/life lessons), numbered 0-21. There will be 56 Minor Arcana cards in four suits similar to a deck of cards. There will be the numbered Minor Arcana cards, Ace through 10, and then four Court Cards that often represent people or personality traits. Each suit will be associated with the four elements, fire, water, earth, and air, paired with wands, cups, pentacles, and swords; respectively. Each of these have their associations with some variation. I speak about my own here.
Now, some Tarot decks mess with the formatting a little, adding card or two, or by renaming the suits or renaming the Court Cards. And then there are those that play around it with it so much they are more like a Tarot/oracle love child hybrid.
For example, Akashic Tarot, removed the court cards and only have numbers ace through 10, but then added 7 chakra cards, but otherwise still having Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana, along with renaming some of the "scary" cards. Tarot of the Heart and Psychic Tarot do similar things.
Story time! I did a reading once with the Psychic Tarot for a friend. It was my first time reading with it, ever! And in the reading the deck told me to give to her!
My favorite hybrid, however, is the Dreams of Gaia Tarot. There are 25 Major Arcana cards, that have been renamed and put into three different categories with card 0-Choice as the starting point for all of them, so effectively the Major Arcana is broken up into three suits or themes of the human experience. And then the numbered Minor Arcana lead up to a completeness, something that is not always the case in the traditional Tarot.
However, because I knew the traditional Tarot, particularly the Smith-Waite, it was a simple matter for me to see what it as Ravynn was up to in the Dreams of Gaia Tarot. And that fundamentally is what I love and adore about Tarot. You can have all these different flavors and once you know a basic deck based on the Rider Waite Smith/Smith-Waite deck, it's so much easier to learn new decks.
Yet, do what's best for you. I have a friend who just can't seem to get into Tarot, and only uses oracle. I have another friend who wasn't inspired by any Tarot decks until the Wise Dog Tarot came out! A a deck that's very much based on the Smith-Waite. So I highly recommend it if you love dogs. And yet another girl, loves and adores the Numinous Tarot. It's a beautiful inclusive deck that messes with the names, calling wands, candles,; pentacles, tomes; cups, vials; and swords, bells (which amuses me, ringing the bells to clear the air of the BS instead of slicing through the crap with a sword). It's got a different rich flavor all its own. I do not use the Numinous Tarot, but this girl can consult me on the readings she does with it because it's still very much Tarot.
And for me, this is why I ultimately prefer Tarot, but I sure do love my oracle cards too. I love the ones by Kyle Grey, and my Celtic oracles, and I adore my new Adorabyssals. Totally cute. You just pretty much won't be finding me using them while reading at fairs.
All blessings bright and beautiful,
Ruth ~ Lady of Radiant Joy ~^_^~
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