How To Read Your Oracle Cards Like A Pro: A Psychic Explains

mbg Contributor By Tanya Carroll Richardson
mbg Contributor
Tanya Carroll Richardson is an author and professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world.
Oracle Cards, Crystals, and Books on a Countertop

Oracle deck pictured: The Moon Deck

Image by Hannah Schwob / mindbodygreen

Similar to a tarot deck, an oracle deck is a collection of cards that provide guidance and perspective on our lived experience. While tarot decks tend to follow a specific structure—78 cards split between major or minor arcana—oracle decks can be more loose and interpretive. As a professional medium, I believe that consulting an oracle deck is one of the best ways to do an intuitive reading on yourself or someone else. Here are some pointers for getting started.

How to choose an oracle deck.

There are hundreds of oracle decks now available, each with its own theme and focus. When purchasing a deck, use your intuition to choose one you feel particularly drawn to. Collecting decks over time pays off, as you'll find that different decks will call to you depending upon your current mood and circumstances or those of the person you are reading for. I personally have about 30 decks, and I find that the deck I'm guided to use with each client tells me something about the client's personality or what they're struggling with.

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How to shuffle, sort, and interpret oracle cards.

Come to the cards with a blank, open mind. When reading for yourself, make sure you're alone in a quiet place where you can tune in to your own energy. Then, while holding the deck in your hands, consider where you could use some guidance right now. Your intuition will always tell you what you need to know in that moment. That means the most pressing issue that comes to mind might surprise you. If reading for someone else, just concentrate on the other person as you're shuffling the cards.

There are many ways to pick individual cards from a deck for a reading, but homing in on the method that works best for you is essential for your confidence in the cards. Personally I like to shuffle the deck until one card sticks out dramatically or even flies out. Others might shuffle until they get a feeling to stop and pick the card on top of the deck at that moment.

You can choose one card to speak to your single or multiple queries. I like to simply ask my intuition how many cards to draw from a deck. Once you pull your card(s), lay them facedown on the surface in front of you. Turn them over one by one. What are your first thoughts about what a card means for you or the person you are reading for? Usually our initial intuitive hits are the most profound. Expect some of these to come as surprises—guidance or insight you had never considered before. If you don't get a couple of immediate hits when looking at a card, sit with it calmly for a minute or two and see what floats to the surface.

Three Moon Deck Oracle Cards in a Spread

Oracle deck pictured: The Moon Deck

Image by Hannah Schwob / mindbodygreen

Some more tips for reading oracle cards.

There are very few hard-and-fast rules when it comes to working with these divination tools, but here are a few more things to keep in mind as you go:

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1. Treat your deck like a sacred object.

Decks can be well worn and well loved, but they should always be respected. When doing a reading for someone else, you should be the person shuffling and picking the cards so that no one else touches your deck. When you're done pulling cards, keep your deck in a closed drawer so it doesn't pick up on stray vibes flying around your home. The more you care for the energy of your deck, the more accurate your readings will be!

2. Don't rely on the guidebook.

People who design oracle cards put a lot of time and love into these guidebooks, and it can be fun and informative to read the entries when you get a new deck. But just like when you're learning to drive a car, there comes a time when driver's ed is over and the manual is no longer as useful. I like oracle cards that have one big, general message at the top that can be expressed in a few words. When you read those words, do not pay so much attention to the longer explanation of this card in the book as to what your own intuition is telling you this card means for your life.

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3. Pay attention to the cards' imagery.

Images on oracle cards are not just pretty pictures. Sometimes the words won't resonate, but the picture of a man on the card will remind you of your father, or an animal will remind you of one of your pets. Cards with images of a particular season might be telling you that a career change or marriage proposal will come in the fall, for example.

4. Retain a sense of wonder and magic when reading the cards.

Intense emotions like anxiety and fear can block intuition, so focus, but also relax and have fun. Remember that these cards help you get in touch with your higher self and your spiritual guides. Reminding yourself of this will make you pay closer attention to each card's messages. Silence that annoying little voice that says, "This is too random to work" or "This is silly." Oracle cards can be startlingly accurate. The more you suspend your disbelief, the more you will get out of your readings.

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5. Don't use oracle cards as a crutch.

If you are constantly giving yourself readings several times a day, the accuracy rate will plummet. Some people like to draw one card for themselves every morning or evening. I usually do a reading for myself every Sunday afternoon. Find a rhythm that works for you, but allow adequate space between readings.

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