Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Difference Between Oracle Cards, Tarot and Lenormand Cards

The Moon from The Wild Unknown Tarot

This is my personal experience and opinion on the differences, pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses of three main types of cartomancy decks available. Remember what I may find a weakness may not bother you and some strengths may be worth four others. If you tend to only work with one, this may help you consider broadening your horizons. I really believe different decks suit different purposes, some questions simply don't suit certain decks and can lead to inaccurate or confusing messages.

The Wild Unknown Tarot


Tarot cards have a long history as a tool for divination. The oldest deck they have found dates from around the 15th century but its pretty obvious this is unlikely to be the first one. Esoteric sources have even suggested that they came from Ancient Egypt and were spread by travelers. Tarot has evolved over time with the decks consisting of 78 cards, with a Minor and Major Arcana. In the last 30 years or so Tarot gained a massive revival, with a huge amount of decks being published and produced by different artists, many themed decks and alterations to the traditional cards. Popular themes are Reproduction, Gothic, Egyptian, Celtic, Vampires, Goddesses and Magick.

Tarot Strengths

Hundreds of years of designs to choose from

Once you have learnt the system you can work with many decks

Lots of Tarot books and courses to help learning

Lots of choice of artwork to suit you or different styles of readings

Different artwork helps you find a deck that speaks to you more clearly

Symbolic images can be used in meditation

Cards can be used for magic

Gives detailed readings

Cards illustrate all the ups and downs of life

Can give very practical down to earth advice

Learning Tarot can strengthen psychic ability

Court Cards can represent people in your life

Cards can be used as significators in readings

Cards can be used for predictive readings

Hundreds of Tarot card spreads to use

Tarot Weaknesses

Generally printed on thinner card stock

Flimsy card boxes

Instruction booklets lack detail some have very old fashioned interpretations

Some older decks do not illustrate the Minor Arcana

Tarot can take years to learn with 78 cards with reversed meanings = 156

Some card meanings are varied so experience or psychic ability needed

Some card titles seem obscure to modern day users like 'Temperance'

Some card images are shocking or scary to some people

Allot of disinfo has put people off the Tarot

Christian imagery can make some cards hard to relate to for some people

Some snobbery in the Tarot community over Oracle Cards

Earth Magic Oracle Cards

Oracle Cards

Oracle cards are simply any card divination system, technically Tarot and Lenormand are Oracle Cards but they have become their own set systems. Although divination decks have been around for a while most of the Oracle Card decks you see now are new. In the last 15 years there has been an explosion of Oracle Card decks, for the first time in history Oracle Cards now outnumber the number of new Tarot decks published each year. Unlike Tarot these decks may be any number of cards and can show any type of imagery or wording. People create new decks all the time, with popular subjects being Angels, Gods and Goddeses, Faerys/Elementals and Power Animals.

Oracle Card Strengths

A massive choice in decks, themes and symbolism

Different Decks suit very different types of readings

Often feature high quality detailed instruction booklets

Usually printed on thicker card stock

Many come in sturdy boxes

Card meanings are usually focused on guidance rather than prediction

Good for spiritual readings

Commonly contain positive and motivational messages

Very suited to daily single card guidance

Many cards feature messages or key words making them easy to interpret

Decks that strengthen communication with Guides, Archangels, Goddesses or Ascended Masters

Reversed card meanings are rarely used


Oracle Card Weaknesses

Some cards have very large borders which swamps the artwork

Some decks are so big they can be hard to shuffle

Many Oracle Card decks have artwork which is to light and fluffy for some

Some feel the meanings of some decks to be sugar coated

Card readings can lack specifics and accurate details for some concerns

Some Oracle Card decks may not be suitable for "should I, shouldn't I?" questions as they lean towards a yes answer

Can be addictive for collectors!

Other than the guidebook further written information can be hard to come by

Current trend in CGI decks is getting very boring

Larger boxes can take up allot of space for collectors

Madame Lenormand's Oracle Cards (with options)



This is probably the least known of the three main groups. Lenormand cards have been around for over a 100 years but remained relatively unknown in English speaking countries until recently. The cards were named after the famous French card reader Madame Lenormand. The deck consists of only 36 cards which also feature playing card associations. In last 5 years Lenormand decks have grown in popularity, with many new decks appearing within the last year. Popular themes include, vintage, reproduction and witchy.

Lenormand Strengths

Only 36 cards to learn

No reverse meanings

Images on the cards are very simple and clear

Card decks are generally smaller and easy to shuffle

Simple, obvious titles for cards like 'The Tree'

Cards can be used as significators in readings

Can be used for specific detailed readings

Innovative use of significators answer questions about health, love, business etc

Some new decks include additional man and woman cards for same sex couples

Many new decks come with a choice of alternative artwork for certain cards allowing you to customise your deck

Some new decks have optional extra cards to expand the deck beyond the traditional 36 cards

The famous 'Grand Tableau' spread can offer detailed answers to all areas of your life

Some recent decks have a clever use of printing techniques, spot varnish, metallic ink and texture

Lenormand Weaknesses

Less choice of decks available

Usually printed on thinner card stock

Some may find the meanings too mundane

Not the best choice for spiritual readings

Some conflict over the meanings of certain cards from different sources

Some card meanings are not very obvious from the imagery

Some instruction booklets can be very basic

Card boxes can be flimsy like Tarot

Reading cards in pairs is harder than single card interpretations in Tarot and Oracle Cards

Currently only a few books on learning Lenormand Cards in print

Say hello to your new obsession!

Tip!: To read more blog posts and reviews on this subject simply search 'Tarot' or 'Oracle Cards' on my blog!

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  1. I just became curious about tarot Oracle & lenormand cartomacy I love em all

    1. Great. It can be quite a journey!

  2. I love Lenormand cards, I find them quite accurate! I like the Tarot but find them a bit more confusing. I'm excited to try the Oracle cards next.

  3. I've read Tarot for well over 20 years now, and have just stepped into the world of Lenormand (very bored of going very deep). I've found that Lenormand offer the kind of quick fire, down to earth advice and insight that many of my clients want. Yes re new obsession :/