How to Use Tarot and Oracle Cards to Coach Yourself

It's always good to get a visual element into personal development, and using Tarot or Oracle cards is a good way to do that.

There's a difference between the two of them, and I'll tell you briefly about that and give you a pointer to some of my favorites and what I'm working with now. I'll also give you a few specific ways to use them in your own personal development process.

The most important factor in picking any deck is finding something that speaks to you, that you want to work with, and that has images that are open-ended enough that it gives your intuition room to move around in. While card meanings are useful, you don't want to be confined by them.

Tarot Cards vs. Oracle Cards

The Tarot is a system, with a specific structure, that has been passed down for centuries. There are different approaches to tarot which vary in terms of their symbology and depictions, but in general they are all 78 card decks consisting of a Major Arcana and a Minor Arcana, which is divided into four suits. The Major Arcana is a series of archetypes that is a distillation of aeons of human wisdom and a representation of the steps an innocent must take in his various cycles of enlightenment. The suits of the Minor Arcana represent the four basic elements (air, earth, fire and water), and respectively the four aspects of human experience (thought, physicality, spirit, and emotion).

Many people interpret the tarot cards intuitively, not worrying about "The Meaning," but in general there is a bit of a learning curve to the Tarot, especially if you want to make more complicated inferences and connections regarding the areas of your life and important life stages. It is also hard to read cards intuitively if you feel like you need to know official meanings. This is why experienced readers are useful.

Right now my favorite decks are still The Wild Unknown, the Mary-El, and the Tarot of the Hidden Realms, though I'm currently playing with The Bonefire Tarot. A lot of people start with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, since it is a very standard system, with much documentation, and many other decks are based on it. It's a good place to start, but if the deck doesn't speak to you (I hate it), you can go with another RWS-based deck. 

Oracle decks are a different breed. Each deck has a theme, obviously, but the cards are generally unstructured and have individual meanings assigned by the creator. They're a good way to get into working with cards, and are a good way to connect with your intuition or just work with synchronicity and randomness.

At the moment, I'm working with the Sacred Creator Oracle Deck and the Moon Deck, though any of Alana Fairchild's or Colette Baron Reid's are a great place to start.

How to Work with the Cards​

Here are a few simple ways to work with any of these cards by yourself:

  • Pick an oracle card per day at random in the morning to reflect on during the day.
  • If you're stuck in a situation, think about what you need to know, pick a card at random and see what wisdom it has to offer you. A card can help you make new connections or see something from a new perspective.
  • Asking the right question is key to finding our answers. Often, we don't even ask questions! Maybe we feel stuck and powerless, or maybe we're just not taught to think we can come up with answers by ourselves. Tarot and Oracle cards are good ways to get you in the habit of asking regular questions and consulting your intuition and internal wisdom. Good questions will give you specific information towards what you can do in order to create your future-- such as "What do I need to know..." or "How can I...."
  • Pick a card or cards deliberately, to help you focus on a desired energy or a goal.
  • Work with the cards randomly as journal prompts

Regardless of what you do, always record and date your work so you can look at it later!