Getting right to the point: the main difference between tarot cards and oracle cards is structure and potential uses. Most tarot decks follow the same format: 78 cards, 22 of which are highly significant major arcana cards, and the rest are minor arcana cards that fall into four suits: wands, cups, swords, and pentacles. These decks are used mainly for direct questioning about your future or a current problematic situation.
Oracle cards, on the other hand, are designed from the bottom up by an individual creator or team with a unique structure and amount of cards that is entirely up to their vision. They typically have a theme or archetypal power that they will use or call upon. And the goals when using them may vary from asking for guidance, to working on your inner growth.
Tarot cards and how they work
Tarot cards work through you. The cards are drawn and laid out for each reading through the power of the reader or questioners own intuition. Focusing on your question and clearing your mind of random thoughts, one shuffles the cards and lays them out. Your hands and movements are guided by your subconscious or your higher self. Intuition is also used when interpreting the meaning of the spread of cards. Although you can and will refer to the set definitions in the guidebook, you will also notice how the imagery makes you feel, and how the messages all connect and create meaning. You can instinctively pull this all together to know what guidance the cards are giving you.
How oracle cards differ
Every oracle deck has different cards with different meanings, unlike tarot decks where it is pretty much the same meanings and cards in every deck. This allows you to choose a spiritual path that you wish to explore or connect with, such as nature, animals, and feminine energy.
For example, the Spirit of the Animals Oracle deck has 51 animal helper cards that act as guides. The animals represent energies in nature, archetypes that people have worked with for thousands of years. There are several spreads you can follow in the guide book to receive guidance and answers. You can also use the cards to find your spirit animal, and learn about messages that you can receive through animal sightings in nature.
Another oracle deck, the Angel Inspiration deck, uses the powerful archetypal energy of Angels and Archangels to guide you. There are 44 gorgeous cards depicting different angels, spiritual strengths, actions, and traits. You can do specific readings described in the guide book, or you can draw a card to meditate upon for the day as guidance. You can also call on a specific archangel to help you with a problem, and the guide book helps you pick the most appropriate one.
As you can see, oracle cards can be a very flexible way to find help and guidance on your spiritual journey, and in getting answers to your challenges. There are so many different themes when it comes to oracle cards. You're sure to find one that truly speaks to you.