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Introduction to Oracle Cards

Cartomancy is the practice of divination through the use of cards. Tarot is a widely known form of this. Unlike Tarot, which has developed a standardized 78 card system over the last 500 years, oracle cards are designed at the discretion of the creator. Many decks utilize symbolic themes such as: nature, angels/ascended masters, character archetypes, colors, numerology, sacred geometry, crystals etc.


But what do I mean by “divination"?


At its most simple definition, “divination” is the practice of seeking knowledge through intuition. Therefore, oracle cards can be considered a tool to “get to know yourself” and to hone your intuition.


But what is intuition?


Unlike the left brain (which relies on logic and reasoning), intuition resides in right brain perception and relies on innate, immediate sensing and feeling. Dr. Roger W. Sperry won a Nobel Prize for his research on this topic known as "split-brain theory."


Ultimately, the power of all divination originates within. Unless you are reading cards for other people, a personal practice of cartomancy primarily seeks self-knowledge and can empower you to change your life.


Oracle Decks


Nowadays there is no shortage of options when picking an oracle deck. Oracle decks are abundantly available, both as easily accessible mass-produced decks as well as those that are independently published.


Marie Anne Lenormand’s 36 card oracle deck, famously known as “Lenormand cards,” was posthumously published in France in 1845 and has since gained worldwide popularity. The imagery of this 36 card deck, like that of the Major and Minor Arcana of the Tarot, remain the same regardless of who reimagines the artwork.


You can use Lenormand cards, or any oracle deck of your choosing, for the following 3-card spreads. These 3-card spreads can represent, when read left to right, the following:


  • foot, heart, head

  • past, present, future

  • body, mind, spirit

  • situation, obstacle, advice

  • you, relationship, friend/partner


Reflection is critical to interpreting what your spread means for you. Journaling can be a tool for this as a part of your cartomancy practice.


Journaling prompt: Before consulting your deck’s included guidebook- what immediately resonates with you about the imagery or language of the spread? Write this down. After you've done this, refer to the guidebook. What were you able to interpret without the guidebook's assistance?

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