By Nikki Harper | Guest Writer
Many people prefer oracle cards to tarot cards because there are usually fewer cards to manage; because the cards in an oracle deck are fairly distinct from others, there are also many fewer ‘standardised’ or ‘traditional’ interpretations, so you less frequently find yourself thinking that such and such a card is “supposed to mean” x, y or z.
However, just as with using tarot cards, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut with oracle decks. When this happens, your readings, whether for yourself or for others, will start to become mechanical and routine – the very opposite of what an intuitive divination exercise should be.
Whether you’re brand new to oracle cards or have many tried and trusted decks you use over and over again, these six easy tips can help you to freshen up your intuition and to look at and use your oracle cards in a brand new light.
Put Away the Guidebook
If you’re brand new to oracle card reading, it’s only natural to read the guidebook or booklet thoroughly and to refer to it when you do your first few readings. Nothing wrong with that – it’s always a good idea to refer back to the guide every now and then even when you’re experienced, as it will often give you something else to consider no matter how familiar you are with the cards.
However, to really push your intuition and divination muscles, you need to the guidebook behind. However well-written the guide, it is necessarily someone else’s interpretation – you need to develop your own.
So put the guidebook away and look afresh at the oracle cards. If you have memorised meanings for each card, try not let these learned interpretations censor other more original thoughts which float to mind as you study each card. You’re not wrong; there’s no such thing with a divination practice.
Read the Cards Upside Down
This very simple trick is a favourite with tarot readers too. Lay out your spread of cards upside down to how you normally have them (if you’re reading for yourself, you presumably normally have the cards the right way up as you look at them, so turn them upside down instead; if you normally read for others, you may well be used to reading them upside down to you as they face your client, so turn them back the right way round for fresh insight).
This easy technique bypasses the sense of recognition in your brain, and could enable you to notice new patterns, new shapes, new colours or new details in the images which you don’t normally notice. Pay special attention to anything which jumps out at you from this new and interesting angle.
Focus On a Single Card Attribute
As an experiment, ignore the overall images on your cards; instead choose a single attribute such as colour or shape. Depending on the theme of your chosen deck, there are other possible attributes too such as clothing, if your deck features people, or weather/season if it features nature scenes.
Ignoring the rest of the image any learned or experienced meanings for that card, what does the dominant colour alone tell you? Or what the dominant shapes, and what might they mean for your divination?
Then look at your spread as a whole; is there a whole range of colours and shapes, or is there a pattern or a clearly dominant colour/shape?
This exercise distances you from what you thought you knew about your cards, and instead goes back to very basis symbology and the associations you can draw from that.
Weave a Story
Again, forget about the learned meanings of the cards in front of you. Think of them instead as scenes in a storybook or a graphic novel. How do you, or how does the character on the first card, get from card A to card B, C, D and E? What happens between the start and end of this oracle story? How do the intervening cards contribute to the plot?
Many people find this difficult (and it’s true to say that some oracle decks are much more suited to this than others – the more detailed the imagery, the easier the storytelling exercise will be). If you struggle, look at the cards like a child and imagine you have to tell someone what is happening in the first card. Then look at the second card and answer the question ‘what happened next?’.
With practice, you can become fluent at weaving these tales, often picking up on tiny card details to drive your story forwards, or bringing in an overarching theme of colour or shape or season as in #3.
This exercise is valuable because it helps you to see your oracle cards as interconnected, both with you and with each other. Few oracle cards can give a strong divination message on their own; it’s about the collective whole.
Connect Your Oracle Cards to Other Divination Forms
If you practice a different kind of divination such as astrology, tarot, dowsing, i-ching, palmistry or scrying, it can be hugely valuable to try to make connections between your different tools.
This is easiest to do if you keep a daily divination journal, but it’s possible even without.
What you’re doing here is looking for patterns or themes between your divination results from your oracle cards and your divination results elsewhere. These cards that you have drawn today – are they backed up or contradicted by anything else? Do they connect at all? If so, how? If not, why do you think that might be?
If you don’t practice other divination forms, you can still do this – a great way to get started is by connecting your oracle cards to your dreams. Try to write down what you remember of your dreams each morning when you wake, and then scan back through these dream recollections as you work with your oracle cards. Sometimes the connections can be quite startling.
Stop Doing So Many Readings!
The final tip is to slow down with your oracle card readings. Using your cards every day is one thing – however, if you find yourself checking your oracle deck several times a day, you’re going to struggle with accuracy and interpretation. Your intuition will become blunted and hard to work with. Even worse, if you find yourself constantly re-doing readings you didn’t like, trying to get the “right” answer or the answer you wanted, you’ll find yourself quickly disillusioned.
Ironically, one of the best ways to strengthen your intuitive connection with your oracle cards is to take a break from them – so don’t overdo it!
About the Author
Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.