Working with oracle cards has changed my life for the better in so many ways. My first deck was gifted to me by a former co-worker who also happened to be a talented artist, healer, interfaith minister and an all around amazing person. At the time, I was making some pretty big life decisions and she felt the deck might help me to navigate each situation in new ways - wow, was she right! Since she knew of my connection with animals, she gifted me Animal Medicine Cards (check out the deck I use here). I received this particular deck in 2009 and I’ve continued to work with this same deck almost everyday since!
Now you might be asking, What are Animal Medicine Cards? What is an Oracle Card? Is it the same thing as Tarot?
Oracle cards are similar to tarot cards in that they both offer guidance, clarity, direction and there is a connection element.
Tarot cards tend to be more structured. They have a set number of cards (majors and minors), with each card having a distinct meaning and working in conjunction with other cards. The cards are typically placed into spreads that are used to generate answers to questions or provide guidance, predict an outcome etc. Tarot is typically studied for a period of time until the reader can interpret each card and it’s relationship to other cards in a seamless way- it takes time to understand the complexities of tarot.
Oracle cards are much less structured and do not require any training prior to working with them. Working with oracle cards is about connecting with your intuition for information. The deck of cards are normally accompanied by a guide book that gives additional information on how to interpret each card, this can be in the form of a story, ritual, description, and so on. Oracle decks are about getting in touch with your own intuition and using your own interpretation to gain clarity or guidance.
I look at oracle cards as an empowerment tool.
Oracle cards are designed to help you get in touch with your “higher” self and the divine guidance that is aways accessible to you. If you feel drawn to a certain deck, then that’s the right one for you to begin working with!
Each oracle deck will differ in the imagery, shape, size, number of cards, function, theme, etc. The best way to begin working with an oracle deck is to select one based on what you gravitate to. For example if you love animals, the Animal Medicine Deck might be best, if you love crystals, the Crystal Medicine Oracle might be the one. There are many card sets out there, you can even create your own, pick one you gravitate to!
The more you work with your deck, the more that your energy will become embedded into it, making your readings more accurate.
When you start working with oracle cards, there is one major thing that I feel is an important addition to the process. Before you do a reading for yourself or others, set the intention to be “in the light.” Some of you might be asking…."what does in the light mean?” In the light literally means that you are surrounding yourself with light, you are doing this for the highest good and you only want to establish a connection with your higher self, your personal intuition and divine (light filled) energy sources. I firmly believe that anytime you engage in a spiritual activity or open yourself energetically, you need to intentionally place yourself in the light- this is something a lot of people forget to teach and/or do!
The light is always available, accessible to everyone and it only takes a moment to do - visualize it, call it in, you are in it!
Here's how I do my daily animal medicine card reading:
- I light a candle and set the intention to keep myself and my reading “in the light.”
- I ask my guides to step forward and for my higher self to help guide the process and my hand in selecting a relevant card.
- I shuffle the cards while thinking about the question/topic I want clarity on.
- For a single question or daily guidance I split the deck, select a side, fan it out and pull one card down toward me.
- The cards are divided and pulled using my left hand. Your left side is linked to the divine feminine and is the side that receives energy/information.
- I flip the card over, horizontally. Turning over from the side, not top to bottom.
- Before engaging with the guide book, I connect with my intuition and take note of the first thoughts that come to mind when looking at the animal. How do I feel? What are some of the qualities of that animal? What do I already know and how does it makes me feel?
- I read and re-read the page in the book that corresponds with the animal.
- I reflect on what this means and how it might be relevant, many times I do a meditation on the topics that have come up.
- I record the card along with any observations, reflections, thoughts, feelings in a journal.
To purchase the animal medicine deck that I use, you can check out this amazon affiliate link. If you have any questions on working with oracle cards or would like to have an animal card selected for you, by me, please reach out! I'd love to hear from you!