What’s the Difference Between Angel Cards & Tarot Cards?


What's the difference between tarot and angel cards?
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After having my palm read recently, I started to become interested in telling tarot and doing my own readings. I thought I’d start by reading tarot cards. I went to buy a pack of my own, but during my search, I learned tarot are not the only kind of oracle cards. There are also angel cards.

What’s the difference between Angel cards and Tarot cards?

Both angel cards and tarot cards are a kind of oracle card, meant to answer questions during a reading by a trained interpreter. They are different in structure and purpose. Angel cards deliver messages from a higher being, while tarot cards give a structured, specific response to a situation or person.

So which one is the right one for your reading or fortune-telling practice? Let me guide you through a detailed exploration of the differences so you can find out if angel or tarot cards are right for you.

Looking to purchase a Tarot or Angel Deck, read this article “How to choose your first deck, complete guide.Opens in a new tab.

To compare different decks of Angel Cards, go to this section!

Table of Contents

Primary Differences Between Angel Cards & Tarot Cards

When we look at the two decks, there are some clear differences, including the purpose, the structure, and look of the deck, and the style of the reading. These make using an angel card deck or a tarot deck wildly different in practice.

Angel cards deal with you guessed correctly, angels! Each card invariably has its radiant angel, unlike Tarot cards. Tarot traditionally contains cards that undoubtedly have the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Tarot decks typically reveal the fundamental truth and limitless possibility of your life whether you enjoy what you see or not. They also use intuition and mystical abilities. Angel cards traditionally show you which angels carefully guide you.

Both decks offer very different but very valuable insights. It merely depends on what you are seeking. Angel cards generously offer divine guidance and an abundance of gentle encouragement.

That may be quintessentially the effective way to naturally go if you sincerely feel you require that other bit of possible encouragement to get safely through what life is launching at you.

Tarot can delve deep into your deep places and intentionally expose hidden things you are not reading to face. Those of us that don’t fear the deepening shadows may genuinely want to carefully consult these cards.

Tarot Cards & Angel Card Similarities and Differences

Okay let us openly start with similarities. Angel and Tarot cards feature illustrations to assist the reader to delve deeper into the meaning of each card. They both can be utilized for practical guidance in all of your life’s situations and possess a spiritual nature.

Angel card readers rely on celestial beings or Angels to guide the reading. Tarot cards reveal information through the attentive reader’s mental abilities or “sixth sense.”Angel cards naturally tend to give a “spiritual” experience, possibly feeling more profound than their counterpart as you are interacting with another being.

Interacting with Angel cards is often more spiritual and uplifting to the reader, offering a wholly positive experience for the reader. Angel cards gently guide you through your meaningful interaction so that you can meet guides and identify favorable outcomes.

Tarot cards, on the other hand, will not hide the dark and creeping things from you. They intentionally allow you to undoubtedly see fundamental truths that may startle you and directly challenge you in a way that will challenge you.

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Purpose of Angel and Tarot Cards

Both types of decks are similar in that they are interpreted by a card reader to help an individual. They can be used for a specific question or in a more general sense as a life reading giving feedback on many facets of the person being read.

Angel and Tarot decks both feature specific images to the card. This allows a deeper interpretation of the card. As for specific cards, a considerable number of cards vary in each deck.

Angel decks typically have forty-five cards, each one showcasing a different angel with divine messages of sincere hope and comfort. Tarot cards contain seventy-eight positive and negative cards in their turn.

Tarot Cards

Tarot cards provide a holistic picture of a person’s future, past, and present. They’re meant to give you general life advice and guide you toward answers to specific questions, but the cover nearly all facets of your life.

The messages from the tarot deck come from the psychic ability of the card reader or fortuneteller and their ability to tap into the universe, the divine, or whatever energy they choose to tap into to understand the cards.

Check current pricing for Tarot card decks hereOpens in a new tab.. There is also a very unique Rider Waite-Smith style deck Opens in a new tab.here.

Angel Cards

Angel cards, meanwhile, give you a definite message from heavenly messengers, usually in response to one question. Their purpose is smaller in scope and usually answers one questions rather than giving you general life information.

Check pricing and various artwork for Angel card decks hereOpens in a new tab.. I really like this Angel deck, the imagery is beautiful, check it out hereOpens in a new tab..

Structure of the Deck

A tarot card deck has a very specific set of 78 cards. These symbols must be present in the deck for it to give accurate readings.

An Angel card pack does not have a set number. It can vary, as can the included angels and heavenly messengers.

Look of the Cards in the Angel and Tarot Decks

Of course, the look of the deck can vary from deck to deck. A lot of both tarot and angel decks will have cool themes that you can choose from. Whatever calls to you is right for you!

However, angel decks will have certain things in common as opposed to tarot.

Angel Decks

Each card in an angel deck is meant to stand on its own, so they will usually have text. They don’t always have images, but when they do, it’s of a heavenly angel or being.

The angels that appear in a deck vary, and they aren’t even always angels. Sometimes they’re just higher heavenly beings or messengers.

The depictions of the deck vary widely, and most come with an accompanying guidebook from the designer of the deck, who will give you tips on how to interpret the message of the angels. This makes angel cards more accessible to the average person.

Check the Angel Card Deck Artwork and Imagery hereOpens in a new tab..

Tarot Decks

Tarot decks always have 78 cards. They are also different from angel cards in that they depict positive, negative, and neutral aspects of humanity and life.

Contrary to popular belief, no card in the tarot is necessarily a “bad” card. Even a card like death and the devil have positive aspects, just as both death and evil can eventually produce good outcomes in our lives.

I like the Rider Waite-Smith Tarot deck for beginners. This one is a very unique twist on the original Waite-Smith deckOpens in a new tab., it’s stunning.

Tarot decks are made up of archetypal images, which all have symbolic meanings or themes that must all be interpreted together to form a prediction or divination. There are several ways to arrange these cards, which we’ll talk about in the later section below, “How to Perform a Tarot Card Reading.”

I also wrote an article about completing a reading on yourself, read here.

Interpretation of Angel Decks or Tarot Decks

Now that we reasonably know what the cards are about let us talk about how to properly read them. Tarot traditionally relies on the proper interpretation of the astute reader and their unique experience, or their sixth sense.

Angel cards are faithfully interpreted through the divine presence of a celestial being or radiant angel. The general understanding is that angels are willingly sent to the world as personal guides for everyone.

Therefore, the readings using Angel decks are often positive and encouraging. Keep in mind though that intentionally having celestial beings interpret your cards will not take away or hide truths you find to be harsh.

However, there will be positive encouragement with it.

The Reading Process of Tarot vs. Angel Cards

How it usually works, Angel cards and Tarot cards each have a different setup to them. Tarot card readings merely require you to become calm and centered whereas Angel card readings invariably require you to faithfully do a little bit more.

To begin with the responsible reader will need to bless the deck and offer a prayer. The earnest prayer is humbly offered to attract the focused attention of the angels and request them to communicate clearly for the receiver of the reading.

As a part of this process, the person receiving the reading will be asked to rid themselves of all thoughts and negative feelings.

The seeker (querent) will in addition have to offer up a prayer themselves masking for guidance and enlightenment for your concerns.

Style of the Reading

The general way you perform the reading is very different between the angel and tarot cards, and they require different levels of familiarity and training with the cards, as well.

Angel Cards

Angel cards are more free-form and do not rely on any particular training. They are easily read by anyone with a basic level of human intuition.

They are also much faster, as they only involve one card, or maybe a few draws at the most.

Tarot Cards

Tarot cards require an in-depth knowledge of the symbols and how they interact. They also require some psychic intuition on the part of the reader, beyond what most people commonly have.

The readings can also take anywhere from twenty minutes to over an hour, depending on the layout of the cards the reader chooses to use for you and the depth of the reading.

How to Perform an Angel Card Reading

The usual way to perform an angel card reading is very simple. This is why they are good for one question at a time, rather than larger life predictions or summaries.

  1. Before beginning the reading, say a prayer to center yourself and connect with divine energies
  2. Ask a specific question
  3. Choose a card at random
  4. Does this card speak to you? Does it feel like a valid answer to your question? If so, this is the correct card
  5. Refer to the additional guide materials provided with the card deck, if available, for more insight

The angel card deck can be used for larger spreads, but the one card reading is the most common way to use the angel cards.

The Message You Receive From Angel Cards vs. Tarot Cards

When Angel cards are laid out only the reader touches the cards, as they are guided by the Angels. The cards carefully pulled out will be faithfully interpreted by the angel and communicated to the reader.

Then the information will be passed with its guidance to the person receiving the reading. With Tarot cards every so often the seeker receiving the reading is invited to select cards or pluck them from the deck to help the reading. These are then interpreted by the reader to be able to reveal a message to the client.

When the Angel reading is complete, you need to thank the angels for their help and guidance. The reader will then store the deck in a light and airy area.

This space may even be surrounded by angel statues or crystals. This shows the angels’ respect, it also prevents negative energies from influencing the cards.

This is undoubtedly a protected area a respectful client should not intrude on. When you have concluded a Tarot reading the cards will also be stored in a designated area. The sacred ritual or specific process for that typically differs from dedicated reader to reader.

Unique decks may develop personality and traits as time goes on. An astute reader will honor those traits to continue working with that deck.

How to Perform a Tarot Card Reading

A tarot card reading has three valuable components. The first is the deck itself, the second is the card layout, and the third is the interaction between the reader and the person being read for.

The Tarot Deck

You can select many kinds of tarot decks of all different kinds of designs. Some are more traditional, others pull from earth goddess symbolism, and some are designed as almost novelty decks that may be all about one animal, like a dragon, or feature characters from a book or movie.

The way to select your deck is to peruse many until you feel a connection with one. Whichever deck you feel drawn to is the correct one for you to read with.

Be careful when you are picking initially and only pick one you really align with, as it is better to get used to using and learning with one deck and sticking with it. That way, you gain a deeper connection with the cards as you gain expertise in reading its meaning.

Different Tarot Deck Options:

Major Arcana

These are the first 22 cards in a tarot deck. They have symbolic meanings that are mainly focused on three areas: the physical realm, the intuitive self, and how things can change over time.

Basically, these cards tell you about your external circumstances, your internal soul, and any upcoming or past shifts and possibilities.

Read more info about the Major Arcana here.

Minor Arcana

These are the remaining 56 cards of the deck. They’re divided into four groups or suits, and actually, these suits are the origin of the suits of poker decks!

The four suits and their symbolism are as follows.

  • Swords: conflict in your life or a moral issue you’re struggling with
  • Cups: emotions, relationships, inner turmoil
  • Coins: financial success, security, and material things
  • Wands: ambition, activities, jobs, the actions you fill your life with

The individual images on the cards can vary slightly from deck to deck, based on the deck’s theme, but they’ll generally appeal to archetypes, like death, the hero, or the trickster.

Read more about the Minor Arcana here.

I also wrote an article about the differences between the Major and Minor Arcana… “What’s the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana?

Tarot Card Layout

Also referred to as a “spread,” the card layout varies from reader to reader. The deck and the layout are really just ways to focus the innate intuition of the reader, but the different layouts do have slightly different uses.

Here are a few examples of tarot card layouts. They’ll not only be laid out differently once they’re on the table, but they will also be laid down in different orders.

Celtic Cross Method

Celtic Cross Spread - Kaplan

This might be the most popular layout for the tarot, because of the deep-rooted symbolism of the cross in many traditions, both pagan and monotheistic.

Follow these steps to use this method.

  1. Place one card as the center of the cross to represent the person who is asking the question, or a primary figure in the situation they are asking about
  2. On top of this card, but placed horizontally instead of vertically, place another card to represent the situation. This represents the potential solutions and obstacles
  3. As the bottom of the cross, place a card to represent influences on the situation from the distant past
  4. As the left part of the cross, place a card to represent more recent influences on the situation
  5. As the top part of the cross, place a card to represent the current short-term outlook. This is what will happen within the next few months if no action is taken
  6. As the right part of the cross, place a card to represent the present state of the problem. This tells us if the problem is heading towards a solution or is stalled out
  7. Now to the right of the cross, start a new straight line of cards. The bottom-most card closest to the reader represents outside influences, like friends and family
  8. Above this, place a card for the internal feelings and subconscious of the person asking the question
  9. Above this, place a card to represent the hopes and fears of the person asking the question
  10. Above this, place a card to represent the likely outcome of the problem in the long-term. This is only what will probably happen if nothing is changed

Because this card reading is complex and detailed, it’s usually best to have a specific question in mind. Each card will take you through another step of the question or situation until everything about that issue is resolved.

But it’s generally too specific for a more general reading.

The Celtic Cross is a spread that every Tarot reader should know. It can be used for so many different questions and situations. Here are a couple of additional articles that delves into this incredibly versatile spread:

Tree of Life Spread

This spread looks like a weeping willow tree once you’ve completed it. It’s a great spread to compare opposing energies since each side of the tree mirrors the other.

If you’re struggling to choose between two or more options, this is a great spread to use. It will help you answer the following questions, one after the other.

  • Cards 1 and 2: What are your options for this issue?
  • Cards 3 and 4: What are the pros? The cons?
  • Cards 5 and 6: What do you think about it? How do you feel?
  • Card 7: What is going on in the physical realm that is influencing you?
  • Card 8: Do you like your current position?
  • Card 9: What is in your heart? What does your intuition say?
  • Card 10: What is the potential for spiritual growth?

Cards 1-6 make up the tree branches, while 7-9 are the tree trunk, and card 10 is the fruit at the top of the tree.

Three Card Spread

three card spread

A simple configuration of only three cards, representing the past, present, and future of the person being read. What matters most with this configuration is how you handle the cards as you place them, even starting with the shuffling of the deck.

  1. Shuffle the deck and cut it twice. You can cut it as the reader or ask the questioner to cut it
  2. Place the cards face down on the table in a straight horizontal line
  3. Flip the middle card. It represents the present day and its influences
  4. Flip the leftmost card to represent the past and its influences
  5. Flip the final card to give insight into the future

Because it is so simple, this is often good for a quick reading where the person being read just wants a quick overview of their life and maybe doesn’t have any specific questions in mind.

There are many more layouts to place the cards, but these are the most popular.

I have written a number of posts about different Tarot Card Spreads here:

Interaction Between the Reader and the Questioner

Another hugely important element for a tarot reading that is not as necessary in an angel card reading is the rapport between the reader and the questioner.

The following tips will help the reading be it’s absolute best.

  • Both the reader and the questioner must be willing to listen to each other
  • The reader should evoke an aura of confidence. They must be highly knowledgeable about their cards and used to using the deck
  • Be wary of giving too much bad news. A totally sour note can really depress the person you’re reading for, so try to make it clear that this is the future only if they take no action
  • Use your own life experience to inform your interpretation of the cards, but don’t spend time telling stories about yourself

Following these guidelines will make for a great tarot reading. And of course, like anything else, you must practice, practice, practice!

History of Angel Cards and Tarot Cards

Another big difference between the two cards is the history of the decks. Tarot cards are much older than angel cards, which are said to have originally sprung from the tarot deck.

Angel Cards

The first angel cards are said to have originated from tarot as divination tools meant to get guidance in a way devoid of any arcane or demonic influence.

It is said the first deck was developed by Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand in 19th century France. However, the decks did not really gain popularity until the last half of the 20th century.

Tarot Cards

Tarot cards were developed from simple playing cards brought to Europe from Islamic societies in the 14th century.

They were not considered “tarot” cards until around 1440, where they were referred to as “triumph” cards. They started to differentiate themselves in this period from simple playing cards, though they were used to play a game similar to bridge.

The symbolic meanings of the card’s images weren’t used for divination until the late 18th century. Occult readers and fortune tellers saw the cards as an opportunity to interpret meaning based on the order the cards were drawn in.

Similarities & Differences Between Angel Cards and Tarot Cards

Both kinds of cards require shuffling before use. Learning how to properly shuffle the cards can often be the first step on any oracle card journey.

They also allow us to explore inner questions and struggles that we may not know where else to seek guidance for. They are both tools to understand ourselves better, and whichever you find more effective in understanding your own life and self is the proper choice for you.

Similarities:

  • Each has images.
  • Each conveys a message to be interpreted.

Differences:

  • Tarot has positive and negative messages.
  • The Angel cards convey positive messages guided by angels.
  • Storage may be different.
  • Sacred rituals involved in the reading.
  • Ways the cards are laid out.

How Do I Start Reading Angel Cards or Tarot Cards?

There are many trainings available online, but the best way to start using the cards is to simply go to an occult or spiritual bookstore and find a deck that speaks to you. It should draw you in, and if you feel an instant connection, that’s your deck.

Study up on card layouts and the way to conduct a reading and start practicing on your friends and acquaintances. Meditation and prayer can also help you become more in tune with your divine intuition.

Some people say that you should not buy tarot cards for yourself but only accept them as a gift. This is correct in some traditions, but unless you are particularly reading tarot as a particular pagan, then buying your own cards will simply allow that deck to connect to your personality.

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to Tarot or Angel cards.

One of the key differences between them and Tarot cards is Tarot can be positive or negative. You nevertheless uniformly handle these talented cards like other divination cards.

With Tarot cards you have a variety of spreads to ask different things with your reading, but there is restrictiveness to the process. Angel cards have a more relaxed approach and allow you to ask specifics or explore what information may be out there for you.

Whichever deck you chose each one offers unique advantages. It couldn’t hurt to try out both and see which type of deck appeals to you. Your best bet is to go for whichever deck calls to  to you, sometimes your intuition stronger than you think.

Angel Cards

When you consider a deck of Angel cards, you want to find a deck that you connect with. We are all different and we are all drawn to different imagery, etc. There are plenty of decks of Angel Cards on the market.

One I like, may not suit you. I want to provide a summary here of some of the decks that I’ve found. All of these decks channel messages of love from your guardian angels. Which one do you connect with?

Angel Therapy Oracle Cards

These cards, created by a Doctor of Psychology, Doreen Virtue. The imagery is beautiful. Originally published in 2008. Check current pricing hereOpens in a new tab..

Archangel Oracle Cards

Another set of cards created by Doreen Virtue, published with 45 cards and designed to help you get to know the 15 archangels. Everyone I’ve heard from who owns these cards rave about them. Check current pricingOpens in a new tab..

Crystal Angels Oracle Cards

Designed by Doreen Virtue, Doctor of Psychology, this 44 card deck is designed as a divination tool and can also help you learn about crystals. The cards imagery is just beautiful. Check current pricingOpens in a new tab..

Angel Answers Oracle Cards

This deck designed by Radleigh Valentine and illustrated by Marius Michael-George offers incredible artistry. The 44 card deck is designed to give advice and guidance in a very short and succinct manor. These cards are reportedly very easy to use by anyone seeking a message of love from your guardian angels. Check current pricingOpens in a new tab..

Daily Guidance From Your Angels Oracle Cards

Another set of Angel Cards by Doreen Virtue. This deck of 44 cards provides comforting and uplifting messages to help create a positive and healing tone for each day. Based on some feedback, this deck is best for daily one card draws. Use them to create an intention for your day or ask a question with a one card draw. Check pricingOpens in a new tab..

Healing With The Angels Oracle Cards

These cards , again created by Doreen Virtue, come from a place of love and positive guidance. This 44 card deck can be used for love readings, career, health, family and more. The messages are always positive and can cover every aspect of life. Check current pricing.

Oracle of the Angels: Healing Messages from the Angelic Realm

This deck, designed by Mario Duguay, features healing images from the angelic realm. Working with this deck opens pathways to unconditional love and wisdom. Check current pricingOpens in a new tab..

Archangel Raphael Healing Oracle Cards

In this deck, by Doreen Virtue, the Archangel Raphael is featured on every card. This Angel Cards Deck draws on the energy and wisdom of Archangel Raphael for healing. Check pricingOpens in a new tab..

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