Three Ways to Read the Tarot with More Than One Deck.

Every tarot deck has its own set of iconography, its own unique language. No two decks are the same, so it makes sense that they would each impact readings differently. And they do. Often I’ll reach for one deck for readings of a practical nature and another for readings to help with more esoteric questions. It depends on the query and the vibe of the deck and the feeling I’m getting that day. Not to mention the shades of differences between tarot and oracle cards, or even runes.

So there has to be a way to take full advantage of these intricacies. Right?


That’s because there is. One of my favorite ways to explore new layers of meaning is to break out two decks at once. There are so many possibilities for ways to use more than one deck in a reading, and each way brings something really special to the table.

Here are three ideas for how you can give it a try:

Different strokes (or decks) for different folks.
tarot and oracle reading with two decks--the rider waite smith deck and the earthbound oracle
When you’re reading for questions that involve two different parties (for instance, looking for insight into how to resolve an argument between two people), try using one deck to represent one person and another to represent the other person. As you deal your cards, lay out two for each position in the spread–one from each deck–and take a look at how each position reads from each person’s perspective.

Spread your tarot for your tarot spread.
card reading with tarot and oracle decks--rider waite smith and earthbound oracle. Sitting on moss covered brick
Create an organic spread using one set of cards and then lay out your reading with another. To illustrate: Say you’re doing a three card draw and you have one deck of oracle cards and one deck of tarot cards. First, before you even ask your question, shuffle your oracle cards, concentrating on the layout, not the question, asking the cards to give you your spread. Now, lay out three of those cards. Take a look at each. What do they represent, roughly? Maybe one represents a partnership, another represents a time of rest, and the third represents creativity. Next, shuffle your tarot deck, concentrating on your question, just like you normally would. Lay out your cards on top of each oracle card and read them within the context of the spread your oracle gave you. This also gives you the opportunity to look at the ways each deck interacts with the other in addition to how they interact with the spread.

Check your work.
card reading with tarot and oracle decks--rider waite smith and earthbound oracle
Do a reading with one deck just like you normally would and then use a second deck afterwards to do a short reading to check the veracity of your first. This kind of before and after approach can give you a sense of your biases and give you a chance to iron out some of the spots where you may be less than objective by providing a second point of view. Just be sure you’re not reading for the same question twice–that’s a sure way to muddy your results. Rather than repeating the question in your second reading, ask the cards to give you feedback on the reading itself.

There are plenty more ways to use multiple decks at one, I am sure. I’d love to hear some of your ideas! Lay ‘em on me in the comments below, and happy reading!


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1 Comment

  1. Absolutely, using two decks really put emphasis on the “message” and made the reading quite powerful and clear – not only did I draw the same card twice for the same position, I also drew four threes: the three of cups twice, the three of swords, the three of wands. In the context of the question asked this actually made perfect sense! Thanks for suggesting this method, I am sure I will use it often.

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