I may not the best person to teach beginners on how to use an oracle deck. I often break the rules and make it up as I go along but I do know and practice a few basics. To begin, oracle decks are different than tarot decks in that they are often the product of wild creativity. The authors of oracle decks have free will when creating the art of the cards and the meaning behind them. Generally, tarot decks follow a system of 78 cards, major and minor arcana with an idea of each what each card means.
I first began working with oracle cards when my cousin gifted me The Faeries’ Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth, but I had been studying the tarot since my first deck The Haindl Tarot in my early 20’s. There are a ton of “rules” around reading the cards, whether oracle or tarot but the only ones that I really follow are:
Avoid working with tarot when you are really stressed out and experiencing anxiety. Oracle cards are often kinder and can actually be a great source of comfort during these times.
Create sacred space when you work with the cards. This is completely up to interpretation because sacred space can be as elaborate as meditating, cleansing your energy and space, praying and ritual or as simple as taking a deep breath and patting the cards lovingly before you lay them out on your lap. Personally, I always say a prayer of protection and cut the cards three times for the Triple Goddess before readings. Afterwards, I say thank you to my Guides and close the connection. I believe that closing the connection is important so that you are not drained for the rest of the day by lingering in the spirit world.
Ask questions that the cards and Guides can answer. Yes or no questions are hard, as are questions that deal with time. For a general reading, ask “What do I need to know right now?” For more specific questions, “What do I need to know about (my situation) right now?” Stay out of other folks’ business though, that is generally a taboo route to go.
Read the authors interpretations if you choose but always go with your own intuition.
Its been a while since I’ve read the book that accompanied The Faeries’ Oracle but I remember an exercise where you went through all the cards to get to know them. Lay them out in front of you, shuffle through them with a quiet open mind and just observe. As you do so, ask yourself, are there any cards that stand out in their beauty to you? Which cards are either repulsive to you, frightening or just not interesting? The first set of cards are Guides who are working with you right now, they are your shining lights of guidance and love. The second set of cards are your challenging guides, they also have your best interest at heart but are pointing out areas in your life that you need to work on. This can change over time, our Guides may come and go, but some will always stay with you.