As if it was the first time: which oracle system is best for you?

Nature of oracle, part 5.

Lucy the Oracle
13 min readJun 10, 2024
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Hello again! It’s been a while. We’re on part 5 now, 2 more articles to go on this Nature of Oracle series. Thank you all so much for accompanying it! I hope it’s helping.

Click here for an index.

First of all, let me just get this out of the way: intuition doesn’t count. I mean… It does. It can provide for oracles, and everyone has that capacity although it usually isn’t developed — but I won’t add it to the list today, because, let me repeat: it usually isn’t developed. A lot of people take the intuition they were born with for granted and think it’s not a skill to be honed… So when they try to use it, they mistake it for all sorts of things: fears, wishes… Fears also, and wishes too. Oh, and before I forget, fears, and wishes.

Okay, okay. I’m being a bit of a smartass. Let me show you what I mean: that nagging feeling of discomfort in your gut when you’re trying to decide whether or not to approach a celeb? It’s not a negative intuition. It could just be envy. And what is envy? Well, it’s the fear that you’ll never measure up to somebody else, so you might as well try to show disdain or bring them down somehow. It’s a fear. It fits into “fears and wishes”.

The little whisper in your ear telling you to go spend more than you should on a luxury item? It’s not a positive intuition. It could just be entitlement. And what is entitlement? A belief that you should have a certain thing, coming solely from wishful thinking. It’s easily mistaken for an intuition about manifesting the means to get that thing, isn’t it? We feel entitled and go like, “oh, my intuition is totally telling me I am this close to manifesting a bonus at work, so I’ll go ahead and spend the money I still don’t have to prove to the Universe that it can come to me” — Uhhh, no, that’s not how it works sis. If you trust what’s coming to you, first of all you don’t need to prove nothing to anybody, you simply trust it and that’s that. Or did I mishear you? Huh? 💅; Secondly, stop thinking of it, just trust that it will come. Didn’t you say you trusted? Uh-huh. I see through your shite. Don’t count on a manifestation before things are even lined up. Not saying that’s always impossible (I’m sure a bunch of contrarians will come out of the gutters just to comment on this article “bUt I mAnIfEsTeD sOmEtHiNg ThAt BaCkEd My ImPulSiVe PuRcHaSe” — ehhh, go back to the sewer, sir, you’re stinking. We have standards here in this oracle) but it’s not best practice. It just isn’t. Go learn financial management, it’ll do you good. Anyway, in short, entitlement is a kind of wish. It fits into fears and wishes.

The intrusive thought that seemed to come out of nowhere and tells you “the bitch who didn’t give you a promotion was totally plotting against you anyway”? That’s not an intuition, Gretchen. It’s simply resentment. And what is resentment? Basically, it’s a combination of grandiosity (because WHO ELSE ever deserved this thing you didn’t get? Obviously nobody but you. Your majesty. You’re so superior to everybody else. You wish you were so superior to everybody else) with disappointment (because you fear the world is out to get you. Of course that’s what’s going on! How else could you be superior to everybody else, and yet people aren’t treating you like a queen? They must be plotting. Your downfall is near). Oh, look: resentment is often an emotion that fits into both fears and wishes. How versatile. Very fetch.

You get the idea. There are many specific delusions of the ego that can be mistaken for intuition when in fact they aren’t intuition. But who wants to do the shadow work before calling themselves “a little psychic”?


As I thought.

Anyway, I hope it’s clear why I’m leaving “your own intuition” out of the list of oracles to consult today, sorry to disappoint, send your complaints to PO Box #666, pop-culture-idea-of-where-hell-is-supposed-to-be.

On to the Delphic maxims:

  • In total (as far as we know), there are 150 Delphic maxims. They give us a fascinating glimpse into the moral precepts that were known (and allegedly followed) in Ancient times, but if interpreted metaphorically, they can still be helpful today.
  • Out of these 150 maxims, only the first 3 are directly relevant to the activity of oracle (relevant both for the person giving, AND perhaps even more importantly, for the person who receives an oracle) — Γνῶθι σεαυτόν (know yourself), Μηδὲν ἄγαν (nothing in excess), and Ἐγγύα πάρα δ’ Ἄτα (avoid certainties). BTW, I am so glad this isn’t an actual stand-up comedy routine because let me tell you: my Ancient Greek pronounciation is cringe-worthy.
  • The maxims render a lot of discussion, and there’s disagreement as to their translation, especially the third one, but I think it’s possible to have at least a vague idea of what they are referring to. Keep them in mind, even if you don’t fully understand them, because if you don’t — if you pay them NO mind — you will not make good use of oracular messages in your life (yes, generally, in your life. Not just the ones coming from me or my tradition. Every single kind of oracle).

Before we start, let me introduce you to a concept I’m pretty sure I already mentioned elsewhere: the fact there are 3 main categories of oracle. And allow me to remind you I said “categories”, not “mutually-excluding dogmas”. They’re often combined in the same traditions and by the same person. That means they’re all equally valid, my dear. My distinction is for educational purposes.

Ahemmm… *puts on glasses* Let’s begin the note-taking, pupils! (Why do I always sound like a drag queen when I’m trying to be a teacher? I really am a little Dionysian, come to think of that)

  1. Observational: it’s in the name, dear. You observe an event you didn’t (consciously, anyway) ask for and understand it as a metaphoric message about what is to come. This is the most informal kind of oracle and it’s what people usually call “signs”. (This is also what people use in the stock market). Pros: accuracy is high because you don’t even have time to express fears or wishes. You’re caught by surprise. Cons: you could totally miss the message, the sign, the timing, and the entire event unless you’re constantly on the lookout for these types of things.
  2. Random draw: this is where tarot, I-ching, chamalongos, buzios, runes, etc come in. Basically any oracle system you shuffle or mix and draw without looking fits in here. Fun fact: it’s not just the established systems that will work for you. Literally any probability-based set with enough variables can be used, even if you’re just picking candy popcorn out of a bag after assigning meanings to the individual colours (bonus points: you can eat it. What’s not to love?) Pros: it’s available anytime, anywhere. Cons: it gets… Imprecise. Don’t bet your life-changing decisions on it.
  3. Ritualistic: it’s my time to shine! *rolls red carpet*

Pause for the swoons. And the surprised faces. And the applause from the audience. Thank you, thank you. I’d like to dedicate this award to… Oh it’s not an award ceremony? Okay cool I’ll see my way out. Thank you though. *Blows kiss*

Jokes aside (pero no mucho), this is the oracle people think of when you say “oracle”. Pretty much like Delphi, aye? The LA of the Ancient world, complete with gaudy opulence everywhere you looked.

If I got a euro every time someone mistook me for some kind of pop diva just because I said I’m an oracle, I would… be repaying my mortgage in full. Tough times financially. Anyway, it seems Ancient Greek and Roman propaganda has lasted to this day! Truth is very far from that first impression though…

Ritualistic oracles are simply oracles you ritualise. There’s no need for complication or exclusivity! Pinky promise. Pros: you’re hearing it from the source and it comes uncomplicated (again, Greek and Roman propaganda aside, IT IS uncomplicated. Things get confusing when the institution grows too much and you need to invent jobs for the resident priests to take on, such as writing poems based on the oracles given and then blame it on the woman channeling it who did nothing wrong and said it straightforward, for fuck sake. Should I write a piece of fiction about what happened in ancient oracles? Let me know). Cons: it’s not recommended for the overly sensitive.

So, with that clarified, on to the more specific kinds of oracle that will fit into one of these 3 wider categories, and their own individual pros and cons!

Photo by Viva Luna Studios on Unsplash

The following are oracle systems that work. The list is non-exhaustive, but pretty comprehensive. I’m not distinguishing between “oracles people respect” vs “oracles people call ‘science’ and don’t like admitting they are oracles” vs “oracles no-one takes seriously” because that’s YOUR job. My job is just to tell you what works and what doesn’t, matter-of-factly. Wanna fight among yourselves about the moral, historical or aesthetic validity of a particular system? …Why. Be my guest. I made popcorn!

Feel free to categorise them into one of the 3 main categories above. That’s your little homework exercise. ;)

Cards, stones, shells and bones: the most well-known is probably tarot, although tarot is actually the name of one specific set of major and minor arcana. There are other card sets being sold as “oracle cards” which aren’t based on tarot at all, but they work exactly the same way.

  • Perks: (just like the other system below) this is accessible anytime, anywhere. You don’t need any preparation at all in order to draw an oracle and interpret it — although seasoned “oracle set” readers always insist in preparing energetically before a reading, but what they’re doing is including into tarot what it naturally lacks: intuitive channelling. That’s why they’re good. It’s not the system itself.
  • Beware: the results are very broad, and therefore imprecise (although, as I said, you can make them more precise by including your intuition into it, but this will depend on how big of an ego you have, etc).

Random draw you invented: (yes, this includes shuffling songs on Spotify). Any random draw system that only you (or you and your small circle of friends) know how to use fits here.

  • Perks: it’s bespoke! Since you came up with it, you can decide which pieces of information you’d like to include or exclude from the reading (by including or excluding them when assigning meanings to the individual patterns). This makes interpretation so much easier.
  • Beware: this system will have the same blind spots you have. Since you’re the creator, and you’re an imperfect human being with your own individual worldview, assumptions, fears, wishes, etc, you will leave out of the oracle system everything you’re currently ignoring in life. Yes, you will. Even if you make it complex. It will happen. Trust me.


  • Perks: it’s very complex and mathematical, which means the patterns are easy to track periodically when you get used to what they mean. Although interpretations can vary and infinite variables to observe can be added, the system itself is pretty much set in stone, which can feel reassuring.
  • Beware: Astrology gives you a collective overview. It’s not the best oracle system for the individual because it can lead someone to assume life is deterministic. In fact, no, it isn’t. You’re just looking at a big picture and wanting it to be accurate for the small picture that is your individual life. And it won’t. It will only ever give you the broad strokes. Details are best left for other oracles.

Oracle ritual:

  • Perks: when done in good faith, this is the most accurate oracle you can get. Yes, objectively. It’s both specific (small picture — tailored to your individual situation) and highly adaptable (infinite possible answers and variables).
  • Beware: since you’re dealing with the possession spectrum (which includes channeling and other less extreme “downloads” with help from a deity or spirit), it’s very hard to tell if the oracle is legit. This process is never perfect, because perfect can be dangerous for the poor medium working there — but never mind that! Some “mediums” are in fact fully conscious and just pretending. So, like any other oracle, always take this one with a grain of salt… Awesomeness aside.

Dream interpretation:

  • Perks: this is a completely different category, but nonetheless it has similarities with the oracle ritual. After all, the dreams are yours, and there’s no limit to the combinations of variables you can dream about.
  • Beware: dreaming is a thing we do at night when we go to sleep. It’s spontaneous, natural, and common. Therefore, we get lazy with this oracle system. Much like intuition, we assume it’s just handed to us on a silver platter and there’s nothing we need to work on. But contrary to that, dreams can get EXTREMELY wishful or fearful. And you guys are tired of hearing from me that fears and wishes are bad, I suppose, so Imma just move on…

Still image reading (tea reading, hand reading, cloud reading, etc): If you’re really clever, you might have figured what kinds of taboo oracle systems fit in here as well. I won’t cite what I don’t endorse, but there ya go.

  • Perks: loads of variables, and as we saw already, that’s good! Thumbs up, we stan. This system also has a big advantage over all of the other ones (even the ritual!) — the fact you can’t miss it. The message remains in front of you for as long as you need it… Within reason, of course. Still a great perk.
  • Beware: as usual, fears and wishes. It’s very easy to “see what you want to see” there, so to speak, because these abstract images can be interpreted in many different ways (especially if you reach, to make something dubious fit into what your manual says) depending on how you’re feeling. Ideally, it’s best NOT to feel much. And if it’s too abstract, maybe take it as no answer.

Scrying (on water, on mirror, on screen, on [insert reflective surface here]:

  • Perks: this is similar to “cards, stones, shells and bones” above in that you can consult it anywhere any time (although ideally, in a well-lit place), with the added benefit that you’re not tied to a limited set of patterns to which you ascribed meanings.
  • Beware: if you’re not clairvoyant, maybe stick to tarot instead. This isn’t about images you literally see, they reach your 6th sense and mind’s eye alone. This system is also vulnerable to 2 evils: first, fears and wishes; Second, difficulties discerning the oracular picture from random reflections of the room you’re in (which shouldn’t be taken into account. It helps to learn the basics of reflection and refraction).

Logical premise (if…therefore): this is where traditional omen (ie, looking for signs in the flight of birds) fits in; But it’s also where you’ll find all sorts of probability-based “educated guesses” (not the probability calculation itself — which is pure math — but the guesses we take with basis on this input for more specific situations — which is the oracle).

  • Perks: the impact of fears and wishes on this system is minimum because you’re only paying attention to the variables that fall within your pre-established conditional. As long as you ask the right question, you can get very workable answers.
  • Beware: this system is very binary. It’s no wonder you find it so much in computer programming, particularly AI. It can give you a useful glimpse into a situation, but never the full picture (if it includes crucial details that are outside the binary you determined… Which, more often than not, it does). By all means, trust the input, as it’s often very accurate — but be open to preventable surprises down the road.

Pendulums, radiesthesia, energy scans in general:

  • Perks: here’s another system where the impact of fears and wishes is minimised — since you’re relying on a tool which [ideally] you won’t influence much. It’s useful for gaining insight into the subtle energies at play wherever you take a reading, and you can interpret that as you see fit.
  • Beware: the fact this is very belief-based and there often isn’t a scientific component to the use of these tools. Don’t get me wrong, belief is important for ANY oracle system (otherwise, why are you even reading my blog? lol) but my point is: with scrying, there’s the divination (where you find the “woo”) and there’s the Physics (Optics, to aid you with disconsidering optical illusions that Science can explain). With logical premises, there is math to give you a basis for what to account for and what to disconsider. With oracle rituals, there’s the fact you’re talking to a semi-conscious conduit and we can easily understand the person is in a trance, which also has a scientific side to it. With “energy scans”, however… All you have is, IDK, some vague concept of “energy” which may or may not (or may and may not, all at once) fit into what Physics describes as energy, in which case it’s not an oracle… But maybe it doesn’t, so it is (?) and we can’t know, and it’s all up in the air like that (?) So how do you discern the mundane “noise” from the energy that is giving you the actual message? See… That’s why this is not my cup of tea, but you do you.

Bottom line: not one system of oracle is good for all people and all occasions.

The ideal thing, if you like oracles, is to try and see which one best fits your needs at each given moment.

Like the title of this article says, treat them “as if it was the first time”. Can you recall the very first time you consulted an oracle? I bet you had more curiosity than biases. That’s the spirit. Every time you’re choosing an oracle system for your question, tap into that curiosity spirit, girl! (or man. Or whatever).

K, so, that’s enough food for thought. See you all soon for part 6 of this series! Stay tuned.



Lucy the Oracle

Oracle learner / spirit worker based in Ireland. Buddhist/polytheist. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.