In wellness speak, a "deck of cards" does not imply a joker, ace, or six of hearts. Tarot and oracle decks are much more popular among today's health-centric crowds, used to relieve stress, decide on next steps, or access the divine, depending on who you're talking to.
A tarot deck is a collection of 78 cards that follow a particular structure, while oracle cards are usually more free-form. Decks typically have anywhere from 60 to 80 cards and come with corresponding guidebooks that provide ways to interpret each one. Beyond that, they can take on any number of themes and aesthetics (motifs of popular decks on Amazon right now span the gamut from Nature's Whispers to Spirit Animals).
While research on market size is limited, sales of tarot and oracle decks have been on the rise for the past five years and anecdotally, they are popping up in more unlikely places like hotels and museums. As to what's causing the ancient tools' modern revival, astrologer Bess Matassa, Ph.D., thinks it has something to do with the fact that it promotes silence and stillness in an increasingly loud, chaotic world.
"In this moment of saturated overstimulation and goal-driven 'out there-ness,' oracle decks, by contrast, return us to the serene self-possession of our internal heartbeats," she says. "Rather than tools of prediction that herald what might happen to us, I see them as present-moment private psychic hotlines, leading us back to the innate knowledge and inherent instincts we can already sense in our blood and our bones."