We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yes or No?
In the comments section of my Confessions post, Roswila brought up yet another controversial topic in tarot: Yes/No Readings. Should we even do them? Some say that tarot just isn't the right tool for the job, that the cards are not suited to simple, flat answers like Yes or No. They are archetypes and tell stories and dig up subconscious mysteries, so asking them a simple Yes/No question usually ends up with the cards giving you all kinds of information then leaving it up to you to decide yes or no. Still others say that the oracle is fine for asking Yes/No questions of and it can and will yield an answer and even tell you why it's so.

Another objection to doing Yes/No readings is that they tend to, once again, place the seeker's power in the hands of a final judgement of Fate rather than in their own hands. Instead of passively asking if an event you want to happen will indeed occur, why not ask the cards what you can do to create the event you want? If the event is truly out of your hands, you might ask the cards what productive attitude or action you can be taking in the meantime. Yet, there's nothing to say you can't ask both kinds of questions. Throwing a Yes/No spread about a job offer might then lead to another spread which can give you more options. For example, if I ask, "Will I get the job I interviewed for on Monday?" and the cards give me a No answer, I can then proceed to asking what I might do to improve my chances? Should I call the employer and follow up? What might I do to find a job that will best suit my skills? See, even a Yes/No doesn't have to be definative and final. There may be things one can do to change that outcome. On the other hand, if the reason you won't get the job is because the employer intended all along to give it to his nephew and went through the interviewing process so as not to be accused of nepotism, it's best to research other options and not waste any more time waiting by the phone.

All too often a seeker will come to a tarot reading with nothing but Yes/No questions. Will I get married? Will I move? Does Maryann love me? You could hand them a quarter and tell them to flip it, heads mean yes, tails mean no. You don't think that would go over too well? That's because they really aren't merely looking for a Yes/No answer, it's just that most people don't take the time to really ask themselves what they really want to know about a situation. Will I get married might best be rephrased to, "What can I do to create the kind of relationships in my life that would most likely lead to a loving, committed marriage?" Essentially, you take the "Will I....?" and change it to, "What can I do...?" or "What do I need to know...?" Even after exploring these questions, the seeker may still want to hear, bottom line, if thus and so happen. At that point a Yes/No spread might be just the right thing, but usually you can glean the answer from the reading you've done.
There are many Yes/No spreads, often involving reversed versus upright cards, where the reversed means no and upright means yes. The method I use, because I tend not to use reversals, involves three stacks of cards and the Aces. I shuffle and cut the cards as usual, asking the question in my mind as I shuffle. Then, I begin dealing the cards from the top of the deck into a pile, stopping at the thirteenth card or at an Ace if it appears. I then begin a second pile, counting to thirteen unless another Ace appears, then stop. I do this a third and final time. If all three piles reveal an Ace, the answer is definitively Yes. The Aces themselves can give you more information, depending on their suits, so pay attention to that as well. If two out of three piles reveal Aces, the answer is "Probably yes, but..." with the third card revealing what might be an obstacle or reason. If only one Ace appears the answer is, "Probably not, because..." with the other two cards revealing the reason. If no Aces appear the answer is "No" with the top three cards revealing why. I like this spread because it tends to yield more information than simply Yes or No. Also, it allows for maybe's and possibilities and in studying the cards revealed you can understand more about why the situation may be leaning more in one direction than the other.

For example: If I ask the question, "Will I be hired for the job?" and got this result:

I can see immediately the answer is, "Probably not...because..." First off, the probability of the event occurring is lessened the longer it takes to yield an Ace. As no Aces showed in the first pile, nor the second, the chances of it happening dwindle. The Ace that finally did appear is of the Wands suit, so the action that I have taken was not quite enough to yield a positive result. While I may have sparked the employers interest, there are other reasons I probably won't get hired. One is Strength. I may have come across a bit less enthusiastic than I should have, reserved and restrained. The employer is probably looking elsewhere, as shown by the King of Wands. That King can also be advising me to look elsewhere and focus my actions on a different idea. So the cards show a bit more than a simple yes or no, and that's the kind of Yes/No reading I can appreciate.

Whatever method you choose, pick one and stick with it. Like timing methods or seasonal and astrological attributions, a Yes/No system works best when you have it deeply embedded in your subconscious. And don't rely too much on them, please. They work best when used as an adjunct to deeper readings that get more to the heart of what you need to know.


  1. Excellent, thorough post, as usual, Sophia. I personally want to reiterate your closing comment on not over using yes/no questions/spreads. They are very useful but only if used sparingly and when really needed for clarity. Over-used one runs the risk of training one's self right out of the rich intuitional relationship one develops with the cards.

  2. Hey, Roswila, I was wondering if you'd be willing to share your Yes?No method or point us to where we can find it if you've already shared it on your blog?

  3. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Hi Ginny,

    I am an avid reader and subscriber of your blog. I just used your method for Yes?No? and it worked superbly. Thanks so much for the great information that you share.

  4. Hi Rose! :) I am glad my method worked for you. I like it because it gives additional information you can't get from a coin toss. There are so many Yes/No spreads, but I like this one and have used it frequently. Overuse, though, tends to yield very sketchy results. And you know how I know that, don't you? Hehe. I abuse the poor cards all the time.