Answering Yes/No Questions Using Tarot


It seems to be the hot topic of the week as everyone is either writing about yes/no tarot cards and spreads, or they’re talking about it.

Rachel Pollack posted an unusual and spontaneous method of obtaining a yes/no answer in her post this weekend.

Joseph Martin provides an easy way for you to obtain a yes/no answer in his Quest Tarot deck, but there are many other methods that aren’t deck specific.

I’ve always employed a very simple method and I want to share that with you here, and not just that, to get you started, I’ve included a list of all 78 Tarot cards as yes/no answers.

How to determine yes/no tarot cards to suit yourself

I ask a yes/no question and draw a single tarot card. This can be a jumper from the pack, one drawn randomly from a pack spread out on a table, or just a plain shuffle and cut.

The only thing I then do is determine the yes/no answer based on my own positive or negative association with the card.

For example, the 6 of Wands would be a yes, while the 10 of Swords would be a no. It’s that simple.

That’s all well and good, I can hear you say, but what about those cards that are neither positive nor negative in nature?

There are two ways you can look at those cards. You can either say that a definitive answer isn’t available or hasn’t been brought to a conclusion yet. There are plenty of tarot readers out there who state in their code of ethics that the future isn’t set in stone… and sometimes it’s really not, hence your neutral cards.

You can also look at those neutral cards in relation to your question and use their divinatory definitions to help you decide on the outcome. Though with this method you’ll also be relying on the nature of the question in relation to the card, and of course your intuition.

Yes/No Tarot Card – My Own List

Here’s my personal list of yes/no cards. It’s fluid and flexible, and subject to change, though there are a core of yes/no tarot cards that never will.

Tarot Cards Likely to Answer Yes

Fool
Magician
Empress
Lovers
Chariot
Strength
Wheel of Fortune
Temperance
Star
Sun
Judgement
World
Ace of Wands
Two of Wands
Three of Wands
Four of Wands
Six of Wands
Eight of Wands
Nine of Wands
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands
King of Wands
Ace of Cups
Two of Cups
Three of Cups
Six of Cups
Nine of Cups
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups
Ace of Swords
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords
Ace of Pentacles
Three of Pentacles
Six of Pentacles
Eight of Pentacles
Nine of Pentacles
Ten of Pentacles
Page of Pentacles
Knight of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles
King of Pentacles

Tarot Cards Likely to Answer No

Death
Devil
Tower
Moon
Five of Wands
Seven of Wands
Ten of Wands
Five of Cups
Eight of Cups
Three of Swords
Five of Swords
Seven of Swords
Eight of Swords
Nine of Swords
Ten of Swords
Four of Pentacles
Five of Pentacles

Tarot Cards Likely to Answer Maybe

High Priestess
Emperor
Hierophant
Hermit
Justice
Hanged Man
Four of Cups
Seven of Cups
Two of Swords
Four of Swords
Six of Swords
Queen of Swords
King of Swords
Two of Pentacles
Seven of Pentacles

I’ve based my choices on the Rider Waite-Smith deck but if I was using the Thoth, the Four of Disks (Pentacles) would become a yes as I see it as a much more positive card in that deck. Bare that in mind as you make your choices – use your favourite working deck until you get a handle on calling yes/no tarot cards with confidence.

It would also be helpful to determine how you feel about the court cards. Not everyone sees all of them in a positive light. If you see the Knight of Cups as needy and co-dependent, you may want to put him in the no pile along with any other courts you don’t see as positive. I don’t always have a good feeling about the Queen of Swords and some of the Kings, so depending on the question; they can hit the no pile in a flash.

Throwing Reversed Tarot Cards into the Mix

You may have noticed that the yes pile is significantly larger than the no and maybe pile combined. That may seem out of balance to you, I like to think that there’s more good in the world than bad, but there is something you can do to redress the balance, if you feel comfortable with it.

You can use reversed tarot cards to help you decide the yes/no outcome. If you normally use reversed tarot cards in your readings, then using them in your yes/no questions makes sense.

All you have to do is decide for yourself if the reversed tarot card in front of you is positive or negative.

The Sun as a yes/no card

Any reversed card to me would have negative connotations and my own feeling is that a card I already see as negative isn’t going to become positive because it’s reversed. But that’s just how I do tarot. You may have different views and that’s great!

Go through your tarot deck and put into piles the yes cards and the no cards. You will also have a maybe/not sure pile. You can decide on them later if you like. Take your yes pile and turn it upside down and now go through them, are any of them now negative to you? If they are, you now have some more no cards. Likewise if you take the no pile and reverse them, are any of those cards now positive to you?

All you have to do is make the association in your mind with each card, does it have negative or positive connotations to you. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks, this is your tarot experience and it has to have meaning to you for it to work. If you commit to your method and card choices, tarot will respond and work with you.

It won’t be long before all of the cards you designate as yes/no answers become your working reality.

Catherine

Tarot Card Keywords is the new e-book from Catherine that incorporates all the keywords and correspondences on the blog, expands and extends them to include new sections including adding relevant blog posts (including this one!) with exclusive new sections.

76 pages of keywords and correspondences, printer friendly and available now. Instant download.

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Comments

  1. Hi Catherine,
    Loved your post,Yes /No is sometimes important and may give a clue to the situation.
    I have a doubt- that is why is the4 Pentacles put in the NO list.?- is there any other meaning other than -earthly possessions for this?Or is it because it is too material.?
    I am very eager to hear your views about this
    Regards & Thanks

    • Hi Solobo,

      The 4 of Pentacles from the Rider Waite-Smith just looks like a no to me – the guy is sat there with his arms crossed, all closed off.. that is the only reason really. The RWS definition is that of the miser, of someone who hides their possessions, someone not outwardly moving forward but restricted by their own actions. It’s a card that’s not really going anywhere.

      Hope that helps.

      Thank you for your comment, welcome to Tarot Elements :)

      Catherine

  2. Thanks for feedback Catherine,I had infact ov erlooked this aspect.Yes that’s right.He has 2 of the discs under his feet too.
    One more clarification Catherine please,I used to think that Hierophant was one of the good cards-Is it because he is too traditional and conventional that he is in the Maybe cards?I often keep getting him too much in my personal readings.
    Love and Regards
    solobo

    • Hi Solobo,

      The Hierophant is a good card in essence, I have it in the ‘maybe’ pile because I feel he’s sitting in judgement, that there’s no movement so nothing is going forward, but he’s also not stopping anything. You must remember that this list is how I see these yes/no answers. Maybe cards can become a yes or no depending on the question. If you were asking about a job you may have applied for at a large institution, you might take the card as a yes. If you asked about being able to break free from a controlling relationship, you may take it as a no. The Hierophant in other decks also has a different look and feel and so if you used the Gaian Tarot, you would look upon this card as a yes as he’s a much more approachable looking guy who’s also called the Teacher.

      The important thing to remember when you are creating your own list is that it must have meaning to you, so the if you have a positive association with the Hierophant, he might always be a yes to you. Ultimately, each individual card is your call, based on what it means and feels like to you. It’s also worth remembering that you may change your mind about your choices as time moves on. Be flexible and allow for that, including allowing your intuition to guide you too.

      Hope that helps.

      Catherine

      • Thanks for the reply Catherine.Yes now onwards i have to consider all layers of a card.
        Looking forward to more of your posts.
        Love &Regards
        solobo

        • Hey Solobo,

          Once you’re more comfortable with doing this, and more familiar with the multiple layers found on each card, it will become a lot easier, and something you won’t even need to think too hard about.

          Thanks for your comment!

          Catherine

  3. Yes or No Spread:
    Shuffle and cut in your personal manner. Make 5 stacks of cards, one stack at a time, turning cards over as you draw them from the top of the deck, stop and start the next stack if you get an Ace or if no Ace shows, stop and start the next stack at 13 cards in the stack. When you have made the 5 stacks of face up cards, they will have an Ace on top or they will have 13 cards (or both). Read 4 Aces as certainly Yes, 3 Aces as Yes, 2 Aces as probably No, 1 Ace as No, 0 aces as NO Way. The other cards at the top of the stacks, and the suits of the appearing Aces, may be read to further colour the answer.

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for sharing your Yes or No Spread. The Aces always feel good, don’t they?! Out of interest, do you see two or more Aces in a reading as a separate and/or significant event?

      Thank you for your comment, and welcome to Tarot Elements :)

      Catherine

  4. Great article thanks. I always seem to go by my feelings when doing yes or no. One card maybe a yes for one person and no for another, or yes one day and no the next.

    • Hey there,

      I agree, it can depend on the person as well as the question – hence the maybe pile, it’s the one that fluctuates the most.

      Thanks for your comment :)

      Catherine

  5. I was just reading through this post (first time to your site – excellent and enjoyable by the way).

    I enjoyed looking at the yes/no aspects of the cards, but just as a warning, it is important to think about how you are framing questions for this as well.

    For example, would the strength card have the same relationship for each of the queries below:
    1- Should I embark on this new and slightly scarey venture?
    2-Should I give up and settle for my normal routine?

    • Hi Marcus,

      I agree that the question will have some bearing on the yes/no answer, but as I said in the post, I do believe that’s confined to those cards in the maybe pile more than anything. The point of this post is to make applying answers to yes/no questions in a way that is easy and meaningful to each individual person, they can of course adapt the method to suit themselves and I would encourage that. This post is designed only as a starting point for helping people to begin obtaining yes/no answers from their tarot deck.

      Thank you for your comment, and welcome to Tarot Elements :)

      Catherine

  6. Brigit | Biddy Tarot
    22 October, 2011 - 6:52 am

    Great post! With reversed Tarot cards, I typically count a reversed card as a ‘no’ and an upright card as a ‘yes’ (give or take). You can take it one step further with the reversed cards and empower your client to turn a no into a possible yes…. If you return to the energy of the previous card and work on understanding the lesson of this card, you may have a better chance of turning your ‘no’ answer into a ‘yes’ answer.

    • Hey Brigit,

      I loved your idea of looking to the previous card for work/understanding of a reversed card in order to turn it upright. It’s an actionable and workable lesson and may show where previous efforts/thoughts etc., may have been remiss, or just plain wrong. I thought it was great.

      Thanks for your comment, and welcome to Tarot Elements :)

      Catherine

  7. Every time,when i ask a question as yes/no,if i pick 8 of swords, it is definitely -NO for me :) i interpret as something ,or someone is barrier or unable to act.

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