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 divinitory 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.

As an upright card, the Sun is a positive yes, but reversed, does it become a negative card to you?

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

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I use tarot to help me navigate life and understand myself better. As well as tarot, I enjoy using aromatherapy & herbalism to improve my health & well being. My spiritual seeking lay with Gaia, the environment & what my senses engage around me.

21 thoughts on “Answering Yes/No Questions Using Tarot

  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

    1. 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 πŸ™‚

      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

    1. 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

      1. 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

      2. 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.

    1. 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 πŸ™‚

      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.

    1. 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 πŸ™‚

      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?

    1. 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 πŸ™‚

      Catherine

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

  7. Hello. I love your blog! Awesome! I had a question. I learned doing the yes or no question with a three card lay out. I was wondering if the first card is a 7 of clubs which I looked up to be a no. And the second card is an Ace of Swords. 3rd an Ace of Pentacles. Would this be a yes altogether, and no, or a probable yes because there are two Aces in the 3 card lay out? Or would the 1st no cancel the yes out all together?
    I will have to try the 5 card lay out as well.

    Thank you so much,
    Angie

    1. Hi Angie,

      Thanks for your kind words about my blog. The Yes No Tarot List is meant for single card readings. My belief is that a yes/no question is best answered this way as introducing too many cards can become confusing and sometimes contradictory, as you are finding. Doing a larger 5 card reading will only add to the confusion, presuming the spread has no positions to indicate direction.

      A yes no tarot reading isn’t really a reading in the traditional sense, it is a definitive shot of time in the future. Adding more cards will give a greater indication of events around that outcome but by adding more cards, you are obscuring the definition of a yes or no answer. A three card reading would work better if say, the middle card was the definitive answer, and the cards either side of it were extra information regarding the situation.

      You don’t indicate if there are any spread positions in your yes/no reading and so it would be necessary to read the three cards as a whole, which would take some skill. Luckily, you have two aces which outweigh the the 7 of Clubs. Like most yes/no readings the interpretation of the card depends on the question. If you want to do something, it could be a yes because although it is defensive, it indicates action. If you are wanting something to come to you it is likely to be a no as the nature of the card would indicate a blockage in its arrival.

      If we take the view of the blockage, I would say the reading is giving you an overall yes. Two aces would override any negative action brought by the 7 of Wands, one of clear thinking, the other an opportunity to build something. The 7 of Wands would indicate perhaps a delay or an unforeseen struggle to get it off the ground, obstacles met during the process etc. The aces would trump the seven, for me at least.

      I hope that helps.

      Catherine

  8. Dear Catherine,
    I love your site and I am learning a lot about the tarot here I think. I am finding that when I use the yes/no/maybe method for answering questions I’m getting answers that feel wrong, so i asked if i was 95 to sort of get a feel for how accurate they are and of course it said yes.. of course i’m not 95. Well, is there any method i can use to test how accurate i’m reading? I am usually spot on but I’m noticing a lot of silly fluctuations..I would love advice if you have a moment. Thank you so much!

    Love and all best!
    Stephanie Anne

    1. Hi Stephanie Anne,

      Often you will find tarot has a sense of humor and responds to some questions with the same level of seriousness in which they’re asked. Some may say this isn’t the cards, it’s your spirit guides who communicate through the cards – each to her own on where the information comes from. What can be said is that I’ve seen these types of responses time and again. Tarot, or your spirit guides know you are not 95 and play a little tongue in cheek game with you. I think perhaps some guides don’t like the testing. Tarot is often about trust, in the cards, in the process, in the outcome. Spirit guides are no different. Why would the cards/guides/universe answer a question that you already know the answer to?

      Trust, like religious faith, requires that you are open to receive and accept what you are given. You can of course reject what the cards show, that is your choice, but why ask in the first place? It is also worth noting feeling the cards or the answer is wrong can be your unconscious working against you. The field of metaphysics is not science in the sense that we understand it. We can hope for a thing or an outcome and be shown it won’t be so. This is disappointing and naturally saddening. What you wanted (or felt to be right) may not be the best outcome for us, nor the one coming to us. It is important that we don’t try and influence the outcome or attempt to change what the cards say by repeatedly asking the same question, as some do.

      If you feel you want to test the validity or credibility of a card reading, you can of course do a yes/no question covering a short period of time, for example, a day. The card-for-the-day is an excellent method to employ. You could simply ask if you are going to have a happy day, draw a specific list of things you want to do in the day and ask if you will complete the list during your waking hours, etc. This would allow you to skirt round the issue of testing without basis and allow you to build trust in the responses from your cards/guides.

      I have also found a way to tighten the yes/no tarot list and will be writing about that soon. Should you wish to further employ this new method, please use the contact form to engage with me privately so you can test it personally.

      I hope that helps.

      Warmly,

      Catherine

  9. Dear Catherine,
    I asked my cards about two possible doctors- who should I choose.
    I said, upright card will be the yes, choose him/her, the reversed do not choose him/her. If booth upright, the Doctor with the more positive card will I choose. I got two reversed cards(neither of them) …
    The first one was the Moon reversed, the second one the Chariot reversed.
    Could you help me with the interpretation?
    Thanks a lot!
    Eva

    1. Hi Eva,

      On the one hand your question and method seems ok, but on closer inspection, you are really asking about a choice. The Yes/No Tarot Oracle is best with one question, and while in some senses you have done this, you haven’t really found out if either of these doctors are the best choice. In these two cards you have drawn, it would seem the question is more appropriate to the lesser of two evils. As you have determined, neither seem like a good, or lasting choice.

      On the absolute face of things, then no, neither doctor would appear to be a good fit for you.

      I wonder how this may have turned out if you had opted for a ‘two choices’ type spread instead of a yes/no question. You would be able to determine differences between the two doctors and if you really have to choose one above the other, it would be a more informed decision.

      With regard to the interpretation of the two cards, it would depend how you personally handle reversals. I don’t really read with them and keep my decks upright but when one or two cards may have found themselves upside down, then I read them reversed.

      I don’t stick to a hard and fast rule about reversals. I don’t think the less pleasant cards improve on being reversed and this is how I would see the Moon. Upright, you have the opportunity not to enter the landscape the potential dark dramas before you. Reversed, this card seems to me that you are in the landscape fully and it’s not pleasant at all. If you watched Stranger Things on Netflix, then this could equate to the Upside Down world. The doctor this card came up for may lead you down the wrong path and may (unintentionally, or not) create a problem or misdiagnose you, which would send on a wild goose chase where you find yourself going further down the rabbit hole.

      The Chariot reversed would suggest to me that interaction with this doctor goes nowhere. It either doesn’t get moving or, after initial assessments and interventions, stalls. there is no movement. An attempt has been made but it does not help in the long term.

      This brings us to another question, and one that is for you only to think about – the nature of your need for a new doctor. What is most interesting to me is what is not being said by the tarot, but hinted at, like a clue for you to explore. It is highly possible that if there was a third, or fourth, or however many other doctors you may approach, perhaps none of them can give you the satisfaction you require. It may be so that your health may not be 100% in the near future. This points to your expectations and hopes regarding what a doctor can do for you.

      I have suffered poor health for a number of years now but I am seeing some improvements of late. However, if I had asked about various doctors along the way, looking back, I may well have had cards like you have today. And yet I am still here. I have a lovely general medicine doctor and yet in many ways, he would be represented by the Chariot reversed – he has made efforts for me, but ultimately, nothing goes anywhere and I have mostly treated myself.

      So the nature of this hidden element talks less about the quality or capability of the individual doctor, but asks you to further examine your need for them and in reality, to check your expectations of them and address what you may be able to do for yourself. Lack of cure does not mean a death, it means a different way to live and it may well be that the doctor represented by the Moon reversed is, ironically, the best choice as he may well give you potentially devastating news which send you mentally down the rabbit hole. In short, the Moon reversed doctor gives you news you don’t want to hear. Is he correct? We cannot really tell from this single card, we just know it has a deep affect upon you.

      This is why I don’t do health readings anymore (not even for myself) and why in some situations, like this one, a yes/no reading is the wrong type of spread for a question that needs deeper investigation.

      Warmly,

      Catherine

      1. Dear Catherine,
        Thank you so much for your wise and kind words. It means a lot to me.
        My health problem is more than ten years old. I tried a lot of doctors. Thats why I made now this spread. I’m tired. (Not only) based on the spread’s result, I now, I must change my thinking about my health, and womanhood…
        It was an exceptional occasion. Usually I don’t make yes-no, or choice- questions
        What’s interesting is that when I asked my cards about my health, I got almost always pentacle cards. (last time: the reason of inflammation, cysts, etc.: Ace of Pents reversed, Eight of Pents; Advice in connection with the doctor-search: Four of Pents and Knight of Pents reversed; The most important thing to do: Two of Pents reversed- and there was the Four of Swords and Judgment reversed- What should I do to heal)
        I understand the earthy -meaning of pentacles cards. But this pentacle-bevy makes me a bit confuse…

        Thanks a lot again!

        Eva

      2. Hi Eva,

        The pentacle suit also relates to your physical body so it makes sense for you to see so many of them in relation to your health, especially reversed.

        The Four of Swords is telling you to take a time out and the Judgement reversed, to me, is telling you to be kinder to yourself. If you find you do a lot of negative self-talk, your body will respond negatively. In a sense, it is a form of self-abuse so begin there, and do your best to catch yourself at every opportunity and replace your criticism with kind words instead.

        The road to health is a long one and we have the most influence on our own bodies through how we see ourselves, how we feel physically and how we look. Perception is everything.

        Warmly,

        Catherine

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