Decisions, decisions

So we’ve talked a lot recently about the sort of questions you can ask the Tarot and how to develop your intuition in how to read their messages. But what if you want a simple yes or no answer? Well, you can still ask your cards, and there, as with most things, are several systems you can use. Which is what I’m going to talk about today.

Only Minor Arcana Cards

For the first method, we need to take out the Major Arcana cards and put them to the side, as we’re going for a straight yes or no response based on the suit. As we’re only looking for the suit and nothing else, you can also use an ordinary deck of playing cards for this if you prefer.

Now as we have four suits to draw from, but only two outcomes we need to pair the suits up. Traditionally this would be done by splitting them along masculine and feminine suits but you could flip this around, depending on the subject matter of your question. In Tarot, the masculine suits are considered to be the Wands and Swords, leaving Cups and Pentacles as the feminine ones. This matches up with the black suits and red suits in ordinary cards, except you’ll only have three court cards instead of four for each suit.

Typically you’d treat wands or swords as a ‘yes’ and anything from cups or pentacles as a ‘no’. 

Although there’s no reason that you can’t mix this up to better fit the question. If you’re hoping to turn a hobby into a business, why not use wands and pentacles for yes, and cups and swords for no instead? If you’re asking about a matter of the heart, try wands and cups, vs pentacles and swords respectively. 

Using the Whole Deck

For the next method, we’ll still be looking for the suits, but we’ll also be adding another layer of detail. Rather than a hard yes or no, the answer will be more subjective. Perhaps you’ll need to work for it, or there’s a good chance it will come without much effort.

Most variations on this type of decision making with the cards, use the Major Arcana as the most negative outcome. Personally, I prefer to use it as a subjective ‘no’ as it’s the suit of swords that takes the place of the simple ‘no’ outcome here.

Our suit of wands retains its position of a positive answer, but cautions that personal effort will be required to get what we want. Inversely, cups change from a no, to a reminder that sometimes we simply need to be patient and we will get what we desire. This then leaves the pentacles, which warns us that we will need to pay a price for that which we are seeking – rather fitting for the suit most closely related to finances.

Delving Deeper

We’ve looked at using the minor arcana by itself, and the whole deck but can we go even deeper while still maintaining the simple yes and no answers?

Well, the simple answer to that would be – Yes.

How, I hear you ask? Well for this we have to look at the general meanings of the cards themselves. This allows for a more in-depth reading than either of the previous two methods but it is, on the surface, a lot more complicated than the others.

If you have a good understanding of what each card in your deck means, then there is a simple rule that would allow you to know if you have received a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ response. Is the card relevant to the situation or subject you have asked about?

For example, if you’re asking a question related to matters of the heart, any card from the suit of cups would be a positive. This is because the suit of cups talks about relationships and emotions, fitting its playing card suit counterpart – hearts. However, for advice on careers, it would be a ‘no’ because the card does not talk about career.

Inversely if you wanted to ask a career based question, you would be happy to see cards such as The Chariot, or The Magician. Whereas the Hanged man or the Hermit which both deal with things slowing down, or stagnating, would be seen as negative.

Using Multiple Cards

Alternatively, if you want to use more than a single card, it is possible to do a spread with your tarot deck. For this method we’re looking for the number of Aces from 0-4, so you will need to use the full 78 card deck for this.

To begin, shuffle and cut the cards as you usually would, keeping the question in mind. When you feel ready, you need to deal out four piles of thirteen cards face down and put the remaining cards to the side.

For the next step, we need to turn the cards of the first pile face up, keep going until you hit an Ace or the final card of the pile. Repeat this for the remaining three piles.

Once you have done this, you need to count how many Aces you have on the top of your piles to get your Yes/No answer to the question. Naturally, the more Aces you have, the more positive the outcome as below:

Four Aces – Strong yes/positive outcome

Three Aces – Very Likely 

Two Aces – Neutral response, such as ‘maybe’ or doubtful

One Ace – Very Unlikely

No Aces – Strong no/negative response.

If you want to dig deeper into the outcome, you do have the option of looking at the cards under the Aces for greater insight.

Reversed and Upright

The final system for a yes/no reading I wanted to briefly mention could be considered the most simple. As you’ve been practising, no doubt you’ll have noticed that each card can be read in two ways, based on whether the card comes up reversed or upright. With the reversed position generally, in most cases, mirroring the upright meaning.

So how does this relate to what we’ve been talking about today? Well, you can use reversed cards to allow for a quick yes or no reading, regardless of suit, if it’s a major arcana card or it’s usual meaning. All you need to look at is if it’s upright for yes, and if it’s reversed for no. That’s it.

The main drawback for me with this system is that you do need to go back through and change all the cards to the same orientation afterwards. Which is why I left it for last on this list.

As always, I want to thank you for joining me today, and I hope that you’ll join me for future articles and ramblings.

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