3 ways of getting a yes or a no from the tarot and why you shouldn’t use any of them!
Flip it on over and reverse it: Shuffle and lay down three cards. If two or more are reversed, the answer is no. If two or more are upright, the answer is yes.
Cut to the quick: Shuffle and cut the deck. Is is a major? Your answer is yes. An ace through 10? Your answer is no. A court card? Your answer is maybe.
The Elements have it: Shuffle and lay down two cards and see what the Elements have to say. Air (Swords) and Fire (Wands) feed each other and indicate a strong, rapid yes. Earth (Pentacles) and Water (Cups) also indicate yes, but a slower one to manifest. Fire and Water indicate a no. Earth and Air also mean no. Any other combination shows a maybe or mixed outcome. You may be asking how to handle the elemental nature of the majors. I will point you in the direction of Paul Hughes-Barlow’s page on card meanings. Scroll down and to the heading “Major Cards” an click on the Air, Fire, Water, Earth or Planetary to find the element associated with the Majors. And stick around his site to learn much more about elemental dignities.
So why shouldn’t you use any of these?
I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to use the any of these techniques. At the same time, I see these techniques as crutches. It can be hard to pull out an answer from a spread, but it is important skill to acquire.
Example question: Should I start my own business?
Some example one card draws (or using an outcome card by itself) and a yes/no answer:
Ace of Pentacles – Yes, now is a good time start something new.
5 of cups – You may have some initial losses and disappointments, but won’t lose everything. You may find your way to a solid business eventually. Be cautious and make sure you are well-capitalized or don’t bother.
Knight of Swords – Yes, but be prepared to work very hard and deal with conflict.
5 of Wands – No, the business may fall apart due to in-fighting and conflict.
Magician – It may be better to freelance for a while or keep your office small. But you’ve got the skills to make it happen.
The Lovers – Yes, but it will take a lot of networking and relationship building to be successful.
7 of Cups – No, you’re not ready yet. Work on a solid business plan and do some market testing. You may be seeing what you want to see rather that making a dispassionate evaluation of your market.
So why is that better than one of the 3 yes or no techniques?
One word: context. It gives you (or your client) additional insight and information on the issue. A simple yes or no can be done with a flip of a coin or using a pendulum. The tarot can give a much richer answer and lets you know why yes or why no. Knowing the why allows you to suggest possible solutions for turning a no into a yes. You can also prepare yourself or your client for possible challenges. Ultimately it adds a lot more value and helps empower you or your client rather that just giving a simple yes or no.
Good luck with your reading!