Yes/No Questions and a Technique for Working with them

I often eschew using tarot for yes/no questions. My attitude has always been, “why would you use such a sophisticated tool, capable of extremely nuanced and insightful answers for something you could just toss a coin to answer?”

But some time ago I thought of a quick method for answering them. I’ve worked with it a bit in my own practice with good results, and I’ve shared it with some other readers and have gotten good feedback about its usefulness.

Further reflection on what’s behind most yes/no questions is that most seekers who ask yes/no questions of the tarot are, in fact, looking for more than just a yes or a no, even if it’s just an accompanying “why” — why is it a yes or a no? That’s where things get interesting!

So, next time you have a question with a yes or no answer, try this:

Think of the situation you want a yes or no answer to, and assign a card that represents the situation. This is not always easy, as sometimes we project our desired outcome onto the selection, but try to select a card that only represents the situation, not your desired result.

This card becomes the significator, and can be any card — it does not necessarily need to be a Court or Major. Choose the card that best represents the current situation.

If you like, you can also take that card out, “charge” it by identifying your situation with the card (but again, not the desired outcome) and put the card back in the deck.

Shuffle well.

You will cut the deck into two piles, but before you do so, decide which pile will be “yes” and which pile will be “no”. Once decided, cut the deck.

Your card will either be in the yes pile or the no pile. Find it, and with it, your answer. Try to keep the piles in order, though, don’t take your significator for the question out of the pile.If it’s in the “no” pile, then the answer is a no. If it’s in the “yes” pile, then the answer is yes!

The answer is pretty simple and immediate: if it’s in the “no” pile, then the answer is a no. If it’s in the “yes” pile, then the answer is yes!

If you’d like to find more insight — after all, that’s what tarot does best! — then there are a few more steps you can take.

What can be interesting here is noticing the top and bottom cards of the pile your card appeared in, and the cards immediately adjacent to the card, as these may give you reasons as to why a yes or no is advised. You may even look at the top and bottom cards from the other pile where your significator didn’t appear, to find more reasons to not go that way.

You may even look at the top and bottom cards from the other pile where your significator didn’t appear, to find more reasons for the answer not going that way.

Beyond that, even, you can look at the size of the piles. If the answer was in the yes pile, and it was a smaller pile than the no pile, then there are more reasons not to do that thing, or more cons for the answer not being “yes”. If the card was in the yes pile, and that was the larger pile, then there are lots of reasons why it’s a yes! Similarly if the answer is “no” and the no pile was larger or smaller than the yes pile.

The next aspect, if you require more insight into why the answer is what it is, is to look at what cards were immediately adjacent to your significator. The cards behind the significator are the support for your answer, or what from recent events has lead to the situation; and the cards in front of the significator are the projected immediate outcome for this answer. This can give you much more insight and can turn a yes/no question into an answer with much more depth.

You can also look and how deep or close to the surface the significator is, or how quickly you find it. If you find it right away, or it’s close to the surface, then it’s a much more immediate yes or no. If you have to dig for it a little, then the answer will be more hard-fought.

Another, slightly more complex way to make your piles is to deal the cards individually into two piles, as if dealing cards for a two-player card game. Here, too, you have choices: you can either deal the entire deck before turning each card and looking for the significator, or you can turn over each card as you deal them — like above, the longer it take you to find the card, the less clear it’s a yes or no… maybe it’s closer to “maybe”. If it’s among the first cards you turn, well, that’s a much clearer yes or no!

Give it a go, and let me know how it goes for you!

Related: Deck Anatomy

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul says:

    I always find it difficult to “interpret” the directions given for the cards adjacent to the significator. The “above” and “below” shift radically dependent upon whether you are going though the deck face up as you look for the significator, or whether you are looking through the deck face down as you flip each card over to see it.


    1. Michael says:

      In this technique, the cards are face up as you look for the significator á la opening of the Keys.

      You could, of course, modify it to suit your needs and flip them with each pile face down, but it’s too time-consuming for my taste. What matters is that you remain consistent in your working of the method in order to yield accurate results.

      Liked by 1 person

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