Q&A: Can you do a yes or no reading with just one card?

Q: I’ve heard some cards mean “yes” and others “no”. Is there a list of which is which? Is it possible to do a yes or no reading with just one card like that?

A: Hoo Boy…good question. I wish I knew an exact answer to that one.

I’ve seen that too. I can’t remember exactly all the places. Once I came across the idea that the minor arcana suites gave you the yes or no instead of the individual cards (if memory serves, swords and wands were “no” while cups and coins were “yes”…or something like that). The major arcana was a bit as-expected based on the artwork. Sun, Lovers, etc while The Devil, Judgement and so on are “no”. None of it seems right to me, and when I’ve tinkered with it – couldn’t make head or tails of what was going on. Probably because, in my experience / bias all the cards are both yes and no, positive and negative so there is no one answer inherent to any one card. That goes double for the major arcana as I’ve ranted before in the Arcana In Balance series.

I’ve seen other lists where the yes/no is based on the individual card based on the old RWS meanings or some other arbitrary method that I didn’t see. Each list included cards from all four suites plus the majors. Didn’t read all that close to be honest…WAAAAYYYYY to fussy and complicated. I’m a big picture kind of gal, so I work better with a theoretical framework than a list of little details that make my eyes cross. Goodness knows I’m not going to memorize something like that.

Of course there is always pure intuition. Pick a card, any card, and see what answer it sparks. THAT is Tarot at its finest in my opinion…a gateway to our own good on-board.

But that doesn’t mean yes/no readings have no purpose. I’m starting to like them the more I tinker with them…evolving on the issue I guess you could say.

They don’t predict the future, of course, but they are excellent for inspiring ideas & jarring loose some ‘out of the box’ problem solving.

That being said, how do you put yes or no readings together with the individual cards can’t give a clear yes/no answer quandary.

Easy-multiple card yes/no layouts. But then you are back to the chaos and individuality. I’m pretty sure here are precisely a hoo-jillion and one ways to do that, too. The aces and piles thing is fairly well known – kind of traditional and classic and all of that. I prefer the mulitple card yes/no layouts because they give more than JUST a yes or a no. They give more food for thought, and do even more of that idea-sparking thing that Tarot is so good at doing.

So is there a list of yes/no cards? Sure…a confusing lot of them that you can google to your heart’s content. Can you do a yes/no reading with just one card? Sure. You can use one of those lists, or you can use pure intuition…but personally I find one card yes/no to be more confusion, and less helpful than the classic three-card spread (although there are other spreads out there too). For me, three cards hit that just-right Goldilocks Zone of detail without confusion. They are big enough to help, small enough not to be complicated or confusing. It’s all very individualized to the person doing the reading, whether you are doing a DIY reading or getting a pro opinion.