Q: Is there such a thing as a single card yes or no cartomancy reading?
A: Yes, it is possible, but I don’t recommend it.
There are advantages to age and experience. When a good question comes around a second time, I can just haul an old post out of the archives that pretty much covers it, like this one about one card Tarot Yes or No.
But this is a good question, well worth a second look. The old answer still goes, but let’s open it up a little more to include cartomancy too.
Cartomancy is just a shmancy name for doing an intuitive reading with any cards, but it usually refers to using the contemporary gaming deck rather than the Tarot deck. Doing readings with playing cards makes sense, since they have a long history of being connected to Tarot. In some decks Tarot’s minor arcana number cards are composed of simple “pips” rather than the complex images we know from the RWS deck. Pips are small images in the number of the card, like the hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades of the gaming deck (excluding the face or court cards, of course.) The historic relationship between the two decks is less clear than their common appearance. One theory holds that the modern deck evolved from Tarot’s minor arcana. The smaller simpler deck would be less expensive to produce, which would explain how it could gain broader popularity and use. Other sources hint that they came about in parallel. Whichever is true, gaming cards are just as valid as in a yes/no reading as Tarot cards would be.
Both are equal because it doesn’t matter whether you use playing cards, Tarot cards, tea leaves or chicken guts. What matters in a reading is our human intuition and our innate connection with the subtle energies and higher dimensions of the natural world in which we evolved. You get that human connection in any kind of reading with any kind of cards.
That being said, yes, of course you can do a one card yes-or-no cartomancy reading. But as always, just because you can doesn’t mean that you should. Is a one-card yes/no cartomancy reading helpful or effective? No.
Over-simplification is an important reason why.
Life as a human on Earth can be complex. Human relationships are complex. Life can be a big confusing ball of stuff. This is a complexity is a reality that needs to be acknowledged both by us as individuals and in the general practice of card readings. Simplifying is exactly how one card and yes-or-no readings can help, but you can go too far.
Modern playing cards simplify the intuitive prompts and visual input you get in the reading. Single card readings are great but for limited situations: either a quick snapshot within a larger journey or a very wide-view daily meditation. When you combine those card & question simplifications with the limitations inherent to the yes-or-no format, there just isn’t enough left for one-card yes/no cartomancy to be of value. With either deck, a good yes-or-no reading needs more than one card, and a good one-card reading needs a larger point of view than a yes-or-no question can offer.
Let me show what I mean:
I’ll do a free yes-or-no cartomancy reading here in the blog for the first person to do all of these things correctly:
- send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “cartomancy yes or no”
- Include your full name (won’t be shared – this is just for energy connection to the reading)
- One yes-or-no type question
- a sentence stating your permission to use the reading as a website example