Yes or No tarot readings are excellent for beginners because they are so simple. They involve a focused question and usually one card that represents the answer “yes,” “no,” or “maybe.”
Because these readings are stripped down, experienced tarot readers may find this approach to be reductive. Tarot has the power to add layers and nuance to a life story. Sometimes asking a single question with a single answer limits that power.
Despite this, it’s a great way to practice card interpretation and read the energy of a specific situation.
Before the Yes or No Tarot Reading
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”, this saying goes even for a simple Yes or No Tarot reading. Therefore, please keep in mind the following steps before you start with your reading.
When to Use a Yes or No Tarot Reading
A Yes or No tarot reading can be especially helpful if you are making a decision in the near future. For example, you might consult the cards to see if you should do something, like accept a promotion or initiate a conversation with a loved one.
Some people also use a Yes or No tarot reading to determine a likely outcome for a specific upcoming situation. “Will I receive the promotion?” or “Will the conversation with my partner help our relationship grow together?” would be suitable questions to ask.
Remember that no tarot card represents your absolute fate. When reading outcomes, think of the card as an indication of favorable or unfavorable conditions, not necessarily what will definitely happen.
Define the Question
The question you design for this type of reading must be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” If you are asking about your love life, you would not want to use a question like, “Why doesn’t my partner want to move in with me?” The answer to this question is too complex.
Here are some guidelines for refining your question:
- Be focused. Narrow the question to a single subject so that the information you receive will feel relevant. This question “Will I have a good life?” is too broad. Instead, you could refine this: “Will I meet my career goals in this new job?” It would also help to define those goals for yourself before you begin the reading.
- Avoid two questions hidden in one. Take this question: “Does my partner actually want to move in with me, or does she secretly want to break up?” If you were to pull a “yes” card in response to this, you would not know if the card addressed the first or second part of the question.
- Maintain neutrality. If you frame the question in an overly negative or positive way, you risk being biased in the interpretation. The question “Does my partner hate the idea of moving in with me?” is less neutral than “Does my partner want to move in with me?”
Removing the emotional judgment from the phrasing allows you to receive more relevant information. After all, your partner may not want to move in with you even if she doesn’t “hate” the idea.
Optional: Pull a Significator
A “significator” is a card chosen to represent you in a tarot reading. You may pull a significator for your Yes or No tarot reading to ground you in your question topic.
During the Yes or No Tarot Reading
Also during a Yes or No tarot reading, there are some things to keep in mind, like how to deal with reversed tarot cards and how to interpret “maybe” cards.
Do Reversals Matter?
There are different philosophies about this. Generally, you do not need to consider whether the tarot card is upright or reversed when you pull for a Yes or No tarot reading. Just turn any reversed card the right way up and check out there answer to your yes or no question.
However, you might develop a personal system that accounts for reversals. For example, reversed cards mean “no”. You do you!
“Yes” Cards in Yes or No Tarot
In my blog posts for each tarot card, you can navigate to the “yes or no” interpretation from the article content menu.
However, for ease of access, here are the cards that generally mean “yes”:
- Major Arcana: The Fool, The Magician, The Empress, The Emperor, The Lovers, Strength, The Star, The Sun, The World
- Suit of Wands: Ace, Three, Four, Six, Seven, Eight, Page, Knight, Queen, King
- Suit of Cups: Ace, Two, Three, Six, Nine, Ten, Page, Knight, Queen, King
- Suit of Swords: Ace, Six, Page
- Suit of Pentacles: Ace, Three, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Page, Knight, Queen, King
As you read more about the details of these cards, you will discover other conditions for each “yes.” For instance, the Seven, Eight, and Knight of Pentacles are all favorable cards, but they may also require lots of effort or a waiting period.
“No” Cards in Yes or No Tarot
These are the cards that generally mean “no”:
- Major Arcana: The Hermit, Death, The Devil, The Tower, The Moon
- Suit of Wands: Five, Ten
- Suit of Cups: Five, Eight
- Suit of Swords: Three, Five, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten
- Suit of Pentacles: Five
Again, I highly encourage you to read more about each card to know the type of “no” each represents! The Devil in a yes or no tarot reading is a hard “no,” for example, while the Hermit is a softer “no” that can transform into a “yes” down the road.
“Maybe” Cards in Yes or No Tarot
Welcome to the gray area! Depending on your feelings (and personality), these can be fascinating or frustrating cards to receive. Their uncertainty usually means more work for you—to tap into your intuition or gather more information—but they can lead to favorable outcomes.
The High Priestess is only a “yes” if it is for the greater good, not just your own. And the Wheel of Fortune is “yes” when you’re wondering if something will change, but your adaptability determines how positive the change will be. Judgement means your actions will transform you, but the card doesn’t tell you how.
Temperance wants you to be guided by your intuition and proceed with caution, while the Hanged Man just asks you to wait a little while longer. Justice in a Yes or No tarot reading usually calls you out for asking the wrong question. Reflect on whether your question was fair to you and to others.
The Hierophant encourages you to seek advice from a mentor, while the Chariot asks you to have a plan and be ready to put forth ALL of your effort.
Suit of Wands
The Two of Wands does encourage you to take a chance on something, but the outcome remains uncertain. The Nine of Wands can mean “yes” if the question is about standing your ground. Whether you decide it means “yes” or “no,” it usually brings an anxious period.
Suit of Cups
The Four of Cups and Seven of Cups can shift toward “yes” or “no” once you’ve spent time getting to know yourself and the situation better. The Seven in particular indicates you have several options. Consider doing more research and/or listing the pros and cons.
Suit of Swords
Swords often require extensive thought or meditation, so there are more “maybes” here. A Sword may mean you need to approach the situation in a systematic and/or innovative way. This is true for the Knight of Swords, Queen of Swords, and King of Swords. The Knight and King encourage you to consider multiple facets of the situation, while the Queen wants you to explore inner feelings.
The Two of Swords usually means you are choosing between two clear options and must resolve your issues with each before you proceed. However, the Four of Swords simply asks you to rest before you decide.
Suit of Pentacles
If you receive the Two of Pentacles, this answer is more precisely a “not yet,” but not a “never.” Take care of what you’re juggling now, then return to the question. The Four of Pentacles counsels caution. If you go forward, you risk something. Make sure your action is worth the risk!
Advanced: Use Your Own Interpretation
Have you studied the tarot cards for some time? Do you feel comfortable interpreting them without much reliance on an external guide?
If so, you may prefer to rely on your own understanding in Yes or No tarot readings. Instead of following my suggestions above, create your own list of Yes, No, and Maybe tarot cards.
Another option would be to interpret cards on a case-by-case basis. For example, Pentacles relate to the material world, so you may find that they are more favorable for a work reading than for a love reading.
As you learn the cards, you are less likely to place them in strict Yes/No categories. Instead, you will consider their relevance to your particular question.
After the Yes or No Tarot Reading
After your Yes or No tarot reading, there are some things you can do like pulling a second card for clarification and off course reflect on your reading.
Pull a Second Card
Be wary of the temptation to pull too many tarot cards for more information. Before long, you could end up with the entire deck!
However, sometimes pulling a second card can add clarity to a Maybe card. Think of the card as additional information to shed light on the source of uncertainty or guide action you can take to resolve a problem.
A second card can also add context for a Yes or No tarot card. Depending on the card, it can complete a sentence starter like “Yes, if…” or “No, but…,” etc.
The scenarios below address types of two-card Yes or No tarot readings you may receive.
Scenario #1: Why Maybe?
Let’s say your question is “Will I find a long-term partner soon?” If you pull the Wheel of Fortune, an opportunity or change will arise, but that change does not necessarily mean the answer to the question is Yes or No.
The second card you pull could tell you more about the nature of that change. The Two of Cups would likely indicate a new connection that could grow if early communication is strong.
The Tower, however, is more likely to indicate a major shift that draws your attention away from the question you asked.
Scenario #2: What can I do to change a Maybe?
For this scenario, your question is “Should I accept my university scholarship?” In response, you get the Two of Swords. This card represents “maybe” because there are benefits and risks to both options. If you go, maybe the tradeoff is that you must leave home, where you enjoy being close to friends and family. If you stay, you lose an amazing scholarship, but maybe you have an interesting creative or work opportunity.
Say you then pull the Three of Wands as your second card. This is an expansive card, and it symbolizes movement. To get closer to a decision, this card asks you to reflect on your community and your goals: Which choice offers more potential? You lose something both ways, so take a risk with the biggest reward.
Scenario #3: No, But…
You’re wondering if you should continue to stay in your marriage despite marital problems. The card you pull is the Eight of Cups, which usually means “no” and holds the connotation of leaving a difficult situation.
The second card you draw, however, is the Ten of Pentacles. This is a happy card for family, which seems like a contradiction! Your answer might then be: “No, but a divorce could improve your relationships with your children.”
Reflect on the Reading
For the biggest impact in your life, reflect on your reading by journaling, meditating, or discussing with trusted friends. This can help you see blind spots in your interpretation. It can also help you refine your question to address the more important issue.
If you received a Maybe initially, return to the question after a few days or weeks of personal reflection. The answer may be clearer to you the second time around.
Yes or No Tarot Spread
I’ll finish this article with a super simple Yes or No tarot spread. It goes like this:
- Formulate your question and shuffle the cards while focusing on the question.
- When you’re ready, spread the cards facedown in a fan shape.
- Now focus again on your question and pull a card. Place this card to the left.
- Repeat the question (aloud or in your mind) and pull your second card. Place this card in the center.
- Ask the question one more time, pull the third card and place this card to the right.
- Turn over the card and determine if they are “yes”, “no”, or “maybe” cards.
Three times a “yes” card obviously means a “yes”. If you’ve got two “yes” cards in your reading, the outcome will most likely be positive, but it might take some time before it manifests. If you’ve pulled a mix of “no” and “maybe” cards, the answer to your question is negative.
Ready for your Yes or No Tarot Reading?
That’s all I wanted to share about Yes or No tarot readings. I hope this article gave you all the information you needed to know before conducting or receiving your own Yes or No reading.
If you still have questions or want to share your own experience with Yes or No tarot readings, please feel free to reach out to me!