Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Someone who’s been following my blog for awhile contacted me with a question about yes or no tarot questions. In this Q&A with Joy, I share the pros and cons of yes or no tarot questions and provide a few yes or no tarot spreads you can try.

Question: Do You Do Yes or No Tarot Readings?

A yellow sticky with a question mark, below which is a green sticky with a check mark and the word "yes" then a pink sticky with an X and the word "no."

This is the question: “I wanted to know if you do Yes or No readings. I have found that they are very much a crap shoot. Sometimes they are accurate and other times they are not. I know different people have different takes on whether to use them because of the nature of tarot.”

Answer: Yes, But…

It’s true that many tarot teachers frown on yes or no questions. In fact, I was taught not to use them. More succinctly, a friend of mine from long ago always quipped that if you want to ask a yes or no question, don’t bother using tarot, just flip a coin. That to me is still very sound advice.

However, as I continued to develop as a reader I started appreciating yes or no questions. In addition, over the years I’ve learned a variety of yes or no spreads from colleagues. More recently, tarot author Jenna Matlin has spoken up to recommend working with yes or no questions. Based on my past experience, I have to concur with her. I’ve come to rely on the straight-forward answers I can get from those questions.

As far as working with clients is concerned, I don’t mind them asking a yes or no question. I know how the tarot can nuance it and still give them an accurate answer. Also, once you’ve gotten the big picture on a question, drilling down to yes or no questions can be very productive in fine tuning the details. I frequently rely on yes or no questions at the end of a reading to summarize and clarify.

When To Start Working With Yes or No Readings

Depending on where you are in your studies, you’re right, yes or no questions can be a crap shoot. That’s why beginners are taught not to use them. Once you’re more familiar with how tarot works and how you can get the most clear and accurate answers from the cards, then adding in yes or no questions can be useful. Also, having a specific yes-or-no tarot spread can be handy. I’ll include some below that you can try.

The tarot’s strength is its complexity and nuance, but it can be very simple when needed. Learning to be a good tarot reader is all about learning when to dive into that complexity and when to sit back and rest in the simplicity. Adding in yes or no readings is a good way to learn the tarot’s simplicity. Ironically, it’s technique best suited for more experienced readers.

So if you are an experienced tarot reader, I would recommend working through a question with several readings. Start with a broad overview to get a sense of what forces are in play. Get clarity by asking more specific questions. Then end with a yes or no. In the resulting broader context of such a series of spreads, you’ll find that your yes or no questions end up being very accurate.

Yes or No Tarot Spreads

Here are three yes or no tarot spreads you can try.

  1. Lay out a row of an odd number of cards, usually 3 or 5 — more uprights than reversed is yes, more reversed is no.
  2. Another method is to divide the deck into four piles: Career, Relationships, Conflicts, and Money. Before you begin, choose a significator for yourself (a court card that represents yourself) and decide which of these four categories most accurately reflects your question. Keep the significator in the deck, shuffle while asking your question, then divide it into four piles. Look through the cards of the pile that corresponds to the category of your question: if your significator is there, it’s a yes. I like this technique because there’s only a 25% chance of getting a yes, which makes it so much more significant when it happens.
  3. The last suggestion is to simply pull two cards. Some people say that if both cards are good it’s a yes, both bad it’s a no, half and half is a “yes, but” or “no, but.” That requires you to have a strong sense of the positive and negative cards in your deck. I do something very similar, but am a little lazy with it and mostly follow my intuition after settling into the energy of the two cards.

What’s your experience with yes or no tarot questions? Do you get good results? Or would you just as soon flip a coin? Let me know in the comments!

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit

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  1. Hello Joy, First let me say I’ve followed you for a very long time, and I so love your analytical approach to Tarot. I agree that Yes/No questions are not for the inexperienced, but not necessarily for the accuracy. I mean, come on. It’s a 50/50 chance of looking like a genius! It’s more so that the reader, him- or herself, doesn’t get enough info to provide the client with any food for thought moving forward, something we both like to provide.

    I have two ways I use yes/no questions, both can be very accurate. I use the Celtic Cross for most of my readings. When I come across a card that needs a clarification (Is this her father? Is this her boss? Is this the local job offer? Is this the job offer from overseas? Etc.) I use a pendulum by hovering it over that specific card. Working with the same pendulum and getting to know its energy can really change the direction of a reading.

    Second, there is an actual yes/no spread I found on Mary K. Greer’s blog that came from a 1955 Fate Magazine article and it’s fabulous! Here it is: This is such a wonderful spread because it allows me to ask a yes/no question and still get a full-on reading with the cards that are left. I think it gives us that middle ground we look for when deciding between a regular reading and a simple yes/no. I have a YouTube video on it. You can find it here: but skip to the 3rd chapter. I didn’t realize my camera issue until then. I didn’t redo the video because the cards pulled were so good!

    OK then, thank you, again, for your wonderful and insightful articles. I truly enjoy them! Lynn O.

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