Tarot

How to Do a One-Card ‘Yes or No’ Playing Card Reading

First of all, do you need to be psychic to do this?  Let’s take a minute to consider what is meant by this word, ‘psychic.’ It comes from the Greek word psychikos (“of the mind” or “mental”) and refers in part to the human mind or psyche (e.g. “psychic turmoil”). The Greek word also means “soul” or “breath.”

That’s pretty vague, but we all know what we’re talking about here. It is the (sometimes spooky) experience of feeling you know something, without knowing how you know it or why you feel it, and then finding out you were right, though you still don’t know how.


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Everyone is psychic

the moon tarot card

Public Domain: The Moon from the Rider-Waite Tarot: dreams and psychic ability

Everyone is psychic to a degree, and it’s fascinating, but it’s natural, not supernatural, and is nothing to do with religion or witchcraft. It is to do with instinct and intuition and is just a more acute manifestation of these perfectly natural functions of the human mind.

But if we’re all psychic, why do people go and consult someone else, or go to a professional psychic practitioner for readings?

The short answer is skill. Most professional psychics do not rely solely on their intuitive ability. Psychic experiences happen when they happen, but the psychic reader needs to deliver a service, quickly and on-demand, and to do this they have trained their abilities, and developed specific skills in support of their psychic practice. These skills have had to be learned, and this has often meant many years of private study, time and practice.

Albert Anker the Fortune Teller

Public Domain: Albert Anker, the Fortune Teller

Before we start, there are several points to consider.

Professional psychic readers are not permitted by law to read for people under-18.

Or at least, it is not allowed in the UK. Not without the authorization of a parent or guardian. There are good reasons for this, to do with maturity and vulnerability, and a word of caution applies here too if you are under 18.

There is a risk is you will not get it right.

Professional readers do not always get it right either. Until, and unless you are getting correct answers more than 55% of the time, your results are statistically no better than lucky guesses. Getting it wrong doesn’t mean you don’t have psychic ability, but this ability builds with practice and confidence.

Do not make any important decisions based on the turn of a card.

The cards are to be regarded as an opportunity to pause, reflect and maybe think again. Start with easy questions that you can quickly and easily check e.g. “will it be sunny tomorrow?”

You might not like the answer.

This is the very real risk in consulting with oracles, even your own – or especially your own. Be careful what you ask. Avoid repeating the same questions over and over in the hope of getting the answer you want. You may well get than answer in the end, but this is not conducive to accuracy, and if it becomes a compulsion, and you find you are doing it A LOT, or if you are experiencing, or have lately experienced depression or anxiety, you will be well advised to leave such activities alone for the time being. They could make matters worse not better.

Now let’s look at how to get a yes or no answer using just one playing card.

The One-Card Spread

card suits

Ordinary playing cards have been used in this way since at least the 1600s and probably longer. A deck of playing cards is readily affordable and easy to obtain in many shops and online if you do not already have a deck.

The One- Card Spread is the simplest spread of all but can do the job perfectly well, delivering an accurate yes or no answer.

First, for simplification and for the avoidance of confusion, remove the Joker. The Joker is a complex card. It correlates to the Fool in the Tarot and may mean a yes, no or maybe depending on a number of factors, so is not ideal for our purposes today.

You need to sit somewhere quiet, no distractions. Some people like to use ritual, candles, etc. This is purely a matter of personal preference.

Now you need to decide the code or system you will use for your one card spread. How are you going to interpret the answer?

Classical cartomancy uses this system.

Any red suit card, Hearts or Diamonds, will mean yes

Any black suit card, Clubs or Spades will mean no

This is not a rule, however. There are no rules except that you decide your system and then stick with it.

Consistency and repetition are crucially important. This is what all psychic card readers do. They “self-program” by telling themselves that this card means X and this other card means Y until, with repetition and practice, it actually does.

Now carefully consider the question. It needs to be clear and unambiguous, asking for an answer that will serve your highest good, harming none.

You could, for example, ask a question such as, “Is it a good idea at this time (meaning is it in my best interests) to go here, go there, speak to, do this, do that…?” etc.

Now shuffle the deck, keeping the cards blind, asking your question aloud or just silently to yourself.

Draw a card whenever you feel ready. There are no rights and wrongs here, but it is this act of stopping and choosing a card completely at random that is actually the most psychic part of the reading.

Remember your system. Let’s say you decided any red cards; any Hearts or Diamonds suit card shall mean a yes answer

For example:

7 of diamonds card

Any black card; any Clubs or Spades suit card shall mean a no answer.

For example:

5 of clubs card

So, what have you got? Make a note and give it time to discover if the answer is correct.

If you would like to know the meaning of the card you have drawn, to treat that as an extra comment or piece of advice, there is a simple key below. 

The Card Meanings 

The suits

  • Hearts(Cups) = emotions, health, offers, invitations, friendship.
  • Diamonds(Pentacles) = money, health, house, career, communications.
  • Spades(Swords) = intellect, law, IT, planning, challenges.
  • Clubs(Wands/Staves) = action and creativity, travel, marketing, study, ideas, inspiration

The Meanings of the Numbers

  • Ace– new beginnings; the pure energy of their suit.
  • Two– partnerships, attraction, balance.
  • Three– co-operation, connection, growth.
  • Four– security, stability, foundations, inaction.
  • Five– imbalance, challenges, change, adjustment.
  • Six– sweet victory, harmony, attainment and peace.
  • Seven– spiritual discernment, magic, wisdom, turning point, options.
  • Eight– movement (or lack of it), organization, prioritizing.
  • Nine– Growth, understanding, integration, realization.
  • Ten– Culmination, completion, transition, endings, beginnings.

The Meanings of the Court cards (portrait cards)

Knaves/Jacks represent news or new situations, or young people below the ages of around 25.

  • Knave of Hearts– romantic, emotional, sweet-natured.
  • Knave of Diamonds– curious, grounded, sensible.
  • Knave of Spades– witty, clever, focused.
  • Knave of Clubs– active, adventurous, risk-taker.

Queens usually represent actual people; usually female but not necessarily,

  • Queen of Hearts– kind, empathic, nurturing.
  • Queen of Diamonds– practical, down-to-earth, good in a crisis.
  • Queen of Spades– truth-seeker, honest, straight-speaking.
  • Queen of Clubs– ambitious, strong communicator, passionate.

Kings usually represent actual people; usually male but not necessarily.

  • King of Hearts– approachable but reserved, wise, calm.
  • King of Diamonds– wealthy, hard-working, shrewd, lover of luxury.
  • King of Spades– analytical, calculating, dispassionate.
  • King of Clubs– leader, inspirational, temperamental, sees the big picture.

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Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine is a professional Tarot reader, writer, and blogger in the UK. She has been reading the Tarot, and also runes and playing cards professionally since 2006, and has been featured for this work in Fate & Fortune Magazine.

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