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Asking the deck a question...

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 24 Nov 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

finn  24 Nov 2002 
Hi all, from my limited experience and from all that's i've read from tarot books, there's a general principle that we shouldn't ask yes/no questions or questions that are too closed ended.

But from what I see around this site, it seems that no one really pays much attention to this.

Can someone enlighten me on this? Thanks. 

jmd  24 Nov 2002 
Consider a Tarot book like a very long, well thought-out post from a single user, usually with a fair amount of experience - still, the view of the author may or may not be correct, and I am certain that most authors would willingly acknowledge that others may disagree with them (even if they add in whispers 'but the Earth does move').

There is an earlier thread precisely on this question you may want to read - 'yes or no answers'. As always, look at what others have to say and their plausible reasons, but also trust your own reflections.

Personally, I think sometimes we may want quick clarity on an aspect of a situation, at times neglecting deeper insights which may be offered - because of this aspect, and also the apparent closure of a 'yes/no' answer, avoiding questions which require yes/no answers is at times best avoided. 

zorya  24 Nov 2002 
if you're using the tarot for further growth, then you are missing out on a lot by not looking at an issue at depth.

but there is nothing inherently wrong with asking a yes or no question. many don't because they find them difficult to interpret.

many do use them.

so....what ever works for you :D 

RedWood  24 Nov 2002 
In Star+Gate Oracle...They suggest not asking questions.. For instance... If you want to know should you marry Tom..You make a statement like Marrying Tom...or Staying Single..depending on what you really want to do..then shuffle the 96 2 sided cards and doing the layout etc..

I dont ask yes or no questions of tarot personally..seems way to easy ..LOL 

LeaRay  24 Nov 2002 
I don't feel there is anything wrong with yes/no questions. Howevere you may not always get a clear answer. Generally I will draw 3 cards and depending on their positive or negative meanings I will get my answer.(if they are all positive then the answer is yes)

*This is my opinion only.* I don't ask the cards the questions. I ask the Spirit of the cards the questions. I refer to this as the Ancient Oracle, The Goddess or sometimes the spirits of my ancesters. The cards are simply a means of communication with them.

Therefore I believe a person can ask any question they want, including yes/no questions.


Keslynn  24 Nov 2002 
Feel free to ask the tarot a yes/no question if you want. But also realize that the tarot won't give you a yes/no answer. Even one card has so much depth that it's impossible to pare down the meaning to "yes/no" without losing that incredible insight. Perhaps the more important question to ask would be why you would want the easy answers instead of having to face the forces within yourself that are creating the situation and pushing it forward. For me, tarot operates best as a tool for personal insight (and a new perspective on myself and any situation). I feel that asking a yes/no question strips it of that function.

For yes/no, I have a Magic 8 Ball. ;)

:) Kes 

Major Tom  25 Nov 2002 
R.T. Kaser has a yes/no tarot method in Tarot in Ten Minutes but even that provides shades of yes or no. :)

I like to flip a coin for yes/no answers. The ritual of flipping a coin helps me clarify my choice. }) 

Jenny-Li  25 Nov 2002 
Originally posted by Keslynn
Feel free to ask the tarot a yes/no question if you want. But also realize that the tarot won't give you a yes/no answer.

This is my view on things too - to me it seems life is just too complex for yes/no answers... And besides, I want to make my own decisions, not let the deck make them for me. The deck helps me find the answer within myself, and that's the help I want!

Light and love,
Jenny :) 

rota  25 Nov 2002 
I certinly agree with Jenny-Li.

It's interesting to ask a yes/no, and lay down 3, 5 or 7 cards to see what sort of reply you get. But even those replies are typically shaded or nuanced; in a way, they completely ignore the question. Instead they give an overall statement of the situation, usually startlingly accurate.

So, none of this yes/no stuff for me. It seems rather presumptuous of a reader to assume that there are only two answers to a question, as though the Tarot couldn't possibly know any more than that. Over the past months of throwing spreads for people, I've come around to not asking for specifics in my reading. I ask for a 'picture' of the situation in question, and the Tarot seems only too willing to oblige.

Yes, there are spreads for asking yes/no questions. But life is rarely so obviously black or white. If it were, would there be a need for such things as Tarot? 

paradoxx  25 Nov 2002 
ideal questions for positions in a tarot layout.

Who are you
What do you want
Where have you been
where are you going
what you leave behind
what you take with you
what do you trust
what/who do you serve

also a card that represents cosmic energy, paradoxes, fate, or other strange energies that are far beyond human control makes any reading seem extraordinary.

purposefully blocking energy by making sure some of the cards are backwards is a complicated and powerful move, although it can provide some major insight into what the questions are about.

Sometimes the cards give more of a yes/no answer than we would like to think. 

WolfSpirit  26 Nov 2002 
I think you can often avoid asking a yes/no question by just formulating your question differently:

so instead of asking: should I do X ?
You can ask:
what happens if I do X?
and then ask another question:
what happens if I don't do X?

That will probably give you a clearer answer, often works for me anyway :) 

MeeWah  26 Nov 2002 
I agree with most of the views. As rota states, life is not "black & white". Whilst a yes/no is possible with Tarot, it can still be subject to interpretation. That is, unless one is willing to accept what is being shown, no amount of consulting the Tarot will provide a clear-cut "answer". It also limits the cards to being oracular rather than as a means of guidance & of seeing the possibilities. In the former, it denies self- responsibility & free will for one's choices. Instead, it consigns same to "fate" or "predestiny"--in which case, it would be an exercise in futility. 

The Asking the deck a question... thread was originally posted on 24 Nov 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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