The dilemma of how to handle “yes-or-no” questions (or whether to even attempt answering them) is one that all tarot readers must confront sooner or later. I’ve tried numerous ways, both simple and complicated, to solve the problem and a few years ago I created a table of what I dubbed “Yes-Leaning,” “No-Leaning” and “Maybe” cards to recognize the fact that the tarot isn’t always forthcoming with a direct answer. This at least gave some “ballpark” consistency to my readings. (Note that these are my own assumptions; you may see it differently and should use your personal understanding of the yes-or-no dichotomy if you try the technique described below.)
I’m always conjuring up new ways to tackle the issue, and today I got the notion of using “psychometric sensitivity” when choosing a card to represent the answer. (Some people experience it as a “warmth” or “tingling” in the hand when passing it over or touching an object.) I shuffled the deck and laid out nine cards face-down in a rectangle pattern (it doesn’t have to be nine, it could be two – one for “Yes” and one for “No” – but some scenarios have complexities that justify more cards). I decided to use a large-format deck (in this case the oversized Thoth) to permit an ample “contact area” suitable for my large hand and thus minimize the cross-card mingling of psychometric influence – palpable “current” or ” flux?” – that would confuse the verdict (I know, I have a vivid metaphysical imagination). I used reversals for one purpose only: to show whether the situation would be resolved promptly (upright “answer” card) or delayed in its closure (reversed card).
The question I asked was whether I would receive a positive response to the submission of two of my tarot e-books to a commercial print-on-demand publisher. The rules are that I will only receive a communication if they’re interested, otherwise I will hear nothing. I sent the envelope about a month ago but they experience a high volume of mailings from prospective authors so I haven’t been expecting a quick turnaround.
I don’t feel that my hands are particularly sensitive to psychometric vibrations, so I had to pass both of them one at a time repeatedly over the array to get even a hint of a reaction, but on the very first pass with my left (non-dominant) hand the middle card in the top row stood out faintly and I kept coming back to it. So that’s the “answer card” I settled on, and it turned up as the 4 of Cups reversed. (I had to avoid visually registering the non-reversible card backs in my “scans,” so I closed my eyes except to make sure I wasn’t straying off the pattern.) This time I didn’t actually touch the cards but next time I might, in keeping with normal psychometric practice, if I can find a large deck with reversible backs. The Giant RWS – which I own - comes to mind.
The 4 of Cups is one of my “Maybe” cards since it conveys an abundant surge of feeling that rapidly becomes static, with no clear nod to the direction the emotional tide is moving (if it doesn’t merely languish, since Crowley called the number Four “a dead stop, a blind alley”). The “Luxury” of the title suggests that they will either love or hate my submission when they eventually get to it, but the reversal could mean one of two things: 1) the backlog is so great that it could be months before anything emerges; or 2) the works I sent may not fit in with their current plans even though the editors (or at least some of them) are favorably impressed. The Thoth 4 of Cups is too borderline positive to reflect outright rejection, so it’s also possible they could ask to see the other e-books I mentioned in my cover letter.
Overall, I think this predictive approach holds some promise as one of the simplest and most direct “yes-or-no” methods I’ve come up with that isn’t purely a “coin-flip” decision. It’s significantly more mystical than my usual ways but I suspect there are many readers who already tilt toward such oracular subtleties in their practice.