Until I found this spread, I discouraged yes-no questions because they give too much power to the cards, without providing much insight. When clients insisted on a yes-no question, only an ace indicated “yes”. The Yes-No Oracle provides a more complex answer, providing insight into the situation, while also offering direction. Thank you, Mary Greer (my favorite Tarot blogger- see link below), for finding this spread in the February 1955 issue of Fate Magazine in an article by British astrologer Irys Vorel. Vorel learned it back in the 1930’s from a celebrated gypsy in Switzerland. Here”s how it goes:
- Write down your yes-no question.
- Remove the Wheel of Fortune from the deck and place it before you face up.
- Shuffle the rest of the deck, with your mind on the question. Spread the cards before you in a fan, face down. With your left hand, draw seven cards from the deck. Put them face down on the table. Set the remaining deck aside.
- Turn the Wheel of Fortune face down and add it to the other seven cards. Still thinking of your questions, shuffle these eight cards until you no longer know where the Wheel of Fortune is.
- Deal the top four cards in a row, left to right, side by side.
- Next deal the remaining cards on top of the first group in a row, left to right side by side.
- Now turn over your four pairs of cards, keeping the pairs together and them in four quadrants (see below). The pair that contains the Wheel of Fortune gives you your answer.
- Top Left: The 1st position (cards 1 & 5) signifies ”“ YES.
- Top Right: The 2nd position (cards 2 & 6) signifies ”“ SOON.
- Bottom Left: The 3rd position (cards 3 & 7) signifies ”“ DELAY.
- Bottom Right: The 4th position (cards 4 & 8 ) signifies ”“ NO.
The fun comes when you read the arrangement of the cards for insight. Here’s what I got for the question, “Has the world reached peak oil yet?” This is a much-debated question in economic, political, and environmental circles. Some experts had thought we’d reached peak oil a few years ago, but recent press over North Dakota drilling says that we may continue to see new highs. When we think we’ve reached peak oil, the economy falls, although it’s good news for the environment. When we think oil production is still rising, the economy flourishes, although it’s bad news for the environment. At the moment, no one knows which way oil production is going.
- My spread indicates that we have reached peak oil. The Wheel of Fortune is in the upper left “Yes” quadrant, next to the nine of swords, indicating that many will find this news painful, if it turns out to be true. The lower right shows that if the Wheel had fallen in the “No” position, the world would see continued strength to the world’s superpowers (4 of Disks- “Power”), as well as a surge in new drilling (Ace of Swords – likely in frozen wildernesses). To check my result, I threw another spread asking, “Will we see continued growth in oil output over the next ten years?” The Wheel fell in the fourth quadrant, indicating a resounding, “No,” which replicates my first answer that world oil production has peaked.
I hope you find the Yes-No Oracle useful. Mary Greer’s Tarot blog on it is here. She provides more ways to interpret this spread, which is also used, with her introduction, on Tarot.com.