How to Do a One-Card ‘Yes/No’ Psychic Card Reading for yourself using Playing Cards

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First 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 the Greek word ‘psyche’ means ‘soul’ or ‘breath.’

That’s pretty vague, but we’ll broadly understand 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 getting the proof, and finding out you were right, though you still don’t know how.

Wiki Moon card.jpg
The Moon from the Gilded Royale Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Everyone is psychic to a degree, and it’s fascinating, but it’s natural. It might be uncanny, and often it is. It really, really is, but that doesn’t mean it’s supernatural. It is you. It is nothing directly to do with religion or witchcraft, though these activities are connected to or derive from that aspect of the human mind/psyche.

It’s about instinct and intuition, and is simply a more acute manifestation of these natural functions of the human mind -part of your software and a key element in your survival tool-kit.

So you took an instant dislike to someone but you don’t know why? Don’t simply dismiss that feeling; the reasons may become apparent later. Meanwhile, give it the benefit of the doubt but tread with care.

So you feel an overpowering reluctance to do something, but you don’t quite know why? Trust yourself. You have your reasons.

Feelings can be wrong, of course, in which case we can always reassess the situation or our reactions, and change our minds. But far more often they are right, and they work faster than conscious reasoning. Far, far faster, and it is this very speed that can save our life. That if something feels bad, it probably is.

Avoid.

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

They are looking for a service, and that depends on skill.  Professional psychics can not rely solely on their intuitive ability in order to deliver a service on demand. Psychic experiences happen when they happen, but the psychic reader needs to respond on demand, and to do this they have trained their abilities, developing specific skills, possibly involving many years of individual study, time and practice so that they can deliver insights that are relevant and that mean something to a total stranger, right here, right now.

But everyone had to start somewhere, and that doesn’t mean we can’t try it for ourselves.

Sometimes we might find ourselves undecided whether to go route A or route B. Using the playing cards might well give us a response that simply reflects what we already knew, or guessed, or suspected, but that is largely the point of doing such readings, and validation can itself be helpful in letting us know we read that situation correctly, whether or not it’s what we were hoping for.

Points to consider

Professional psychic readers are not permitted by law to take payment reading for people aged under-18.

Or at least, it is not allowed in the UK 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, in reading for yourself 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 practise and confidence.

Do not make important decisions based solely 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 but specific questions that you can quickly and easily validate, e.g. ‘will it be sunny here outside my window at 10.00 tomorrow morning?’

You might not understand or like the answer.

This is the very real risk in consulting with oracles, even your own – or especially your own. It needs discipline. Words matter. Be clear in your mind what it is you are really asking. Avoid repeating the same questions over and over in hope of getting the answer you want. You may get that 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. It could make matters worse.

Now let’s look at how to get an advisory yes or no answer using just one playing card. That’s all it is, an advisory answer; and no court of law would treat this as admissible evidence.

The One-Card Spread

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Ordinary playing cards have been used in this way since at least the 1600’s 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 somewhere quiet, no distractions. Some people like to use rituals, smudging, candles etc. I don’t use those myself in doing card readings, but this is purely a matter of personal preference.

Doing the reading

First 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, irrespective of its meaning

Any black suit card, Clubs or Spades will mean no, irrespective of its meaning

There are no rules except that you decide your system and then stick with it.

Consistency and repetition is crucially important. This is what professional card readers do. They ‘self-programme’ by telling themselves that this card means X and this other card means Y until with repetition and practise – it actually does.

They do it till they make it so.

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

You remain in charge, using the cards for advice only. You could, for example, ask questions along the lines of, ‘Is it a good idea/plan/will it work out well 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 psychic activity involved in the reading.

You have here a deck of 52 cards but you are drawing just one, and expecting it to be meaningful and relevant, more so than all the other cards that you didn’t draw, that have remained in the deck. The cards that are missing may be just as significant in answering your question, as the ones that appear.

What have we got here?

A red card or a black card?

No further action is required or even desirable at this point. Simply log the card. Make a note and allow time to discover if the answer is correct.

If you would like to go beyond the probable yes or no answer, and look at the reasons why you got that answer, you could look up the actual card meaning for additional feedback, to treat that as an extra comment or piece of advice, referring to this very basic key below.

Playing Card 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

Card Numbers

In general, the higher the number of your ‘yes’ or ‘no card, the stronger the answer, except for Aces, which are the lowest number, 1, but are the strongest cards. So the strongest yes answers would be the Ace of Diamonds or Hearts, or the 10 of Diamonds or hearts. The strongest no answers would be the Ace of Spades or Clubs, or the 10 of Spades or Clubs.

  • 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 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 are adults, 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 are adults, 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.
English pattern playing cards

Author: Katie-Ellen

Intuitive Tarot reader, consultant and writer.

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