For many tarot practitioners, we understand the value in a well constructed question. In fact, if a question isn't clear enough, I'll reach out to my client to rework it so it's more succinct. The philosophy states, the better the question, the better the answer, and so many a great readings start with a well thought out and fully formed question.
But what about those times when you just want a straight forward, yes or no response!? Damn it tarot, I just want to know if I'm gonna get that job or not!
Okay, here's the thing. There is something inherently problematic about a closed ended question where Tarot is concerned, and that's that it doesn't allow any room for grey. I am a firm believer in free will, but I also understand energy and trajectory, so while I think it's possible that Tarot can show us the "likelys", the future isn't set in stone, and so there must always be room for the "maybe". Even if the answer is "yes", it's always a "yes" with a caveat. So, how can you determine probability using tarot? Well, keep reading and I'll show you!
There is a pretty simple method that I use and it can be performed with 3 of 5 cards, whatever you prefer. Start first by asking your question. For the purpose of this post, I've constructed an imaginary querent named Jeremy who was just dumped by his long term partner (poor Jeremy). Jeremy wants to know if they'll get back together anytime soon. Remember, a probability reading does not address timing, so it might be wise to put a time frame within the construct of your question. For Jeremy, we could maybe rephrase his question as such "Will Jeremy get back together with his partner within the next year?"
So, now that we have our question, shuffle up the deck as you normally would. This method requires reversals so if you don't typically use those, you'll need to find a way to shuffle the deck so that some cards will be reversed. I use the rifle method, but you could always just throw the deck down on a desk and mix 'em up. However you feel most comfortable.
Once the deck has been adequately shuffled, you're going to lay down the cards. We'll use 5 cards for this example because it's my preferred method, but you could always just use 3 if you're looking for something with a little less information.
The first step to answering the question is to determine probability - see below:
All cards reversed = Mostly unlikely
4 cards reversed = Probably unlikely
3 cards reversed = Unsure at this time
All cards upright = Mostly likely
4 cards upright = Probably likely
3 cards upright = Unsure at this time
You will notice that in none of these variations above do I provide an affirmative "yes" or "no" and that's because I think that can be too limiting. The answer is never absolutely definitive and so when describing the outcome, even if all 5 cards were upright, I would say something like "it looks as if there is a strong indication that the trajectory of this situation is suggesting a positive outcome" or "it looks like a strong possibility that the answer is 'yes'". You always need to leave room for grey!
The next part of the reading is interpreting the cards. Now that we know the probability, we can then examine the cards that fell either way to determine the energy feeding into either that "yes" or "no" response. For the example above with Jeremy and his question about love, let's look at the cards that fell.
4 of the 5 cards were reversed, which indicates a probably "no" in response to his question, which was whether him and his ex-partner would get back together in the next year. The first thing I'd want to do is look at the card that's upright, the one and only card that's upright, to determine where that pocket of possibility may lie. In this case, the card is The King of Wands.
So for Jeremy, this may be about the attributes he would need to embody or aspects of himself or the relationship that would need to change in order for the love to be rekindled. Maybe the relationship lacked the strength and fire that the King of Wands brings and perhaps, asking for it to embody these is too tall an order, from a compatibility perspective.
Now, looking at the 4 cards that were reversed, we can get some further insight into why it doesn't look like this is going to work out. We have the 2 of Cups, the 6 of Swords, the 5 of Wands and Death.
The 2 of Cups and Death speak very clearly to a necessary ending where relationships are concerned. It is likely suggestive that this change will lead both parties to growth and transformation that is required of them individually. The 6 of Swords is also suggesting a clear break and a need for departure, while the 5 of Wands suggests that there may have been too much conflict present to make it work out anyhow. All of these factors are contributing to why the relationship likely will not continue in the future. This is especially the case with the presence of that Major Arcana, Death, which I would interpret as being a necessary transition and not simply circumstantial.
So you see this method is pretty simple, but also provides more than just a standard Magic 8-Ball response. If you're not feeling up to 5 cards, you can always start small with 3. I suppose you could even do 7 or 9, but I think for most inquiries that may be overkill. I'll let you be the judge of course.
If you use this method with any success, have any questions or want to share your favourite probability methods, leave a comment below!