A few notes on how to read court cards in connection with yes/no questions.

You don’t.

If you’re one of those who follow the cunning folk system of reading playing cards – which is to say that you’re logical about it all, and use your own head rather than that of another – then you know that the first rule you obey is that of color. If the card in the final position is a red one, then the answer is yes (for more on this, see my intro to reading with playing cards here).

So, what if the final card is a black court card? Is the answer no? Not necessarily. Court cards are people, not relations, so depending on the nature of the question, the court card in the final position will always tell us something about an other person influencing the yes or the no of the situation.

Take the example below:

5 of Spades, 3 of Hearts, Queen of Spades

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 1.45.01 AM

If the question is: ‘Does this woman love me?,’ then the answer is yes, especially if one of the two significators is the Queen of Spades herself. The 3 of Hearts tells us that there’s an increasing interest in the querent coming from the woman in question, and she is responsive to the querent and to what otherwise can also be perceived as a sick infatuation with her (the 5 indicates the body, here, an illness that the querent suffers from, and with the 3 of hearts, presumably an illness due to the impatience of love).

If the querent is a male whose significator is the King of Clubs, and wants to know whether the Queen of Diamonds, the other significator, loves him, the answer is still yes, but the following would need to be said: ‘The Queen of Diamonds (not present in the spread) is quite interested in the King of Clubs (also not present in the spread), but she listens to the advice of someone, the Queen of Spades who is present in the spread, and who is not in the King’s corner.’

In the case of no significator for the woman, the answer is also, ‘yes, but she responds more to your own projections of love’ – we say this because of the presence of the 5 of Spades in the spread.


Now, if we had a different question coming from a woman who wants to know: ‘is my mojo working?’ – in the sense of her wishing to hold someone specific in her power – then the answer would be yes, because of the nature of the question par excellence. Here we look at the function of the Queen first, and then at her function as a Queen of Spades.

Generally the Queens represent truth (the Kings power, and the Jacks thoughts). The Queen of Spades, by virtue of the power of her suit to cut through it, may represent a truth that disturbs or one that questions truth. Here, insofar as the 3 of Hearts precedes the Queen of Spades, we could argue that the truth of this Queen is well-aspected.

Given the nature of the question, and falling more under the magical realm where we deal with projections of phantasy that are not only willed but that also become ‘real’, we take the Queen of Spades, the Lady of Fate herself, as a strong affirmation that the mojo is indeed working. If anyone can hold anyone else in their power the magical way, then that would be the Queen of Spades.

Now, and as in the first scenario, given also that here the string begins with the 5 of Spades indicating a case of illness related to the querent, we may question the truthfulness of the extent to which our querent’s mojo is working in her best interest. Magically speaking, it’s definitely working, but is it good for her? While the Queen holds power over the other, she is also tied. Consequently she is prone to making herself sick over this, by obsessing over it. Now, this would be the sort of thing that the reader, if she wants to help, would have to bring into question. But some readers prefer to stay neutral and not ask anything beyond the scope of the reading. I admit that I’m one of those. I don’t like yakking too much.

However, as we’re dealing with a red card here, we could also argue that there’s pleasure involved in exercising this otherwise unhealthy power. To keep it simple then, and given the indication from the cards, the final answer would be: ‘your mojo is working, but you’re also a (sadistic) victim.’ So the color code is also upheld. A black card ends the string, bad outcome.

My advice for tricky situations such as these, when we have to figure out what to make of the court cards in the final position particularly for yes/no questions, is to think of the court cards as appositions, as if saying, yes… but, or no… but.

More could be said here, but I can see that my quick post has already turned into a lecture, so I’ll leave it for now. However, if you have any additional questions, or some other insights, you’re welcome to send them my way.

Enjoy your powers.


Deck: Dondorf, Otto Tragy Jugend Spielkarten, Ver. Stralsunder Spielkartenfabrik, 1910


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  1. April 13, 2014 — 4:58 am

    Camelia, Is there a decent book on reading with playing cards or is this knowledge something you were trained in from your previous country?


    • Maralyn, as I’ve stated it elsewhere, and where written material is concerned (see my Method Theory page), I find affinity with the work of Dawn Jackson and all those who teach divination with playing cards, and as the cards relate to how we use logic. Unfortunately, Dawn’s popular website, Hedgewytchery, has been defunct for a few years now, but as far as I know people still talk about the system that she has compiled from the cunning folk methods – and that I have also seen in action where I come from – on Aeclectic Tarot, and other such fora. I’m not up to date on the myriad of groups on the internet, as I simply don’t have the time for all the discourse that goes on in such groups, for better or worse. So, I can’t recommend any one book as such, nor any websites referencing specific cartomantic books, as there are too many out there. Many also cross the different methods around. Which is also the reason why what I’m doing here is quite independent.

      Moreover, as far as my own writing here is concerned, I can safely say that it’s all based on personal readings, and personal takes on how I see what’s happening in the cards. Invariably, I participate in creating a method, and on occasion, I come up with something original that I haven’t seen anyone else doing. For instance, I have not come across a single sustained reading of the grand tableau with the playing-cards anywhere, so here I’ll credit myself entirely for all the steps I have developed and that I now share with those interested. But I must also say that the basic system that I use, the system that follows the rule of color, number, and suit, is not something that I have invented myself, as it’s been there for ages, and before my time. It’s just that I insist on using the art of interpretation according to a system of argumentation. That is, I always want to show, and demonstrate how we go from A to B, rather than just say, things like, ‘the 7 of spades means lies.’


    Iain Ismyfirstname: for me, that spread says “you feel out of sorts both within yourself mentally and emotionally – you need to meet your internal machinations head on and be honest about how you feel right up, release that ‘tickle’ you feel within yourself that is making you feel unbalanced..”
    53 mins · Like

    Camelia Elias: Yes, on the emotional level, and if the question is one related to yourself. In my example, the 2 questions were of relationship and of personal skills. For me, in order to see a mental instability, I’d need the 4 or the 8 of diamonds in conjunction with the 5 of spades, which we don’t have here. The 3 marks an increment, here related to personal unwell. But since it comes after the black card, we can say that while you come out of the woods health-wise (red card), it will not excite you necessarily the so-called ‘happy’ way. The Queen of Swords is someone who is precisely a master at keeping narratives apart, and standing her ground in a neutral way. THAT is what makes her happy. Her own independent melancholia. In my personal opinion, the Queen of Spades is the most challenging to read at the end of a spread.

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