iFate Questions & Answers

What’s the “Courts and Majors” Method of Tarot Reading?

courts majors yes no

Short Answer

The "Courts and Majors" method is used to ask fast "Yes or No" Tarot questions. The method involves removing 2 Aces from the Tarot deck, and assigning a "Yes" value to all court cards and Major Arcana cards.

Most tarot readers are familiar with “Yes or No” Tarot readings. These readings are designed to return a simple “Yes” or “No” answer to a question.

The traditional way of interpreting the “Yes or No” meaning of each card is based on a somewhat complex system which assigns each Tarot card its own positive or negative value.

The “Yes” or “No” meaning of each card is based on a longstanding, widely held system. While isn’t a universal agreed-upon set of “Yes No” meanings for each card, there is a ‘most popular’ system which most readers adhere to.

The trouble with this widely accepted approach is that it can be very difficult to remember which Yes/No meaning is assigned to each and every card when doing your own Tarot readings.

So if you’re looking for a quick way to do a Yes/No reading, there’s a much easier method that dates back to at least the 19th century called “Courts and Majors“.

Here’s how it works:

How to use the Courts and Majors Method:

  1. Remove any 2 Aces from the deck and set them aside. Now your deck is prepped for Courts and Majors.
  2. Concentrate on your Yes/No question and draw any card.

Understanding the Yes/No meaning of the card you drew is very easy:

  • If the card is a court card (Page, Knight, Queen, King) or a Major Arcana card, the answer is “Yes”.

(Hence the term “Courts and Majors”. All court cards and all Major Arcana cards are “Yes” cards).

  • Conversely, any minor arcana card is a “No”.

Is the “Courts and Majors” approach a good, quick way to do “Yes or No” Tarot readings?  Some readers love the speed and ease of the approach, while others prefer the traditional approach because it preserves the nuanced meanings of each Tarot card.


“Do I have to remove the Aces first?”

Some readers opt to leave all four Aces in the Tarot deck while using the “Courts and Majors” method. Just keep in mind, when you aren’t removing the Aces, the “Courts and Majors” method will have a subtle bias towards “No” answers.

But some would argue that makes your “Yes” answers even more meaningful.


Can you use “Courts and Majors” as clarifying cards?

Yes! You can.

Many readers will use the “Courts and Majors” approach as clarifying cards during a longer Tarot reading. In these cases, it’s not necessary to remove the Aces from the deck (as they may already be included in your active Tarot spread).  As noted above however, when using “Courts and Majors” on a complete Tarot deck, there’s going to be a very slight bias towards “No” answers and away from “Yes” answers.


So why use “Courts and Majors”?  Ultimately it’s the speed and ease of the “Courts and Majors” method that makes it so popular. Next time you’re doing a longer reading like a Celtic Cross reading, you can turn over any unused card in the deck to ask a clarifying “Yes or No” question. If it’s a court card or a Major Arcana card, the answer is “Yes”.

Good luck!

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