Reading for Yourself: A Cautionary Tale

Reading tarot for yourself can be a difficult task. It’s often hard for us to be unbiased when we are completely invested in the outcome, and I find that I tend to read less carefully when I know it’s for me.

That brings me to a lesson I recently learned (or re-learned):

When reading tarot for yourself, pay attention to the cards – especially when they’re telling you something you don’t want to hear.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point.

Canada has a graduated licensing system. You do a written test (your G1). Either take a driving course and wait nine months, or don’t take it and wait one year, and you can take your first road test (your G2). After getting some highway driving practice, you go for your full license (your G).

It’s painful to go through. My license expired when I was living in Japan, so when I moved back to Canada, I had to start all over again. I have my G2 (which really isn’t all that different from your full license), but I was getting letters from the government telling me hey friend, it’s time to get your G.

After some booking complications, I finally had my highway test scheduled for January 4th. The night prior to going for my test, I decided to do a little tarot reading to get an idea of what to expect.

The first question I asked was How can I be successful on my driving test tomorrow? to which I pulled the Knight of Swords.

The Knight of Swords is quick, intelligent, and impulsive. He thinks with his head and not his heart. He’s determined, brash, and hasty.

It made sense. I gathered that the cards were telling me not to be too hasty, to think my actions through, to be determined yet careful. Don’t go rushing head first into battle like the Knight of Swords – take his redeeming qualities and use your head.

It seemed like sound advice. Kind of a no-brainer, really. I didn’t spend much time really thinking about it. It was more like a “oh yeah, that’s it” type of reading.

However, I was slightly unsettled; the Knight of Swords wasn’t the glowing answer I was hoping for. And while I probably should have I stopped, I decided to plough ahead and ask two more questions: What can I expect from my test tomorrow? and What is the most likely outcome?

Not the best practice, but reading for yourself means you get to break the rules. (Not really, but this is what I tell myself from time to time).

Everyday Tarot © Running Press Miniature Editions

My new questions yielded The Tower and the Ten of Swords; people leaping from fiery buildings and swords buried into the back. Unexpected change, destruction, sudden upheaval, disappointment, painful ending, loss, and betrayal.

My initial reaction was oh my god, I am going crash during the test, and my car will explode, creating a blazing inferno that takes both me and the examiner down with it resulting, naturally, in a complete fail and I’ll have to take the test again.  

I may have been a tad dramatic.

Instead of thinking too much about it, I shoved the cards back into their box and distracted myself with some television before heading to bed. By that time I had forgotten about it enough not to work myself up into a panic.

Come Friday morning, I was nervous but ready. I had convinced myself I would pass, despite the ominous reading from the night before. I got to the Drive Test centre early with all my papers in hand. I checked myself in, and went to my car to wait for the examiner. So far, so good. I scoffed at The Tower – it didn’t feel like I was rushing to my fiery death. It must have been a fluke.

The examiner came out. Tested my right signal, left signal, and brake lights. Went around to the front of the car and we did the signals there, too. He asked me a couple of questions, got my signature, and filled out a form.

I thought he was going around the car to get in the passenger side, when he came back and said, “Do you know you’re driving an uninsured vehicle?”

“What?”

“You’re missing the insurance sticker from your license plate.”

I frantically begin searching my car for that tiny slip of paper that I know I had thrown in there.

I came up empty handed.

“Does this mean I can’t take the test?”

“Yes, that’s right. You’ll have to get your car insured, and reschedule.”

It was everything in my power not to start bawling right there in the driver’s seat.

My vehicle is insured. I had just forgotten to replace my license plate sticker with the one for this year. Not only did I not get to take the test, I lost 50% of the fee and had to pay another $45.00 when I rescheduled.

Sudden upheaval and change? Check.

Disappointment? Definitely.

Painful ending? Oh hell yes.

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if this all could have been avoided – especially if I had just listened more closely to the Knight of Swords. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I feel like the cards were giving me clear cut signs that I decided to ignore.

The Knight of Swords could easily be a warning to dot my i’s and cross my t’s – check everything over before you go. When I didn’t heed the advice, I got the Tower and the Ten of Swords, which definitely were right on par.

It’s always easy to push away the “negative” cards and focus on the “positive” cards (and I use quotations because every card has both sides). It’s even easier to do when you’re reading for yourself. But in the end, even though it was frustrating, irritating, disappointing and just plain annoying, it’s a lesson well-learned.

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