Tarot is a fantastic self-development tool. The cards offer us wisdom and insight and can help us to see situations clearly which would otherwise have been confusing or misleading. However, the single biggest problem in reading tarot for yourself is your objectivity – or rather, your lack of it. When we read the cards for ourselves, we can’t help but be subjective; since you’re immersed in your life, you naturally have a preferential outcome you want to see, or an opinion on who’s right and who’s wrong. This makes it much harder to read tarot for yourself than it is to read for someone else – but it can be done, if you try hard to avoid the following three pitfalls.
1. Reading Tarot Too Frequently
It’s absolutely fine – in fact, recommended, that you do daily tarot readings for yourself. What’s not recommended is that you do one before breakfast, then another one at lunchtime to see if anything has changed, and then one when you get home in the evening to prove yourself wrong about the other two.
Tarot cards deal with energies, and if you mix and muddle these energies too frequently and too often, you’ll end up with mixed and muddled messages. If you draw a daily tarot card, then by all means keep that ritual, but try to limit any other tarot readings for yourself to one a day. Don’t keep asking the same question in the hope of getting a different answer; you won’t be helping yourself or the cosmos by doing this.
2. Picking and Choosing Meanings
Books giving tarot deck interpretations are plentiful, and they often disagree with each other. The very nature of tarot cards is that different people will interpret them in different ways. Even if you’re way past the need to look up meanings in a book, you may still be tempted to reach for one if you don’t like what you see in your spread. And then another one, if you don’t like what that book says. And – oh, look! – this one is much more positive for the Five of Wands, but not so great for Justice, so we’ll try a fourth book for that one.
This way, madness lies. Either don’t use tarot books at all, and stick with the interpretation you would give to anyone else from within your own head, or use one single book and do not refer anywhere else. The answers the tarot gives depend on what’s in your head, not what was in a random author’s head.
3. Drawing Extra Cards
And then some more extra cards. “For clarification,” we justify it, but in reality we’re just hoping for something better to show up to counteract what we didn’t like in the original spread.
If you were reading for a client or for a friend or family member, you might be tempted to draw a clarification card if the reading truly didn’t make sense, and that’s fine – but you wouldn’t go through half the deck looking in vain for the Magician, would you? So don’t do it to yourself, either. The cards are what they are, and the spread you have dealt reflects your reality at this time, in this place. As you know, if you’ve read tarot for some time and if you understand how it works, these energies may well change by tomorrow, and indeed can be changed by you.
If you don’t like what your tarot spread says, then don’t change, fiddle with, adjust or repeat the spread – change the energies around you instead, and thank your “bad” reading for having alerted you to the fact that something needed changing.