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Lately, I have done a lot of readings for people who are very familiar with Tarot. Some are fellow readers and some are just people who get frequent Tarot readings from others. But I have noticed a tendency for some of us to become “backseat Tarot drivers”.

Just like the person in the back seat of the car who can’t resist trying to direct the driver (“Don’t take that route!”… “Watch out for that pedestrian!”… “Take exit 14 instead of 15 and we’ll get there 30 seconds faster!”), they can’t resist trying to control the outcome themselves. It is a natural tendency for many of us, myself included.

Once we know the traditional meanings of some Tarot cards, it can be hard to resist immediately interpreting them when someone else lays out the cards to give a reading. “Oh, there is the Tower – I knew something bad was going to happen.” Or “Aha! There are pentacles everywhere so I guess I’m about to get that raise I’ve been wanting after all.”

But I believe Tarot cards are a psychic tool and the reader is being given a message in a unique way that they will understand. What you think the card means might not be what the reader thinks it means in the context of a given reading.

Maybe you think the Prince of Hearts means love is coming, but maybe the reader thinks the Prince is riding in the wrong direction and you are not ready to meet him. Or maybe you are getting a reading by email and picturing a card from a familiar deck, while the reader is using one from a deck you’ve never seen with an image that looks nothing like what you are imagining. You might be surprised at just how different cards can look from one deck to another. (I wrote a blog post that shows one example).

If you interrupt the reader with your own unsolicited interpretation, you may throw the rest of the reading off as the reader tries to fit the message into your perspective instead of their own. At best you may be missing out on parts of the true message you need, at worst you may appear disrespectful and the person reading for you may shut down or be pulled in the wrong direction. Asking questions is fine (and encouraged!), but we should resist thinking we are right and the reader is wrong in these situations.

Likewise, there is a natural tendency to re-interpret parts of a reading to our own liking (“Well I don’t think the Devil represents me in this reading so much as my sister…”). Wishful thinking, fear, hope, control issues, lack of perspective, need for validation, or other similar feelings may cause some of us to have blinders on so we are not completely open to the guidance being provided.

Tarot works best when we keep an open mind and trust that we are being given the psychic guidance we need. If we get too caught up in your own interpretations, we might miss an important message that is meant to be delivered!

What do you think? Are you a Backseat Tarot Driver? Or have you read for people who are? I’d love to see your comments or hear from you on Twitter or Facebook.

-Tim Thomas


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