I’m in big trouble now! I don’t know how I got talked into this, but I’m supposed to run a race
against a hare. I’m just a tortoise. How the heck am I supposed to win a race against a rabbit?
Dear Mr. Tortoise,
Thank you for this interesting question. To answer it, I dealt a three-card spread as follows:
1. What you need to know about your problem:
King of Wands
2. What you can do about it:
3. What can help you:
Ace of Wands reversed
The King of Wands says that this is not a problem, it’s a challenge, and boldness will get you through
it. You’ve taken a chance in accepting the challenge of this race, but you have done so because of
your conviction that you can prove yourself, despite what other people may think your chances are.
The Magician card assures you that you have what it takes — the necessary tools and skills — to
win this race. This card advises you to tap into the self-confidence that the King of Wands says is
yours, and act with will and determination. This card also says that it may seem like it would take a
miracle for you to win the race, but you are a magician when you believe in yourself and tap into the
divine power of the universe that is everyone’s birthright.
The reversed Ace of Wands says that what will help you lies inside of you. You need to face your
fears and look beyond your limitations. From the tone of your question, it seems that you still don’t
quite believe that you can win this race, and thus your confidence is blocked or diminished. Your
true opponent is your own self-doubt, not the rabbit. You can only win this race if you can build up
your confidence. Know that you can do it, and then go for it.
Again, thanks for letting me read for you. I hope this helps.
Best of luck to you,
Comments on a reading for the Tortoise and the Hare:
Before I did this reading, I had never thought much about the “back-story” of this fable. Why were
these two clearly mismatched animals running a race? And if, as seemed the case, they had such
human characteristics—and thus, presumably, free will too—why did the tortoise let himself get into
a situation that must have seemed hopeless in the first place?
Once I started doing this reading and thought about what the King of Wands was saying here, it
dawned on me that perhaps there was more to the tortoise than just the legendary perseverance that
won the race for him. He must have been rather bold to accept a challenge to run a race against a
hare. And he must have been determined either to prove himself or to prove his conviction that
someone with steady determination could triumph over a cocky, unfocused show-off.
Then I wondered how to interpret all of that in light of the hesitant tone of the tortoise’s question. I
have learned to trust what the cards are telling me, even if my intuition seems betrayed by what I see
and hear with my physical senses, so I realized that the tortoise was probably getting cold feet when
he asked the question posed in this reading. And who doesn’t now and then? The boldness of the
King of Wands does not mean you never have self-doubts, it just means that you overcome them.
In these situations, it is important to reassure the querent that he can attain his potential and become
what the cards show him to be, rather than focus on the doubts and fears that brought him in for a
Next, to interpret the Magician card, I looked at several levels of meaning. Using a somewhat
mundane interpretation, I noted that the tortoise has “the necessary tools and skills.” While urging
him to “tap into the divine power of the universe,” I drew upon a more esoteric meaning of this card
— “As above, so below.” This interpretation can be seen in the Magician drawing down power
with the wand in his right hand, while grounding that energy with his left hand, which points toward
the earth. Finally “it would take a miracle” and “you are a magician” draw upon a literal use of this
At last I came to the puzzle of the reversed Ace of Wands. Could the reversal mean that the
enthusiastic energy of the Ace was lacking? Or might it indicate that a dark side of this card, such as
impetuousness, pride, or stubbornness, was at work? These options seemed unlikely in light of the
above interpretation of the King of Wands, the master of courage and confidence. Instead, that
King seemed to tell me that the reversed Ace of Wands was urging the tortoise to dig deep inside
himself to find and manifest these qualities, since the King was assuring him that they were there.
These qualities were not lacking; they were just blocked, and the key to helping the tortoise was to
show him that.