Updated: Jan 15
Tarot and psychic reading is a serious profession. People consult with readers for guidance in some of their most vulnerable moments. They trust us to support them through their pain, confusion, hopes and even loss. They confide in us things that they feel they can share with no other. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. In return for this trust, we owe it to our clients to have good ethical standards.
More and more I see a trend of 'readers', Tarot and other modalities both, that don't seem to have any regard for ethics and client care whatsoever in their practices. Facebook groups abound where anyone and everyone can pass themselves off as a reader, often for free. This is really worrying to see. With these online communities flooded with people who are giving less than appropriate advice to put it mildly, it can in the worst cases, be dangerous.
One argument I sometimes hear for a lack of consideration of ethics in spiritual practice is 'I'm not a professional' or 'It's just for fun'. It does not matter a rats fart! You still have the same duty of care to the person you are reading for, whether you've charged £50, nothing at all, or 50p and a packet of biscuits! You are responsible for the advice you give.
So what makes an ethical reader? What sort of thing should you be giving thought to before you hang your shingle and begin offering to read for other people, even in spiritual social media groups? Why does it even matter?
The first thing I would suggest doing is to sit down and spend some time reflecting on 'why' you want to read for others. What is it you want to contribute to their lives and journeys? Are you a predictive reader or more interested in helping your querant make the best choices for their personal growth? You get the picture. Got some ideas jotted? Good! Now you can begin to decide on your policies.
Although a large part of your reading ethics and conduct code will be personal to you based on considerations such as your own views and cultural background, there are some things that are generally viewed as absolutely unethical no nos. The following things should NEVER be read on and will not be read on by an ethical reader.
**Health diagnosis, prognosis & death
It is illegal to diagnose illness or give medical advice unless you are a doctor or other recognised medical professional in the field being enquired about.
If you have concerns about the health of someone you are reading for you can gently suggest they might see their doctor but that is all you should do.
You could cause real damage to a client with an unqualified medical diagnosis including unnecessary stress and worry. Questions regarding whether an illness will improve, be cured, etc should also be left to the hands of a doctor.
Whilst we cannot in good faith give medical advice in our readings, we can help the querant in other ways with Tarot. We can look at how they can better cope emotionally with a diagnosis that has been given by a doctor and what other, non medical, things they can do to support themselves and those around them.
Diagnosis and prediction on health also includes mental health issues. These should only be diagnosed by a mental health professional.
I feel it goes without saying that a reader should never predict a death. The purpose of a reading is to offer practical guidance, empowerment and at times, comfort. Telling someone they or someone they love is going to die offers none of those things. The exception on death reading to me is when someone has been told by a doctor that they are terminally ill and would like some additional emotional or spiritual support.
**Legal matters & financial advice.
Unless you have a licence in law you should also not be reading to predict the outcome of legal matters and yes, it is against the law to do so too. This includes predictions of, and around, divorce. The same applies for financial advice, without the proper qualifications just don't do it!
Giving unqualified medical, legal or financial advice could be seriously damaging to a client and is rarely, if ever, in their best interest and the best interest of the client should always come first.
During a reading session we may hear some very personal information. Questioners/clients should always be able to rest assured that their reading is confidential and will be kept private. The only exceptions to this are if you feel the person is a danger to themselves or others or confesses a crime (or intent to do so) in which case you would need to consider contacting the appropriate authorities.
It is not our place to pass judgement on our clients or discriminate on grounds of race, religion, sexuality or anything else. If you cannot welcome all in your practice with the same care regardless of your own beliefs I would seriously reconsider your vocation.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, a large part of your code of conduct and ethics will be up to you to decide on based on your own views and the boundaries you wish to set. The main bone of contention between readers here is of course... *drumroll* ( or eyeroll;) )
*Third party readings.
A third party reading is a reading that directly involves someone who has not consented to the reading taking place. It is my opinion that readings and guidance are most useful when they are client centred. A lot of people ask questions about the thoughts and feelings of others. This to my eyes is a huge breach of that person's privacy and also not likely to benefit the client. Others however are quite comfortable with what is in effect, psychic spying, do perform this type of reading.
What if you're reading on the question 'Does Xyz love me?' and the answer is no? What does the client gain from that? Would it not be better to guide them towards questions like 'How can I begin to improve my relationship with Xyz?' instead? Gently redirecting the energy like this shifts the focus from things the client has no control over to themselves, where they 'can' act.
Whether or not to read on questions like what an ex is doing with their new partner or how someone sees them for, some common examples, is up to your discretion. I'd suggest however, always asking yourself first whether or not the information the questioner seeks is going to help them in their growth and if it is not, try to direct them towards more beneficial questions.
'Grey' areas in this instance can be things like a parent wishing to know about a situation involving her child or someone wanting to know what their partner needs from them.
*Pregnancy & birth
This is another area that is very popular. Women want to know if and when they will have children, what the baby's sex will be and how the birth will play out. To me this falls into the category of medical advice but others may disagree. It will again be up to your judgement as to whether or not you decide to include these type of readings in your repertoire.
*Reading for under 18's.
I personally prefer not to read for clients under 18 without the permission of a parent or guardian. I will not however, have the guardian present during the reading for confidentially.
So there you have some of my thoughts on what can be a contentious and hotly debated issue in the Tarot community. Although these are (apart from the legal aspects) of course my opinions only, I do strongly urge anyone wanting to read for others to consider the points I've raised. What should always matter most and be at the forefront of our minds is the well being of the client.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.