I have been thinking awhile about the roles and ethics of the professional tarot reader. I remember I had a reading quite awhile ago from a well-known reader. I asked the person about pursuing a career as a musician. The Tower card came up and the reader told me, “The Tower. Nope, music is not for you.” End of reading. Now, what if music was the main focus in my life and that was the only thing that I wanted to do? What if without music, I thought life was not worth living? Luckily for me, neither of these were the case. Also, I chose to ignore the reader’s advice and continued to work with music. Nothing has come crashing down yet and I am progressing quite nicely, thank you.
A friend of mine, whose husband had recently left her, went to a tarot reader and asked her whether her husband would come back. The reader turned over three card, briefly glanced at them and then said, “No. He is never coming back.” End of reading.
I find these types of stories mortifying – and I’m sure many of you have heard much worse than these. When we choose to become a professional tarot card reader, we have, in effect, chosen to be a healer – and yes, I do consider professional tarot reading to be a healing profession. People come to us for help, advice and guidance – and the words that we say to our clients during a reading can change their lives – for the better or for the worse.
Many clients hang onto every word we speak and consider what we say to be almost the ultimate gospel. To carelessly throw out something like, “No, he’s never coming back” could be much more damaging that you could imagine. I have heard of many instances where people had gone to a Tarot reader as a last resort before deciding to end their lives — and the outcome of the that reading ended up convincing them to not commit suicide and instead, move forward and begin the healing process. I can’t help but wonder how many readings for clients – clients who were in such a dire situation that they perhaps were contemplating suicide – did not end in such a positive light?
The saying “With great power comes great responsibility” is more than a cliché. In regards to being a tarot reader, I see it an essential truth. Unbeknownst to many readers, we have the power to save someone’s life. Likewise, you have the power to drive the last nail into someone’s coffin – to give them one final reason to do away with themselves. One careless, insensitive phrase can destroy a person’s life. As a healer, it is your responsibility to ensure that the client is in a better place when they leave your office, then they were when they arrived. That is the role of the healer.
Now I’m not saying you should sugar-coat your readings or deliver only “fluffy-bunny” readings. On the contrary, I believe in telling my clients the truth – but truth with caring and compassion. I would never end a reading by telling them that they will definitely lose their job or that their husband/wife/partner will never come back. For instance, instead of the question, “Will Jimmy come back?” we can ask “What can the cards tell me about my relationship with Jimmy?” If the outcome doesn’t look positive, we can then continue the reading by developing an action plan and look at ways that the client can bring a new romance into his/her life. The key to a reading is that the client should feel empowered when they leave, with an action plan in hand. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Just a reminder that as healers, we do have a great responsibility to our clients and what we say can have a dramatic impact on someone’s life. It is our job to ensure that our message is one of empowerment – and not one of hopelessness.
Photo courtesy of glennwilliamspdx