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Tarot Basics Part Final: Ethics and Other Considerations

Updated on May 13, 2007

By now you know what the cards mean, have a basic layout or spread you feel comfortable with, and you're starting to get asked for readings a lot. A lot. What now?

Question: are you being asked frequently by the same person? For me, "frequently" means more often than once a month. Yup, a month. And I would say "no" to anyone who asked me to read for them more often than that. Why? Because they're giving waaay too much power to the cards and not enough power to their own free will. They've become a tarot addict.

Plus, circumstances change. The person you were when you woke up this morning is not exactly the same person you'll be when you go to bed tonight. Why? Because the experience of living through today changed you. You may not notice, but the change is there.

And an addict is going to place more faith in me and my cards than in common sense. Let me give you an example. Let's say Nikki came to me and wanted to know if she was going to be fired from work. Her reading said, "no." So then Nikki continued to goof off at work, come in late, do a crappy job, because she's confident (because the cards told her) that she wouldn't be fired. And guess what? Since she didn't think and act responsibly, she got fired!

It's always best to cut the addict off from the "fix."

Another thing to think about is how honest you're going to be when the cards indicate very bad news. If you see, clear as day, that the person you're reading for could die very soon, would you tell them? I can't answer this for you, but I wouldn't tell them. What if I'm wrong? However, I would say something like, "I see a potential health problem. Have you seen your doctor lately?" Or, "I see that there's a problem in your relationship," rather than "You're going to be divorced by the end of the year." My spouse, who has been known to make total strangers cry because of his bluntness and perception during tarot readings, still tries to soften bad news as much as possible.

The big question, though, is: should you charge money for your reading? Well, that depends on why you're doing the reading. If I'm doing a series of readings for total strangers at a Pagan Pride Day or Earth Day celebration, I'm going to charge five or ten dollars for my twenty minutes. If I'm doing a reading as a form of one-on-one spiritual counseling, I won't charge money, or barter items or services. Why? In the first example, I'm Jane Pagan providing a service to my community - no different than the potter next to me selling hand-made chalices. In the second, I am a priestess, and I don't believe in charging money for priestess work. Plain and simple. It's a fine line, and you may think it's an arbitrary one, but I have seen too many people charge money for spiritual services, whether it's doing readings, officiating at a wedding, or even teaching. I've then seen those people make really poor decisions about who should be in their coven, how often they should do a reading for someone, etc. based solely on their own financial needs at the moment. I call a person who feeds someone else's addiction for money a pusher or a dealer. That is not a very ethical sort of person to be.

So that's it. This and my first two Tarot Basics articles here on Hubpage summarize just about everything I know about reading tarot cards. The only thing I can think of that I haven't gone over is the meaning of some of the more "vague" cards. However, the cards I think may be vague or hard to read (The Star, The Moon) may be easy for you. And vice versa.

So go out there, shuffle those cards, slap them down, and you'll only get better and better. Let me know how you're doing!

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