Some Thoughts on Tarot Ethics

By Christiana Gaudet

Whether you are a beginning tarot student, a seasoned tarot professional or anywhere in between it is never too early or too late to consider your tarot ethics.

There are many people who traditionally use tarot in ways that most of us would consider unethical. In some places fraudulent tarot readers outnumber ethical tarot readers. When visiting a new reader it is hard for members of the public to know if they are going to be scared and manipulated into forking over huge sums of money to lift the family curse or if they will receive an insightful reading that offers options and perspectives for a pre-agreed-upon price.

Even a well-intentioned reader can sometimes cross ethical lines either knowingly or unknowingly.

Discerning our tarot ethics must involve everything from our personal stand on magick-for-hire to third-party readings, predictive readings and how often a client should have a reading. Our ethics also include what sort of information we give in a reading, how we empower or disempower our clients and how we honor our clients' belief systems and lifestyles.

I have seen otherwise ethical readers pass judgment on their clients' sexual orientation. I have seen readers try to engage in sexual relationships with their clients. I have seen readers make stuff up rather than simply admit they can't see the answer to a client's question. I have seen readers talk about themselves during a reading rather than focusing exclusively on the client.

Whether you are a tarot student, hobbyist or professional it is important to be clear about your tarot ethics. It is important to re-evaluate your ethics over time. As we grow so does our personal understanding of right and wrong.

Tarot is a very powerful tool. It is important that we wield that tool safely. My personal belief is that we should never use tarot to hurt others. For me, the purpose of tarot is to help and to heal.

Some tarot ethics are a matter of personal opinion and beliefs. There may not be an obvious right or wrong. Other tarot ethics, in my opinion, should be a no-brainer.

Take some time to examine your own beliefs about tarot and its uses. Write a Code of Ethics so you can be clear on where you stand. Evaluate that code over time.

Remember, too, that your behavior as a tarot reader reflects on all tarot readers and on tarot in general. In a very real way we represent each other.

Tarot is maligned, poo-pooed and ridiculed. It is used to defraud and manipulate. When we make a commitment to tarot ethics we are committing to represent tarot as the spiritual tool of healing, introspection and growth we know it to be.

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors.  Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - © 2013 Questions? Comments? Contact us at