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The Good, The Bad and The Tarot Reader

bernborbee Bernadette Montana Wednesday, December 12th 2012.

I've been asked a lot of things lately and the ethics of tarot has been a popular one. People are very interested in the art of the Tarot, having a reading done, and, of course, wanting to read the cards for others.

“What make a good tarot reader?” “Is it “fortune” telling?” 

“Can I predict the future?” Can I possibly see the love of my life in the cards?” 

All these are all very popular questions and are all very valid. In my opinion, information is better than assumption!

To me, a good Tarot reader speaks from the heart. When the particular cards are drawn and laid out in a certain fashion or in a specific spread, something happens, something is jarred from my memory that invokes a reaction to the detailed symbols in the cards. It may be a color, the artwork, the imagery or archetypes.

Each tarot deck is very unique and different. This is why buying a deck with artwork that appeals to you is very important. It's common for a reader to go through many decks before he/she finds the ONE deck that really resonates with him/her. I must have over 40 decks but use only 2 or three routinely. 

According to the famous psychologist Carl Jung, archetypes are innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge. Being universal and innate, their influence can be detected in the form of myths, symbols, rituals and instincts of human beings. 

Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious and serve to organize, direct and inform human thought and behavior. Some of these archetypes are represented in The Major Arcana in most tarot decks. Jung himself used “The Tarot De Marseilles''. 

These symbols, colors and forms influence the reader. These archetypes register in the mind and help the reader decide just what each of these cards mean. Learning to read the cards, from an intuitive sense, would have a deeper and more profound meaning both to the reader and the person being read for. 

Many beginners have a difficult time learning how to read the tarot because most people start out by reading the little booklet that comes with a particular deck, or they wind up buying many ‘tarot books’. They try to read them, then realize that no two books agree on just HOW to read or just what the each individual card means.

Is it fortune telling? To me, I see the tarot as a wonderful tool to help others make decisions. 

Am I a “psychologist?” Nope! Although, I do have an approach that is psychological in nature since I have studied many of Carl Jung's works. 

The tarot reader should use the time doing a reading to help sort out an issue and to discuss just what is going on in that person's life. I do make sure that I tell the people; that I am reading for-just what I do and what my take is on the tarot. 

Now comes the issue that concerns myself and many others in the tarot community: Those individuals that offer hope to people by promising to tell fortunes, promising take a curse off or who promise to cast a love spell for an exorbitant amount of money. 

Such a reader tells needy people that what he/she sees in the cards is set in stone and only he/she, the tarot reader, can help alleviate the situation and thus is justified in asking for outlandish fees that can really cause difficulty for people. 

I hear about such awful readers from some of the people that come into my store. It can really be a serious problem for those seeking advice. One story comes to mind. 

I was speaking to a customer who seemed very nervous talking to me about the tarot. She told me a story that was quite upsetting. This person had a reading with a reader who told her that her husband was having an illicit affair with three women at the same time. Then the seeker was told that she needed a “special” spell in order to stop these affairs and the only one (What a ‘lucky’ coincidence!) who could perform this spell was this “magically powerful reader/WITCH!”

Is the tarot supposed to be about hurting others or is it about helping others? Is it supposed to be about a power trip? 

What happened to “What goes around, comes around” or, for Wiccans or Pagans (like me), “The law of three”? 

What can be done? These individuals are causing harm to others, and are really hurting the reputations of others who are actually ethical. 

My own particular ethics are to never tell anyone what they MUST do and to never tell someone that, for an added fee, this problem can be solved. I do help others to come up with some ideas on how to deal with a situation and to try and help clarify a problem. 

There is no problem in charging a fee for your time, but I feel the real work is up to the person who needs the help. 

Be the best you can be; read from the heart and not from the wallet. Study the tarot, try to understand it, make a living but not at the expense of others. 

Bernadette Montana 
Brid's Closet
Location: Cornwall, New York