As a tarot / intuitive reader, the question of ethics comes up regularly – although it may not necessarily be recognised as such. As readers, we have clients who assume our vision into their future (and past) is wider than their own. But do we ourselves assume this?

When I think about my own underlying philosophy of reading, I use the cards as an intermediary between the client and the Otherworld … on the basis that the intention behind the reading will be understood by the unconscious, or the quantum particles, or the Otherworld (whatever and wherever it is that enables us to ‘reach through’ to interpret the cards). My own ethics state clearly that I am only an intermediary, or – as a friend says – a screen or a mirror, to reflect back to the client what that person needs to know. I may ‘get’ information or wisdom coming through that is definitely not mine, and that is very welcome when it happens. Every now and again, even weirder, someone says something, and a kind of download of information happens. However, if in this download there are bits I think will be too much for the client to hear, I will edit it, check it out with the client, and then share it if I consider that the person is able to accept it. There is another instance of ethics – how do we presume to know what someone can or can’t handle? The answer to that, I think, is that if you are an intuitive reader, you will only be any good at it if you have developed a sixth sense of humanity. Empathy is inbuilt into mankind, but people often close down on it, due to pain or unresolved problems. Narcissists and neurotics, particularly, have little empathy.

Careful as most professional readers are, there are still dangers: clients tend to ascribe an authority to readers that we may not deserve; and will always hear what they want to hear. I have had clients quote back to me things they’ll swear blind that I said in the readings, while I know perfectly well that I wouldn’t have said anything like it. So, there is almost always a level of projection from the client onto a reader that is a kind of willed fantasy. We become a super-reader, a sage or guru – or the opposite, a well-meaning thicko who has no idea about life – or anyway, their life. I have no problem with the latter, but quite a problem if someone projects super-reader stuff onto me. I don’t believe the cards make mistakes, but I can mis-interpret them. And I never read for myself because I’ve seen how subjectivity gets in the way.

So an ethical reading will be one where, in my opinion, the reader steps out of the way – doesn’t offer opinions or definitive ways for the client to follow (very difficult to do as this is usually what a client wants), acts – as my friend says – as a reflector. Supports the client, and allows a positive projection to take shape by showing possibilities, and what can be achieved from where they stand right now. It has to be deftly done, or the client won’t be able to take it in – and it has to give the best possible reflection back to the client, but not sickly-sweet or sugar-coated.