This is one of the very first posts I wrote for Modern Oracle / Tarotbytes blog way back on March 31, 2009. I’ve made a few edits today for spelling and grammar. Oops!
Q: There are a lot of crooks out there. How can you tell if a psychic is for real or not?
A; This question more complicated than you might think. “Real” could mean a lot of things, but in this case they were talking about ethics. They wanted to know how to tell if a psychic really wants to help people or just make a bunch of money.
Good question. One everybody should ask before they pick up a phone or get online or drive to a “psychic”
We are all in this business for one reason or another. It is fair, legal and right to pay for an artistic service like a psychic/Tarot reading. It is no different than buying a ticket to a concert, or buying a book, admission to a museum, paying a therapist or donating to a minister for performing a wedding ceremony. In all of these cases you are paying for all the same things that a Tarot session or a psychic reading gives: entertainment, inspiration, personal enrichment, personal growth, insight…you get the idea. You are compensating the reader for the time they spend with you plus their years of experience and learning. Fair price for a fair service is, ahem, fair for everyone – the same as any other artist or counselor.
The key word here is fair. Honesty is hard to gauge outright. The hard truth is that there are a lot of people who use spirituality to trick gullible people out of large sums of money. It isn’t just psychics. Some churches arguably do the same thing. (2019 me: hell, we put a corrupt con man in the white house…it definitely isn’t just psychics!)
These are some of the positive traits I believe a good psychic should have:
HONESTY: An ethical psychic will tell you what intuitive work can and can not do. No one person has all the answers for everything. I never take medical or pregnancy questions. You should handle those with a doctor. No one is “100% accurate”. Phrases like “100% accurate” or “guaranteed results” always make me run, not walk, in the opposite direction. If it sounds to good to be true…it probably isn’t true. To guarantee results is to rob you of your freedom and free will. Even if it were possible, it would be wrong to do. An ethical psychic will give you a realistic idea of what to expect from a reading, and respect your choices about the information they give.
CLARITY: Does the psychic make the information understandable to you? Is the reading helpful? Can you USE it to make better decisions or make better sense out of your concerns? Psychic readings aren’t any good to anybody if they make no sense. This is why the next point is so important. If something isn’t clear to you or you don’t understand it, ask them to clarify.
WILLINGNESS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS: Sometimes it is hard to put the nonverbal images and impressions we receive into words. That is where the real skill of a psychic lies. We all have intuition and ‘psychic’ ability. The real “gift” is in being able to communicate the information in an understandable, helpful way. If you are in a reading, and you don’t understand what is being said, ask. If you are working with an e-mail reading…send a follow up question (but not a dozen – be fair to the reader) Someone who really wants to help will be willing rephrase and make an effort to make the reading understandable to you. Don’t take what a psychic says at face value just because it sounds fancy, esoteric or educated. Ask them to use plain language. If they won’t or become angry or offended, you may want to re-think if this is the best psychic for you.
OPENNESS ABOUT PRICES AND BUSINESS POLICIES: The reality is, whether the psychic approaches the readings as counseling, spiritual guidance, entertainment or what have you – it is still a business. Especially if that is their sole livelihood. Prices, policies about returns, scheduling, cancellations all should be as clear and up-front as with any other professional practice. By the same token, it is important for you to know and respect their guidelines and disclaimers as well.
PROFESSIONALISM AND COURTESY: In my opinion, Psychic and Tarot work is all about helping people. I give Tarot the same level of professionalism and ethics that I gave patients when I worked in mainstream medicine, and that I give my Natural Health clients now. More often than not, if someone seeks out a psychic reading it is because they have some very real problem. Often they are emotionally upset and more vulnerable than they usually are. Some psychics exploit that vulnerability, but the majority seek to help and heal it. An ethical psychic will not take advantage of a situation like that. A reading should never make you feel more vulnerable. If you feel intimidated, taken advantage of or belittled in any way, that should be a warning sign to you.
RESPECT FOR YOUR DECISIONS AND BELIEFS: You should be the one to decide when, if ever, you go back for a reading. Getting too many readings in too short of a time can get confusing and ultimately do more harm than good. Intuitive readings shouldn’t ask that you believe certain things or not. Skepticism will not scare away or block “spirits” and lack of ‘believing” won’t keep you from getting a good reading. You should feel as if you are being treated with dignity and respect…not blamed if a reading doesn’t go well.
UNETHICAL OR MIS-MATCHED?:
If you don’t feel comfortable with a psychic it doesn’t automatically mean they are doing anything unethical or illegal. Just like doctors and ministers, we all have our own specialties, our own styles, and our own belief systems.
For example, some people love to go to dramatic, flamboyant psychics – it makes the reading more interesting and fun. Some people need the extra drama to ‘believe’ and let themselves be helped by the reading experience. Other people like a more practical style. My goal is to be the “no drama”, calm, reassuring type of psychic.
Different kinds of problems need different kinds of psychics. Some psychics work very well with medical concerns ( like the Carolyn Myss and Edgar Cayce, for example). The same is true with bereavement, or issues of life after death. Some are mediums and connect with crossed loved ones very easily, while it happens less often for others psychics.
DOES THE PSYCHIC HAVE STRUCTURED GUIDELINES?
This is a tricky one. Just because a psychic doesn’t share YOUR particular beliefs doesn’t mean they are unethical or criminal. (looking at you evangelicals) The key is if they have some sense of ethics. Usually the easiest way to see that is their business practices and disclaimers. If they have it together enough to write those, they have it together enough to treat you fairly.
(2019 me: In my practice, the guidelines go both ways. It keeps us all safe. When we both know what to expect, then giving you a good reading takes top priority. I expect my clients to treat me with the same respect I give them and reserve the right to terminate any session or appointment for inappropriate comments or behavior. If either of us need to cancel or reschedule, it isn’t a big deal, but we should give the other person notice…that sort of thing)
As for negative traits….
Here are some things about psychic readings that make me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a psychic that shows these things. Most of the ones I’ve met fortunately don’t. It is your choice of course, but I suggest being on the lookout for:
- claims of 100% accuracy
- promises of a specific outcome: like “fixing your love life” or what have you
- anger or agitation at questions
- doesn’t let you take notes or make recordings of the reading for later reference
- unclear pricing … free times, holding you online in a per-minute reading etc
- demanding regular or “faithful” return visits or frequent readings
- demanding that you believe certain things or the reading won’t “work”
IN THE END, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FEEL BETTER AFTER A READING THAN YOU DID BEFORE THE READING STARTED. YOU SHOULD NEVER FEEL FRIGHTENED OR INTIMIDATED BY A READING.
Most of all, the best way to know if a particular psychic is a good match for you or not is to use your own intuition and street-smarts. If you feel like something is wrong, it is.