Health Readings with the Tarot: Is it Ethical?


I think my feelings and position about
using the Tarot and forms of divination for health readings has changed. First,
what is a health reading? This is when a seeker comes to you for a tarot reading
to find out if there is a medical problem with them and this can lead into
mental health as well. Questions like, “What do I need to know
about my chronic pain?” or “How do I manage my diabetes?” or the seeker is waiting for test results and wants a tarot reading in the interim to find out if it’s
cancer. “Why do I suffer from depression?” “Why do I constantly suffer from physical
health problems?” Or it can even be a merge with the ethical implications of
third party readings such as, “Is my brother Bob an alcoholic?” Or when the
seeker is concerned about someone close to him or her having an issue with
substance abuse. In my late 20s and early 30s when I started reading the Tarot
professionally, the whole don’t slide into the unlicensed or unauthorized
practice of medicine warning made perfect sense. In terms of Tarot ethics,
various popular Tarot associations and certification programs at the time were
drilling into everyone’s minds don’t do health readings don’t do health readings
health readings are unethical health readings are unethical. We were being
taught that we had to compile a referral list and whenever someone came to us
with a health question, we should decline to do a tarot reading and instead refer
them out to a licensed professional, or in the alternative, we rephrased the
question so that it wasn’t so obviously a health related question, so instead of
what do I need to know about my chronic pain, maybe as a tarot reader we can
rephrase the question and ask the cards what are the spiritual or karmic
implications underlying my chronic pain or what can be revealed at this time
about my physical health and wellness. If the person is waiting on test results
for a cancer diagnosis, see you can actually get really into the woo with
this and that’s better in this case. The more woo, the less danger you are in for
getting dinged with the unauthorized practice of medicine, so if you do a past
life reading for the querent to find out what the spiritual karmic causation
might be for some of the physical ailments that plague them right now,
that stays pretty clear of the legal definition of
the unlicensed or unauthorized practice of medicine. You don’t want to give
medical advice, like you don’t want to tell them
modern science sucks, stop seeing your doctor, and instead use this and that
essential oil to cure your diabetes. If you do that and you get in trouble, I
think you deserve what’s coming for you… Also, don’t give treatments purporting to
heal people of their medical problems. I am very much an energy worker myself and
I use different metaphysical tools and techniques to purportedly clean people’s
auras or balance their personal energies in such a way that it is in theory going
to make you feel better and as long as you are not putting yourself in the
position of the expert or saying you are just as good as a licensed medical
professional and you make it explicitly clear you are not a licensed doctor of
any kind, then you should be alright. You can give general health and wellness or
nutrition advice, the generic general type, you know, what vitamins to take, but
what you just don’t want to get into is the area of diagnosing problems or
prescribing treatments, you know, basically what a doctor would do. So if
you steer clear of that and, you know, talk about past lives and karma, you’re
gonna be fine. What I want to address is tarot readers who categorically reject
reading about health issues or who get bent out of shape the second someone
mentions health and tarot reading. To be an effective tarot reader and really
let’s broaden that discussion and include all forms of new-age or
spiritual healing modalities, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of society
and know what the hell is going on with society and how its evolving. And I
believe our society has evolved beyond the relevance of these old fashioned
don’t do health readings with a Tarot ethics. I don’t necessarily want to get
into the politics of health care in this video and it’s a topic that is of
interest to me so I’ve proactively kept up to date on this subject area… I could
make an hour long video rant just on my opinions about inequality access and
healthcare politics– But I’m at a place now in my personal practice and outlook
that I do do tarot readings and readings on health inquiries. Why? (1) Not
everyone has access to quality health care so even if you try to refer them to
a medical doctor, it’s not like that’s even within the realm of reasonable
possibilities for them. If you don’t help them and empower them, then they don’t
have any other avenues of support. They might very well resort to that neon sign
psychic who does swindle them because you rejected to do a health reading for
them and bring them comfort and hold space for them. (2) They have seen all the
medical professionals already but no one is able to fix them and they are still
suffering. They’re suffering. You are going to turn away someone who is
suffering and not even try to use your skillset to tap in to what might be the
occulted, spiritual reasoning for their pain. (3) My main purpose when I do
divinatory readings on health questions is to give querents the support that
they need so they are more assertive about advocating on behalf of themselves.
I’m going to link a video that doesn’t have anything to do with the Tarot,
like at all, and in fact, you know, John Oliver has made digs at psychics before
or the psychic industry, which by the way, I actually totally agree with him on
everything he said in that episode… Anyway, I’m linking something I hope you
will watch. In that John Oliver clip I’m linking in the video description box,
Wanda Sykes guest appears and talks about, about having to advocate for
yourself when the medical institution is stacked against you.
What I can do as a tarot reader is empower a querent to go back to the
doctor and advocate on behalf of him or herself. I can say,
“Tell your doctor to run this test” or “Tell your doctor to take a look at this”
or that if I simply turn that prospective querent away on some
self-interested grounds that I don’t want to deal with that type of question
or the ethical implications and I don’t want to fuss about it and I tell that
person oh you have to go see a doctor, you can’t come to me, this is against my
ethical conduct, I think that’s a missed opportunity. And finally, (4) Why I do
health readings– because no one of sound mind is saying
the spiritual energy healing divination stuff should replace modern medicine. No
one is saying that– of sound mind that is– We are saying let’s be holistic and
account for both at the same time and especially if that person does have good
access to health care, maybe we can give your doctor some hints as to what
additional tests to run. I do readings to determine the energetic, karmic, or spirit
related counterpart to the physical suffering you’re experiencing. I’ll make
it abundantly clear that a licensed professional expert at providing modern
medical treatments should be taking care of the physical part for you, but I can
lend support by using the metaphysical tools and know-how that I have to look
into the non-physical unexplainable part. I work with medical astrology and I do
believe that your birth chart can reveal some of your physiological weaknesses
and physiological strengths, your nutritional deficiencies, and with that
information at least you can be a little bit more proactive about your own health
and dietary needs. I work with what I know about traditional Chinese medicine
to help you consider your diet and food choices. Maybe some foods you should try
to eat less of and some foods you should try to eat more of. I work with
aromatherapy, energy charged charms and talismans, and both aura cleansing and
space clearing, alongside feng shui considerations to help support medical
recovery and healing. So why the change? A lot of it is newfound empathy. I was
pretty ignorant or at the very least naive before. I think we make a very
dangerous mistaken assumption that anyone going to
a tarot reader or energy healer for medical questions is an idiot or
uneducated and we kind of get into this space of treating them as such and get a
bit too condescending, even if we’re not conscious of the fact we’re being
condescending. But we are, especially when we sa,y oh that’s against my Tarot ethics. By saying that you are implying you’re more ethical than the querent… you know
that, right? When you tell a querent you should go see a licensed
doctor about this instead of getting a tarot reading like you’re almost
presuming that he or she didn’t know that already or hasn’t already seen a
doctor or hasn’t already seen every doctor in fact within a 50 mile
radius to try to get a diagnosis. Even when someone has already gotten the lab
tests and is waiting for the test results and in that interim period
before the test results come in has come to you for a tarot reading to see what
those test results might be, if you turn that person away, I think you’re missing
a point. That person is suffering emotionally and there’s a storm of
emotions going on that has brought them to your doorstep for a reading. At that
moment, you have an opportunity to use your skills and experiences to lend
emotional support and spiritual guidance that will help them navigate life until
those test results come in and even after those test results come in. Or you
can just be another uncaring apathetic stranger in this world who doesn’t want
to get involved because you’re afraid of what consequences it might mean for you.
You’re not actually thinking about the querent or what’s in the best interest
of the client. You’re thinking about yourself. You’re thinking, “What if I’m
wrong?” “What if this blows up in my face?” You’re
thinking about you. I believe that ultimately much of what
we experience in terms of physical and medical health issues is psychosomatic,
meaning it originates from the mind and from the emotional plane. I feel like
anyone who has read the Tarot for a lot of people for any extended period of
time realizes that pretty quickly. It’s stress. It’s depression. It’s Three of Swords and Nine of Swords issues that have gone
unchecked, unresolved for too long that now the body says, “Fine, you don’t want to
pay attention to me? I’ll make you pay attention to me!” And then physical pain
and symptoms crop up. When a lot of Wands or Pentacles come up, I think there’s
something in the environment that’s the culprit and it can be stress induced
by work-related issues or financial security related issues. Lots of Major Arcana cards? I might say, hey let’s take a look into your past and see what past
influences are coming back into play. If you want to say charms and talismans for
good health are a form of placebo, I’m not going to debate on that. My position
on that is you don’t have to believe in that stuff and you don’t have to get one.
I’ve personally found in my own subjective experience that if a
metaphysical practitioner knows what he or she is doing, then there is a place
for magic in healing. I really do believe magic and medicine can mix and mix very
harmoniously and supportively in a way that does induce wellness,
really does help heal… I really hate the word magic though… Everything that you
can see in the physical, that you can experience through your physical senses,
especially pain, physical pain, has a non-physical, unseen, occulted counterpart.
We can call it spiritual. We can call it psychological. Whatever it may be, the two
always, always coexist. The problem with modern medicine is the focus is always
on the physical and what can be measured or perceived through physical senses,
which necessarily, I mean,that’s science. It has to be that way so I’m not
criticizing. Where tarot readers and energy workers come into play is you can
shed some light and understanding, some revelation on that non-physical, unseen,
occulted counterpart, which might then lead to better discernment of the
physical side of things. This is why when a querent is experiencing pain in the
feet and legs and medically licensed doctors keep focusing on the feet and
legs so can’t figure out what the problem is, an energy reader such as a
tarot reader might be able to sense there’s a tension or knot of malefic
energies in the chest area and your qi energy is not flowing probably over here.
This is why your limbs, your arms and legs, are so weak. If that querent can
then go back to the doctor and pressure the doctor to test out or examine the
chest area, the medical professionals can finally discover, Oh
hey look! The patient has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease– COPD– it
was really a chest issue all along, and the disease, the chest issue is what
caused pain in the limbs. Not too long ago I experienced a health crisis myself
and I went to see every single type of doctor, my primary care physician, then an
allergist and immunologist, a neurologist– I went to see every single
type of doctor. No one could figure out what was wrong with me, but fortunately
in my case I was believed. That’s because the signs were very physical. I mean
you could see it. You couldn’t ignore it, but nobody could diagnose what my
problem was. And then I went to– I went the spiritual route instead to try to
figure out what could possibly be the issue. So I figured out sort of a
underlying root cause from a spiritual vantage point, but I could translate that
information into more mundane terms, bring it to my physicians and my doctors
that were the specialists, that were taking care of me, and then they were
able to finally diagnose me and prescribe me what I needed, and figure
out what the problem was. And then traditional Chinese medicine, changing my
diet, really helped sustain and make sure that problem stayed away. So that’s why
for me this is such an important topic, because it was through that balance of
the medical profession and science and the holistic spiritual aspect of it, the
psychic health issues, is what ultimately brought my recovery. No dispute– using
holistic modalities in the realm of physical health is dicey territory. It
makes a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life very, very
uncomfortable. It also will make you kind of a target and laughed at. Is there
a slippery slope argument to be made that this leads to scheming psychics and
tarot readers who will take advantage of the desperate and do more harm than good
if we say it’s okay for tarot readers and psychics to be doing health readings?
Desperate people will go to charlatan doctors. Desperate people go to
charlatan scheming lawyers and we don’t reject and decline or cast out, condemn
the entire profession because of a couple of bad actors. But
for some reason because of our preconceived biases against Tarot readers and psychics, we always like to cast away and condemn the entire
industry, the entire profession, just because of a couple of the bad actors.
There’s really nothing we can do about that at this point in time… When as a
tarot reader or spiritualist you give in to those societal pressures because you
don’t want to get dinged for whatever, you shut out a prospective seeker
and make them feel stupid or ignorant– as if they weren’t suffering enough from
pain before– now you kind of– whether you meant to or not– now you are making them
feel ignorant, uneducated, and stupid for coming to you for a health question.
You’re not being compassionate. I just feel like saying to a person like that, oh go see a doctor, go see a licensed medical professional, because this is
against my Tarot ethics– I feel like that’s so demeaning and it’s so
patronizing. It’s assuming, gee, they hadn’t thought of that already! They must
be so stupid and so uneducated that they didn’t think, yeah, why don’t I go see a
medical doctor about this? I’m gonna go to a tarot reader instead– or I’m going
to go get myself a piece of rose quartz and hope for the best..
Whatever you may feel about it, a person coming to a tarot reader for a health
reading is doing so because they are desperate, and they are in a lot of pain,
and nobody, nobody has been able to help them with that pain. Yes, of course, cover
your ass as a professional reader for liability reasons and just state in a
written disclaimer that obviously you do not think you’re a doctor and what you
say cannot replace medical advice from a licensed professional. You are not giving
a medical diagnosis and you are not giving medical treatment. You bring to
the table a spiritual or metaphysical perspective. That’s it. You are a
spiritualist who can look at energy, scan energy, detect and discern energy, and do
a reading on what might be going on that’s otherwise unseeable. Even if you
don’t believe in any of that, you think that is some
woo-woo New Age nonsense and so it’s not part of your practice as a professional
tarot reader, that’s fine. You’re still a professional tarot reader so you hold space for people, right? Especially people in pain? Turning
someone away, rejecting them and making them feel rejected, feel like an ass,
making them feel foolish even if you say that that was not your intention, because
ethics, or the misinterpretation of ethics– that’s what I believe– I think
that’s really mean and it’s actually– it may be more harmful than good. When you
do something like that, because they’ve already been rejected or dismissed or
not believed by so many other people that are professionals or people who are
supposed to be experts, they come to a tarot reader just hoping for some
understanding and you reject them, too– I also question how much of it has to do
with ethics and how much of it is actually because we’re self-centered. You’re just so worried about you, what you like, what you’re comfortable with,
what your boundaries are, that you’re not paying attention to them and what
they’re going through, and what desperation they are experiencing that
has brought them to your doorstep. Okay admittedly– so here’s the thing– of course
know your own limitations, so if you’re coming from a place of, “Look, I’m not good
enough to give a reading about a health issue” or “I don’t have the experience or
qualifications to read energy from a health perspective,” then yes obviously in
those instances, yes, refer out to a spiritualist or
metaphysical practitioner who might be able to do that. Sometimes I think these
individuals with the craziest questions, right, the ones that you roll your eyes
about as a tarot reader, the what the fuck questions, are the ones who most
need someone like you or me to hold space for them. And if you can’t step up
to the occasion and do that then what good are you? Why are you a tarot reader? Why are you an energy worker if you will only pick and choose the easy issues to
work with?

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About the Author: Emmet Marks

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