I’m firmly committed to the Code of Ethics of the American Tarot Association:
- I will serve the best interests of my clients, conducting my professional activities without causing or intending to cause harm.
- I will treat all my clients with equal respect, regardless of their origin, race, religion, gender, age, or sexual preference.
- I will represent honestly my Tarot qualifications, including educational credentials, levels of certification and experience.
- I will keep confidential the names of clients and all information shared or discussed during readings, unless otherwise requested by the client or required by a court of law.
- I will recommend clients consult a licensed professional for advice of a legal, financial, medical, or psychological nature that I am not qualified to provide. If trained in one of these areas, I will clearly differentiate between the tarot reading and any professional advice additionally provided.
- I will respect my clients’ right to refuse or terminate their reading at any time, regardless of prior consent.
- I recognize that all ATA members have the same rights and obligations, and I will always respect and honor my co-members.
I would like to expand on a few of these points, though, and develop my own statement of my ethics with respect to Tarot. Eventually, I’d like to codify these into a one-page statement that I would have available to anyone who considered having me do a reading for them.
Age limit: I will not read Tarot for an individual under the age of 18 without parental consent. (If I have previously received parental consent for the minor to study with me or receive religious instruction with me, and the parents knew at the time that I read Tarot as part of my spiritual practices, that will count as parental consent.)
Honesty: I will read to the best of my ability, and will honestly admit when I cannot interpret part of a reading.
Confidentiality: I will not maintain confidentiality in cases where I believe the querent poses a serious risk to him- or herself or to others. (This is how I interpret the “court of law” part of the statement above, but it might not seem the same to others – what do you think?)
Confidentiality, again: I reserve the right to discuss insights into the cards that come about in a reading, as long as those insights are presented without identifiable client information attached. (Compare this to medical privacy: a doctor might say, or write a journal article about, “I had a patient once who had XYZ happen…” and this is not considered a violation of privacy as long as the doctor does not include information sufficient to identify the patient. Similarly, many professional readers include insights such as “I once had the Ten of Swords mean this, that, or the other…” without identifying clients or violating privacy. Would most querents find this acceptable?)
Confidentiality, yet again: I reserve the right to refuse to do a reading that, in my professional judgment, encroaches on the privacy of a third party not present at the reading. (Other people often come up in the context of a reading. That’s not the issue here; my point is that I won’t try to read your partner’s, boss’s, or best friend’s mind for you. How can I state this more clearly?)
Refusing and terminating a reading: I reserve the right to refuse to read for anyone at any time, and to terminate a reading, regardless of prior consent. If I do so, I will return any payment made to me.
I use Tarot as a device to help querents reflect on their current situation. I regard reading Tarot as a form of spiritual counseling in which I help querents understand themselves and their lives better, so that they can make the best choices for themselves to shape their future courses of action. I do not believe Tarot can “predict” the future, nor do I rely on “psychic” skills to read Tarot. The cards are a starting point for a conversation between me and the querent, and throughout, the querent remains in complete control of his or her life, choices, and the consequences thereof.