Tarot or Psychic Scams: Why Tarot Practice Should Be Regulated

The above video is old, uploaded several years back, but I came across it yesterday and the news is certainly relevant to this day: alleged psychics who use tarot and other arts to scam people of money. This news broadcast is about scams near my neck of the woods, the Bay Area in California.

When driving downtown, you do see many glass window neon sign “psychic” fortune-telling shops like the ones depicted in the broadcast. People like the alleged psychic tarot reader interviewed in the broadcast cause me to shudder with disgust.

In every professional field, there are the scam artists, the cons, the good-for-nothing bottom-feeding scum of the profession that will rob you of your money and not provide any quality services in return. Lawyers (we definitely get a bad rep for that), doctors even, plastic surgeons especially, accountants, every profession. However, such professionals are still taken quite seriously by the public at large because of overall strict regulation and licensure requirements. At the end of the day, as long as you the consumer do your due diligence, the likelihood of getting scammed by one of these professionals can be diminished greatly. In tarot reading, not so much, because there are no regulatory or licensing requirements, no schooling minimums you’re expected to meet before you can hang out a neon sign and call yourself a Tarot Reader.

To start, I cannot believe the scam-artist Tarot Reader in the broadcast declared that he was 99.99% accurate. Who does that? Ethical lawyers, no matter how skilled or experienced, would never tell you that you are 99.99% likely to win (or lose). They may say you have a strong, compelling case, but then will always follow that up with a caveat: prepare a contingency for the ever fickle winds of change. The strongest cases can fall apart at the eleventh hour, and the weakest cases with no rational chance of victory can prevail. Tarot readers could do well to give such advice to their clients, especially since such a philosophy couldn’t apply more pertinently to an art like tarot reading.

Next, according to the broadcast, the decoy asked about her husband’s colon cancer. Per the American Tarot Association’s guidelines, there are two red flags right there. First, do not do readings to diagnose a health condition. You can read about how one might go about coping with what’s happening, but do not diagnose. Second, do not read for third parties. The practitioner can rephrase the question for the decoy and have her ask about her role in supporting her husband right now, but she shouldn’t be asking on behalf of the husband, not unless he’s present and consenting.

Then, as a tarot practitioner who also uses the Rider-Waite-Smith system, the next part interested me greatly. I will say that chances are the producers, who probably don’t know much about tarot, reenacted the tarot reading being referenced just for cool footage, but if it is based on the actual reading the scam-artist Tarot Reader gave to the decoy, it will make any RWS reader scratch his or her head.

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