On Tarot Certification – Redux

Italian Playing Cards (circa 15th century). From the Rosenwald Collection at the National Gallery of Art.


Three years ago I wrote about my experience with tarot certification through the Tarot Certification Board of America, which is now defunct and any piece of paper you received from them is in effect defunct. Fortunately, the experience for me was all about the experience and that was a lot of fun for me. Going through the exercises, motions, and prompts was quite the enrichment, so I have nothing whatsoever to gripe about. I went through the process for the fun of it. Had I gone through the process for the sake of tarot certification, well then, I would probably be quite pissed right about now, considering my grandiose title of Certified Tarot Master is meaningless. (Not that I’m claiming it was ever at some point meaningful, but.. arrgh.. you know what I mean.)

Today, there are dozens of privately-held tarot certification programs out there and lately I’ve been experiencing a trend of inquiries in my inbox asking me for my opinion on tarot certification.

Then, recently…as in last week…there was a bit of a public misunderstanding where some folks thought I commercially endorsed a particular tarot certification program since my name, face, and my words endorsing a totally different thing was attached to that certification program and, well, let’s just say there was some misunderstanding that ensued and my right of publicity was put into question. Fortunately, the misunderstanding was quickly and amicably resolved and all is right with the world again. As a result, I’d like to just memorialize my take on the whole tarot certification issue.

Continue reading “On Tarot Certification – Redux”

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.

Continue reading “Tarot or Psychic Scams: Why Tarot Practice Should Be Regulated”

Tarot Certification: My Experience from CATR to CTM

I read tarot privately for 15 years before I heard about certification through the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA). In November 2012, just for the experience, because after I learned it existed, tarot certification made it on my bucket list, I applied for the first level of certification and over the next few months, made my way to the level of certified tarot master.

The folks behind the TCBA are fantastic people. I have had an incredible, pleasurable, rewarding experience with every one I interacted with, from the examiners to the mentors to the board directors. I literally have not one negative thing to say about them. And yet I want to proceed with my account of the certification experience objectively and critically. So here you go. I warn you this is going to be a long posting. I’ve tried to compensate for the verbosity by including cartoon caricatures of my certification journey, comics I’ve created with the help of bitstrips.com.


Continue reading “Tarot Certification: My Experience from CATR to CTM”