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Today’s question is something I’ve been thinking about for a while.  It’s a nice bit of synchronicity that I just received this question from Linda, a new professional reader who is building a successful practice.

She writes:

Hi Christiana!

 I could use your advice on the topic of 3rd party readings. I recently had a client ask in an email reading:

 “How excited “X” is about me and the possibility of a full-on relationship?”

 To me this is a “third party” reading. How can I tell her how “X” feels when I know nothing about “X”? Of course I don’t know much about my client either except that a new relationship is on the horizon.

There are basically two schools of thought on this (yes/no) and I know that you talk about it in Fortune Stellar. My current ethics policy states: “I will not do a third party reading (a reading about someone else). Instead, I will offer to rephrase the question to focus the reading on what is directly related to you.”

I guess I am not opposed entirely to doing them, but I am not sure of the ways to approach it for me as I learn my own tarot voice. How do I prepare mySelf and protect mySelf (my energy) when doing a reading of this sort. I want to guide my clients on a path toward self-reflection, inner wisdom and peace with their life “now”.

In this case, why wouldn’t the client just ask their partner how he/she feels? Right? I realize people come to tarot when they are stuck and seeking help and answers to get them to the next step. If I would open mySelf to do a 3rd party reading what 3-5 things would you say to me to help me prepare in a way that will guide my querent?   

First I want to answer the question about the possibility of using tarot to know how another person is feeling.

I would maintain that it is certainly possible do this. It is usually as simple as asking “How is X feeling about this?” And pulling a couple of cards.

The larger question, though, is one of ethics.

 I understand that we all have a different understanding of what works and doesn’t work for us as tarot readers.  I feel we all need to be concerned about ethics as tarot readers, but we may differ on what feels right for each of us.

I believe it is important to have a code of ethics. Our clients should be able to know upfront what our ethical boundaries are.

Within my own ethics, I think that there are times that third party readings make sense to do, for two reasons. First, if I am having a reading and I want to know about my life, I need to know about the people in my life, because they are what’s most important to me.

Second, tarot is a tool we use to strategize. Having information that is not knowable by other means is a strategic advantage we get from tarot. I don’t have a problem helping a person figure out how to please their boss, for instance, or find the perfect birthday present for their sixteen-year-old.

Now, let’s look at our example.

“How excited is X about me and the possibility of a full-on relationship?”

Linda’s comment that the client should just ask X made me giggle a little, because so often people ask questions of tarot that are better answered by other methods. (My favorite: Am I pregnant? A pregnancy test is twenty dollars. A reading with me is more than that).

But, here’s the truth. How often have we asked our friends “Do you think he likes me?” or “do you think he’s ready for a relationship?”

Clearly, the client wants to know what her chances are before she considers making a move.

I agree with Linda that rephrasing the question is in order here, but it will still be a third-party reading.

I would break the question into a few questions, as follows.

Is X interested in having a relationship in general at this time?

What is X’s capacity to be emotionally available for a relationship at this time?

What are X’s impressions of me at this time?

Now, let’s talk about the ethics of this sort of reading. As I see it, this is exactly the kind of reading that many of us are asked to do, and have been doing, since the dawn of time. Speculating about relationship possibilities is something we do as humans, with our friends and with our tarot readers.

I would argue there is real value to the process of answering these questions. I think this reading could help the client sort out her own feelings and come to a decision in terms of whether and how she wants to pursue this relationship.

So now the question is, when might third-party readings cross an ethical boundary? Linda asked for a few things to keep in mind, and so here there are.

First, the client needs to be reminded that they must make their own decisions when it comes to their relationships. You may look at a potential suitor and warn the client against them. That’s fine (and often helpful) but make sure the client understands that the choice to pursue or not pursue is theirs alone.

If you don’t see a good outcome but the client wants to pursue it anyway, you can ask questions of the cards such as “What is the best way for my client to approach this relationship?” or “What pitfalls should my client be prepared for?” or “What can my client do to make this relationship work to its best potential?”

Second, the spirit, or the energy, of the reading, should be for the highest good, and for the healing of all.

In Judaism there is a strict prohibition against gossip and evil speech, known as Lashon Hara.  For me, this serves as the basis for my code of ethics on the topic of third party readings.

My personal code of ethics directs me to make a distinction between a third-party reading that helpful or at least harmless, and a third party reading that is gossip.

This is where rephrasing a question can help quite a bit. If the question seems more gossipy than healing, try to figure out what is bothering the person, and find a way to ask the question that is more oriented toward healing than gossip.

Finally, sometimes people want third-party readings about ex-partners, ex-bosses and ex-friends.

While tarot can be a tool to help us heal from painful breakups, there are some clients who will use tarot readings as a way of staying stuck in the past, rather than healing and moving on.

When a client wants to know about their ex, and it is clear that their ex is not sitting at another tarot table asking about them, it is time to give the client some helpful information about how to get closure and move on, rather than feeding their unhealthy  attachments to the past.

I really appreciate Linda’s important question, as well as her grounded and spiritual attitude about her tarot practice.

Enjoy the video!

If you have a question about tarot, please email me!

Video of Christiana Answers a Question about Third Party Readings