10 October 2011

How do you know a psychic is real, trustworthy or ethical?

Tarot, psychic, occult and paranormal themes are popular this time of year. So every fall I like to drag this one out for re-ranting. Hope it helps!

Recently a client asked: "There are a lot of crooks out there. How can you tell if a psychic is for real or not"
In other words, they wanted to know how to tell if a psychic wants to help people or just make a quick buck.

Good question. One everybody should ask before they pick up a phone or get online or drive to a "psychic" reading.

We are all in this business for one reason or another. And yes, we do ask either a set price or suggested donation for our work (after all, we need to eat too, but we'll explore this part more in another post). Just the same, here are some simple hints that say to me that a "psychic" is someone who is sincere about what they are doing.


HONESTY: An ethical psychic will tell you up front if they can or can not answer a particular type of question. I don't work with medical questions. An ethical psychic will tell you what intuitive work can and can not do. No one person has all the answers for everything. No one is "100% accurate".  The future is not fixed - it depends totally on you, your decisions, your actions, what you choose not to do - any dozens of things that make "accurately" predicting the future impossible.
So phrases like "100% accurate" or "guaranteed results" always make me suspicious. If it sounds to good to be true...it is. To guarantee results is to rob you of your freedom and free will. Sometimes we need to learn from our mistakes. Options are more helpful than specifics. An ethical psychic will give you a realistic idea of what to expect from a reading.
CLARITY: Does the psychic make the information understandable to you? Is the reading helpful? Can you USE it to make better decisions or make better sense out of your concerns? Psychic readings aren't any good to anybody if they make no sense. It is one thing to present options, not predictions. It is one thing to talk about probabilities instead of absolutes. It is another thing entirely to be deliberately contradictory and confusing. If a reader is honest about predictions and accuracy, then they don't have to hedge their bets or hide behind vague, obscure language.
WILLINGNESS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS: Sometimes it is hard to put the nonverbal images and impressions we receive into words. That is where the real skill of a psychic lies. We all have intuition and 'psychic' ability. The real gift is in being able to communicate the information in an understandable, helpful way. If you are in a reading, and you don't understand what is being said, ask. If you are working with an e-mail reading...send a follow up question. Most of us working with e-mail allow a follow-up question without further charge, or at least have some policy about follow-ups.  Someone who really wants to help will be willing to make the reading understandable to you. Don't take what a psychic says at face value just because it sounds fancy, esoteric or educated. Ask them to clarify. If they won't or become angry or offended, you may want to re-think if this is the best psychic for you.
OPENNESS ABOUT PRICES AND POLICIES: The reality is, whether the psychic approaches the readings as counseling, spiritual guidance, entertainment or whatever - it is still an agreement between two people.  Regulations vary from state to state how advertising can be worded etc, but however things are set up on that business level, there should be basic transparency and fairness. Prices should be up-front, as are other standard business-like concerns such as  forms of payment, refund policies, hours, etc. Working with a psychic is just like working with any other professional. You know the costs and have no qualms about paying for piano lessons. Why not life lessons? You wouldn't think twice about donating to a minister that offers spiritual guidance...why not donate in kind for other spiritual guidance? You pay for face painters, magicians, plays, music concerts, and other entertainment, so the same principle applies to psychic entertainment. Dealing with a psychic or tarot reader should be no different than dealing with other professionals.
PROFESSIONALISM AND COURTESY: In my opinion, Psychic and Tarot work is all about helping people. More often than not, if someone seeks out a psychic reading it is because they have some problem, or concern. They are upset and vulnerable in many cases. An ethical psychic will not take advantage of a situation like that. A reading should never be frightening. If you feel intimidated, or belittled in any way, that should be a warning sign to you.
RESPECT FOR YOUR DECISIONS AND BELIEFS:  You should be the one to decide when, if ever, you go back for a reading. Being asked to get "regular" readings is another is another suspicious practice in my book. Getting too many readings in too short of a time can be confusing and ultimately do more harm than good. Intuitive readings shouldn't ask that you believe certain things. Skepticism will not scare away or block "spirits" and lack of 'believing" won't keep you from getting a good reading. You should feel as if you are being treated with dignity and respect...not excluded from 'the spirit world' if you don't believe certain things.


If you don't feel comfortale with a psychic doesn't mean the psychic is unethical, or in-genuine, or only in it for the money: Just like doctors and ministers, we all have our own specialties, our own styles, and our own belief systems.
For example, some people love to go to dramatic, flamboyant psychics - it makes the reading more interesting and fun. Some people need the extra drama to 'believe' and let themselves be helped by the reading experience. Other people like a more practical style. My goal is to be the "no drama", calm, reassuring type of psychic.
Different kinds of problems need different kinds of psychics. Some psychics work very well with medical concerns ( like the Carolyn Myss and Edgar Cayce, for example). The same is true with bereavement, or issues of life after death. Some are mediums and connect with crossed loved ones very easily, while it happens less often for others psychics.
Here is another example: I believe it is impossible to predict the future - so someone who only wants a prediction and doesn't want to hear anything about advice or spiritual guidance does not do well with my style of readings.  They might do better with other, more predictive readers. By the same token, I would not do well with a reading from some one who work strongly with christian symbolism. Yet I have had many wonderful readings from psychics with a more metaphysical / eastern philosophy background. Even if they are totally honest and  well-meaning, not every psychic is a good match for everyone. As long as you both have some clear idea of right and wrong, you will find the right psychic match for you.
Here are some things about psychic readings that make me uncomfortable, and make me wonder about the intentions of the psychic. But of course, you and the psychic themselves are the ultimate judge of that ...
  • claims of 100% accuracy
  • promises of a specific outcome: like "finding romance" or what have you
  • anger or agitation at questions
  • doesn't let you take notes or make recordings of the reading for later reference
  • unclear pricing ... free times, holding you online in a per-minute reading etc
  • demanding regular or "faithful" return visits or frequent readings
  • demanding that you believe certain things or the reading won't "work"


Most of all, the best way to know if a particular psychic is a good match for you or not is to use your own intuition and street-smarts. If you feel like something is wrong, it is.

E-mail it to me at faq@modern-oracle-tarot.com. You get a reply plus your question might be featured in an upcoming blog!


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