Whether you read professionally or not, you will probably find yourself at some point facing ethically challenging situations. One way to minimize troublesome on-the-spot moments is to determine your ethical guidelines ahead of time. This is helpful, but no matter how thorough and careful you are, you might find someone at your table asking something you never even thought of.

Ethical considerations are shaped by your philosophy about the cards, the purpose of readings, and your role as a reader.


Type of Advice

Some readers will never give medical, legal, or financial advice because they are not doctors, lawyers, or financial advisors. Most readers, although not all, would agree that these are good boundaries. But beyond that, each reader must determine how far those boundaries go.

What if a querent has three different medical opinions (or investment strategies) from three different medical practitioners (or financial advisors) and wants to know which one is the best for them?

What if a single doctor gives the querent two very different solutions to a health problem and leaves it to the querent to decide which one. Would that be outside the ethical bounds of a reading?

Some readers will not read about a situation regarding someone else who is not present. For example, a querent wants to know if her spouse is cheating.

Less clear is if the querent wants to know what to do to help a friend or support her daughter or improve communication with her boyfriend. These are less directly about the other person, but still do touch on their lives.



Many readers say that their readings are absolutely confidential. Before deciding that is your boundary, make sure you consider:

What if the querent is a danger to themselves (is asking about self-destructive behavior or suicide)?

What if the querent is inquiring about something illegal or has confessed to a crime?

What if the querent is a danger to others?


Telling All

Where is your boundary in terms of telling a querent what you see? Do you tell them everything you see whatever it is? Are there some things you won’t tell no matter what?

Death is an extreme example, but let’s say you do think that the cards can predict death. If you see it, do you say it? What if you don’t usually think the cards can predict death, but you just know that’s what’s on the table in front of you?

What if someone asks about their children, and you see illness or some sort of accident?

What if someone asks about the 65 applications they’ve sent out while in their 12th month of unemployment and there is no positive outcome?




Will you read for people under a certain age? What age?

Will you read for people under a certain age if their parents give permission?

Will you read for people under a certain age if their parents are present? If so, are there things you wouldn’t reveal or say in order to protect the minor’s privacy?


Ethical boundaries are important but rarely the black and white lines we would wish them to be. Knowing what you believe to be right in these areas will make a good foundation. Time and experience will help you build those complex boundaries. But life being what it is and people being what they are, you should probably plan on a lifetime of learning about the complicated questions of your own personal code of tarot ethics.

Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...