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Ethics of Divination and Seership

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Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Xiao Rong » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:02 am

Hey everyone! So one thing I've been thinking about as I've been doing rune readings for people on this forum is the ethics of divination. A few months ago, after the three women in the Cleveland abduction case were revealed to be alive, there was controversy over the fact that Sylvia Browne (radio personality and psychic) had very confidently told the mother of one of the victims that the victim was very, very certainly dead. This caused the mother a great deal of distress, and unfortunately she died before it was discovered that her missing daughter was actually alive the whole time (not well, but alive). Sylvia Browne doesn't claim to be pagan, but this article got me thinking a lot about what we're responsible for if we do readings for other people, be it tarot, runes (my favorite!), geomancy, or chicken entrails.

The American Tarot Association has some other rules that I think are pretty solid:

I will serve the best interests of my clients, conducting my professional activities without causing or intending to cause harm.

I will treat all my clients with equal respect, regardless of their origin, race, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation.

I will represent honestly my Tarot qualifications, including educational credentials and levels of certification.

I will keep confidential the names of clients and all information shared or discussed during readings, unless otherwise requested by the client or required by a court of law.

I will recommend clients consult a licensed professional for advice of a legal, financial, medical, or psychological nature that I am not qualified to provide.

I will respect my clients' right to refuse or terminate their reading at any time, regardless of prior consent.


John Beckett in the article linked above also mentions some of his own personal rules about divination, such as: Don't tell anyone when they're going to die. Don't tell anyone their spouse is cheating on them. Because what can that do but cause unnecessary distress?

I think a lot of it has to do with, of course, how we view divination as a whole. I don't generally think of divination as "fortune-telling" that tells of a very definite future, but as a way to illuminate new possibilities, break out of old ways of thinking, explore possible futures, etc., and I try not to represent my rune readings as anything more than that, or at least preface that this is merely my interpretation, etc. Going back to Beckett's blog post (which I adore!):

As seers, we can’t tell people what’s behind the door. What we can do is give them the encouragement and the confidence to deal with whatever is behind the door.


But, this is just my personal opinion, and I really want to know what y'all think.

So, I'm really interested to hear from you guys - what kind of ethical quandaries have you dealt with in your divination for others? What sorts of rules do you have for yourself? And an oldie but a goodie: What do you think about payment for divination services rendered?
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Kassandra » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:09 pm

.

Nice points you mention in this post, questions that need to be discussed. A lot to think about here.



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Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Violet » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:46 am

I think the clients should be responsible for the question they ask and how they respond to the answer.

I learned in my seminar to interpret the card reading very directly. I don't believe in "protecting" people. I don't feel that's mine to decide.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby -Dark-Moon- » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:50 pm

In my brain the logical voice (me) and the seeing intuition are quite seperate. when i read I try to keep the logical voice out of it, as it only distracts me and garbles the message.

I tell people pretty much everything I see except for unavoidable death

Even warning people of accidents, may not change the course of the events, I have noticed.

Despite this, I explain to people that my readings are a reflection of a series of possibilities and that they are not set in stone. Hence I really believe you should warn people of impending danger if you see it.

I'm not sure I would ever categorically state to a mother that her child was dead as a statement of fact. It seems...irresponsible.... We are not infallible. Either way she has a 50% chance of being right. But, obviously the psychic saw something that made her think that. the daughter may have been wishing herself dead or feeling as if she would die or wanting to die. Her energy was probably so down that in some ways she had given up.....or the psychic saw the mothers death not the daughters?

Presumably your ethics as a human being should extend to any of your psychic practices. I'm not sure of the value of having ethical obligations in and of themselves if you are already an honourable person. However, I suppose organisations like to have manifestos, and it gives the noobs some basic guidelines to be mindful of.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Xiao Rong » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:11 pm

Dark Moon, as for the psychic, Sylvia Browne, who was very comfortable with telling people that their loved ones were dead, I think she's a different case because

1. She doesn't claim to be pagan, and I have no idea if her psychic techniques in any way resemble pagan divination (and she has quite a long and storied history of being wrong)
2. I think part of the reason why she's so famous is BECAUSE she claims she is 100% absolutely certain, even when she's proven wrong (which is most of the time).

Sylvia Browne issues aside ...

Violet Flower Witch, I think that's really interesting. In my divination practice, the asker is certainly welcome to ask whatever they want, but I feel it's my responsibility to tell them that I personally do not make any claims to being able to see the future. The question they want to know is usually more illuminating than the answer itself.

Dark Moon, I agree that one should warn people of impending danger, with the caveat that the future is always open ... I think the American Tarot Association's rules make a lot of sense particularly for people who are doing professional readings for money. They sound pretty similar to other professional codes of ethics for, say, therapists, or medical workers (e.g. confidentiality, non-discrimination, etc.). They aren't really applicable to informal readings, such as the ones done on this forum.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby WillowMoon » Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:54 am

My quandary pretty much is , when its being sent from the universe how can one charge a lot of money for it? I only ask because I had a read done from a well known psychic - no names will be mentioned - only I had to pay £50 for my reading. I won't be ever paying that amount again now as I do think that was a con for a paid reading. Which in my book and opinion was a con because I didn't get a lot from it, and my energies at the time all felt reorganised in my mindset like a migraine headache I had after having an appointment with her. As far as in formation goes often if I get future dates through from spirit I know they mean something to the sitter to pay attention to, but likewise, the future is interchangeable so I mention that before the read begins. But usually something important has happened on that day if future dates from spirit are given out. And I know this only because the sitter has mentioned it to me after the read that it was a life changing day for them. :P This has happened more times than most now so I always pay attention to future dates given from Spirit even though the future isn't set in stone. Although that's not psychic based, but spiritually based :P And that's usually when I'm using no tools so to speak of but just trusting my senses.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Xiao Rong » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:14 pm

Hmm, this is a tough one, Valori. I've never gotten an in-person reading before, but as someone who has both given and received readings online, I can tell you that it is work to do a reading, and I think it's fair for the reader to ask for compensation for their time and energy (if they so choose), and I think it's good as a community to compensate for those services to show that we believe that those services are valuable. Even if one holds that the universe is sending out those energies, it takes skill and effort to interpret them, and it's not always something you can do for yourself (in the same way that doctors have to go to other doctors to get checked out sometimes). That said, I am aware there are lots of scammers out there who will charge crazy amounts and then try to convince you you need an exorcism or whatever (for a lot of money, naturally), and of course I don't support that. But if we believe that one is performing divination sincerely, then why shouldn't it be compensated the way any other work is compensated?
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby WillowMoon » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:24 pm

True. True, good points well made there. :)
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby ehstemai » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:41 pm

I have done divination for pay before, and I don't see anything wrong with it, but I have a few "rules" for myself. For one, I never charge a friend or covenmate. But I do believe in charging strangers. With a friend or covenmate, there is an established relationship based on mutual energy exchange. When I read for a stranger, I use my time and energy to provide them with something of value; this creates an energy debt, which creates a long-term tie between the two of us. Paying that "debt" (either with cash or service or providing something else of value) eliminates the tie, freeing us both. I've done readings in exchange for graphic design work, website assistance, or other services. But if you understand that money is a sign of energy, then it makes sense. I go to work and expend my energy, and as a result of that energy expenditure, I receive cash. Then I can use that money to exchange for things other people have spent their energy on. Cash is nothing more than a medium of exchange - a way to measure energy.

That being said, I know that I am under no obligation to tell my clients the truth. My spirit guide doesn't tell me the truth; he tells me what I need to know in order to do what I need to do. As I am not a spirit guide for my clients, I do not purport to know what's best for them, but that's why I consult with THEIR spirit guides. Probably 10% of what I do is serve as a messenger for spirit guides. The other 90% is pastoral counseling - helping them to accept whatever it is that they were told.

One more point about charging for readings: Anybody can learn to interpret the cards or the runes, but to learn to be a professional psychic takes a lot of time, energy, and training. I've spent countless hours learning a new divination or meditation technique, studying psychology, training myself on basic customer service skills, and so forth. Being a professional psychic isn't just about divination - you have to know SO MUCH other stuff as well, and there's a continual need for self-improvement and development of your skill, your craft, and your business. A 30-minute reading doesn't just take 30 minutes, because I have to cleanse and center once I'm finished. And I'm spent years honing my skills so that I can provide that service.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby loona wynd » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:33 pm

For myself when I read cards or do any sort of work like this I basically have a few rules. Right now I don't want nor would I accept compensation for a reading as I do not feel skilled enough to do the work professionally. However I do still try and treat the readings I do as I would were I doing this professionally. As I have done more and more online readings I have basically started to develop my own concepts of ethics online.

1: I keep a record of all my readings. This record is for me and me alone. It helps me grow as a reader and develop deeper understandings of the meanings of the cards. The records also allow me to when doing a reading online make connections between all the cards.

2: I only ever mention the patterns and connections I see in the cards. If a person asks about a specific event happening in their life for example job prospects I read what patterns and energetic forces I see in the cards. If the pattern looks what they want is going to happen I will say it, but I reaffirm its not a guarantee and that they must do the work themselves to make it happen. If I don't see it I will state the same but be honest about it.

3: I take no responsibility for any actions a person may or may not take after giving them a reading. My reading is just what I see and what I see alone. I may have a few suggestions based on what I see (like looking for opportunities for work and employment) but anything a person does is on their own.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Kat » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:26 am

ehstemai wrote:I have done divination for pay before, and I don't see anything wrong with it


wrong? ethicaly wrong? if u don't share wiccan ethics u wouldn't be against charging for readings I guess.

ehstemai wrote:Cash is nothing more than a medium of exchange - a way to measure energy.


I don't know how it is over there but money is not just a way to measure energy. it's doing a job one hates and overworking just to feed their children, have a roof above their heads and pay taxes. some have no money and live on the streets.

ehstemai wrote:Being a professional psychic isn't just about divination - you have to know SO MUCH other stuff as well, and there's a continual need for self-improvement and development of your skill, your craft, and your business.


a professional psychic? I think that s a contradiction in terms. nobody can be 100% sure that a ''client'' is going to die. anyone that studied anything knows psycology and tries to self-improve, what thhese have to do with ''business''?
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby ehstemai » Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:30 pm

Kat wrote:I don't know how it is over there but money is not just a way to measure energy. it's doing a job one hates and overworking just to feed their children, have a roof above their heads and pay taxes. some have no money and live on the streets.


I have to address this one... Money IS absolutely a way to measure energy. You have decided that you will exchange your time and energy for cash. If it's something I enjoy doing (something that doesn't drain me of life force), I'll accept less cash for it. For example, I might work a job I love for far less than I'll require to do a job I hate. But in any event, *I* decide what my time and energy is worth.

One of the core elements of Wicca is that we have the power to change our lives, and we also have the responsibility to do so. "An it harm none, do what ye will." Truly accepting Wicca is accepting that we are in complete control of our own lives. The family you were born into? You CHOSE that when you were consulting with the God and Goddess before being born into it. And every circumstance that's happened to you in your life? That's the result of something that you either called to you for some reason or you allowed it to happen. And it really is that simple.

I was sexually assaulted throughout most of my teen years. And if I could've changed it, I would've. But that experience has given me an insight into the mind of a sexual assault victim that I wouldn't have had otherwise, and I've helped dozens of men and women escape abusive relationships, recover from sexual trauma, and go on to lead happy, healthy lives - none of which would've been possible had it not been for that "negative" past that I had. So now I can recognize that those painful experiences were there to teach me a lesson that I could then use to help others. I drew it into my life because I needed that experience, and I don't regret it. It's taught me that I'm stronger than I think. It's taught me to forgive others. And it's taught me that I am worth protecting.

Now if you're in a job you hate, ask yourself why that is. Because there are plenty of people (myself included) doing work that they love. I wasn't always able to do this, but now I am. I build websites, do direct sales, and work from home spending time with my children and my family, and that's how I pay the bills these days. But that ONLY came when I decided that I was not content with doing things the way I was told to do them - when I broke free of the negative patterns that I was raised with. If you're in a job you hate, it's because either a)that's where you need to be in order to learn some sort of lesson, or b)that's where you chose to be for whatever reason.

I'm an entrepreneur, and I work with my husband. But most people will never try that path. The fear of not having a "stable" job, the condescension from others who don't understand why you're not "working", the pressure of knowing that every dime you make is a crapshoot - for many people, working a 9-to-5 is better than all that. For many people, the relative stability of working in a job they hate is less frightening than taking the leap into finding a job they love.

But with all that aside, the fact is that money is nothing more than a medium of exchange. It is not a thing. It is not something limited or finite. We have far more money in the economy now than we did 100 years ago, thus proving that money is not limited. We exchange money for things that we value. If your employer values your labor a little bit, he'll exchange a little bit of money for it. If he values it a lot, he'll exchange a lot of money for it. If you value something a little bit, you'll be willing to pay a little bit for it, and if you value it a lot, you'll be willing to pay a lot for it.

Here's my point: In a traditional setting in a traditional coven, there is no need for money to be exchanged. I may do a reading for you without charge, but I know that at some point I'll need help moving and you'll be there to help me out. You may do a healing spell for me, but when I'm better I'm going to come and help you mow your lawn. That's what family is all about. Within a family, there are energy exchanges going on ALL THE TIME, and that's okay. That's what creates the bonds among family members.

But with people who are NOT in your family and are NOT part of your coven or circle of close friends, it's different. You'll never see these people again most likely. So how then can they make a fair exchange to you for the energy you're giving to them? And the answer is money.

Kat wrote:a professional psychic? I think that s a contradiction in terms. nobody can be 100% sure that a ''client'' is going to die. anyone that studied anything knows psycology and tries to self-improve, what thhese have to do with ''business''?


A professional psychic = one who is paid to be a psychic. And when did you EVER get the impression that I tell my clients when they're going to die? In over 8 years of professional experience, I've never had anyone even ask me that question! And if I did, I wouldn't answer it. Those things are not given to us to know.*

*One exception: I have had clients who were in a dangerous or abusive situation, and I could see that if they did not leave soon, they would be killed. I could and did warn them of the severity of danger to them.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby MsMollimizz » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:22 pm


I've been paid for a reading or two, not much but I
had to give $5 of the $25 I received cause it was the
local metaphysical shop in town that set it up. I wish
they were still open. Since it was sold there have been
3 metaphysical shops in this area and all closed :cry:
When I read for online requests I ask simply: What it
is that person needs to know right now. That for me
leaves it open for all messages...
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby Naudia Threng » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:30 pm

My Personal Scrying Rule (Tarot Association rules aside):

1) Never claim 100% certainty

2) Never scry when my mind is clouded

3) Never be direct (give the client room to interpret their own fate)

4) Always scry at least three times on one subject

5) Always ask if the client is sure about wanting to know the future before and after scrying.
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Re: Ethics of Divination and Seership

Postby rothko » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:32 pm

One of the things that I always think about when it comes to ethics and divination is metoposcopy, or telling futures based on lines in people's foreheads. When it comes to divination like that, ethics becomes even more complicated, since people could be able to read someone's future without their consent. I don't think that's ethical- but then what if you 'accidentally' read someone's future and see something like a tragedy? That would probably just cause me a bunch of stress, because I wouldn't want to say anything in case I was wrong, but I would also worry about the person.
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