ASTRO-TAROT: Ethics In Astrology and Tarot – Accountability and Responsibility


Yesterday was just…well, one of those days. We have a conjunction between Mercury and Mars in fiery Leo that will be exact on Monday, July 9, but is within three degrees of each other right now. Communications are moving fast and hot and this conjunction is now close enough for the fire brigade to be at the ready! I offer you this tale as both a manifestation of this energy and, more importantly, as a dive into the topic of professional responsibility and ethical communications within the context of spiritual arts.

A video was put out by an professional astrologer I have followed on YouTube for about a year. He currently has ninety four thousand subscribers on this channel. He comes off as a spiritual practitioner. In this video he was talking about the energies of the New Moon Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and started to ramble about healing your childhood wounds. All well and good.

However, he then got into a discussion about the wounds of childhood sexual abuse. He said that these are difficult to heal because, at bottom, the child experiences pleasure by being aroused during an abuse event. He used the phrase, “because it feels good.”

This stopped me in my tracks and I was appalled. First of all, he throws out this topic as if it’s just a small thing to add to his chatter without considering that many people viewing may have deep trauma around this topic, then he actually states that a sexually abused child experiences pleasure. Where to begin?

When I commented that I felt he was very wrong and that I hoped the Mercury retrograde time will offer him an opportunity to RE-view this video and offer an apology to his viewers he replied thusly: “It’s in every psychology and biological book that the physical body responds with chemicals from the brain when sexually stimulated. You’re in denial.”

He deleted that comment about 20 minutes later and then posted some cut and paste commentary about all the hormones that are released (even though children’s endocrines systems are not developed) that create pleasure biologically when touched in a sexual manner. Never mind that children, especially pre-verbal infants, are still negotiating life through their energetic body which is their primary guidance system. They will know intuitively that this person touching them intends them harm and they will go into fear mode which is far stronger than some biological pleasure. They will be afraid, not aroused.

There were two other women who challenged him but he may not have read their replies before mine. He did not reply to either of them and he never returned to commenting.

I share this because this astrologer is not, in my opinion, professional or an ethical practitioner. He is ignorant and self-absorbed at best. His reply to someone who questions him about his off-handed remarks about childhood sexual abuse through making attempts to defend this type of commentary with clearly no real knowledge of the topic, sensitivity to his viewing audience, and includes victim blaming (“You’re in denial”) into his defense is what brings me here to write this blog.

For the most part, many who are in the profession of providing professional readings are not trained therapists or psychologists. Yet we find ourselves in the position of hearing deep stories from our clients that are filled with pain and sorrow. And we always have to assume that we are not hearing the worst of the worst. So we must tread lightly when we see what we see within a chart or spread. It takes a long time to really learn the art of tact and discretion.

As practitioners we are absolutely accountable for what and how we share information with our clients or subscribers. Period. Sure, we have some days where we get stuck. Maybe it’s a Mercury retrograde that has us reeling and we just say all the wrong things. If we get called out, then we have an ethical responsibility to look at our position and consider whether or not we feel we may need to adjust. Apologizing is the mature response even if you feel that you were not incorrect! Someone was distressed by something you said and you can still apologize. Defending and backtracking and ESPECIALLY engaging in something like blaming and shaming the person involved is reprehensible and points to the fact that it might be time to take a break from what we are doing and heal our own soul. This is not the profile of a professional and could seriously damage someone.

If you are someone who goes to tarot readers or astrologers and you hear something like this that is clearly wrong you are NOT obligated to continue in a session with the reader. If you are a subscriber to someone’s blog or YouTube channel, you have every right to call them out on this type of uninformed commentary. We do our best to try to educate rather than berate, but if we are triggered we might come out guns a-blazing. In all instances when we are with someone who claims to be a “spiritual healer” and engages in unethical behaviour it is best to simply stand up and speak up and hope that they will wake up.

If you have questions or feedback please feel free to contact me either through comments here or via a personal message. I will be happy to respond.

Take care of yourselves, friends. May you go gently into these tumultuous times.

Be well and Namaste.

TAROT: Reading Reversed Cards – What to Do?

I began my journey with tarot back in the late 1970’s. At that time everyone in the circle of friends I hung out with read reversed cards. That’s just how it was done.

At some point in the mid-1980’s there was a sudden shift. It seemed to coincide with the advent of introducing the tarot as more of a self-help tool through different psychological systems such as Jungian analysis or the humanistic psychology approach. Given this method of reading people eschewed reversed meanings as being “too negative” for most of the cards. The thinking was that the negative meaning of a card is always implied as equally as the positive meaning.

Yet, when I actually worked with the “Non-Reversers” they seemed to still read the cards that were already leaning into the darker meanings in the upright position (for instance, The Devil) with more negative meanings. They weren’t suddenly pulling out the more positive, reversed meaning that would be inherent in this card. This was very puzzling to me.

The group of Non-Reversers was actually pretty small at the time. Maybe twenty-five percent of those in my group were beginning to look at readings in this new way. But, for the rest, there was never a question about using the cards in reverse.

I set aside the tarot for a number of years and have just recently returned to using it. I have become involved with an online group now and have benefited from this AMAZING new format of having international readers to share thoughts, opinions and, of course, new decks with!!

I took a poll about reading reversals at the beginning of this month. The results floored me! Here is what I received by numbers:

  • 99 people responded that they never use reversals in their readings
  • 52 people said that they occasionally do reading with reversals depending on the deck or client
  • 16 people said they always use reversals with every deck for every reading.

This is almost a 180 degree shift from where I started back in the 80’s with sixty percent of people now responding stating that they never use reversals.

Several people shared their thoughts in the comments and this provided a lot of grist for the mill.

A number of people shared that they didn’t feel the need to used reversed cards as they felt that other cards in the reading would provide information about whether or not that card should be read with it’s reversed meaning as being more prominent. I interpret this as being a holistic reading style and feels a bit oracular to me.

Some people indicated that they always read cards upright but that should a card fly out of the deck and present itself reversed they will pay attention to it and use it in that reversed position feeling that this was a particular message about the meaning of that card in the reading regardless of placement and the other cards that were around it.

And clearly there are those that simply use the reversed cards as reversed although it is a very small minority. Of course, I absolutely would recommend to new readers that they physically allow their cards to be reversed and read them as such until such time as they are completely familiar with doing readings and with their decks. It is a solid and time honoured way to learn.

One person provided the insight that even though she is a skilled reader she continues to use reversed cards in order to help counteract any interpretation bias in her readings. This was very thought provoking for me. How often do we start to have such intimate familiarity with a deck that perhaps we start interpreting what we think we are seeing rather than what is really being mirrored to us? Maybe we are having a bad, bad day and really don’t want to hear a strong message about the fact that we need to sit down and work on taking responsibility for our part in the drama so we subtly read into the cards more about what is wrong with the external situation than what is internally being asked of us? Maybe we think to ourselves, “Well, this deck is always tells me about the best in me and positive opportunities so it must mean (X) because it would never suggest (Y.)”

I think that the culture around tarot is now vastly different from my early days of learning. And it should be. This is clearly evidenced by the mind blowing number and types of decks out there! It seems that the early days of self-help styles of working with the tarot have become the norm with strong emphasis on personal growth and deep dives into the nature of our psyche. I love the diversity of reading styles which speak to great creativity and awareness.

Tarot should be a living, evolving tool for both study and learning. I am delighted to have stepped away only to return and find such a plethora of new and interesting ways of approaching this sacred art.

What are your thoughts, friends?

As ever, be well, be happy. Namaste.