The Ethics of Reading Tarot for the Collective

Do you follow any tarot readers who do group readings, or forecasts for the collective?

Or maybe you do readings like this yourself.

From tarotscopes to daily draws, to card of the day readings that are broadcast across all kinds of social media channels, collective readings seem more popular than ever.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I seem to be seeing these types of posts more than ever online right now. Maybe lockdown inspired more readers to get online.

But what I’m also seeing, and hearing, is that the lines seem to be getting blurred when it comes to how people are interpreting these collective readings.

The way I see it, a collective tarot reading is similar to following your horoscope. You check it to see what’s up, and take a little bit of inspiration from it if it makes sense to do so. And if it doesn’t, you move on with your day and look forward to seeing what tomorrow’s message may be.

I used to write horoscope columns and offer collective messages and readings here through my newsletter. It’s not always as easy as it looks to put these communications together.  

It can also be intimidating: You want people to get to know your work. And you want to help them find a way to tap into the energy of the moment. But you also know that when you’re putting a general message out there, some people will connect with it, and others won’t.

Sometimes, people take it personally if a message doesn’t feel specific enough for them. Or they question your credibility, as accuracy equates ability in this line of work.

So collective readings, no matter what modality you’re using, are a tough thing to pull off.

I’ve noticed that there are people out there who actively follow these readings who really take them to heart – even if they’re meant as general messages for a larger audience. And sometimes people do feel let down or misled by messages they think are personal to them that don’t end up coming true.

We can’t always know how a piece of communication will be received. I’ve written things that people have completely misread, or missed the point altogether.

This is part of the reality of working with people, and sharing writings or ideas with the broader public. Once a message is out there, it can and will be reinterpreted, misheard, deconstructed, ignored, loved, or appreciated. It takes its own journey once it’s out of your hands.

Which might sound a bit nerve wracking. And it can be. But it’s also important to keep this mind. There is a responsibility when sharing information, and the clearer you are in how you’re handling that, the less likely things will go awry.

Of course, we’re also in a challenging time online right now. Because not everyone comes to tarot or divination with that sense of responsibility, let alone social media.

Anyone can hop online and call themselves a tarot reader. Or a doctor. Or a scientist. Or whatever else they want to lay claim to.

But it doesn’t mean it’s true. Tarot content is popular, and there’s no barrier to entry to it. So people who are eager to follow tarot readers online can end up exposed to inexperienced practitioners, or individuals who are just trying to capitalize on a trend.

Which is why I advise tarot readers and clients to treat collective readings the same way you would a one-on-one, private session: With common sense, good judgment, and a sense of personal responsibility.

You can’t always control what people take from your work, no matter what you’re doing.

But you can control what you’re putting out there in the first place. Collective readings that get too prescriptive, or that can be interpreted as being specifically about someone, can be taken too personally.  For example, that might sound something like, “I see a message here for someone who has been out of work for a long time: Don’t worry, a job is coming soon.”

Yes, while a specific message like this might actually be true for someone who is randomly listening to a collective reading, it doesn’t reflect a group or collective experience – which is what to aim for if the purpose is a collective reading.

And that’s where I would start to build some guidance around how to handle and deliver collective readings:

  • DO keep collective readings aimed at a whole. Think of yourself as speaking to a community or a section of society. If you see opportunities in the cards, cool. Keep that general: “It’s a time of growth or manifestation. Now is a fertile time to act on your dreams…”
  • DO stay honest about your abilities as a tarot reader. There’s nothing wrong with getting practice with tarot – as long as you’re honest about it. Sometimes newer tarot readers ease into the process by doing group readings online. This can be quite affirming for the reader. Comments like, “I needed this today” can be great confidence boosters – but don’t take it as pressure to start seeing private clients if you’re not ready yet. It’s okay to say you’re still learning, and as a best practice I recommend making that clear in your bio.
  • DO be mindful that when you build a community, it comes with responsibility. It doesn’t hurt to remind your followers how to use this information appropriately.
  • DO think about what you want your community to take away from your work. Is there an action you want them to take? Or a feeling you want to inspire? Share from a place of clear intention. This will help you stay connected to why you’re sharing your work, and what the bigger message is you want to get across in a collective reading.

Until next time,

Liz xo


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