When you get a tarot reading you’re asking someone else to sit down and read your most intimate parts of yourself. The reader might not know all the nitty gritty details, but they’re still involved with something personal, something private.
This is why I hold my client’s tarot readings (and purchases in general) as private and under the most strict confidence. It’s also why I don’t show my client’s readings or give context such as spread names or full photo shots for the rare photo I do show. Because it’s not my business to share and sharing client readings (especially without permission) is considered a faux pas for me. Your readings are yours and they are private. The same way that your purchases are private and your emails and convos are private. Asks are a little different as often their asking for advice or commenting on a community discussion but nine times out of ten I’ll reply to an ask privately if I’m able to. Because that’s a private interaction.
It’s a rather common practice to see tarot readers show off spreads or client readings. It’s a great way to get your services out there and it’s a great boost of confidence for those who are learning to read to see the readings in practice. And that’s exactly why I’m all for showing my own personal readings or the readings of clients who give the OK. Because showing off your readings and skill can be such a great boon for both you, your readers, and your clients. I share my own personal readings fairly often. I’ll share client posts, reviews, photos, and videos because they’ve shared them first.
I think the crux of the situation is that clients aren’t often even asked if their readings can be shared. As mentioned above, tarot readings are personal to the person so not asking is kind of like snooping through someone’s mail to me. You might not know the context of the bills or letters but you can make some pretty educated guesses just from the names on the envelopes. It’s one thing if you decide to tell someone what’s in the envelope (or the reading) and you’re welcome to share that with the world as the client but for the reader to share your private reading publicly without your permission first… I would see that as a breach of trust personally.
It’s not uncommon for people to forget that their clients are people too. You see this startlingly often in the medical field where doctors and nurses forget their patient’s comfort because to them it’s just another case or just another flu or broken arm. They forget that to the patient, to you, this is a big deal. And that carries over with readers as well. To you this might be just another reading but to the client, it could be vitally important. To forget that and share the reading reduces them to just another person and makes their interactions with you less personal and important.
Not sharing readings means that you have more work on your hands to get your name and business out there however. People can’t see how you read and don’t know what environment they’re in. Testimonials and sample readings can help alleviate that burden as can social media promoting. Simply sending an email to someone and asking for their permission can give you a great response. If a client says yes they’ll probably be exceptionally pleased that you even thought to ask and that might even be a talking point for them when they recommend you. You can also say something like “hey, I had a few great client readings today now here’s one for myself!” And then show a reading you did for yourself or something similar. It still gets your services out there but it doesn’t share your client’s privacy.
I was pleased to see this discussed by Freya Ray in her book The Ethical Psychic (review to come at a later date). Her opinions strongly mirror mine and I know a few other readers who also hold their client’s readings as private first. I know it’s been discussed before but I haven’t seen it come up recently. I think this is a discussion the tarot community should be having as we live in a world of instant gratification and it’s so easy to snap a shot of a client’s reading while at a coffee shop and post it to six different social media sources at once.
I think asking a client if you can share their reading should at least be an industry courtesy if not an industry standard. What do you think?