You’re Gonna Have to Face it, You’re Addicted to Tarot…

We’ve all seen client’s addicted to Tarot readings – they come back time and again but way too often to be healthy. It’s one of the reasons a large number of Tarot readers have a code of ethics, to protect the vulnerable, and themselves from over-use, or, dare I say it, abuse of their services; and perhaps one of the reasons many Psychic Lines are constantly busy.
I find that a fascinating subject and one I will perhaps write about after this post. What I’m interested in talking about today is Tarot Readers who are addicted to having tarot readings themselves.
I have a couple of friends* who currently don’t seem able to make a decision without either:

  1. Picking up their Tarot deck and doing full readings covering every aspect of their issue
  2. Picking up the phone and getting me to do their full readings for them

Now you may think me heartless, a friend in need is a friend in need right? I agree, only what I’m talking about is constant use of Tarot for decision making and ‘seeing how things are going to go’. I wouldn’t continue to be a good friend to either of them if I didn’t check them on this behaviour because it worries me, and during my thoughts of concern, a ton of questions ran through my mind.

  • How widespread is this throughout the Tarot community?
  • How many other Tarot readers are hopelessly addicted to having Tarot readings?
  • Do you indulge your Tarot buddies with readings because you don’t want to offend them?
  • Are you addicted to giving yourself Tarot readings for the issues you face daily?**
  • Do you, as a Tarot reader, call Psychic Lines regularly for readings so your friends don’t know you do it?
  • Where is the line between gaining clarity and being addicted to having Tarot readings?
  • Where do you draw the line between throwing a few cards out to having (or giving yourself) a full on Tarot reading for every issue that occurs in your life, or the development of those issues?

I think that list of questions could go on. What I want to do is throw this one over to you so you can share your ideas, thoughts and experiences on the subject.
I really don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully wean my friends off their addiction to Tarot readings, perhaps your thoughts and ideas can help.
One final question though, and it bothers me the most – at what point do I stop myself being involved in their addiction?

  • *No friends were harmed in the writing of this post – I have their full permission to discuss their issue.
  • **Other than the universally acceptable practice of pulling a card a day; otherwise known as the Daily Draw


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24 thoughts on “You’re Gonna Have to Face it, You’re Addicted to Tarot…”

  1. Catherine –
    The bottom line here may be that the Tarot is a tool of empowerment. It is a tool – not the result – it is a tool. With this tool we can define our issues, get the big picture of what our options are, look at the pros and cons of each option, and make an educated choice.
    As in all things – the cards are an ancillary to our lives – they are not our lives! An addiction to reading the cards falls into the same vein as any other addiction – i.e. alcohol, drugs, sex, food etc.
    We need to be able to recognize that addiction in ourselves, our friends, and our clients. We need to be able to develope sacred boundaries on the use of the Tarot, honor them ourselves, and expect others to honor them.
    Can’t wait to see other people chime in here!

    • Hi Bonnie – you make some great points :)

      An addiction to reading the cards falls into the same vein as any other addiction – i.e. alcohol, drugs, sex, food etc.

      I agree that may be true, however, the motives are very different and I find it an interesting irony that most other addictions seek to find oblivion, lose clarity or satisfy the moment, where seeking answers, with the exception of timing, is just the opposite.
      There seems to be a subtle difference in my mind at least between these points and I wonder also how much of a role Tarot, or our training and love of it, has to do with a potential addiction.
      A lot of us live it, breathe it and work with it daily – are we closer to an addiction than we may realise ourselves? Perhaps it only takes a turn in circumstances to loose our own clarity of vision and become dependent upon our Tarot decks. Is that itself the first stage to addiction?
      Thank you for a great comment :)

  2. Hi Catherine
    Good, probing questions. I agree with Bonnie – she said it better than I could ever.
    I have really strict boundaries so it is not easy for a client to over step – I learned this the hard way in the past with a few clients.

    • Hi Theresa – I know you have strict guidelines for your clients, but how would you handle a friend that may be addicted or becoming a little too dependent on your Tarot readings for them? Tough love or gentle guidance? I know this, its a tough choice ;)
      Thanks for your comment Shug – and your retweet – much appreciated :)

  3. Like many Tarot readers I have no problem reading for friends when a major issue is involved, i.e. is there something I can do to get this new job OR what steps do I need to take to leave this relationship? I’m not about predicting outcomes but rather helping friends find the right action to take. As Bonnie said, this is a tool, not a result.
    And sadly, I do see Tarot readers, as well as their clients, who won’t make a simple decision without pulling a card. IMHO this empowers the cards, not the person.
    As for myself – I read for my own major issues – particularly when I’m trying to make a decision between two significantly different paths – and this is also when I reach out to get a reading. For me, getting a reading is more about getting confirmation than anything else.
    Great post – and looking forward to what others have to say.

    • Hi Nancy – I agree with so much of what you say and we take a similar approach with ourselves, though I will admit to being a little dependent at times of distress. It’s a tough one to call, particularly when it’s your friends. I have done the “no more!” approach; and the softly, softly – based on their core personalities hope I’ve made my way in.

      And sadly, I do see Tarot readers, as well as their clients, who won’t make a simple decision without pulling a card. IMHO this empowers the cards, not the person.

      That’s an interesting take Nancy, I would probably spin that around and say the client has disempowered themselves. In their search for certainty, they lost their sense of self and the belief in their ability to handle or respond well to the current situation – and having been close to that (and probably in the midst of a personal crisis, I’ve also done it, as I think many of us actually have too), so I see it from both sides.
      Thank you for a great comment :)

  4. I’ve studied both tarot and astrology for years and you see the same phenomenon in astrology students/astrologers. It’s an occupational hazard. I find that when people first begin to study or take classes, they go into “divination/prediction overdrive”. It’s probably OK for a while since they are actually developing skills by reading for themselves.
    However…….if it becomes a crutch, it’s time to step back and scrutinize what’s happening and why you feel the need for non-stop input of this kind. At some point you have to let go and trust your basic instincts about how to run your life. “One more reading” won’t hurt, but it probably won’t help as much as you hope, either. People are usually surprised when I tell them I don’t really read / do astrological forecasts for myself all that often. Generally I have an astrologer I respect do a yearly “birthday” reading for me as a general guideline, and I throw a few cards for myself at times, but I’d really rather read for others at this point.
    I learned a while ago that when I “over-ask”, especially with Tarot, I get the reading that loudly tells me: “ENOUGH WITH THE QUESTIONS ALREADY!”. (My cards have a Brooklyn accent, probably because I lived there for 20 years.) Any readings attempted after that tell me the same thing, in case my ears were somehow clogged the first time! So it’s a built-in fail safe for me.
    I also try not to “over-consult” with clients and friends, especially if during the first reading they tell me how many other readers they’ve been to or that they’ve had 10 readings in the past month. If I get a whiff of obsessive or dependent behavior I know I have to set some limits on how often I read for them or how many questions along the same lines I will allow. This isn’t always easy when someone’s in the middle of a Relationship Drama, which seems to drive everyone temporarily insane!
    And yes, I’ve learned this one the hard way. I don’t want to feed a “reading junkie’s” addiction, it’s not helpful for them and it’s exhausting for me!

    • Hi Valerie – awesome comment! Not sure there’s anything I would say to it except I agree 100% with what you’ve said, though I have to highlight this:

      “ENOUGH WITH THE QUESTIONS ALREADY!”. (My cards have a Brooklyn accent, probably because I lived there for 20 years.)

      Fabulous – you’re a treasure :)

    • Thanks, Catherine! This is an interesting topic and one we all probably have dealt with.
      And I certainly know better than to mess with my cards when they tell me to “fuggedabout it”!

  5. Nope, very rarely read for myself and although my friends usually want readings, some psychological block on my part (not that I mind doing the readings) means that I usually forget to pick up my cards until it is too late :D

    • Hi Ania – I love your style and I think I should take a leaf out of your book here – seems the simplest thing is to not have cards on me, or simply not answer the phone….
      Thanks for a great comment :)

  6. I don’t mean to forget, it’s subconscious compartmentalisation. I’m a professional reader, so taking Tarot cards is like wearing a business suit to go out with your mates. If you go out with Tarot mates, on the other hand, you take your show-off decks not your working deck, so that’s just like wearing your best killer heels ;D

    • Ooh I know that Ania! I took great advice from your original comment though and in no way saw it as anything less than your best intention.
      Now killer heels – I love them, but alas ruined my feet by wearing them too often way back when. They look gorgeous though and I’m enjoying the visual your analogy has given me :)

  7. I probably fall into the opposite category – I’m addicted to thinking through my problems by myself :) or talking to friends about them. There are times when, as a tarot reader, I’ve found myself asking “Why don’t I do a tarot reading for this?” But I usually don’t. Once in a while, perhaps once a year, I’ll do one for something really important. I also often use such larger questions as a chance to enjoy exchanging readings with a personal friend, which I don’t get a chance to do often, and receiving the benefit of their wisdom.
    I’ve not really encountered the addiction issue much in my friends, but certainly have in my clients. I have two simple rules that I use to judge whether it’s OK to ask for another reading, and I wouldn’t have any problem applying this to friends as well. They are:
    1) The client must have tried in good faith to follow the advice of the first reading and reached an impasse, OR
    2) Something about the situation has so significantly changed that the outcome or recommended approach may be different.

    • Hi Teresa – Thank you for such great advice :)
      I prefer to talk things out (being a Virgo) or think them out (Gemini moon), but I can admit to ‘losing my senses’ from time to time and resorting to putting my deck to work overtime! Fortunately that’s not been a common occurrence but it did give me some great insight into how an emotional or irrational mind can become dependent on a tool such as Tarot with its instant responses and no commitment from the seeker.

      There are times when, as a tarot reader, I’ve found myself asking “Why don’t I do a tarot reading for this?” But I usually don’t. Once in a while, perhaps once a year, I’ll do one for something really important.

      I do tarot readings for myself much more frequently than that, weekly even…. but the big readings, those special topics get special treatment, journalled, coloured wrtitng for the elements and my thoughts added for good measure so I can look back and reflect. I’m too busy, or too lazy, to journal regularly, but I do enjoy re-reading older readings and to see how things turned out in comparison with expectations back when they were originally written.
      Perhaps I should start journalling again properly? Thank you for the thought prompt Teresa, and thank you for taking the time to leave a great comment :)
      Warm wishes,

  8. Valerie –
    I have to say … I love the Brooklyn accent! I could just hear your cards telling you that! ;-)

    • Bonnie:
      They were really exasperated! I swear I could also hear them thinking “What, is she STOOPID or somethin’?” Quite embarrassing, really, to be reprimanded by my own cards.

  9. it’s so funny I came across this post as I’m experiencing a couple of clients going through this.
    it’s difficult because I want to help them, but I do tell them not to over do it.
    one has had a reading with me in the morning and went straight to another reading for the exact same issues to “double check” then emails me 3 lengthy reports of both findings and further “ramble” about should I’s and what if’s.
    I wrote a post on my blog about this focusing on TRUST.
    I think insecurities are definitely the root to the addiction.
    curiosity and interest are different from total insecurity and constant need for validation, reassurance, etc.
    I started gaining a true interest in the tarot as an “addict” myself. There was a period in my career and personal life that I was so lost, insecure, angry etc and turned to several readers all the time.
    eventually I started psychotherapy, meditation, and taking the tarot seriously, as a subject to be studied, as the true tool I see it today as, and which I try to convey to my clients.
    so I understand where they are coming from, and hope to pass on what was my route to self discovery, healing and break through from it, hoping it will lead them the right direction.

    • Hi Dessa – I’ve obsessed over things early on in my tarot experience and also over used the cards so I fully understand when people do it. I think it does come from an emotionally unsettling place that’s already within us and if we had something other than tarot, we would obsess with that too!
      The thing I find the hardest is to watch people actually doing the obsessing now, particularly friends and I’ve had to implement some ‘tough love’ to try and restore what I feel is a sense of normality. I feel that it’s working but I’m also aware of potentially looking or being taken as condascending, which is definitely not my intention or my approach. So far, I think I’m winning that one :)
      I read your post and I thought it was excellent with some great advice. Thank you for contributing to this post and its discussion – and welcome to Tarot Elements :)

    • I gained an interest in tarot and healing rocks right after a bad breakup. I was using those two things as a crutch. Not as tools. I was stringing events together that had no connection to the supernatural and today was the last straw. I placed all of my essential oils, oracle/tarot cards, candles, supernatural books and healing stones in a box and shoved it under my bed. I noticed that I was getting hooked on these tools and I needed to educate myself on the tools to not abuse them later on. I strongly agree with you that insecurities is one of the reasons why people get hooked on these things.

    • Hi Dessa,
      I think it can be tricky to find the balance between a healthy immersion and tunnel vision. Absorption is required to master these tools, and I think it is healthier to learn about multiple modalities than a single one, like tarot. So I think you are wise to broaden your interest and learning. Only you can determine what is a right level of support from your cards, crystals and candles etc. However, you are right to be aware that these are tools, not crutches.

  10. hi there catherine yup i agree that you can become obsessed when i started to learn as have been learning tarot for about a year now and i was gettin a bit obsessed looking at numerology and tarot alike i feel that i was sickening the people around me that i love most so i feel that moderation is the best virtue.
    and yes i have started reading for some friends and have some great results thanks to looking at your an dougs site thanks for that have learned loads.
    I have a friend that asked if i could do a read for a person that i have never seen in my life as this erson saw the read that i done for this person and was impressed, i was just gave a name to think about and asked to do a general read, celtic cross for example, but thought how could i do it without a question to go from as i was scared that i might pull all of my own problems in and i did as i am recovering from a previous opperation, so i against my better judgment i did another one and gave the person it and the answer come back that the person liked the read but some of it they did not agree with, so from this i won’d to that again a learning curve i think…
    Yours for listening

    • There’s an old book there is still great to read. When Helping You is Hurting Me. There are many books and articles on helping vs enabling. It’s a very fine line. Sometimes, it’s just about YOU and not them. Step back and ask just what are YOU getting out of them coming back over and over and I don’t mean dollar bills etc. It can be hard to look in that direction and accept those shadows of ourselves.

  11. Sigh. As a relative learner, I struggle to come up with questions so that I can get more tarot practice! There are only so many friends to read for (none of whom are addicted), and I’m very uninspired reading for mundane issues (besides which, if I really am not invested in the outcome, how much sense will the cards make anyway). So my dilemma is having enough meaty topics to read for in the first place. Maybe I need some more dramatic friends ;)
    But, I must confess to consulting my astrologer friend when I get the chance. I think all is ok if she gives advice and I consider it but still do what I want with the cards. I realise this is kind of the opposite to Teresa’s advice (which I really liked!), but makes me think that as long as the taroit isn’t making the decisions for you, then it’s probably ok. For example, when you can still say “stuff it, I’m doing xyz anyway”.
    Also had a good chuckle at the killer heels analogy, thanks.

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