Is it Rude to Ask for Free Tarot Readings?

Hi Tarot Tribe, it’s Ethony.  Today I want to talk about Free Tarot Readings. Before I get started, these are my thoughts, you don’t have to agree with everything or anything I say. If you comment below or reply to comments below, I would really like it if everyone kept it respectful.

As with everything I offer, take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

Free Tarot Reading requests are frequently found in my inbox, IG messages and FB messages. I know I am not alone in this. There are many people in our community who are professional Tarot Readers who experience the same. I am also well aware of how fortunate I am to be a Professional Tarot Reader.

When I say professional Tarot reader, I am not saying that you need a specific certification, or need to be part of a specific organisation. I am defining this as someone who is paid to provide a Tarot Reading service and that this is their main source of income. You can also be a professional part-time Tarot Reader or one that is learning to become a professional and is building their business. A professional Tarot reader does not read Tarot as a hobby, It is a profession that they have worked hard to progress, perfect and constantly learn from.

I have spoken before about reading for family and friends. That is a personal choice everyone must make on their own. I am also not talking about free readings that are swaps or barters. Nor am I talking about scam Tarot Readers (which is a whole different post), or people who say that you have a curse and need to pay them $200 to remove it. They are charlatans and not professional anything but assholes, let alone professional Tarot readers.

There are people in every community that will want something for free. They will ask their friend who is a photographer for free photos. They will ask for free upgrades, free gear or discounts at stores. People love free shit. And while it is true that if you don’t ask, you don’t get, if someone declines your request for something for free, that is their right. If someone asks to be paid for a service or product, then that is their right too. As customers or clients, you have the right to say yes or no.

I have seen people post in multiple Facebook Groups that I am a member of, asking for free readings. They often ask the same question in each group as well, or they ask the same question each time they ask for a free reading. These people are what I call fishers. They are waiting to find the reader who will tell them what they want to hear and will do so for free. The issue with having one of these people as your client is that they rarely convert into paying clients and they will keep coming back with the same questions, over and over again.

In the Tarot Readers Academy Group on Facebook, we have one thread each week for people who want to swap readings. It used to be for free readings as well, but that has changed due to people constantly undervaluing members time, energy and skill. There are a tonne of Free Tarot Reading Groups in FB for people to ask for readings and if that is your jam, then make jam my friend.

There are people who will endlessly say that using your spiritual gifts and charging for them is against some cosmic rule. If that is what you believe and the reality that you want to live in, then you are free to do so. It is your choice and just like your religious beliefs, you can have them, just don’t try to shove them down my throat. Don’t want to charge for your readings? That’s cool. Want to charge for your readings? That is cool too. Isn’t choice great? I mean, I could go on about how a one handed energy exchange is bad karma, but it would be a waste of my time.

My Stance on Free Tarot Readings

When I was learning the Tarot I did Free Readings. When I was beginning to build my business, I did free Tarot readings or practice, and also in exchange for testimonials. I encourage my tarot students to also do free readings for these reasons and to do so for people, who aren’t their friends and family, to build up their skills.

I do not carry out Free Tarot Readings anymore and I haven’t for years.

When I get asked for a Free Tarot Reading, which is usually a message that sounds something like: “can I get a reading from you?” or “can you pull a card for me?” or “I did this reading and it doesn’t make sense. Can you take a look at it?”

These are all requests for free readings.

If they were serious about booking a reading with me, they would have gone to my site and done so. It is pretty easy to find my site and book with me. When I receive these messages, I thank them for contacting me and point them in the direction of my site where they can book with me. Ninety-nine percent of the time I never hear from that person again. They have moved on to someone else.

Sometimes I get the “I can’t afford you” line back from a small percentage of people. I am not sure what people are trying to achieve with this reply. So I usually ignore it. Like dude, I wouldn’t  go into Louis Vuitton and say that; I wouldn’t say that to my accountant or lawyer or dentist. I guess people are expecting a discount or a justification for my prices.

It is abundantly clear on my website that Tarot is my profession. I pay taxes on the income that I receive from my readings, coaching, academy and products. This is the way I provide for my family and myself. Money is how I pay for rent, food, clothes, internet, car etc. We do not currently live in a world where you can survive on exposure and good vibes.

Here are the reasons why I do not and will not carry out Free Tarot Readings.

People Rarely Value Freebies

There are a tonne of psychological studies on this. If you want to get into it, you can click HERE to read all about it.

Basically, here is the gist. Are you more likely to gift something to someone that you were given for free? Or something you paid money for? If you get free tickets to an event vs paying $200 for the event, are you likely to say, “Screw it I am not going to the $200 event”? The odds are that you are more likely to go because there is VALUE attached to anything you pay for.

It is so easy to brush off a reading if you have placed no VALUE on it. Don’t like what the reader said or don’t want to admit that you did something to attribute to the situation you are in? Well who gives a shit, you didn’t pay for it. You can just go find someone else who may tell you something different.

My Time is Valuable

This is something that recently came up when talking about those annoying people who add you to Facebook Groups without your permission. URGH, don’t get me started on this again!  My sister, who is a PR professional, mentioned that when you do something like this, you are assuming that your time is worth more than the other person. This is what is looks like:

When you are asking for someone to take the time to do something for you for free, you are saying to that person. “Hey, can you spend your time on this thing for me?  I, on the other hand, am going to do nothing in exchange and carry on with my life until it is done. You can use your time and skill to do this for me for free, whereas I will invest no time or effort into this exchange.”

On the other hand, when you pay for a service, what you are saying is: “I am paying you (with money I received for my own skill and time, in my own job) for a service which is going to take your time and skill. Thank you.”

Time is the most valuable thing we have.

My Service is Legit

We live in a society that doesn’t exactly see Tarot Readers as legit professionals. We are on the fringe and a little taboo. This is a stigma that most professional Tarot Readers are fighting to change every single day. Friends, colleagues and students of mine struggle to speak out loud that they read the cards professionally because they fear ridicule or, in the extreme, persecution. This is something that is changing, but it can be a subconscious reason why people believe that a Tarot reading is not valuable.

I believe that they are. I pay my Tarot biz mentors and the people I get readings from when I need them.

Your Shit is Important

People go to readers for some pretty life changing shit. Any Tarot reader with a good number of readings under their belt will have stories about serious relationships, businesses, money troubles, mental health issues, health issues and the list goes on.

If you are going to a Tarot Reader and asking about the deepest and most important parts of your life, don’t you think that is worth paying for?

Most people come to Tarot Readers because they have a problem or a need. That need or problem is probably causing a lot of worry or stress; value yourself by valuing the content people are providing you and/or the solution and path forward. Or the breakthrough “ah ha” moment, the healing or the knowledge and security.

Isn’t it worth it?

Would You Ask Your Lawyer?

Would you go to your Lawyer and expect free service?

Would you go to your Dentist and expect them to do everything for free?

Would you go to your Mechanic and ask for a free car service?

Would you ask your Plumber to fix your bathroom for free?

There are very, very few people who would do any of these things, and if they did, they wouldn’t get far. I am not talking about family and friends, again, I am talking about people who don’t know you.

I may not be a lawyer, but I have spent years working on my Tarot reading skills. I have completed training which I have paid for. I have taken complimentary courses to increase my skills as a counsellor, business coach and teacher. I pay for the tools that I need to carry out my work.

My time is valuable. My skills are valuable. I am worthy of being paid for the work that I do. Period.

Honestly, I don’t think people who ask for free Tarot Readings think about this much  I hope that by sharing some of my thoughts it sparks people to think about what they are asking for when they do this.

As I mentioned in a paragraph earlier, if you are in dire straits and need a reading, there are a lot of services that can provide that for you. I am not saying that everyone can afford to pay for a Tarot Reading. I shared why I feel it is a little rude to ask a Tarot Professional for a freebie and why I don’t do that.
What do you think? Do you get Free Tarot Reading requests? How do you handle them? Do you think it is flat out rude to ask for a reading for free? I would love to hear your thoughts below. Please keep it classy folks.

29 Comments
  • Nancy Frustaci
    Posted at 10:16h, 14 March Reply

    Great post, I totally agree with what you have to say. Its something i have to remember that its OK to charge for my services because my time in valuable especially now being a mother. So thanks for this I really needed this.

  • Ivi
    Posted at 10:21h, 14 March Reply

    Very well said I believe! I am newly qualified aromatherapist, reiki practitioner and oracle card reader. As I am in the beginning of my holistic career, i have done a lot of freebies for experience and case studies. However, o feel now the burden of doing stuff for free, unless it is an equal exchange with my spiritual sisters. Some people enjoyed their free treatments and readings but then didn’t make any move towards payment, although expecting me to continue my regular visits. After a while it made me feel so bad, as I felt what you worded so perfectly on your article. I was expected to offer my services for which i have spent money and time to become as good as possible, whereas they get on with their lives without giving anything back. It was a great lesson for me when i said that this is enough, and i don’t have any more time for people who only want to take for me without willing to give back. And yes it is very bad karma not only for them but also for us who accept to give parts of ourselves around, and don’t caring for ourselves enough to fill the pot.
    Thank you Ethony, that was a great read.

  • Brianna Thomas
    Posted at 10:39h, 14 March Reply

    I totally agree with this! I once had a fellow reader consistently ask me for readings on the same issue, to the point where a request was coming in from her twice a week for almost 3 weeks. That was when I was still building my skills and working on connecting with others in my online community. It was that moment which convinced my already “interested” mind, to develop my craft on the professional scale, and now I happily charge for my readings and coaching services because it’s an exchange like any other business. Thankfully, I have such respectful clients who truly value my services or have been recommended. But it’s quite sad that there are even fellow readers who may take advantage of those within the community, when we really should focus on uplifting each other and on destigmatizing divination as a professional service.

  • Brigit Esselmont
    Posted at 10:55h, 14 March Reply

    Loved reading this post, Ethony! There is often an expectation amongst people that asking for a free reading is OK. Often, this comes from a place of thinking that Tarot is for ‘entertainment purposes only’ and a frivolous past-time. And in some cases, that’s true. But for professional Tarot readers like yourself and many others, we know that a Tarot reading is so much more than just a bit of fun. A talented Tarot reader can facilitate huge transformational change for their clients, using the Tarot cards as a guide. And there is no question that there is a huge value associated with this too.

    I have learned not to take offense when someone asks for a free reading. I see it as an opportunity to re-educate people about what Tarot is really about and the impact a reading could have on their life (and the associated value of that impact/change). And if all they want is a free reading, then I just send them over to our free readings service. No hard feelings. In fact, it gives a Tarot student an opportunity to learn, which is win-win-win!

  • Mark Rider
    Posted at 11:06h, 14 March Reply

    I do free, one card email readings through the Free Tarot Network (http://www.freetarot.us) in order to help me learn more and give back some of what has been given to me. I only do one reading per week that way because of the time it takes to give something more than a few sentences long.

    I believe that most people see artistic and spiritual practitioners as something of a fluke in the world – they appreciate what these practitioners do but they cannot get their heads around the fact that non-tangible services require some form of reciprocation.

    Performers and light workers are often seen as providing a form of entertainment, rather than a true service. Because of their misconceptions about what it takes to read the Tarot, or clear negative energy, or any number of other services, many folks seem to believe that these are innate talents that required no learning, practice or effort. And if that is the case, why not share it freely?

    These are the same people who have no idea why their web site will cost so much to design, why the entertainer they want to hire for an event wants extra money for travelling so far, or why the custom order they want to commission is going to cost more than the ‘off the shelf’ version. The talent and time that is required to make these people happy never seems to have a tangible cost in their minds, and they will never really understand why people don’t do things for free.

    And for the people who understand the costs to the practitioners, the fees are well worth it.

  • Odette
    Posted at 11:15h, 14 March Reply

    Hey Ethony!, I can’t agree more…

    The only thing i feel like adding is that paying a service can have many forms. You can pay with money, other services, or goods. And by saying this i don’t mean that we should demand from a professional reader or the dentist you mentioned, to get paid with a bag of oranges or with a foot massage. What i strongly feel to say is that for people like me that they feel bad asking for money for a reading, it might be helpful asking for something else for exchange even if we a friend or family member in front of us.
    This is a good start for creating a safe distance from people that they constantly demand we should be available for them any moment no matter what. Usually it makes it very difficult to say no to people that are close to us and that can make life hard.

    xxx

  • Odette
    Posted at 11:16h, 14 March Reply

    Hey Ethony!, I can’t agree more…

    The only thing i feel like adding is that paying a service can have many forms. You can pay with money, other services, or goods. And by saying this i don’t mean that we should demand from a professional reader or the dentist you mentioned, to get paid with a bag of oranges or with a foot massage. What i strongly feel to say is that for people like me that they feel bad asking for money for a reading, it might be helpful asking for something else for exchange even if we a friend or family member in front of us.
    This is a good start for creating a safe distance from people that they constantly demand we should be available for them any moment no matter what. Usually it makes it very difficult to say no to people that are close to us and that can make life hard.

    xxx

  • Ty Bevington
    Posted at 12:15h, 14 March Reply

    I cannot agree any stronger with this post. Tarot is a skill and needs to be valued as such.

  • Sandra Geddes
    Posted at 12:58h, 14 March Reply

    Thank you for writing this Ethony. It’s about time people started to value us as much as other professions. We are there when they need someone most after all. I also agree on the importance of valuing ourselves.

  • Lisa Frideborg
    Posted at 13:08h, 14 March Reply

    Spot on. My favourite is ‘Can you just pull a QUICK card?’ as if asking for a ‘quickie’ is somehow LESS rude… ‘Do you ask your dentist for a free quick dental check-up too?’ has been my standard come back for years now. I refer people who ask for free readings to TABI – that way, I create a win-win for everyone. The person seeking a freebie get what they are after and student readers get more people to practise on. Until we ALL stop this nonsense people will keep trying though, so well done for weighing in!

  • Alice
    Posted at 14:15h, 14 March Reply

    I often go to some of the sights and am appalled with all the free readings. I don’t do readings and I would also love to have a free one, but I would never post a photo and ask for one free. I think it is rude. Why don’t they advertise that it is against the pages rules. I know i go to these groups to learn what i can from others, not to see these posts.

  • Courtney Allen
    Posted at 14:16h, 14 March Reply

    Yes yes yes!! Thank you Ethony for writing this blog post. It’s so important and lately I have had some thoughts about this in my own business. I could talk about hundreds of times when I’m asked for free readings when my website is clearly listed everywhere I post. It’s true though, my time is valuable and I love creating something beautiful and insightful for someone who has purchased. I know myself I put much more value on things that I purchase and pay for so I’m definitely keeping that in mind if I’m asked for a free reading again! Thank you for writing and posting this – it’s so important to talk about! ♥️✨
    Love, Courtney xx

  • Patty Daley
    Posted at 15:09h, 14 March Reply

    Your time is valuable. If people want a free reading, they are not putting a value on your time, and they are not putting a value on what they will receive from you. Practicing a polite reply is always best. Such as, “My fees are listed on my pricing page here (and add a link). I’d be happy to do a reading for you but I would appreciate it if you go through my website in booking a reading.” Many professional people I have worked with would never expect to render services until the PayPal invoice they sent me was paid. And they were clear about it in the most polite way possible. 🙂 I appreciated their work ethic in doing that and it made me value services I received from them. You would not go get a massage and then assume it was free! You would not go get groceries and walk out without paying. I find the type of persona who would ask such a thing is not, and never will be your friend, or a good client. Loved the video and post. <3

  • Laura H
    Posted at 15:29h, 14 March Reply

    Beautiful!
    Your Shit is important, and My time is valuable

  • Vicki
    Posted at 16:08h, 14 March Reply

    thank you for sharing Ethony! I appreciate knowing that I am not the only one who experiences this over and over again. Yes our services are valuable and worth being paid for. I would certainly not expect my hair stylist to do my hair for free. Thanks again for validating tarot readers:)

    • Ethony
      Posted at 18:47h, 14 March Reply

      Thank you for the lovely comment.

  • sylvi shayl
    Posted at 16:48h, 14 March Reply

    I read tarot professionally too, and I amazed/insulted at the number of people who expect that I will give my skills away for free. The usual line is a variation of “You can do a reading for me if you like.” to which I always reply “I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, I don’t need the practice.. You can pay me if you like.”. It sorts out the serious Seekers from the cheap-thrill seekers. I completely agree with your stance – this is your professional skill set and your source of income – no giving it away for free. and live on thin air and good vibes.

  • Susan Lasprugato
    Posted at 18:23h, 14 March Reply

    Thank you for taking the time to express what so many professional readers experience. Your post was thoroughly well-written, and you offered many valid points while remaining balanced, open, and calm. In the process, you clearly showed what it means to be a true professional.

  • Roger Cote
    Posted at 20:34h, 14 March Reply

    I agree with you but, there is a but. I am a professional Tarot Reader, I do it since 40 years snow. I do it for a living. And I always ask to be paid. But as the Universal Law say, you have to pay for everything that is given (offered) to you. So, of course The Universe must be paid for Tarot Reading. So, if someone ask me for a free tarot reading, I tell them about the Law. They must pay in return, doing good for needing people, or doing good for the Universe. Still, as I say, they must be sure that what they do will be worth what they want to pay for. And they may think that what they do is not worth enough so they have to pay again. Then if they pay me with money, it settles it all for a few bucks. Where I live is a poor country so I charge $3 to $10 dollars for a reading. So even when I do a free reading for me, the customer have to pay the Universe for it. Or, if I decide (see) that the customers pays for something for me like buy me a beer or a coffee, its the same for me as if he gave me money. So, yes I am always paid for my readings.

  • Rosa
    Posted at 09:42h, 15 March Reply

    Es cierto a mi también me molesta cuando quieren una consulta gratis, no se dan cuenta que es nuestro trabajo
    y esfuerzo; a que al médico especialista no le dicen míreme gratis

  • Sancheo Lawrence
    Posted at 11:54h, 15 March Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful article as I am often faced with this situation. I have learned that the people that do request free readings are however normally rather ignorant with regards to the value that the Tarot has to offer. I have found that they are normally confusing the Tarot with, as you mentioned in your article, charlatans. I do feel that this does give rise to an even greater challenge and opportunity on our side as readers: We need to educate people and teach them the value of the Tarot. Many people were totally adverse to internet banking, but as they became more educated, so they moved their money online. We are most fortunate to BE Professional Tarotists, this is an amazing era we are in and I believe that we have immense opportunity even if it means that we educate ourselves through saying, “No. My service is a professional service and therefore I charge.” Blessed Be x

  • Sarah Gibson
    Posted at 13:38h, 15 March Reply

    I thoroughly agree with everything you’ve said! I once did a free reading on a network for someone who let me add them to my mailing list. Now every newsletter I send out I get a reply from him asking how I am and could I pull a card for him. Whenever I say sure I can honey , it will cost such and such amount, he doesn’t reply until the next newsletter when he tries it again! And people expect follow ups on free readings too – again for free! I don’t think clients understand how much time can go into not just the actual reading but the writing up afterwards too. Our time is as precious as everyone elses.

    Great post Ethony, really well written. Thank you.

  • Karin Dalton-Smith
    Posted at 05:50h, 16 March Reply

    Yes I too am a professional Tea Leaf Reader and get the messages all the time through Private Mesenger. I too like you don’t do free readings and haven’t done for a long time. I have many clients that I see privately so whe I sit down at night a free reading would be the last thing on my mind. Fabulous topic and so ghost to see it all aired.

  • Zoe
    Posted at 07:30h, 16 March Reply

    Hi Ethony,

    I really loved this post. It’s relatable across many professions, I am not a tarot card reader but I value the services provided by professional readers. In today’s society the mentality of getting something for free is really potent, thanks to mainstream media offering unrealistic expectations. I try to encourage my clients to pay for services, if they can’t afford it, ask for a payment plan. I know when someone asks me for a freebie, I give them a payment plan instead.

    Thank you for this inspiring post, it definitely wiped out my previous doubts.

  • Cygnus
    Posted at 17:29h, 16 March Reply

    I totally agree. And I add one more question … How do you respond to someone who says (never directly) that who has this gift or facility to help others, should not ask for money?

    I know, that’s just another trick to get a free tarot reading, but seriously, it’s the height of questions!

    • Ethony
      Posted at 21:36h, 18 March Reply

      Good question, I say, you are most welcome to believe that, that is not what I believe. That usually works.

  • Stella Waldvogel
    Posted at 15:17h, 17 March Reply

    You took the words right out of my mouth, Ethony.
    People tend to treat us like what we do isn’t real work, like it has no value. But you never stop learning, researching, and studying. By the time you hit 30, if you’re doing it right you’ve surely logged more hours of study than it takes to get through law school or medical school. I don’t mind give-and-take with friends, but told the last random person who popped up and asked me to pull a card to come over and clean my house and I might think about it..
    Worked like a charm. 😉

  • Marlene
    Posted at 17:26h, 17 March Reply

    Ethony I couldn’t agree more with what you have written.!!! My education as Medium, healer and RoHun doctor was more expensive than my University degree, not to mention the years of study. I don’t do any readings or healings for free. The only person who got free readings was my mom. I hope people see this and understand we didn’t just pick up a deck for $20 and start playing with them. There are years of investment of our time and money involved. Our readings provide value towards guidance and life changes. I was asked just recently by someone I hardly knew. She hounded me constantly calling me to come over for tea and read the cards for her. I politely explained my types of readings and the prices. The phone calls have stopped.

    Oh and Vicki before I went back to school to get my degree for my main career I was a hairstylist for one year. Yes people asked me all the time to cut their hair, touch up their bangs as if I owed it to them. That’s where I got the experience of saying no.

  • ND
    Posted at 08:18h, 26 March Reply

    Agree with your thoughts here. As you said , it is not a quantifiable skill, difficult to standardise perhaps for teaching purpose, hence difficult to put a value to , in comparison to value offered by say a counsellor or even an astrologer. I guess it is much more person dependent than other comparable skills in this area.

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