Gatekeeping in the Tarot Community

Gatekeeping in the Tarot Community

Tarot Gatekeeping is a tactic that people use to exclude people from the community or make them feel like they aren’t real Tarot readers. I hate gatekeeping, it doesn’t serve anyone, and it just basically shows who is narrow-minded in a community.
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Hi, Tarot Bumblebees,

Tarot Gatekeeping is a tactic that people use to exclude people from the community or make them feel like they aren’t real Tarot readers. Gatekeeping is, unfortunately, part of a lot of organizations. Ego gets in the way, especially when something becomes popular so people feel the need to flex their ‘I’m special’ muscles. I hate gatekeeping, it doesn’t serve anyone, and it just basically shows who is narrow-minded in a community. It does a disservice to the people in it, and it’s just a load of crap.

Any statement that makes you feel like you don’t or can’t belong in the tarot community just as you are is complete nonsense. Identify it for what it is; It’s a bunch of gatekeeping bullshit, and you don’t have to pay it any mind. I’m going to give you some examples of what you may hear in tarot groups, forums, YouTube, etc that is gatekeeping.

Gatekeeping statement – You need to have hereditary links to someone who has read the tarot to be a real tarot reader. 

No, Stacy, you don’t. That’s just you trying to make people feel like shit while you attempt to elevate your status.

Gatekeeping statement – You need to be certified as a Tarot reader to be a real Tarot reader. 

No, you really don’t. You can be self-taught. You could do one class at a local shop. Being certified doesn’t make you a fantastic reader. Being a fantastic reader takes more than a class and a certificate, believe me. Yes, I know I offer and teach tarot certification, but I never ever force it on anyone or discount someone as a reader if they haven’t done any classes.

Gatekeeping statement – You can’t use a second-hand deck or a deck you bought yourself; it won’t work. 

I wish this “you can’t buy your own deck” bullshit would just DIE IN THE FIRES OF HADES. Buy your own deck or use a second-hand one. I do recommend that you cleanse it first, but again, that’s 100% up to you.

Gatekeeping statement – you have to be a witch to read the tarot. If you aren’t, the language simply won’t work for you, and your readings won’t make sense. 

I can’t even with this statement, so I’m just going to say it’s bullshit and leave it at that.

You all weighed in with the gatekeeping you’ve seen in the Tarot community. Here are a few of your submissions:

  • I’ve noticed this about myself and other experienced tarot readers, esp on Fb groups. We can be pretty snide and snippy with newbies when they ask whether drawing The Devil, The Tower, and the 3 of Swords for a relationship reading is a good thing. We all had to learn, and I’m sure many of us started our path with similar questions – I definitely did! This comes across as gatekeep-y to me.
  • Warning people not to read for themselves because they will never get past their ego to get a clear message. Another one I’ve heard is you shouldn’t read during Mercury Rx because the cards won’t be clear (pro-hint: you’re the reader, the cards are as clear as you are)
  • You HAVE to store, cleanse, and charge your decks. This is a personal preference – just like everyone’s spiritual beliefs and practices are personal.
  • You shouldn’t do more than one reading a week because you’ll stress out your decks.
  • If you use the guidebook, you’re not a real tarot reader…I will say that generally if you’re going to do paid readings for a client, it’s not considered professional to need to use the book for those, and I think that’s reasonable. But for everyone else, who cares if you read by the book?!?! It doesn’t matter, and the readings are still valid.
  • You should only use your tarot cards in one sacred space and nowhere else.
  • Be careful with Tarot; it is considered part of a closed practice in some religions.
  • Tarot is only for predicting or reading the future, and you’re doing it wrong if you use them for anything else.

When you spot gatekeeping happening in the tarot community, if you can, encourage the person that is trying to be kept out to keep going. Encourage the person who is trying but is instead being shut out. It is rarely worth your time to take on the person who is gatekeeping as they are probably very set in their ways if they are trying that nonsense in the first place.

The Tarot community thrives when we have readers from all walks of life that read the cards in all sorts of ways bring their magic to the tarot. Shine on my lovely ones and enjoy your tarot and your magical practice.

Until Next week...

17 thoughts on “Gatekeeping in the Tarot Community”

  1. I haven’t noticed it but what I’m into is a mix of tarot crystals rituals and just anything that peeks my interest. I find collector it’s about instincts and being open to what is even given to you by whoever you are connecting with via spirits, angels, ancestors, deity. I’m open to just soak in as much as possible and do things for me but I have been posting mantras or says or whatever and feel guided to move another way so anybody trying to shut me out for whatever reason I steer clear anyway

  2. You are seriously just the best. These things are SUCH big pet peeves of mine – and THANK YOU especially for touching on more experienced readers not getting their knickers in a twist when people new to this work ask questions – like you said, we all have to learn somehow, and I just cringe whenever I see new readers being treated poorly for asking good (albeit beginner) questions. THANK YOU!

  3. Sara Elizabeth Coley

    I LOVE this post. I agree completely and I find this gatekeeping nonsense all over the place, not just in tarot communities. It’s everywhere, it’s toxic, and it needs to go. I simply ignore the gatekeepers and only respond to the ones who are sincere in their efforts to just do their best with what they have.

  4. As always, you are such an inspiration to a newbie like me just trying to move forward in the tarot learning process! You’re videos are so positive, informative, and yes funny. Thank you

  5. What a great article… I am so lucky being in NZ 20+ years ago I had not heard of any of these things, so purchased my own tools, my own decks and continue to do so to this day.. I believe Tarot is for everyone, there is no right or wrong way to work with Tarot, only what is right in that moment for self.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic …

  6. Sarah Wyman-Grover

    Yeah. Tarot gatekeeping is bull. I’ve heard it too much. I will admit to reading the entry in the book for cards but only after intuitive reading. I use the book to enhance my readings, not tell me what the cards mean.

  7. Love this post, Ethony! Tarot is becoming such a great tool for people to use in a variety of different ways and each of us has our own unique spin on the cards, working with them, their meanings, and practices surrounding the cards.

    Thank you!

  8. I’m actually better at reading tarot for myself than for others. Because with myself I can call me out on my shit and I know the backgroundstory and can connect the cards better to my life.
    When reading for others I’m more afraid of “upsetting” them with my reading or stuff like that…
    Anyone promoting not reading tarot for themselves should really try it and be amazed by the insight;)

  9. I really appreciate your commitment to keeping tarot an open and welcoming space for all! As a non-certified, self-taught reader who bought my first deck for myself, doesn’t charge my decks, and loves vintage decks used by many others before me, I appreciate the content of this post.

  10. Still laughing over “you have to be a witch” I also dislike the belief that you have to be given cards. Good grief! I never would have had any cards if I didn’t buy them myself! It’s all about the art, the art, the art! for me. Calls to me or doesn’t. As for reading from a book, my mom loves it when I do that. She loves being able to actually see in writing what the advice is.
    Great Blog!

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