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Topic: The Morality of Cold Readings?
Message: Posted by: Ravenspur (Feb 26, 2019 04:40PM)
I've been interested in cold reading for years and just bought Phedon Bilek's Sibyl. It's good stuff. But as I learn it, I keep wondering,

How do readers morally justify doing readings of people?

It's somewhat more than entertainment, isn't it? What are the rules that make it right? What if something upsetting comes out?

I don't have any interest in passing judgment on the reasoning of others, just interested in informing my own thinking.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Feb 26, 2019 04:41PM)
Uh oh...
Message: Posted by: aligator (Feb 26, 2019 05:43PM)
That's a very good and difficult question. The answer will be different for each reader and mentalist as each will or should have a line that will not be crossed. Anyone without any kind of line at all does indeed have morality issues imo.
Message: Posted by: Ravenspur (Feb 26, 2019 06:15PM)
That bad, Iain?

Phedon's work doesn't seem anywhere near the line. I haven't seen Ian Rowland's stuff, though I have his book.

I'm a high school teacher with what would seem to be a natural audience, but I can't think of anyway doing a reading of a kid could be ethical. Even after school. Even with permission.

I'm trying to find where different people draw that line. Like I suggested, where others draw the line is up to them. Not for me to judge. I don't want to be the sleazy woman who does readings parties for people in my neck of the woods. I've heard she used to do obscene phone calls for money.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Feb 26, 2019 07:26PM)
I used to do readings a lot for corporate parties. Because of the quick nature of the set-up, with no more than 5 minutes per person, the readings remain light and entertaining. If you're going to do longer personal readings (e.g., 1-hour sessions), you should first get some training as a therapist. Nothing is worse than a shut-eye causing irreparable damage because they feel that their oracle can do no wrong.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Feb 26, 2019 10:09PM)
I suspect Iain's comment was because this particular can of worms gets opened every so often and can lead to some rather heated discussions.

His opinions of Sybil can be found here: https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=683480&forum=303

I don't have that particular DVD, so cannot comment with any knowledge. I would like to pick it up, but don't have the spare funds at the moment.

On to your actual question, however:

First, I'll suggest you decide what exactly you mean by "cold reading." Do you mean tossing out one-size-fits-all lines and seeing what sticks? Do you mean tailoring your statistically likely lines to demographics? Do you mean using an oracle to give a source for the readings, whether overt or covert? I regard giving a reading to a stranger as a "cold" reading, while that's not what most people mean when using that term.

Second, in what context do you intend to use CR? If you like, you can use CR to spice up a routine and make it more personal. As in, when doing a card divination (use any standard method to p**k or f*rce the card so you know what it is), instead of saying "think of the color, it's red... now think of the suit..." you can say something that seems very personal to the participant, implying that by knowing the personality, you would know the card. "You are a serious minded person, so would normally pick a black card, but I get the sense that you are concentrating on other things right now, so I suspect today you are thinking of a red card. While there is a money matter in focus, you are not the sort who would really dwell on finances above people, so I am pretty sure you picked a heart. While your thoughts are with several people, you are not the kind who shares that sort of thing too openly, so you wouldn't bring them into this. That means a number card. I did mention that there's a money matter in focus, so I think you may have chosen either the 4 or the 8 of hearts, with my gut saying the 8." You take the divinatory meaning of the card and use it to guide you to a reading as you reveal it one piece at a time.

On the other hand, if your interest is in giving readings primarily, I'd suggest starting with an oracle that doesn't predict the future or give specific advice. Palmistry and numerology are good for that. Numerology is useful because it can further inform other oracles or systems. I find a certain expectation with cartomancy that I'm going to tell the future. With palms, I can say the future is only indicated in broad strokes, not in details.

The ethics are a very important thing to address. Like it or not, if you say things with confidence and they are (or seem) accurate, people will invest a certain amount of belief in what you say. If you are not comfortable with them putting stock in what you say to that degree, think carefully about how you will present the readings and where you will use them.

Personally, I have no problem calling myself a fortune teller. And yes, I know Mark Lewis says no real reader would ever call himself such a thing, but there we are.

My own ethical position is to tell people honestly what I do believe about my oracles. I believe that palmistry is inherently interesting as a system, regardless of whether one puts any credence in the system or not. I believe that tarot and playing cards are a useful tool for reframing personal narratives. I do read futures, at least in broad, and I emphasize that it no future is set in stone. There's no value in knowing about it if we can't change it.

Bravo on not wanting to be the creepy person. Most of the folks who I have met who read tarot or palms are earnest and well-meaning. But that doesn't mean none of them could be creepy, too. Coming to it from the perspective of someone interested in magic and mentalism means you are starting with the idea of entertaining people, which I think goes a long way toward avoiding the creepy aspect. I think it was John Riggs who once wrote about being booked for a palm reading gig and telling the booker that the event was large enough to really need two readers. The booker mentioned having also contacted another local reader and asking if he was any good. "I always leave them crying," was the boastful reply. But who wants to leave all the guests in tears? What is that about? I recall that Riggs prefers to leave them feeling happy. I like that approach better as well.

You will have to come to terms with your own choices about giving readings. I hope my own are useful food for thought.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Feb 26, 2019 10:51PM)
Not running contrary to any opinion expressed here, but I think stock lines are a good thing to study.

Why?

Think of them as training wheels. There are a number of excellent resources for stock lines that aren't "one-size-fits-all lines". They simply help you to better convey certain things within a reading and are essentially the "lingo" and language of the business. After a while, you won't even need them anymore because you'll be saying things in your own words and specific to each situation.

You can also use them to spice up your effects (where appropriate) if you're not wanting to really delve too deeply into that whole world. All readers say things that are contained in stock lines. They've just finessed them.

As for the "morality' issue - it gets beat to death here. I don't care what others do nor is it my place to judge. I have better things to think about and my own shoes to walk in.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Feb 26, 2019 11:13PM)
I forgot to add: Phedon's [i]Sibyl[/i] is a wonderful resource. Never mind the nit-pickers and go with what your gut and heart tells you. Trust your own instincts and don't let yourself get pulled in too many directions or you'll end up being a victim of "group think".

It sounds as though your heart is already in the right place. Just remember, that when you're giving readings, you're the one who's largely in control of the tone and direction they take. Steer the ship. If you do it right, you shouldn't encounter rough waters too often - if you don't want to.

I echo what Patrick said in his last line about coming to your own conclusions. If you want your readings to feel "fun and breezy" then make them so. It all comes down to you in the end.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Feb 27, 2019 04:11AM)
A game I often play with myself (yes I did say that) is to try guessing things about people using clues like dress, jewelry, hair style and other obvious and not so obvious "tells". Being able to tell people about themselves "cold" is the only way I try "reading" them. As an entertainer, it's not my job to analyze anybody or give them advise. That would be irresponsible in an entertainment context, for me.
Message: Posted by: Smoking Camel (Feb 27, 2019 04:17AM)
I have 3 rules

1) Do no harm
2) The client needs to make their own decisions, not the cards
3) if you see a bus coming, tell them to get out the way. (This last one is like a stockbroker, telling someone don’t invest in that stock... sure they may be wrong sometimes)
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Feb 27, 2019 06:26AM)
Some of my thoughts said by others...
"Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn't matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honoured." - Marcus Aurelius

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius

What matters to an active man is to do the right thing; whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him. —Goethe

“I met a man at a party. He said "I'm writing a novel" I said "Oh really? Neither am I.” ― Peter Cook
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Feb 27, 2019 06:29AM)
And in general terms - a reading says much more about the reader than it ever will about the sitter...
Message: Posted by: Ravenspur (Feb 27, 2019 07:41AM)
This is good feedback.

Phedon's stuff is what I would call kind. As you may know, he's nice, he's positive, and he's not delving into anything negative. I think it qualifies as CR. I don't know how much I'm supposed to say about his effects, so I won't say anything. I did read the threads about Sibyl before purchasing it.

What gave me pause: one time I had taken my daughter to dance and was waiting in the lobby. I was trying to study for grad school, but there was this guy who was giving this lady his sob story about his inability to get a job as a professor and his marital problems. It popped into my head, "This guy's a drunk." A little while later he left the lobby and reappeared 20 minutes later smelling of whiskey. What happens if something similar happens during a reading? My intuition is not usually that good, but it's a little disturbing to be correct like that.

With all of this said, I'm rank amateur, still trying to find my area to pursue. I've been working on some card tricks, but it's slow. Mentalism would build on some skills I already possess. Big difference between performing and having some skills, I know, but that's where I'm at.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Feb 27, 2019 08:41AM)
Might as well ask the morality of a hammer. It's a tool, it has no morality in and of itself.

Generally speaking I think it's wise to avoid saying anything that can cause legal trouble, or personal grief. Don't give advice you're not qualified to give (ie: medical, financial, grief counseling, etc). Keep it positive.

As for your "he's a drunk" thing - While I understand this is not a radical hypothesis, I believe our unconscious minds picks up on and processes a ton of information that never comes to our conscious mind. Every now and then, though, it will pop into your conscious mind - this is all 'intuition' is. The more you learn to trust those random blips, the more often they will occur.
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Mar 1, 2019 04:51AM)
[quote]On Feb 27, 2019, IAIN wrote:
“I met a man at a party. He said "I'm writing a novel" I said "Oh really? Neither am I.” ― Peter Cook [/quote]

Stop cold reading me!
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 1, 2019 05:09AM)
It's genuinely one of the few stock lines that can work and isn't harmful!
Message: Posted by: MrPoponi (Mar 5, 2019 12:37PM)
Subject exhaustively discussed here.
Cold reading can be condemned by most magicians, so debating the morality of cold reading is like debating what is the true/best religion.
I, in particular, think that morality can´t be found in cold reading, but rather, as you use it.
If you want to use it, then let it be for the good of the sitter.
Then you will be satisfying your ego, while helping someone.
Message: Posted by: A Magic Cafe User (Mar 5, 2019 02:38PM)
[quote]On Mar 1, 2019, IAIN wrote:
It's genuinely one of the few stock lines that can work and isn't harmful! [/quote]

Agreed, however if someone genuinely thinks that you can help them with their problems and you feed them stock lines... that is bad. I personally think there nothing wrong with cold reading in the spirit of entertainment.

-A Magic Café User
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 5, 2019 04:18PM)
[quote]On Mar 5, 2019, A Magic Café User wrote:
[quote]On Mar 1, 2019, IAIN wrote:
It's genuinely one of the few stock lines that can work and isn't harmful! [/quote]

Agreed, however if someone genuinely thinks that you can help them with their problems and you feed them stock lines... that is bad. I personally think there nothing wrong with cold reading in the spirit of entertainment.

-A Magic Café User [/quote]

In my opinion I feel that there is potential for stock lines to backfire. Sometimes massively. We can do harm when we try to do good. Or entertain.
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Mar 5, 2019 04:49PM)
[quote]On Mar 5, 2019, IAIN wrote:
In my opinion I feel that there is potential for stock lines to backfire. Sometimes massively. We can do harm when we try to do good. Or entertain. [/quote]

This concept, while simple in nature, is what causes so much of the debate on this topic (which you will all notice that I stay out of).

Yes, entertainment can do harm. Yes, giving readings, even just stock ones, can do harm. Driving to the grocery store can do harm. Everyone is going to have their own lines. I won't lie, I really only recently have come up with an approach to all this that leaves me completely at peace with myself.
Message: Posted by: CGould (Mar 6, 2019 10:45AM)
My problem is the "psychics" that not only don't ask permission before giving a reading but also "predict" major events in your future that they can't possibly know, but yet now that knowledge effects you for your life if you believe in them as being legit.

Example; my girlfriend has an acquaintance that "read" her while they were having coffee... the reading? "You will be divorced 3 times in life"

Where is the morality in that? No she is haunted with that, she claims she doesn't believe it but I can see in her eyes how bothered she is, especially seeing as her and I have both unfortunately have been through (or still going through) divorce.

Now I don't know if this is considered "cold reading" or even related to the topic at hand but how do people "sleep well at night" as Stewart said above when they make predictions like that?
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 11:13AM)
With regard to ethics there is hardly anything about it mentioned in cold reading literature and I have always felt this is a sad omission. Except for one source. I will send you a link to it by private message once I locate the details. It is an audiocassette put out by Martin Breese in 1991 and the advice still holds up today.
Message: Posted by: CGould (Mar 6, 2019 12:10PM)
Just like anything else in life... some people just take advantage of others be it through lies or gullibility. I just wonder how they can feel good about themselves at the end of the day. Just like those religious healers that trick people into believing they have powers through God, "if you just give us all your money you will walk again".

Anyhow, rant over, I appreciate the material you have been suggesting today and the advice.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 12:14PM)
Some of them are hampered by belief and some of them are hampered by greed.
Message: Posted by: CGould (Mar 6, 2019 12:18PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Stewart wrote:
Some of them are hampered by belief and some of them are hampered by greed. [/quote]

Definitely a statement we can all agree on.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 12:34PM)
I know many personally who are hampered by belief. I am not in a position to advise them otherwise and they wouldn't listen anyway. The greedy ones sometimes end up in jail but not often enough. In fact mostly never. However they are very easy to spot even before you enter their parlours. You can spot them by their advertising. There are certain phrases they use which give the game away such as "99% accurate" "reunites lost lovers" "removes curses" etc;. And if you ever see the phrase "Black Magic" run a mile!

I have had clients taken in for thousands upon thousands of dollars by these vultures. One guy told me he spent $26,000 dollars on one of those crooked psychics. I felt quite benevolent after that only charging $200 for an hour session!

Alas I am hampered a little by greed myself. However, I really am in the minor leagues compared to some of my more evil colleagues.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 6, 2019 12:44PM)
Sorry but I think $200 even for an hour reading is OUTRAGEOUS. You can get some quality therapy from a licensed and board certified psychologist or social worker with a Masters degree, for $150us an hour and they REALLY know what they're doing. How can you possibly, justify such a fee?
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 12:58PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
Sorry but I think $200 even for an hour reading is OUTRAGEOUS. You can get some quality therapy from a licensed and board certified psychologist or social worker with a Masters degree, for $150us an hour and they REALLY know what they're doing. How can you possibly, justify such a fee? [/quote]

This is a very good question and I thank you for it. I suppose I could be flippant and say I justify it by my love for money but I suppose I had better stifle the mischevous side of my nature. In truth my fees are actually very modest compared to those of many of my colleagues some of whom charge a LOT more than I do. Check out other psychic consultants on the web if you don't believe me.

And I am charging less than most magicians would for a children's birthday party.

I justify what I am doing because I am very, very, VERY good at what I do. I have helped thousands of people and I have the letters from all over the world to prove it. Not to mention literally hundreds of comments written in my comment book. (incidentally a comment book is a wonderful marketing device if you are reading in public places) I have saved marriages, prevented suicides, given comfort to the discouraged, consoled the bereaved (I am not a medium) and rescued the distressed from their despair.

I have nothing to apologise for.

My qualifications? My life is my qualification. More than you would ever know.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 6, 2019 01:17PM)
Given the fact that most "readers" work under the auspices of entertainment, I still can't, see the justification.

As Barnum once said "there's a sucker born every minute" and I guess that holds true even today. That's not directed at you personally stewart, it's just an observation of the state of mankind now and how it has been, for a very long time.

For the severe problems you mentioned, I would ALWAYS refer someone to a therapeutic professional. For me, anything else would be irresponsible.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 01:29PM)
Most readers do NOT work under the auspices of entertainment (although in some jurisdictions they might do so for legal reasons). And I am afraid therapeutic therapists are often madder than their patients! One even told me that a lot of psychiatrists take up that profession so they could get insights into their own problems! As Kreskin has stated, "Anyone who sees a psychiatrist needs to have their heads examined!"

In fact one of my favourite books on the Tarot explains that the only difference between a cleaning lady giving advice and a professional therapist doing so are the certificates on the wall, the univerity degress and the fancy office. And of course a nice carpet helps too. The advice is often of the same value but because the client has to pay the therapist he pays more attention to him than the cleaning lady.

Now I know it is standard advice in cold reading literature to refer people to professionals like doctors, therapists etc: but of course these books and manuscripts are often written by people who haven't actually done much in the way of readings. The cold reading literature is full of them. What they never mention is that the client has ALREADY been to the therapist etc; and been disappointed in the result! That is why they have come to see you! So NOW what are you going to tell them? Fortunately I KNOW what to tell them. It is my job after all..................
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 6, 2019 01:35PM)
It's often the case that those who heavily believe in the tarot or other oracle, won't go to a therapist because it challenges their beliefs...

And if they do go to one, they won't believe a word that's said because it doesn't fit their world view... And won't let the therapist do their job, whether that's consciously or unconsciously...

So yes, tell them to get professional help and finish the reading. Refund their money unless you are oh I don't know, mark Lewis...
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 6, 2019 02:03PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Stewart wrote:
Most readers do NOT work under the auspices of entertainment (although in some jurisdictions they might do so for legal reasons).
[/quote]

It's double talk like this that makes so called "readers" UNQUALIFIED to give advice and in some countries is why, it's against the law. Skirting the law with disclaimers SHOULD be a red flag to those seeking advice form these so called seers.

I'm not a believer and never will be and to ME those who would put their faith, in a guy with a deck of cards or a crystal ball, are just stupid. There will always be weak minded individuals easily bilked for their cash. Does that mean w should bilk them? I SAY NO! Taking money under FALSE PRETENSES IS A CRIME EVERYWHERE. DON'T DO IT.
Message: Posted by: Robb (Mar 6, 2019 02:59PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Stewart wrote:
Most readers do NOT work under the auspices of entertainment (although in some jurisdictions they might do so for legal reasons).
[/quote]

It's double talk like this that makes so called "readers" UNQUALIFIED to give advice and in some countries is why, it's against the law. Skirting the law with disclaimers SHOULD be a red flag to those seeking advice form these so called seers.

I'm not a believer and never will be and to ME those who would put their faith, in a guy with a deck of cards or a crystal ball, are just stupid. There will always be weak minded individuals easily bilked for their cash. Does that mean w should bilk them? I SAY NO! Taking money under FALSE PRETENSES IS A CRIME EVERYWHERE. DON'T DO IT. [/quote]

What is the false pretense? They ask someone to give them a reading based on a given oracle, that's what happens. If your belief system does not accept the validity of oracles of any sort nor the veracity of the interpreter's words, then that means it's only a false pretense TO YOU... Should you be able to determine what others believe or find helpful? I call that "authoritarianism" and it's much more offensive to me than some person trusting another to give them some usually harmless advice or words of encouragement. Of course there are lousy, greedy readers out there who don't really care for their sitters or what the effect of their words might be, but such sociopaths can be found in all walks of life (typically they're called politicians)...
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 6, 2019 03:41PM)
Robb you obviously didn't read through this thread where there is a so called reader giving people advice about serious mental issues. Also the title of this thread is "The Morality of Cold Readings?" which then asks for a MORAL declaration from it's posters. Take it as authoritative if you like but the law state, that it is a crime to take money under false pretense and reader/advisers are prosecuted everyday, for their so called oracle consultations. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/12/new-york-psychic-arrested-zoe-fortune-teller
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Mar 6, 2019 04:08PM)
It's not taking money under false pretenses if they genuinely believe in what they are doing.

However in many places it's straight up illegal to offer certain types of advice, such as medical or financial, without certain certifications or qualifications.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 6, 2019 04:20PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
It's not taking money under false pretenses if they genuinely believe in what they are doing.
[/quote]

I believe pigs can fly. So I begin to throw pigs out of a window. Are you telling the thread readers that since I BELIEVE in what I'm doing, there is no crime?
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 05:39PM)
I did do the illustrious Senor Fabuloso the courtesy of viewing the Guardian article he posted and was greatly amused that he called my $200 fee "outrageous" when in the said article it mentions a lady who charged $800,000 for a reading! I rather think I am quite reasonable in comparison! Chris is correct about medical advice and most reputable psychics will not even refer to it. I do happen to know that several psychics were arrested at a psychic fair in a city I believe he is very familiar with for giving health readings. They were all acquitted but as a result the psychic fair promoters drew up a disclaimer put together by lawyers which I will be happy to provide for those of you who practice in jurisdictions where psychic work is disapproved of. Only if you ask though.

I fail to see how a reader is taking money by false pretences if they are so satisfied with the readings that they recommend their friends and come back for repeat sessions. I personally do not encourage too many repeat sessions since clients have to take charge of their own lives and not become too dependent on me. Besides, the readings become more difficult to do the more often you see someone. I won't explain why right now but it could well be a new topic to be discussed.

I do agree with the view that many if not most serious sessions can do more harm than good. That might surprise the good Senor. However, I am not among the "many" or the "most". I am very street wise and know exactly what I am doing. Ask any of my clients and I am pretty sure that most will agree that I give good value for money. They don't feel scammed. Scam artists don't normally get hundreds of written comments saying how pleased they are with the service they have paid for.

My clients are not fools. They are very intelligent people. They are well aware that not every psychic is genuine. They are adults and in the main should be trusted to make their own judgements in these matters.

It is too late for me to change now anyway after 32 years! I have done thousands upon thousands of readings. Probably more than everyone on this thread COMBINED! I do not say this to boast. I say it so that you can feel sorry for me! This is not an easy business!

We must all make our own ethical decisions. I believe 100 percent in the power of tarot cards and I use no trickery of any kind in my readings. Street wise does not mean dishonest. I do my very best to give value for money and approach my clients with the deepest compassion I can muster and I really, really try to help them and I often succeed. Remember, a little help is often a lot of help. I learned that when I studied counselling.

I do agree that the rest of you should steer clear of serious sessions if you are not experienced with them already. It is for advanced readers only and not everyone has the ethics, the capability, the desire or quite frankly the skill to do this effectively. By all means stick to the short entertainment readings if you are more comfortable with them. It will be a hell of a lot easier for you!
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Mar 6, 2019 05:54PM)
And this thread degraded, as was expected.

I do have to admit, somebody saying "It's not taking money under false pretenses if they genuinely believe in what they are doing" perhaps shows how low this conversation has stooped. That is exactly why laws regarding certifications/qualifications exist.

To add concrete example to refute that RIDICULOUS statement, I offer the following, recent example: non-qualified person tells a kid to stop taking insulin, kid dies, guy goes to jail. His "genuine belief" was irrelevant. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/26/year-old-died-after-being-told-not-take-insulin-now-herbalist-is-headed-jail/?utm_term=.07ef00215c9a

"If they genuinely believe it"... oh my gawd... smh
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 05:55PM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
Robb you obviously didn't read through this thread where there is a so called reader giving people advice about serious mental issues. Also the title of this thread is "The Morality of Cold Readings?" which then asks for a MORAL declaration from it's posters. Take it as authoritative if you like but the law state, that it is a crime to take money under false pretense and reader/advisers are prosecuted everyday, for their so called oracle consultations. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/12/new-york-psychic-arrested-zoe-fortune-teller [/quote]

I see that Senor Fabulose was trying to be nice to me in an earlier post but alas hasn't quite managed it a couple of posts later. I take no offence. He is entitled to his views and I respect his passion. However I am not a "so called" reader. I AM a reader and a *** good one! I am just as entitled (if not more so) to call myself a reader as anyone else on this thread. I am an expert on palmistry, tarot, numerology. I have written astrology columns for newspapers. I have some expertise in rune stones, the I Ching and other methods of divination. How can I be a "so called" reader? As for the "Law" it is not strictly enforced in most jurisdictions although oddly enough I wish it was. I don't like scam artist psychics any more than anyone else.

Here is a message from one of my psychic colleagues who attended a meeting concerning these matters. It shows how the authorities view the difference between what I do and what scam artists do. The police seem to know the difference. Hopefully Senor Fabuloso will also do so in time to come. I look forward to his evolution in these matters.
.......................................................................................................................................................................

I was able to attend a public information event about the recent arrest of two people posing as psychics.
At that event I discussed the charges with the detective who made the arrests.
I learned two key things from this meeting:

First, the detective explained that the police are not targeting or ‘out to get’ psychics or businesses that operate legitimately and charge reasonable prices for their services.
The police focus is on people committing fraud i.e. removing hexes or curses to extract possessions and unreasonable sums of money from their victims.

Second, many victims are too embarrassed to report fraud to the authorities, however they may trust you enough to share it with you.
If so there is a way that you can support your clients to report fraud privately:
Victims of fraud, are best to call their local Police Department and specifically ask for the Fraud Intake Line.
By asking for the Fraud Intake Line, victims will not have a police car coming to their house and they can arrange to privately report the fraud.

Prior to calling the Fraud Intake Line advise victims to be prepared with evidence.
Evidence includes accurately recorded dates that the fraud took place, including evidence of bank transfers or that money and/or possessions were taken.
Please note that reporting a 'bad reading' from another psychic is not what the police are looking for, but extortion involving substantial amounts of money.

In short, the charges were laid for fraud and not for being psychic or doing psychic readings.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 6, 2019 07:52PM)
I'll ask this one question. Stewart are you saying that it's not fraud because you are in fact psychic?
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 6, 2019 09:13PM)
What post was that? I must have missed it. I don't mind answering your questions.
Anyway to answer your latest question above. Of course I am psychic. Everybody is!
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 7, 2019 01:39AM)
Got it. So I'm sure you know what I'm thinking?
Message: Posted by: Robb (Mar 7, 2019 06:47AM)
Senor, you would have to define what is meant by “psychic”. Is a psychic someone who can read thoughts? Or someone who is highly sensitive to the emotions of others, more like an empath? Or must a psychic “see the future”? Or is a psychic just an interpreter of traditional fortune telling oracles making no particular claim to supernatural powers? Or a mixture of all these things?

If your argument is that readings of ALL types are fraud because you don’t believe in the existence of any of the above cited abilities, then I’d have to strongly disagree with you as these abilities most definitely exist and are an absolute requirement for providing a good, helpful reading.

If your argument is not that, but that some psychics over promise and consciously lie and manipulate their clients, then I will agree with you that is a problem with possible legal repercussions for the reader.

But like all questions of belief and human interaction, the issue is very far from black and white.
Message: Posted by: MrPoponi (Mar 7, 2019 06:56AM)
This is really a controversial topic.
There are some questions that can be asked to solve this.

1 -Was the baby-sitter happy to pay?
2- Did the sitter benefit from the read?
3 -The amount charged did´t cause damage to the sitter?

If the answer is "yes" to these questions then we can´t criticize the work of reading.

(If John likes pineapples, who am I to say he's wrong?)

Cold reading is nice art that, when "used correctly," produces good results.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Mar 7, 2019 08:38AM)
[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Lemniscate wrote:
non-qualified person tells a kid to stop taking insulin, kid dies, guy goes to jail. His "genuine belief" was irrelevant. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/26/year-old-died-after-being-told-not-take-insulin-now-herbalist-is-headed-jail/?utm_term=.07ef00215c9a

"If they genuinely believe it"... oh my gawd... smh [/quote]

I like how, even though my post was very short, you still managed to cherry pick it. Very efficient.

I specifically said it's illegal to give medical advice. And that illustrates the difference between morality and legality.

Morally, someone who believes they are helping a person is not being immoral. Legally speaking, in order to give any form of medical advice one must have certain training and certifications/qualifications serve the purpose of insuring that person has been trained.

If a reader is offering a service that they genuinely believe they are providing, and their clients are happy with the transaction, and said reader is both not breaking the law and not taking money to the point of detriment to the sitter - they are not morally out of line in my opinion.

I don't see how believing in taking advice form Tarot cards or numerology is any different than taking advice from the Bible.

[quote]On Mar 6, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:

I believe pigs can fly. So I begin to throw pigs out of a window. Are you telling the thread readers that since I BELIEVE in what I'm doing, there is no crime? [/quote]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 7, 2019 09:08AM)
"Morally, someone who believes they are helping a person is not being immoral."

I agree. However, just because you hope/believe you are helping, doesn't mean too much. More often than not, there's no real measure of success or failure, just as you don't know if your version of help is of genuine help to the person you are reading for.

You can tell them what they expect, or want to hear. Or you can, if you're not careful, project your biases and life experience onto and into their life. Some would argue that is what readings are. Not for me.

So pick any life situation that someone may go to a reader for, and give the advice. Depending on the sitters point of view and life experience, that may do them some good.. Or... Might t might be a trigger for them, or something that goes completely against their nature.

It's a bit like a disclaimer, you may be very clear and deliver what (to you) is very sound advice. But it doesn't mean anything to that person if they deem that it does not.

Here's one for you...

A good friend of mine, if he wants advice, he wants solutions and angles and delivered in a very to the point way. I know this cos I asked. But we tend not to ask during a longer, indepth traditional reading. And that because, whether we like it or not, are seen as being in a position of power. Why?

Because not matter how you behave and talk, it's you that can somehow consult this unusual oracle and give advice. So if thst doesn't appeal to you or the ego, then you have to work hard and stay strong to your own personal do's and don'ts.

A person's life experience is only useful and practical and true to that person and no one else. The way I have dealt with grief may not suit another person and vice versa.

Even if you are 200 years old, or maybe because you are 200 years old (like Mark Lewis), then your experiences are probably way out of whack in comparison to the sitter.

And that's just the beginning of why you shouldn't be giving advice to people, even if you mean well.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 7, 2019 09:36AM)
Your right Chris, my strawman was weak. I just don't think what one believes matters much in the law. Ignorantia juris non excusat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignorantia_juris_non_excusat And as it relates to the topic since there is no way to objectively prove what one believes, I choose to call it all bunk. To further clarify, we have no way of knowing if what one is SAYING they believe or if they truly do?
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Mar 7, 2019 10:47AM)
Counsellors never give advice. They help reframe and reflect what is brought to the table in an effort to help people process their problems more efficiently.

It’s not about what the reader sees in the cards. It’s about what the sitter sees. You can help them see more, but you can’t tell them what it is.


Counsellors don’t give advice and neither should readers IMHO.

YMMV
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 7, 2019 11:10AM)
Yaaaaassss
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 7, 2019 11:12AM)
[quote]On Mar 7, 2019, bevbevvybev wrote:

It’s not about what the reader sees in the cards. It’s about what the sitter sees. You can help them see more, but you can’t tell them what it is.

[/quote]

Though I disagree with this bit. Not the sentiment but the reality is that any kind of reader is projecting what they see and interpret in the cards...
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Mar 7, 2019 11:16AM)
Yes but you get my angle. Its sitter-centric.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 7, 2019 11:20AM)
This touches upon a few points I'd like to make if I could be arsed...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3b6hyc
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 7, 2019 11:22AM)
Basically, underneath it all, all readings are psychological in nature. It's about how our brains work and hard wired.

We are pattern seeking animals. We don't like loose ends. So our brain join up the dots.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 7, 2019 01:13PM)
I agree with Iain. I never give advice about specific situations in my readings. I can't solve my own problems let alone anyone elses. Besides, I don't necessarily know what the entire problem is anyway since some of it is going to be inevitably obscured. I can't see the entire picture so I could end up giving the wrong advice with disastrous results. The vibes I get are not always as clear as I would wish. It is a bit like looking through frosted glass. I get glimpses but I don't see everything. And quite frankly I don't want to see everything anyway. I really don't want the client to tell me their problems outright since it puts too much pressure on me. Of course it does happen and I can't pick and choose what people wish to impart to me.

What I am able to do is help them to help themselves. I give them metaphysical and also more earthly tips on how to solve their own problems. It is not my job to give advice in specific situations. It is my job to see into the future. And I DO see into the future! That is because I help to manufacture that future by planting seeds of positive energy. Scoff if you wish but my predictions come true. The reason I get so much repeat business is BECAUSE my predictions come true! Why do they come true? Because my reading tends to make them come true. There is a logical reason for this which I have no time nor energy to explain. Serious readings are advanced work and not everyone has the inclination or indeed the capability to do it. But then nobody is forcing them to do it anyway.

I do take issue with the statement that there is no way of validating the result of a reading. If when you finish they give you a filthy look and demand their money back you can consider the reading a failure. If, on the other hand they rave about how good you are and recommend their friends to you and have repeat readings themselves then you can count that as a success.

I really do not think that the various cynics here can judge my readings if they have never experienced them. It is like giving a book a bad review when you have never read it. I may well be wrong but I am not getting an impression from this thread that many of you do serious in depth 30 minute to one hour readings. It seems that most of you, if not all, simply do the short "entertainment" sessions for small fees or no fees at all. Nothing wrong with that of course but it is not advanced work and comments should be held back unless you know something about it based on experience rather than speculation.
Message: Posted by: Nestor D (Mar 7, 2019 02:51PM)
To get back to what the original poster said :
[quote]On Feb 27, 2019, Ravenspur wrote:
Phedon's stuff is what I would call kind. As you may know, he's nice, he's positive, and he's not delving into anything negative.[/quote]

Having seen the readings part of the video I agree with IAIN: I would never dare approach what Phedon touches during a reading out of fear for the sitter.

However, I do believe that you can be careful and give a reading that is insightful without runnnig the risk of triggering something. But it is not easy and requires a lot of care for the person in front of you.

Personality readings are probably the safest. In that category, graphology is non threatening and might fit a teacher (plus you can practice your art on the essays of your students).
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Mar 7, 2019 03:32PM)
I love graphology. But I would say that.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 7, 2019 03:35PM)
I have not as yet heard of Phedon. Who is he and what does he do?
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 7, 2019 04:00PM)
Oh, I just found a thread about him but I only glanced at it cursorily. I did see Iain saying some very rude things about some product or other but I haven't read it properly. There was something about making clients cry. I remember a 90 year old fortune teller who worked at exhibitions up until the day she died. The other exhibitors made joked about the fact that every client she had came out of her booth in tears!

Not my style. I hate it when it happens to me. It happens rarely because I try to make them smile rather than cry but it has happened on a few occasions because clients have serious issues which can make them cry. I really hate it when it happens because it tends to make me cry too and I have to keep my emotions under control when I see it.

Anyway the last thing you want to do in a reading is encourage someone to cry. Leave it for when they see your mental act and at least give them a good reason to cry.

I do remember in my early days a lady coming into my office and crying her eyes out. In the end she was very happy with the reading. However, the very next day I was doing a children's magic show in a mall with the kids laughing and yelling. She happened to walk by. I will never forget the look of astonishment when she saw me performing. God alone knows what she thought!
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 7, 2019 04:50PM)
[quote]On Mar 7, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
[quote]On Mar 7, 2019, Stewart wrote:
I agree with Iain. I never give advice about specific situations in my readings. I can't solve my own problems let alone anyone elses. [/quote]

No you just counsel people on the verge of divorce, suicide and serious depression. I'm beginning to think you have a goat eating agenda here? [/quote]

If it is wrong for me to save lives, marriages etc; then I must hang my head in shame. As for depression I cannot help anyone with "severe" depression and I am not the one they need to see. However, mild and moderate depression I do believe I can help to some degree. And learned a long time ago that a little help is a lot of help.

I wish I could help you though. I can sense deep unhappiness and frustration in your posts. Even insecurity and envy. It seems what set you off was my $200 fee. You really must not be jealous. In time if you exert yourself in your studies you may one day get to my level and charge the same kind of money that I do. I wish you luck.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 7, 2019 04:55PM)
It's wrong to counsel without credentials. And most countries and municipalities have laws saying so.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Mar 7, 2019 10:52PM)
My mother, before she died, would counsel and advise me. My friends still do. Many pastors have little to no training in counseling, yet still do it.

The difference between them and a reader of an oracle, of course, is the added implied insight of the cards/runes/bones/etc. But having credentials does not guarantee someone is a good source of insight or advice. In the same way, not having them doesn’t mean the person is not a good adviser, counselor, or therapist.

My favorite description of tarot reading was “I use archetypal imagery to assist people in reframing their personal narratives.” Is that such a bad thing, really?

It seems to me that at least one person in this conversation is convinced of how readers do their job without having actually learned directly from a professional how it is done. This can be as accurate as looking to a movie like RED to tell me how the CIA operates instead of asking a family member who actually worked there. The reality in the CIA is much more prosaic than the movie. Which is true of fortune telling as well. When a professional (and several experienced folks who don’t make it their life’s work) try to explain the reality, certain preconceptions are held to as truth.

Patrick
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 8, 2019 12:57AM)
[quote]On Mar 7, 2019, Mr. Woolery wrote:
But having credentials does not guarantee someone is a good source of insight or advice.
Patrick [/quote]

No there are no guarantees in life but when governments recognize educational institutions and accredit them with the task of educating, that's a pretty good start. Certainly beats some guy thinking he knows something because of what he thinks he sees, in pieces of paper with pictures on them. Also it's more the taking money for counseling that I'm talking about, not what a friend or relative might tell you, out of love. And yeah yeah I know that some readers will say they love their clients but if they really did, for anything else other than entertainment purposes, they would send them (their clients) to licensed professionals. Loving somebody is more about what you do without monetary gain, than with it.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 8, 2019 02:05AM)
And just to be clear, as so many of my posts are misinterpreted or misunderstood, I have nothing against anybody setting up shop at a psychic fair, carnival or new age environment as a reader with a tip jar or charging a small fee say 5euros. My moral compass was sent haywire when one claimed justification, in charging $200 for a reading. Psychologists and social workers average fee is $150 an hour and they go to universities for their education. I also think that when one thinks they are above those with credentials having no credentials, they should be called out for BS. This is of course a moral thread and intonates, a moral perspective.
Message: Posted by: MrPoponi (Mar 8, 2019 05:27AM)
Is an evangelical pastor a cold reader?

So...
This question raises other great conflicts to prolong this endless discussion.
Message: Posted by: MrPoponi (Mar 8, 2019 05:45AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
And just to be clear, as so many of my posts are misinterpreted or misunderstood, I have nothing against anybody setting up shop at a psychic fair, carnival or new age environment as a reader with a tip jar or charging a small fee say 5euros. My moral compass was sent haywire when one claimed justification, in charging $200 for a reading. Psychologists and social workers average fee is $150 an hour and they go to universities for their education. I also think that when one thinks they are above those with credentials having no credentials, they should be called out for BS. This is of course a moral thread and intonates, a moral perspective. [/quote]

I understand, but we need can have consider another facts.
I think that the amounts charged should be more related to the capacity of the professional than to their profession.
Exist good psychologists and bad psychologists.
Exist good and bad cold readers.
Exist good and bad doctors.

In my understanding, badness comes true when someone charges a value that is above what his offers to the customer.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 8, 2019 06:03AM)
The flaw in your logic Mr. Poponi, is that even a so called bad doctor, has been board certified and completed the prerequisite to be a doctor. Same is true of the psychologist. The reader however, need only SAY they know what they're doing, to be in business. No oversight or credentials needed. That's the problem, morally. Especially when charging more than the, licensed professional.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 06:34AM)
If you know anything about people, you'll discover that it'll take excessive trauma to change a life long belief, so arguing over morality is futile. You should definitely point out when you feel someone is suggesting and doing things that you feel is not right. Express yourself thoroughly and fairly and then leave it. Nothing will change.
Message: Posted by: MrPoponi (Mar 8, 2019 07:03AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, IAIN wrote:
If you know anything about people, you'll discover that it'll take excessive trauma to change a life long belief, so arguing over morality is futile. You should definitely point out when you feel someone is suggesting and doing things that you feel is not right. Express yourself thoroughly and fairly and then leave it. Nothing will change. [/quote]

I'm understanding you.
However, I think practice has more validity than theory.
Credentials not solve problems, but actions, yes.
If a black belt´s Karate loses a fight to a street fighter (without credentials), the champion trophy goes to the street fighter.
But, of course I'm not belittling credentials.
In theory, those who have studied for years in a college must be qualified to make a good job.
I just think every rules has its exceptions.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 07:06AM)
UK therapists have to have solo and group therapy for four years, they also have to give 2 or 3 years worth of free therapy to individuals under the wings of a qualified therapist mentor. That's the biggest difference. And a very important one.
Message: Posted by: MrPoponi (Mar 8, 2019 07:10AM)
Iain, my message was to Senor. I made an error.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 07:12AM)
It's OK. My point still stands.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 8, 2019 07:27AM)
Payment is part of the therapy. If you charge nothing the client will put a nothing value on it. This point is made in an excellent book on the tarot called Taromania which I recommend to anyone who wishes to study this ancient and very powerful method of divination. At the beginning of one chapter it produces a quote from someone or other saying "The best psychiatrists in America agree that charging a high fee has a strong therapeutic effect" and of course this is true. If you pay nothing you get a nothing result because you don't respect it. I shall give you an example. A certain jurisdiction has government health care. However, hypnosis therapy for smoking addiction was not included and people had to pay if they wanted to go this route. Anyway one day they brought in a law saying that the therapy was now going to be covered by the government. In other words it was now free. What was the result? A dramatic reduction in the success rate!

If a psychic practicioner gives a satisfactory service and the client is happy with that service he is entitled to be paid on the basis of the sum agreed. If the client thinks the fee is too expensive he or she can go to someone cheaper. There are plenty people to choose from. $200 is NOT out of line for an hour session. At least not for someone of my level. I know of a chap who charges $1500 for the same thing. He is a well known magician and I won't name him. He does mediumistic work which I don't. I run an ethical practice and I am entitled to be paid. I have not had a single complaint in 32 years. Or I should say 30 years since the first couple of years were hit or miss.

A lawyer or other professional charges about the same rate as I charge. And I give value for money otherwise I would not get hundreds of written comments from clients praising my work.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 07:33AM)
If you went to a doctor for heart trouble, and the doc said "just so you know, I'm self taught", is that OK?
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 8, 2019 07:51AM)
I have always said that it is the doctors who kill you. I strongly suspect my batting average is better than theirs. In fact in Israel the doctors once went on strike and the death rate went DOWN! In fact the Funeral Undertakers Association were so upset by this they petitioned the government to bring in legislation to force the doctors back to work so they could start to earn money again. I have often thought my success rate is better than the doctors. At least I haven't killed anyone yet!

As for being self taught there is nothing wrong with that. I am a *** good magician as well as a psychic and am completely self taught from books. Nobody taught me a *** thing and I can outshine anybody that has take lessons from a magic tutor or mentor. I will concede however that I would prefer my doctors to have professional training and fancy certificates. However, it is not the be all and end all you know. After all Dr Mengele and Dr Crippen had them too.

I previously mentioned that I had a certificate. It cost me $35. It confirmed that I am a minister of some spiritual church or other. It was a certificate for "26 weeks of On Hand Healing training in Rochester, New York" I don't remember ever being in Rochester or doing 26 weeks of on hand healing but I am getting older and my memory isn't what it used to be.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:01AM)
But Mark, its very easy to pick and choose examples and statistics. That's confirmation bias. It's what you've always done.
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 8, 2019 08:23AM)
Now when I do readings I do not claim to be a counsellor or therapist. That is NOT my job so I really don't need any professional qualifications any more than a plumber does to be a therapist. I am a PALMIST AND TAROT READER! Therapy is not part of the job description! If someone derives benefit from the reading that is a by product of the session and I am not going to apologise for it. As Mr Woolery correctly stated, in everyday life people advise all the time without having "qualifications" to do so. I have already stated that I do not advise on specific situations. I do impart counsel on stress and worry and tell my clients how to deal with it. I see them visibly relax in front of me when I do this. I give them techniques to help them make decisions and recommend books that I feel would be helpful to them. The "therapy" is a by product of the session. Am I supposed not to do this and just leave them in distress? Despite what has been claimed my life experience DOES resonate with them! I can see it in their faces. I give them common sense strategies that are distilled wisdom from great minds, (naturally none of whom are on the magic Café).

This is advanced work. If people are not capable of it or don't feel comfortable with it they should leave it alone. It isn't for everyone. Stick to the short entertainment readings. We all have to make our own ethical decisions. I have made mine and sleep well at night. I rest content that I have helped thousands of people. And I will continue to do so.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:26AM)
You tend to listen to family and friends because they tend to know your back story, your history and experiences... So there's a different form of trust in play. And you've also seen them deal with problems and life stuff too so it's entirely different. You know their track record for good and bad.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 8, 2019 08:28AM)
Recently I watched a documentary on The Oracle of Delphi, in which it was said:

“People often came to Delphi looking for clear-cut, easy answers, or certainty, which they rarely got. The oracle worked by heightening their uncertainty. Pushing it to a deeper level. Forcing them inward, for a key.”

I found this utterly fascinating, and in a way quite reassuring.

“Know thyself” was written above the oracle’s entrance which seemed to be the crux of her approach, not telling people what they wanted to hear, not giving them easy answers, but leading them to find "the answer within".
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:30AM)
And also, you want to do this indepth nonsense because you wish someone had said it to you when you were younger.

The way in which readers deliver their reading is often a reflection of the need they had in some point in their life. There's a subtext of "I want to help, I wish I had this back then".
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:32AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Stunninger wrote:

“Know thyself” was written above the oracle’s entrance which seemed to be the crux of her approach, not telling people what they wanted to hear, not giving them easy answers, but leading them to find "the answer within". [/quote]

That's interesting. I'm making connections rightly or wrongly, with Stoicism practices with thst term. And it's deeply psychological in nature, right? We need to understand our own motives before we can understand someone else's.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:33AM)
"if you don't heal what hurt you, you'll bleed on people who didn't cut you".
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:37AM)
Aha, here you go, point 2
http://jesusmeetskant.blogspot.com/2013/08/stoicism-or-know-thyself-and-do-thy-duty.html?m=1

that's enough from me...
Message: Posted by: Stewart (Mar 8, 2019 08:38AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, IAIN wrote:
You tend to listen to family and friends because they tend to know your back story, your history and experiences... So there's a different form of trust in play. And you've also seen them deal with problems and life stuff too so it's entirely different. You know their track record for good and bad. [/quote]

Yes. And family members give wrong advice all the time! And NOT everyone listens to family members! However, they are more likely to take advice from an unbiased stranger who seems to know what they are talking about. Somone they trust. Someone they sense is compassionate and kind. And they sense is worldly wise. Someone who is authoritative. Someone they like. And that person for better or worse is me.

My "qualifications"? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of readings over 32 years. I think I know what I am doing by now.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 08:41AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Stewart wrote:

Yes. And family members give wrong advice all the time! And NOT everyone listens to family members! . [/quote]

That was my point. You get to know each others track record. Not what they pretend or present.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 8, 2019 10:58AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Stunninger wrote:

“Know thyself” was written above the oracle’s entrance which seemed to be the crux of her approach, not telling people what they wanted to hear, not giving them easy answers, but leading them to find "the answer within". [/quote]

That's interesting. I'm making connections rightly or wrongly, with Stoicism practices with thst term. And it's deeply psychological in nature, right? We need to understand our own motives before we can understand someone else's. [/quote]

Agreed.
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Mar 8, 2019 01:16PM)
Cold reading threads always go mental. Fact.
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Mar 8, 2019 01:49PM)
"Cold reading threads always go mental. Fact." bevbevvybev

With that said:

I have been pondering the ethics of readings, once again, since watching and reading Sybil and have a bit to say on the topics introduced in this thread. I strongly disagree with the OP’s description of the work as not crossing lines and especially as “...positive, and he's not delving into anything negative.” Quite the opposite in my view and this is where issues of ethics are most relevant. I am not surprised that watching Sybil led Ravenspur to ask questions about the morality of readings.

I agree with Iain, Mr. Woolery, Stewart and others that this discussion is needed and its absence in the field a “sad omission.” Iain and I have briefly explored ethical readings in print together, but many of our thoughts have only been shared in correspondence. The fairly uncritical acceptance of approaches emphasized in Sybil suggest that this is a good time to say more.

I was struck by Mr. Woolery’s comment early on, “Like it or not, if you say things with confidence and they are (or seem) accurate, people will invest a certain amount of belief in what you say.” Accuracy (and, more importantly, what seems like accuracy) is achieved and enhanced via extremely effective manipulation and deception as taught on Sybil. The stated intention is to heighten belief just as Mr. Woolery describes.

I decided to share my thoughts on Sybil after speaking with a colleague, a therapist with a doctorate in marital and family therapy, about a client who became very upset after a Tarot reading. He described her as “coming undone,” when we spoke. She was ruminating and experiencing considerable anxiety two weeks later. She didn’t get a reading for any particular problem so was all the more unsettled when the psychic accurately delved into personal, negative experiences and predicted they wouldn’t be resolved in the immediate future. His overall accuracy only fueled her anxiety about his prediction, a consequence of the dynamic Mr. Woolery writes about above.

In the second reading demonstration on Sybil, Phedon elicits memories of difficult times from his sitter and then tells her he sees them continuing in the future. I can't say if this produced anxiety later on but the same dynamics are at play so the risk is real. In my opinion, this tactic certainly isn’t positive and clearly crosses a line. We don’t have to predict conflicts when there are so many other options available.

I don’t know if the reader my colleague discussed cheated to achieve the accuracy that validated his prediction for the sitter/client. We do know that Phedon cheats brilliantly to enhance both his accuracy and emotional connection to his sitters. This raises a host of ethical issues related to using deception, especially in the course of a reading. The techniques to influence emotion are particularly questionable.

Across a wide range of posters, there seems a broadly shared consensus that trafficking in tears shouldn’t be the goal of mentalists or readers. Yet a focus on at best sadness and, at worst, actual trauma pervades Sybil. This is no accident, in many instances it is the modus operandi of the methods Phedon is teaching. Heightened (negatively charged) affective states are used to make the sitters especially malleable.

One of the primary techniques taught involves the ratcheting up of negative emotions/memories to leverage and enhance a subsequent catharsis and create what I think is best understood as an "illusion of rapport." To be clear, the reactions of the sitters in the video that many people are praising are also illusions; what you see is not what the recipients of the readings are really getting.

How can it be? The sitters have been tricked into believing someone understands their deepest emotions and concerns. I suspect if they were tipped to the amount of sheer deceit used to create this illusion it would crumble hard and they'd feel betrayed. This is no small thing and I don’t see such a potential dynamic having a place in a performance and especially not in a reading. The readers I know disdain this kind of deception.

Phedon says he wants his work to be deeply emotional, cathartic and for the recipients to leave feeling better. His desired result is to relieve them of a burden. Noble goals to be sure but I don’t see them as appropriate for mentalism in the manner presented, especially conjuring with negative emotions and memories. I think the approach of building these up in order to leverage a catharsis is particularly misplaced and potentially harmful. And, as I wrote above, it can’t really achieve the desired ends described by Phedon. If this were therapy, many of the approaches taught would be considered unethical.

S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is an entire category devoted to a method of making women, and interestingly only women, dredge up bad memories and cry. That’s entertainment!

Phedon continues with S.C.R.E.W.E.D. with the woman already mentioned above and, as per the formula, she begins to cry. He tells her reliving the emotions is a good thing, she needs to remember so she can learn from her past and do differently in the future. The thing is, the only reason she is reliving this obviously bad memory is so that Phedon can teach us how to make others suffer through the same process.

The process once again involves the heightening of negatively charged memories followed by an engineered catharsis. Tears are the intended outcome.

This is made clear in the PDF. Phedon describes the reaction of a performer he obviously respects, Christophe, who says his only reservation about performing S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is the frequency of crying by the sitters. Phedon says that this is proof of the power of the routine and necessary for the ultimate catharsis. Again, that’s entertainment?

All this leads me to wonder just who the audience for Sybil really is. The methods appear to cater to performers who want to imitate the kind of experience that Stewart and others describe genuinely offering. Yet Stewart, and other ethical readers of his ilk, wouldn’t use the majority of the methods on Sybil, not with the emphasis on conflict, sadness and loss. Not with the use of deception and blatant emotional manipulation.

Many of the ideas Phedon shares aren’t the stuff of mentalism either. There is no need to harness negative, potentially traumatic memories and related emotions in the name of entertainment. Tears are no measure of our success and imagination, dreams and desires present more than enough fertile territory for performers.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 8, 2019 02:20PM)
Beautifully and sincerely said... Bravo...
Message: Posted by: CGould (Mar 12, 2019 11:32AM)
In a somewhat related topic...

Has anyone ever been on the site Fivver? Its for freelance services. I was on there this morning working on getting my girlfriends business logo redesigned and stumbled across the astrology and readings section while browsing the site. Literally hundreds of psychics promising "accurate" readings and potent spells. Good for a chuckle if you're bored. No offense intended if any of you are on there ;)
Message: Posted by: Robb (Mar 12, 2019 05:37PM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Bill Cushman wrote:
"Cold reading threads always go mental. Fact." bevbevvybev

With that said:

I have been pondering the ethics of readings, once again, since watching and reading Sybil and have a bit to say on the topics introduced in this thread. I strongly disagree with the OP’s description of the work as not crossing lines and especially as “...positive, and he's not delving into anything negative.” Quite the opposite in my view and this is where issues of ethics are most relevant. I am not surprised that watching Sybil led Ravenspur to ask questions about the morality of readings.

I agree with Iain, Mr. Woolery, Stewart and others that this discussion is needed and its absence in the field a “sad omission.” Iain and I have briefly explored ethical readings in print together, but many of our thoughts have only been shared in correspondence. The fairly uncritical acceptance of approaches emphasized in Sybil suggest that this is a good time to say more.

I was struck by Mr. Woolery’s comment early on, “Like it or not, if you say things with confidence and they are (or seem) accurate, people will invest a certain amount of belief in what you say.” Accuracy (and, more importantly, what seems like accuracy) is achieved and enhanced via extremely effective manipulation and deception as taught on Sybil. The stated intention is to heighten belief just as Mr. Woolery describes.

I decided to share my thoughts on Sybil after speaking with a colleague, a therapist with a doctorate in marital and family therapy, about a client who became very upset after a Tarot reading. He described her as “coming undone,” when we spoke. She was ruminating and experiencing considerable anxiety two weeks later. She didn’t get a reading for any particular problem so was all the more unsettled when the psychic accurately delved into personal, negative experiences and predicted they wouldn’t be resolved in the immediate future. His overall accuracy only fueled her anxiety about his prediction, a consequence of the dynamic Mr. Woolery writes about above.

In the second reading demonstration on Sybil, Phedon elicits memories of difficult times from his sitter and then tells her he sees them continuing in the future. I can't say if this produced anxiety later on but the same dynamics are at play so the risk is real. In my opinion, this tactic certainly isn’t positive and clearly crosses a line. We don’t have to predict conflicts when there are so many other options available.

I don’t know if the reader my colleague discussed cheated to achieve the accuracy that validated his prediction for the sitter/client. We do know that Phedon cheats brilliantly to enhance both his accuracy and emotional connection to his sitters. This raises a host of ethical issues related to using deception, especially in the course of a reading. The techniques to influence emotion are particularly questionable.

Across a wide range of posters, there seems a broadly shared consensus that trafficking in tears shouldn’t be the goal of mentalists or readers. Yet a focus on at best sadness and, at worst, actual trauma pervades Sybil. This is no accident, in many instances it is the modus operandi of the methods Phedon is teaching. Heightened (negatively charged) affective states are used to make the sitters especially malleable.

One of the primary techniques taught involves the ratcheting up of negative emotions/memories to leverage and enhance a subsequent catharsis and create what I think is best understood as an "illusion of rapport." To be clear, the reactions of the sitters in the video that many people are praising are also illusions; what you see is not what the recipients of the readings are really getting.

How can it be? The sitters have been tricked into believing someone understands their deepest emotions and concerns. I suspect if they were tipped to the amount of sheer deceit used to create this illusion it would crumble hard and they'd feel betrayed. This is no small thing and I don’t see such a potential dynamic having a place in a performance and especially not in a reading. The readers I know disdain this kind of deception.

Phedon says he wants his work to be deeply emotional, cathartic and for the recipients to leave feeling better. His desired result is to relieve them of a burden. Noble goals to be sure but I don’t see them as appropriate for mentalism in the manner presented, especially conjuring with negative emotions and memories. I think the approach of building these up in order to leverage a catharsis is particularly misplaced and potentially harmful. And, as I wrote above, it can’t really achieve the desired ends described by Phedon. If this were therapy, many of the approaches taught would be considered unethical.

S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is an entire category devoted to a method of making women, and interestingly only women, dredge up bad memories and cry. That’s entertainment!

Phedon continues with S.C.R.E.W.E.D. with the woman already mentioned above and, as per the formula, she begins to cry. He tells her reliving the emotions is a good thing, she needs to remember so she can learn from her past and do differently in the future. The thing is, the only reason she is reliving this obviously bad memory is so that Phedon can teach us how to make others suffer through the same process.

The process once again involves the heightening of negatively charged memories followed by an engineered catharsis. Tears are the intended outcome.

This is made clear in the PDF. Phedon describes the reaction of a performer he obviously respects, Christophe, who says his only reservation about performing S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is the frequency of crying by the sitters. Phedon says that this is proof of the power of the routine and necessary for the ultimate catharsis. Again, that’s entertainment?

All this leads me to wonder just who the audience for Sybil really is. The methods appear to cater to performers who want to imitate the kind of experience that Stewart and others describe genuinely offering. Yet Stewart, and other ethical readers of his ilk, wouldn’t use the majority of the methods on Sybil, not with the emphasis on conflict, sadness and loss. Not with the use of deception and blatant emotional manipulation.

Many of the ideas Phedon shares aren’t the stuff of mentalism either. There is no need to harness negative, potentially traumatic memories and related emotions in the name of entertainment. Tears are no measure of our success and imagination, dreams and desires present more than enough fertile territory for performers. [/quote]

OMG! PERFECT ANALYSIS! Exactly spot on and the reason I’m so taken aback by the interest and praise Sibyl received from mentalists... mostly amateurs or very young who don’t seem to have a clue the havoc they can sow messing with someone in this way. I am not against readings, but if you’re going to give a reading, do it without trickery!

Approaches used in Sibyl is the stuff that gives readers and mentalists a bad name and makes P&T want to roast us at every opportunity... I’m glad someone finally came out and said it so clearly and unequivocally.

Thanks Dr. Bill!
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Mar 13, 2019 12:34AM)
I knew this would get heavy from the title. Some heavy, strong and great advice here. I particularly liked IAIN points... specially this one:

[quote]On Feb 27, 2019, IAIN wrote:
And in general terms - a reading says much more about the reader than it ever will about the sitter... [/quote]

I'll try to be as direct as possible, because this can get subjective in several ways.

We need to think about what do we want to achieve through our performances. What you offer is entertainment? Insight? Or obscure self-righteous ego centered reasons? If you have to question yourself about what you do... that means that you're not in tune with your intentions for some reason... and this very "reason" is where your focus should be so you can find your own answers. Beyond that, even if you are in tune with your intentions... the intention itself should be checked regardless. Good intentions might not be enough, as already pointed. I will not even comment about bad intentions...

As an example, I used to do Tarot readings. I can say from MY experience that readings can make a huge POSITIVE impact in people's lives in several ways. However... my tarot readings were much more "Rocharch test" than "Predict the future". I would absolutely NEVER say something like "you will die when you have XX years" and yet this is something some readers feel they're entitled to say. Even thinking about it makes me sick...

I don't think readings are something that should be forbidden. I also don't think readings should be done inadvertently and here is where it will weight... because if there were a competition for a world record about how far GOOD readings can do... and how far BAD readings can do... the bad side would reach a bigger mileage, for sure. It's up to the reader to always keep himself on the good side of the readings. In my honest opinion, the danger comes when readers pretend to be blind to the obvious for questionable reasons. That's it.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 13, 2019 09:37AM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Bill Cushman wrote:
"Cold reading threads always go mental. Fact." bevbevvybev

With that said:

I have been pondering the ethics of readings, once again, since watching and reading Sybil and have a bit to say on the topics introduced in this thread. I strongly disagree with the OP’s description of the work as not crossing lines and especially as “...positive, and he's not delving into anything negative.” Quite the opposite in my view and this is where issues of ethics are most relevant. I am not surprised that watching Sybil led Ravenspur to ask questions about the morality of readings.

I agree with Iain, Mr. Woolery, Stewart and others that this discussion is needed and its absence in the field a “sad omission.” Iain and I have briefly explored ethical readings in print together, but many of our thoughts have only been shared in correspondence. The fairly uncritical acceptance of approaches emphasized in Sybil suggest that this is a good time to say more.

I was struck by Mr. Woolery’s comment early on, “Like it or not, if you say things with confidence and they are (or seem) accurate, people will invest a certain amount of belief in what you say.” Accuracy (and, more importantly, what seems like accuracy) is achieved and enhanced via extremely effective manipulation and deception as taught on Sybil. The stated intention is to heighten belief just as Mr. Woolery describes.

I decided to share my thoughts on Sybil after speaking with a colleague, a therapist with a doctorate in marital and family therapy, about a client who became very upset after a Tarot reading. He described her as “coming undone,” when we spoke. She was ruminating and experiencing considerable anxiety two weeks later. She didn’t get a reading for any particular problem so was all the more unsettled when the psychic accurately delved into personal, negative experiences and predicted they wouldn’t be resolved in the immediate future. His overall accuracy only fueled her anxiety about his prediction, a consequence of the dynamic Mr. Woolery writes about above.

In the second reading demonstration on Sybil, Phedon elicits memories of difficult times from his sitter and then tells her he sees them continuing in the future. I can't say if this produced anxiety later on but the same dynamics are at play so the risk is real. In my opinion, this tactic certainly isn’t positive and clearly crosses a line. We don’t have to predict conflicts when there are so many other options available.

I don’t know if the reader my colleague discussed cheated to achieve the accuracy that validated his prediction for the sitter/client. We do know that Phedon cheats brilliantly to enhance both his accuracy and emotional connection to his sitters. This raises a host of ethical issues related to using deception, especially in the course of a reading. The techniques to influence emotion are particularly questionable.

Across a wide range of posters, there seems a broadly shared consensus that trafficking in tears shouldn’t be the goal of mentalists or readers. Yet a focus on at best sadness and, at worst, actual trauma pervades Sybil. This is no accident, in many instances it is the modus operandi of the methods Phedon is teaching. Heightened (negatively charged) affective states are used to make the sitters especially malleable.

One of the primary techniques taught involves the ratcheting up of negative emotions/memories to leverage and enhance a subsequent catharsis and create what I think is best understood as an "illusion of rapport." To be clear, the reactions of the sitters in the video that many people are praising are also illusions; what you see is not what the recipients of the readings are really getting.

How can it be? The sitters have been tricked into believing someone understands their deepest emotions and concerns. I suspect if they were tipped to the amount of sheer deceit used to create this illusion it would crumble hard and they'd feel betrayed. This is no small thing and I don’t see such a potential dynamic having a place in a performance and especially not in a reading. The readers I know disdain this kind of deception.

Phedon says he wants his work to be deeply emotional, cathartic and for the recipients to leave feeling better. His desired result is to relieve them of a burden. Noble goals to be sure but I don’t see them as appropriate for mentalism in the manner presented, especially conjuring with negative emotions and memories. I think the approach of building these up in order to leverage a catharsis is particularly misplaced and potentially harmful. And, as I wrote above, it can’t really achieve the desired ends described by Phedon. If this were therapy, many of the approaches taught would be considered unethical.

S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is an entire category devoted to a method of making women, and interestingly only women, dredge up bad memories and cry. That’s entertainment!

Phedon continues with S.C.R.E.W.E.D. with the woman already mentioned above and, as per the formula, she begins to cry. He tells her reliving the emotions is a good thing, she needs to remember so she can learn from her past and do differently in the future. The thing is, the only reason she is reliving this obviously bad memory is so that Phedon can teach us how to make others suffer through the same process.

The process once again involves the heightening of negatively charged memories followed by an engineered catharsis. Tears are the intended outcome.

This is made clear in the PDF. Phedon describes the reaction of a performer he obviously respects, Christophe, who says his only reservation about performing S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is the frequency of crying by the sitters. Phedon says that this is proof of the power of the routine and necessary for the ultimate catharsis. Again, that’s entertainment?

All this leads me to wonder just who the audience for Sybil really is. The methods appear to cater to performers who want to imitate the kind of experience that Stewart and others describe genuinely offering. Yet Stewart, and other ethical readers of his ilk, wouldn’t use the majority of the methods on Sybil, not with the emphasis on conflict, sadness and loss. Not with the use of deception and blatant emotional manipulation.

Many of the ideas Phedon shares aren’t the stuff of mentalism either. There is no need to harness negative, potentially traumatic memories and related emotions in the name of entertainment. Tears are no measure of our success and imagination, dreams and desires present more than enough fertile territory for performers. [/quote]

Bill, you raise many excellent points. Have you considered creating and offering for sale a training program, perhaps a webinar or conference call series, on the ethics of readings? It seems there is a real need for such a program, which could benefit us all. You and IAIN discuss the ethics of readings to some extent in Devil May Care. I'm wondering if you may consider a more in-depth training on the subject? Certainly from your perspective, training and experience as a clinical psychologist, there is much you could teach us about the dangers and consequences of readings.

It's often mentioned that a tool can be used for good or to cause harm. That's true, but incomplete. In many professions and at many organizations "tools" of different types are used. There is often training on how to use each tool properly, covering intended use, what the tool is designed to be used for and what is considered inappropriate use, how to use the tool properly for specific applications or use cases, safety considerations, hands on practice with an experienced trainer and more.

It would be great there were an in-depth training program on the ethics of giving readings with principles to follow, practices that are ethical, practices that are unethical, the reasons why for each, specific behaviors that can cause harm and must be avoided, examples, etc.

I don't know if creating such a program interests you or not, but it seems there is a need in the market.

Bill
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 13, 2019 09:56AM)
The ethics are simple, keep it entertaining and without any advice on mental, financial or health issues. That would include investment opportunities, marriage counseling, drug taking or procedure, prescribed by a doctor, or any mental issues normally handled by the psychiatric community. It's that simple.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 13, 2019 10:46AM)
Initially, I was very keen to put together an ethics book and even lined up a few people who wanted to contribute.

However, I've currently changed my mind. As I feel it would be a waste of time. It wouldn't change any mindsets really, even if it were given away - which was my intention.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 13, 2019 11:50AM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Initially, I was very keen to put together an ethics book and even lined up a few people who wanted to contribute.

However, I've currently changed my mind. As I feel it would be a waste of time. It wouldn't change any mindsets really, even if it were given away - which was my intention. [/quote]

Well, I for one hope you may reconsider. I would love to see such a book. Some minds may be changed, especially if there are clear and specific examples of what not to do and the reasons why - along with the consequences.
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Mar 13, 2019 02:05PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Initially, I was very keen to put together an ethics book and even lined up a few people who wanted to contribute.

However, I've currently changed my mind. As I feel it would be a waste of time. It wouldn't change any mindsets really, even if it were given away - which was my intention. [/quote]

Well, I for one hope you may reconsider. I would love to see such a book. Some minds may be changed, especially if there are clear and specific examples of what not to do and the reasons why - along with the consequences. [/quote]

I think the book would be interesting (and I would love to read it) but pointless (in terms of having an impact on most people). This thread illustrates that. Which is really too bad in my opinion. While my personal feelings haven't changed a great deal over the last, say, 10 years, my opinion is more nuanced these days. And, for me at least, those nuances are where the real interesting things happen.

Best,
Lem
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 13, 2019 03:06PM)
The thing about ethics is that often times, it's the profession, that sets the standards. Having a base line for the accepted proper way of conduct, can and does keep people honest. When one operates outside the accepted manner of conduct, the profession itself will often condemn the offender through it's ethics boards. I think it would be a good idea for mentalist, to have such ethic counsels. Honestly I thought, we already did?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Mar 13, 2019 03:09PM)
There is no governing body with any authority for mentalists, outside the existing structure for laws wherever said mentalist is. Nor could I imagine any body could possibly be remotely effective. Are you thinking of the PEA?
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 13, 2019 03:13PM)
I was thinking the PEA. And although it's not well known, does have an allure that if one was to violate the code of conduct, could be banned from ever entering it's ranks. I know most of us wont't be invited but the idea that if we mess up, non admittance is guarantied, might be a deterrent?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Mar 13, 2019 03:36PM)
I suppose it could be a deterrent to those who both know it exists, and care about wanting to be a member.
Message: Posted by: Smoking Camel (Mar 13, 2019 03:46PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
The ethics are simple, keep it entertaining and without any advice on mental, financial or health issues. That would include investment opportunities, marriage counseling, drug taking or procedure, prescribed by a doctor, or any mental issues normally handled by the psychiatric community. It's that simple. [/quote]

So if your client wanted to know what the future holds for her marriage you wouldn’t read for them?
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 13, 2019 03:56PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, Smoking Camel wrote:

So if your client wanted to know what the future holds for her marriage you wouldn’t read for them? [/quote]

I realise you're not asking me, so yes, I am butting in...

I would absolutely not read for her, and haven't on many occasions and explained why it's not healthy...
Message: Posted by: Smoking Camel (Mar 13, 2019 04:04PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, Smoking Camel wrote:

So if your client wanted to know what the future holds for her marriage you wouldn’t read for them? [/quote]

I realise you're not asking me, so yes, I am butting in...

I would absolutely not read for her, and haven't on many occasions and explained why it's not healthy... [/quote]

Is the explanation as to why it’s not healthy in this thread? If so I’ll hunt back through and try to find it. Cheers!
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 13, 2019 04:12PM)
Not that I know of.. Except as a general theme of not being qualified to answer it in any meaningful way...

If you would trust the fall of the cards and then allow yourself to interpret them... Why would it be OK to give advice on such a life changing event?

How do you measure the success?
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 13, 2019 04:17PM)
Regarding any request to predict the future, related to marriage or otherwise, I like what David Theil has said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I don't predict the future because I don't believe it is written yet."

This is only one example, but it is the thinking like this, and the specific response that comes from the thinking, that can be one piece of more complete "standard" for giving ethical readings.

Personally, I don't think a standard for giving ethical readings needs to be set or governed by an organization. A competent and knowledgeable individual, or group of contributors, could scope out a nice standard. Certainly IAIN and Bill Cushman have laid the initial ground work for that in Devil May Care.
Message: Posted by: CGould (Mar 13, 2019 04:25PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
Regarding any request to predict the future, related to marriage or otherwise, I like what David Theil has said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I don't predict the future because I don't believe it is written yet."

This is only one example, but it is the thinking like this, and the specific response that comes from the thinking, that can be one piece of more complete "standard" for giving ethical readings.

Personally, I don't think a standard for giving ethical readings needs to be set or governed by an organization. A competent and knowledgeable individual, or group of contributors, could scope out a nice standard. Certainly IAIN and Bill Cushman have laid the initial ground work for that in Devil May Care. [/quote]

Devil May Care gets referenced a few times here, can someone point me in the direction of where I may find it?
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 13, 2019 04:27PM)
My thinking has changed quite a bit in recent years on the impact readings can have on people. Even very recently. Largely due to what I've read here. Our words impact people. I am now (and increasingly so) much more careful and guarded about what I say and the words I choose. The principles are important, and so are the specific words we say.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 13, 2019 04:28PM)
I also think it's just more about being human and honest... Person to person, choosing to be an honest and open human being...

Unfortunately, because of how humans work, if you truly believe that your oracle can do such things and that you possess something mystical or similar, and a true believer comes to you, then unfortunately, reality jumps out the window and each person involved will feed off of each other.

Other than that, wish them well, tell them you are unable to read for them and suggest a marriage guidance counselor...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 13, 2019 04:30PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, CGould wrote:

Devil May Care gets referenced a few times here, can someone point me in the direction of where I may find it? [/quote]

Not available at the moment I'm afraid...
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 13, 2019 04:31PM)
Yes, agreed. Personally I don't believe oracles have any power. Other than what we assign to it. I see oracles as symbols and metaphor only.
Message: Posted by: CGould (Mar 13, 2019 04:34PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Mar 13, 2019, CGould wrote:

Devil May Care gets referenced a few times here, can someone point me in the direction of where I may find it? [/quote]

Not available at the moment I'm afraid... [/quote]

Well that explains why I can't find it anywhere online, and a slight bit disappointing, sounds to be a great bit of material from some of the comments here.
Message: Posted by: The Urban Entity (Mar 14, 2019 12:48PM)
[quote]On Feb 26, 2019, Ravenspur wrote:
I've been interested in cold reading for years and just bought Phedon Bilek's Sibyl. It's good stuff. But as I learn it, I keep wondering,

How do readers morally justify doing readings of people?

It's somewhat more than entertainment, isn't it? What are the rules that make it right? What if something upsetting comes out?

I don't have any interest in passing judgment on the reasoning of others, just interested in informing my own thinking. [/quote]



As an evangelical Christian, I don't do cold readings. But, if I were, I would do the hostage principle. What is that? I would make it all about the peeked information. Tell them that I am not psychic and I don't believe in such. But I do believe that if we can use our imaginations to get our thoughts in sync, then something beautiful will happen in the end. Then ask the person, "Would you mind helping me?" Of course, they'll say yes.

That is when you go into the readings because you are trying to understand how they think. You are not being psychic. Merely trying to understand how they view life and get to know then, and then you knock them out in the end with a mind reading trick.

I think that remedies that.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 14, 2019 03:28PM)
The hammer is about to fall.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Mar 16, 2019 12:17PM)
It takes guts. damit.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Mar 16, 2019 01:44PM)
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur (tamen non esset irrumator!)
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Mar 16, 2019 01:46PM)
The same kind of admonishment against cold reading can be given against the giving of any sort of advice under most circumstances.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 16, 2019 03:24PM)
[quote]On Mar 16, 2019, gaddy wrote:
The same kind of admonishment against cold reading can be given against the giving of any sort of advice under most circumstances. [/quote]

Not really, the dynamics are completely different...
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Mar 16, 2019 04:03PM)
[quote]On Mar 16, 2019, gaddy wrote:
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur (tamen non esset irrumator!) [/quote]

Moraliter necessarium est stultorum nummos divideret.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 16, 2019 04:35PM)
[i]Ut se verum suis tuam.[/i]

Dead horse.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 23, 2019 05:30AM)
Gaddy, "the world does not want to be fooled". The expression is meant as cover for those conmen and charlatans, to help them sleep at night.

Philemon, and I think to use morality as a justifications for bilking people out of their money, is no morality at all.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Mar 23, 2019 10:07AM)
Si non est, erit aliquis.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 23, 2019 10:21AM)
Not anywhere near my house ;) Or should I just say, not me?
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Mar 23, 2019 11:24AM)
I don't think anybody is entitled to say how people should spend their money. For instance, I don't think people should spend their money smoking... they're wasting their money and wasting their health... yet I'm don't go out saying they're wrong and I'm right... it's THEIR money and they're entitled to spend it as they see fit. Is there a documentary against readings? I lost how many campaigns against smoke there is... hell, even in the box there are warnings and yet people go for it. The same goes for readings... if people find readings something useful/helpful/good for whatever reasons, it's their decisions after all and it's their money after all.

That being said... I do think readings can be VERY positive in many many aspects (I'm talking about "pure" readings). The reader must be cautious to not alienate people, that's the biggest concern. Now, mixing it with secret methods to secretly get information to boost the believebility might be questionable depending on how the performer go about it.

Lastly... the world doesn't want to be fooled? Really? Then I must be living in a completely different world... I see people paying to see things that "fools" all the time, mostly for entertainment. Movies (you know they're actors and special effects, right?), Wrestling, Magic, Theather, Stand Up comedy... and the list goes. Even social midia is packed with fooling stuff just for the sake of entertainment. No... what I see when I look around is exactly the opposite... the world is so filled with nasty things that the world itself is paying to be fooled.

Btw... I'm just stating a point of view... please, read between the lines what I said here... don't take everything literally because I think it would end in a pointless discussion. In the end, nobody is entitled to say how people should spend their money... it's their money after all (what I said about not alienating people should be taken in consideration, sure!).
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Mar 23, 2019 12:05PM)
It may not be freethinking to SUGGEST how people spend their money but governments have decided to protect the people from fraudsters and conmen. Is that fascism? Maybe but for the good of the people, may be a necessary evil?
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Mar 23, 2019 01:30PM)
[quote]On Mar 23, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
It may not be freethinking to SUGGEST how people spend their money but governments have decided to protect the people from fraudsters and conmen. Is that fascism? Maybe but for the good of the people, may be a necessary evil? [/quote]

I'm not sure about the suggestion part... because it's subjective. Government is also subjective... there are country's that allows man to spank woman... there are countrys where marriage with underaged is allowed... hell, there are countries where even child prostitution is allowed for God's sake... just because government allows or forbids it doesn't mean government is making the right decision nor that the action itself is right or wrong. I could go on with even worse examples but I don't want to derail the topic. The point is that it will be hard to make solid arguments with subjective "facts", you see. The bottom line is much deeper than that. Personally, I do have problems with how some things are handled regarding readings, there are things regarding readings that I'm 100% against... but on the other hand, I've seem enough first hand to be on the side of the readings myself. If I were to take a pick on one side... I do favor the practice of readings (done properly!).
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Mar 23, 2019 03:20PM)
Not only do people want to be fooled, they do so because they want to experience the sensation of awe.

There's a great story regarding awe (and a study regarding it) that recently appeared on the "Quirks and Quarks" podcast: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/mar-9-2019-science-of-awe-blue-whales-and-sonar-chromosomes-and-sleep-and-more-1.5047142/exploring-the-powerful-emotion-of-awe-how-it-can-be-awe-some-and-aw-ful-1.5047156
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Mar 27, 2019 04:12PM)
Awe shucks.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 27, 2019 08:10PM)
A point of clarification: The phrase [i]"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur"[/i] has [b]nothing[/b] to do with those who practice the art of theatrical Magic. It has been borrowed by some performance Magicians simply because it sounds "cool" and "mystical" and because they are woefully ignorant to it's true meaning.

The phrase actually comes to us from Occult practices and has a far more sinister - yet truthful and useful meaning, which is related to natural human tendency. It simply means that people would rather believe a convenient lie than face a horrible truth. As an example, Adolph Hitler bombed his own Reichstag parliament building on February 27, 1933. He then used the event to declare his political opponents on the left as "terrorists" which allowed the nazi party to be able to declare a state of national emergency. This granted the nazi party new powers which they then used to slowly strip away the liberty and freedoms of the German people under the pretenses of "national security" which eventually led to Hitler abolishing the government and declaring himself Supreme Chancellor of Germany. It also united the German people as a whole against a supposed "common enemy". This isn't to say that all Germans believed the terrible lie, but the masses did, and once that happened, it was too late to protest because you would then be deemed a traitor of the state.

Despite empirical evidence that the nazi party was behind the bombing, the German people were desperate for a means to end the country's economic woes and so it was far easier for them to accept the lie than to face the horrible truth. Hitler simply preyed upon the animal instincts of humanity to achieve what he desired. He is quoted as telling his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels [i]"Make the lie big. Keep repeating it, and the people will believe it."[/i] He had even written about this very idea before the bombing in his book [i]Mein Kampf[/i] where he wrote:

[i]All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.[/i]

The "Great Lie" is a tool used by Occultists that operates in harmony with "The Great Work". In [i]genuine[/i] Occult practice, "Magick" is defined as [i]"the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will"[/i], which includes both "mundane" acts of will (such as lying) as well as ritual magic.

Long story short, I would advise against using the phrase unless one is actually associated with genuine Occult practices and doesn't mind being known as one who would do [b]anything[/b] to achieve one's goals.

Now...about 9/11....
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 01:25AM)
The morality issue of readings can also easily be boiled down to another Occult teaching, and perhaps the greatest of them all: [i]"Know thyself"[/i]. It is a cardinal [i]faux-pas[/i] within the Occult to have to question one's own motives because it means that one has either been fooled by self-deception or doesn't yet [i]"know thyself"[/i]. One should not be engaging in this sort of thing without acquiring this knowledge of "self" first. The same thing applies to readings. Understanding who you are and why you're interested in doing this is the key. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer.

The human mind likes to compartmentalize things into nice neat boxes. It does this by labeling things as "good or "evil", "pleasurable" or "unpleasant" etc. The truth is, that all of these things are opposite sides of the same coin and are entirely subjective. Perhaps you're not into bondage and being whipped. Another may find that to be pleasurable. The actual act itself is neither "pleasurable" or "unpleasurable". This is known as [i]The Law of Polarity[/i] which teaches that all things that exist [i]must[/i] have it's opposite. There is no day without night, truth without lies, etc. Each [i]must[/i] exist in order for the other to also exist. How one chooses to [b]live[/b] their life is their own choice and determined by their own knowledge of self or lack thereof. If another's choices are deemed to be awful or abhorrent to one's self, it is simply because that person has chosen to [b]live[/b] in a manner which is in mirror opposition to your own sensibilities. In other words, backwards. They are [b]living[/b] backwards, or contrary, to your own beliefs. [b]LIVE[/b], backwards, is [b]EVIL[/b]. But does that make it so? No. Again, they are polar opposites and one cannot exist without the other. They are both essential. Look closely at the Universe and the Earth around you. There are always cycles of seemingly careless destruction without reason. Nature has a wanton lust for destroying life sometimes. That is the way of things. Only silly humans view it as "good" or "evil" because humans have reached a point where they are desperately trying to reject and deny the fact that they are, in reality, just animals and also a part of Nature and the Universe itself. They believe that they are "better" and "superior" to animals. Thus the "need" for the modern human to want to shave off natural body hair and so on and so forth, and why species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate and the Earth is being destroyed, but I digress...because again, if that's what is occurring, then it's all a part of the adventure, isn't it?

Knowledge of "self" is really the key to all of this. There is no "right" or "wrong". [i]"Do as though whilt shall be the whole of the law."[/i]
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 28, 2019 03:20AM)
The funny thing about the book of the law is, is that it states that nothing shall be written down and to learn/teach the 'wisdom' of the book of the law it shall be passed onto others orally...

You can buy it on amazon... Less than a fiver... And that decision was made by the golden dawn themselves...

And I feel people readily accept the legend of cowley, rather than examine his reality at the time and just see him as he truly was... A messed up opportunist who had a couple of great talents.. But there's nothing occult about him...
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 03:39AM)
Except you're missing the fact that Crowley himself didn't actually derive these on his own. These teachings were around long before he ever appeared on the planet. All he did was repackage them. And as for the Golden Dawn...pfft. This was all just part of his way of sucking fools into following him and worshiping the ground he walked on. You do realize he was simply just having a good laugh at their expense, don't you? They forgot the "golden" rules: [b]"Know thyself"[/b] and [b]"To one's own self be true"[/b]. However, no matter what one's opinion is about the man, the fact cannot be disputed that he was absolutely brilliant and possessed an extremely high IQ.

Fact is, Crowley's own personal interests in the Occult (outside of the organizations he created) went back to its ancient roots with Enochian and Solomonic Goetic Magick. All humans are opportunistic by nature - just as animals are. Some just try to hide it. Others preach moral righteousness and piety when it is all just hypocritical and a facade. To suggest that there was nothing "Occult" about Crowley would also be wrong. Maybe try reading [i]all[/i] of his works on the subject and not just the common ones (like [i]The Book of the Law[/i]) that people with only a passing knowledge of the man have read. He wrote a ton of material. I'm not necessarily a "Crowley-ite", but the mark he left on the world of the Occult is undeniable. Crowley would laugh at anyone who followed his path, and that was the biggest lesson of all to be learned - which most missed and continue to do so.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 04:17AM)
Incidentally...

Crowley was born October [b]12[/b], 18[b]75[/b]. I was born October [b]11[/b], 19[b]74[/b]. One century later, I was born exactly one day and one year less. He died in '47. I was born in '74. There's a ton of numerological ties and synchronicities here, but I won't bother getting into those complexities.

Reincarnation, perhaps? ;)
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 04:56AM)
There is a 27 year difference between his death and my birth. The number 27 in Occultism has [i]massive[/i] significance. Not trying to suggest anything, I just find the sheer number of numerological ties between us to be absolutely staggering and fascinating. He and I also share an intense love and proficiency in the game of Chess as well...

Just one more thing in a long list of strange synchronicities.
Message: Posted by: MindO (Mar 28, 2019 05:35AM)
[quote]On Mar 23, 2019, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
It may not be freethinking to SUGGEST how people spend their money but governments have decided to protect the people from fraudsters and conmen. Is that fascism? Maybe but for the good of the people, may be a necessary evil? [/quote]


If that's the point , then in goverment's opinion people are so stupid, so they have to be protected, even if they don't want to... . I'm ok if someone want's to criticise something, but I'm against in legaly enforcin people how to think. What about freedom ? My freedom ends where your freedom begins. If you wan't do something which will do no harm to other people ( for example go for a tarrot reading) goverment can not prohibit it to you . That's the point. In law there is old latin sentence "Volenti non fit iniuria".
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 06:25AM)
[quote]On Mar 28, 2019, MindO wrote:
If that's the point , then in goverment's opinion people are so stupid, so they have to be protected, even if they don't want to... . I'm ok if someone want's to criticise something, but I'm against in legaly enforcin people how to think. What about freedom ? My freedom ends where your freedom begins. If you wan't do something which will do no harm to other people ( for example go for a tarrot reading) goverment can not prohibit it to you . That's the point. In law there is old latin sentence "Volenti non fit iniuria". [/quote]

I couldn't agree more. Governments are simply nothing more than a legalized gang whose main industry is the "protection" racket. It would do well for people to remember that the 'police' started off as the goons who would show up at your thatch hut to extort money from you that you owed to the "King" for no other reason than because "he said so" and because you lived on "his" land - land which was originally taken by force and paid for by the blood of the common man. Their powers have been greatly amplified over time. Let's also not forget that the Royalty's main concern was in expanding their powers and territory. The more land one conquered, the more power and money was gained in return. None of it was ever in favour of the actual people they ruled over. It was all simply a game of whomever had the biggest goon squad wins - or at least, typically "wins". Nowadays, it is less about territory and more about resources. A Government needs no longer to conquer another's land - or it's problems, as long as they've gotten access to it's resources. They do it through finances. When that country rebels or decides not to comply... a bunch of propaganda is cooked up and, well, I think we've all seen what happens. (Remember Saddam's infamous [i] "weapons'a mass destruction?"[/i]) Never did find them, did they?

At this stage in the game, they have overstepped their boundaries by too wide of a margin. It has gotten to the point where every tiny little thing in life is now governed over. There is absolutely no way a man should be jailed for catching a few fish in a river to eat without a license. That is a God-given right to all who live on this earth as a means to survive. Same with these draconian laws they have in some parts where people aren't allowed to catch and use rain water on their own land. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Enough is enough.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Henry (Mar 28, 2019 09:14AM)
Hello Friends,

I'm not really interested in arguments, especially the one of this thread. But I do care about proper quotations, citations and bibliographic details. I tried sending a quick note to my esteemed colleague Sudo to privately alert him of a discrepancy in one of his comments, but his mailbox is full. Since that didn't work, I hope he won't mind if I publicly fix something he misquoted here.

The dictum should be: "Do [b]what[/b] thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Every word matters, and in this case changing "as" for "what" truly subverts the intended meaning. Anyway, the book from which Sudo quotes says, "Change not as much as the style of a letter...," so I guess we better leave complete words alone!

Aleister has been one of my closest friends for well over half a century now, so I wanted to set the record straight on this rather important imperative of his. Should anyone require further clarification, I've actually written eleven freely available essays on this axiom (no advertising, no strings attached, merely a labor of love): https://osculating-words.blogspot.com/2018/07/blog-post.html

And while still in librarian mode, may I be permitted to address Iain as well? The Golden Dawn had nothing to do with [i]Liber Legis[/i], or [i]Book of the Law[/i]. Crowley's preliminary couple of years with that group were well before the days of [i]Book of the Law[/i], which draws more from Rabelais and Sade than Hermes Trismegistus. However, you are certainly correct (I think) in your assessment of his foul character. But as I've written in my essays, cited above, don't mistake the message with the messenger.

One final thing. Reincarnation? In my fifty years of studying the Great Beast and encountering others of a similar persuasion in both the U.S. and the U.K., I've met some thirteen or fourteen people who have claimed to be Aleister's astral seed. Don't lump me with the Amazing Randi, but I'm not totally convinced yet. For that matter, my brother (now deceased) was born on the day Crowley died (about an hour after the fact as I recall). Brother Bill did a pretty good job of emulating the old rapscallion, but truly I think the second coming is still just a few years ahead of us yet.

Thomas Henry
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 28, 2019 09:26AM)
[quote]On Mar 28, 2019, Thomas Henry wrote:
And while still in librarian mode, may I be permitted to address Iain as well? The Golden Dawn had nothing to do with [i]Liber Legis[/i], or [i]Book of the Law[/i]. Crowley's preliminary couple of years with that group were well before the days of [i]Book of the Law[/i], which draws more from Rabelais and Sade than Hermes Trismegistus. However, you are certainly correct (I think) in your assessment of his foul character. But as I've written in my essays, cited above, don't mistake the message with the messenger. [/quote]

cheers for the correction!

i thought they ended up with the rights to the book of the law and then sold it publicly...but no!


crowley (pronounced like holy) was a very interesting man, but also a huge narcissist and opportunist (amongst other things)...if I remember rightly, he also had quite a disruptive childhood too (could be wrong)... but equally, his true talents could have been put to better use I reckon...being able to manipulate and so on, he'd have been an excellent mentalist - and in a way, he was...just that his payments were a bit more long term and to sate certain vices...i wonder if he lived in a time where his sexuality wasn't illegal, whether he'd have been another person and not felt compelled to go the so-called "occult" way...

side note - depending on what century you look at, things that get labelled as occult change...so the experience of those things are certainly influenced by social and economic view points of its time...
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 11:19AM)
Hi Thomas.

Yes, you're correct. As I wrote that post in the wee hours of the morning, I misplaced "what" with "as". My bad.

As for the 'reincarnation' bit, you do realize that was purely in jest, no? The man was indeed of foul character, but that means nothing whatsoever to me. I welcome such things. It is far more interesting than the boring and mundane - none of which, are terms one would use to describe the man.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you've written. Thanks for sharing.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 28, 2019 05:08PM)
Connected in a few ways, Graham bond did some albums based around magick, King Arthur and cowley influenced stuff... He was also one of the very first UK jazz and rythmn and blues guys... The mighty shadow is an interesting book about him...

Have a listen...
https://youtu.be/MLTl2Fuf6iY
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 05:21PM)
Well, that was cool Iain. Had no idea such a thing existed and never heard of this artist before. It's definitely "old-school cool". Thanks.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 28, 2019 05:24PM)
Have a listen to his album We Put Our Magick on You... Some incantations are made, but with some African chanting and drumming but also early prog jazz rock running through it...
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 05:33PM)
Thomas,

I just checked out your blog and read your thoughts on [i]The Book of the Law[/i]. You have a wonderful writing style and I found myself chuckling aloud in a few places.

Your photo shows a small statue of the Baphomet. I'm curious; do you have a routine of some sort that you perform with it, or is this displayed for the sake of emphasis regarding the blog's focus?
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 28, 2019 05:42PM)
[quote]On Mar 28, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Have a listen to his album We Put Our Magick on You... Some incantations are made, but with some African chanting and drumming but also early prog jazz rock running through it... [/quote]

Sweet. I'll definitely check that out. Every so often I go on an old prog-rock binge and this is something new for me - which is always welcome.

Cheers.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Henry (Mar 28, 2019 07:50PM)
Hi Sudo,

I don't want to hijack this thread, but did want to answer your question. Would you believe I originally got Baphomet for my garden? Once s/he arrived, I thought it so beautiful, it now adorns a prominent spot in my living room as a constant reminder of the short time we're all here and how much is left to be done. So no, I do not use it in any routine...but might some day.

And thanks for your comments on the blog; I'm glad you're getting the giggles intended!

Thomas Henry
Message: Posted by: prankmonster (Mar 29, 2019 05:02AM)
[quote]On Mar 23, 2019, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
Not only do people want to be fooled, they do so because they want to experience the sensation of awe.

There's a great story regarding awe (and a study regarding it) that recently appeared on the "Quirks and Quarks" podcast: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/mar-9-2019-science-of-awe-blue-whales-and-sonar-chromosomes-and-sleep-and-more-1.5047142/exploring-the-powerful-emotion-of-awe-how-it-can-be-awe-some-and-aw-ful-1.5047156 [/quote]

Thanks for this link. This has been my experience with human beings in general. People generally do want to experience a sensation of awe and they are willing to pay money to be fooled and experience that sensation. You can still be a skeptical human being while still experiencing that sensation of awe. The experience itself is valid and it is something they yearn for. It is a service that we provide :D
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Mar 29, 2019 09:18PM)
The OP had a question about how readers deal with the morality issues when doing a cold rea*.

I'm not a reader in the standard sense of the word. I offer "Impressionism Readings" as an adjunct to a staged event. I also incorporate CR techniques into nearly every other thing I do on stage from a Center Te*r to a book test. You use techniques. You watch body language. You deliver amazing information.

There can be no doubt that, when the reader knows what they are doing, the readings transcend performance and go into a much more deeply personal area. And it is also impossible to deny that when looking into the eyes of a "true believer" that there isn't some oily creature whispering in my ear that 'this person would believe anything I tell them.' It's a seductive thing...and a very powerful seduction at that.

Think for a second about a well done co*d reading. The person talking is someone you've never seen before...who knows that there was a white building in your past that was meaningful to you...and that there is someone in your life who has a name starting with an R or a J. They watch you carefully from there and go on to reveal a number of highly personal things about who you are...things you thought no one knew.

What are you going to do with this person? How can they know these things?

And if you ARE that person...how are you going to deal with that True Believer. I still recall (in vivid technicolor) the waves of guilt that washed over me when I saw my first True Believer after a performance.

What's moral?

What's immoral?

The line I draw is done like this. When the person comes to me I tell them that I am going to share impressions with them...and that these impressions may or may not be meaningful to them...but that these are the impressions I get when they come for a reading. They are free to do whatever they want with the things I am about to reveal. Then I share my honest impressions with them.

Want to run a cult? Want to use the techniques and methods that fit into a reading to control or influence your sitter? It's not your place to do that. I'd call that immoral. Sharing ideas...impressions...even those created with method and technique...and letting the sitter respond in their own way to what's been said? A fair and proper reading.

My honest thoughts shared in the hope that they may be of use in this discussion.

David
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Mar 29, 2019 09:23PM)
Great post David.
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Mar 30, 2019 05:35AM)
"When the person comes to me I tell them that I am going to share impressions with them...and that these impressions may or may not be meaningful to them...but that these are the impressions I get when they come for a reading. They are free to do whatever they want with the things I am about to reveal. Then I share my honest impressions with them."

This.
Message: Posted by: John C (Mar 30, 2019 08:26AM)
[quote]On Mar 23, 2019, Max Hazy wrote:
I don't think anybody is entitled to say how people should spend their money. For instance, I don't think people should spend their money smoking... they're wasting their money and wasting their health... yet I'm don't go out saying they're wrong and I'm right... it's THEIR money and they're entitled to spend it as they see fit. Is there a documentary against readings? I lost how many campaigns against smoke there is... hell, even in the box there are warnings and yet people go for it. The same goes for readings... if people find readings something useful/helpful/good for whatever reasons, it's their decisions after all and it's their money after all.

That being said... I do think readings can be VERY positive in many many aspects (I'm talking about "pure" readings). The reader must be cautious to not alienate people, that's the biggest concern. Now, mixing it with secret methods to secretly get information to boost the believebility might be questionable depending on how the performer go about it.

Lastly... the world doesn't want to be fooled? Really? Then I must be living in a completely different world... I see people paying to see things that "fools" all the time, mostly for entertainment. Movies (you know they're actors and special effects, right?), Wrestling, Magic, Theather, Stand Up comedy... and the list goes. Even social midia is packed with fooling stuff just for the sake of entertainment. No... what I see when I look around is exactly the opposite... the world is so filled with nasty things that the world itself is paying to be fooled.

Btw... I'm just stating a point of view... please, read between the lines what I said here... don't take everything literally because I think it would end in a pointless discussion. In the end, nobody is entitled to say how people should spend their money... it's their money after all (what I said about not alienating people should be taken in consideration, sure!). [/quote]

agree!
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Mar 30, 2019 08:35AM)
[quote]On Mar 30, 2019, bevbevvybev wrote:
"When the person comes to me I tell them that I am going to share impressions with them...and that these impressions may or may not be meaningful to them...but that these are the impressions I get when they come for a reading. They are free to do whatever they want with the things I am about to reveal. Then I share my honest impressions with them."

This. [/quote]

+ 1. Wonderful thinking!
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Mar 31, 2019 02:46PM)
[quote]On Mar 30, 2019, bevbevvybev wrote:
"When the person comes to me I tell them that I am going to share impressions with them...and that these impressions may or may not be meaningful to them...but that these are the impressions I get when they come for a reading. They are free to do whatever they want with the things I am about to reveal. Then I share my honest impressions with them."

This. [/quote]

+2

David nailed it.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 2, 2019 06:54AM)
...i am somewhat surprised that this from Bill has garnered such a small response... but then again, I shouldn't be really...and its partly why pulling together an ethics based booklet would be a waste of time!

:nose:

[quote]On Mar 8, 2019, Bill Cushman wrote:
"Cold reading threads always go mental. Fact." bevbevvybev

With that said:

I have been pondering the ethics of readings, once again, since watching and reading Sybil and have a bit to say on the topics introduced in this thread. I strongly disagree with the OP’s description of the work as not crossing lines and especially as “...positive, and he's not delving into anything negative.” Quite the opposite in my view and this is where issues of ethics are most relevant. I am not surprised that watching Sybil led Ravenspur to ask questions about the morality of readings.

I agree with Iain, Mr. Woolery, Stewart and others that this discussion is needed and its absence in the field a “sad omission.” Iain and I have briefly explored ethical readings in print together, but many of our thoughts have only been shared in correspondence. The fairly uncritical acceptance of approaches emphasized in Sybil suggest that this is a good time to say more.

I was struck by Mr. Woolery’s comment early on, “Like it or not, if you say things with confidence and they are (or seem) accurate, people will invest a certain amount of belief in what you say.” Accuracy (and, more importantly, what seems like accuracy) is achieved and enhanced via extremely effective manipulation and deception as taught on Sybil. The stated intention is to heighten belief just as Mr. Woolery describes.

I decided to share my thoughts on Sybil after speaking with a colleague, a therapist with a doctorate in marital and family therapy, about a client who became very upset after a Tarot reading. He described her as “coming undone,” when we spoke. She was ruminating and experiencing considerable anxiety two weeks later. She didn’t get a reading for any particular problem so was all the more unsettled when the psychic accurately delved into personal, negative experiences and predicted they wouldn’t be resolved in the immediate future. His overall accuracy only fueled her anxiety about his prediction, a consequence of the dynamic Mr. Woolery writes about above.

In the second reading demonstration on Sybil, Phedon elicits memories of difficult times from his sitter and then tells her he sees them continuing in the future. I can't say if this produced anxiety later on but the same dynamics are at play so the risk is real. In my opinion, this tactic certainly isn’t positive and clearly crosses a line. We don’t have to predict conflicts when there are so many other options available.

I don’t know if the reader my colleague discussed cheated to achieve the accuracy that validated his prediction for the sitter/client. We do know that Phedon cheats brilliantly to enhance both his accuracy and emotional connection to his sitters. This raises a host of ethical issues related to using deception, especially in the course of a reading. The techniques to influence emotion are particularly questionable.

Across a wide range of posters, there seems a broadly shared consensus that trafficking in tears shouldn’t be the goal of mentalists or readers. Yet a focus on at best sadness and, at worst, actual trauma pervades Sybil. This is no accident, in many instances it is the modus operandi of the methods Phedon is teaching. Heightened (negatively charged) affective states are used to make the sitters especially malleable.

One of the primary techniques taught involves the ratcheting up of negative emotions/memories to leverage and enhance a subsequent catharsis and create what I think is best understood as an "illusion of rapport." To be clear, the reactions of the sitters in the video that many people are praising are also illusions; what you see is not what the recipients of the readings are really getting.

How can it be? The sitters have been tricked into believing someone understands their deepest emotions and concerns. I suspect if they were tipped to the amount of sheer deceit used to create this illusion it would crumble hard and they'd feel betrayed. This is no small thing and I don’t see such a potential dynamic having a place in a performance and especially not in a reading. The readers I know disdain this kind of deception.

Phedon says he wants his work to be deeply emotional, cathartic and for the recipients to leave feeling better. His desired result is to relieve them of a burden. Noble goals to be sure but I don’t see them as appropriate for mentalism in the manner presented, especially conjuring with negative emotions and memories. I think the approach of building these up in order to leverage a catharsis is particularly misplaced and potentially harmful. And, as I wrote above, it can’t really achieve the desired ends described by Phedon. If this were therapy, many of the approaches taught would be considered unethical.

S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is an entire category devoted to a method of making women, and interestingly only women, dredge up bad memories and cry. That’s entertainment!

Phedon continues with S.C.R.E.W.E.D. with the woman already mentioned above and, as per the formula, she begins to cry. He tells her reliving the emotions is a good thing, she needs to remember so she can learn from her past and do differently in the future. The thing is, the only reason she is reliving this obviously bad memory is so that Phedon can teach us how to make others suffer through the same process.

The process once again involves the heightening of negatively charged memories followed by an engineered catharsis. Tears are the intended outcome.

This is made clear in the PDF. Phedon describes the reaction of a performer he obviously respects, Christophe, who says his only reservation about performing S.C.R.E.W.E.D. is the frequency of crying by the sitters. Phedon says that this is proof of the power of the routine and necessary for the ultimate catharsis. Again, that’s entertainment?

All this leads me to wonder just who the audience for Sybil really is. The methods appear to cater to performers who want to imitate the kind of experience that Stewart and others describe genuinely offering. Yet Stewart, and other ethical readers of his ilk, wouldn’t use the majority of the methods on Sybil, not with the emphasis on conflict, sadness and loss. Not with the use of deception and blatant emotional manipulation.

Many of the ideas Phedon shares aren’t the stuff of mentalism either. There is no need to harness negative, potentially traumatic memories and related emotions in the name of entertainment. Tears are no measure of our success and imagination, dreams and desires present more than enough fertile territory for performers. [/quote]
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Apr 8, 2019 08:06PM)
Iain, I thought a lot about Bill's post last night, and I can't disagree with a bunch of it. I said on my review on Penguin that the SCREWED piece was something that could be used to "mindscrew" people by people who weren't mature enough or self-aware enough to realize what they were doing. If a person didn't ask to go down this road, I don't think I could condone a reader going there unsolicited. I also said that I don't think I would ever personally use a deceptive (mentalism technique) tactic during a real reading. If I were reading in the context of an entertainment based routine, absolutely I will use peeks and gambits, but not for a "real" reading.

As a side note, the biggest thought I had about Bill's post (he is one of those greatly respected by me on this board) was not so much his argument, but rather the fact that while I couldn't argue with what he said, I still really thought Sibyl was valuable to students of reading. I still have to think about how I reconcile that. But for now, I think if I was just being bare honest, it is because the techniques are very powerful and actually work. And I am not talking about even what Phedon shared, but rather how "I" broke down and analyzed his approach. A few light bulbs went off, not on the content of his reading angles necessarily, like SCREWED which I probably would never do, but rather a couple of techniques that are content neutral. For instance, I labeled one technique as the "Triad" or "Pitch-Fork" approach (like his mantis line and then asking the querent to identify the one she wants to discuss or resonates with). I can almost bet that this technique has been done by tea and palm readers for hundreds of years, but for some reason it clicked with me after watching Sibyl.

Or what he calls his "journeys", I call what every generation of seers have been doing since the dawn of man in almost every culture: Narrating a metaphorical story or image and inviting the querent to make meaning of it. E.E. writes extensively of this in his I.R. and most good Tarot readers do the same, whether the image is on the cards or in their minds, the readings are technically "real." We don't have to lie when we say what we feel or "see" in our minds. I don't presume to tell you these things, and I have to say that your writings on reading ethics have influenced me a great bit.

My point on this first part is that Sibyl had great value for me in being a student of reading while at the same time I concluded that I could not do SCREWED, and I wouldn't use a p**K or other "cheat" to do a real reading. IN other words, I would like to think that most people would think the same: adapt the content for their own use and I guess...their own ethical stance...and leave the rest. But I know and you know I guess that that kind of thinking is naive. Because we all know that some people will watch Sibyl and run right out and ask women to think of bad relationships, etc.

And that brings me to the rub about any goal to write a book/article on "ethics of cold reading." I can't resolve it, and I don't presume to have an answer. So here a few thoughts that I submit for criticism:

1. Part of me wants to support the same thing, writing of an ethical treatise on readings. If I wrote a list of ethical considerations on readings, I would want everyone to adopt mine and agree objectively that they should be followed.
2. But we know that ain't going to happen. Human ethics don't tend to stand up to tests of objectivity very well if objectivity is defined as "most people" would agree to the truth of it regardless of their background or context. In other words, regardless of what we wrote, somebody would argue with them.
3. Part of me feels this whole discussion is a trap. The question may not be "How do I conduct an ethical reading?" The real question might just be, "Should people conduct any type of oracle/fortune reading at all?"
4. To elaborate, who of us can claim we are wise enough to conduct a reading and guarantee we will "do no harm"? There is NO doubt in my mind that Phedon Bilek would never intentionally hurt a fly. Could his reading system cause him to do so anyways? Yes. But isn't that true for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. Even if some of us are operating under more stringent guidelines than others, can any of us say that we know for a fact that we haven't caused unnecessary harm in a querent's mind while doing a reading in the past?
5. Feeling pretty confident that no one has raised their hand to the former question, does that mean we need to ban or cease all reading activities as a whole?
6. If not, maybe we should cease only certain types of readings or books/DVD's about readings? If so, which ones? Who decides? Whose ethics do we use?
7. Part of me feels it is very ironic (Note: I didn't say "not valid") that Sibyl gains such a controversial reaction when history is littered with readers who have used the art to "purposefully" steal fortunes and ruin lives for thousands of years. We shouldn't be surprised that readings give real power over people's thoughts and emotions (and consequences), depending on the context of why the querent is sitting in the chair and what the motives of the reader are. Maybe the power of techniques shown in Sibyl is a wake-up call that this stuff can hit hard and we need to be careful with such knowledge. (that's why I thought Sibyl cost too little).

This idea could illustrate the spectrum of the place of readings:

from a "lark" for a laugh--------someone to talk to and gain empathy--------Someone who can be a catalyst to help me find my own answers (my sweet spot is here)------->someone to gain advice and counseling from-----someone to depend on as a vital ingredient for success------someone to give power over your life, which could cause financial and psychological ruin.

This brings me back to the question I asked before: Sibyl reminds us that these techniques have huge power over human beings. Are we responsible enough to use them at all?

It appears to me that readings tend to follow the way of any other tool used by humans. If they are misused, they burn you or cut you.

8. If you follow the "Misuse" logic in order to write our ethics, we then have to ask a very important question before the ethics can be written IMHO: What is the purpose of a reading? I don't think you can write ethical guidelines until you know that purpose(s). To say a reading angle is a misuse of a technique, we have to contrast it with the correct use of the technique. What is the correct use of a reading?

Any ethical guidelines would have to follow from the answer to that question.

9. Who decides the correct use(s)?

10. In the end, I think the writing of an ethical treatise on readings WOULD be a valid exercise...as long as we realize that all this effort will do is create a "school" of thought...that is opposed by either another "school" of thought....or opposed by those who don't like to go to school at all and want to **** around doing whatever they *** well please. I don't mind saying that I am one that believes school is important, and I don't believe in anarchy. I would rather "some" people agree on a safe ethic in any aspect of life rather than say "do as thou wilt." I assume the Jedi arose to make sure the Dark Side didn't get the only say. The thing I believe is important to remember is that everyone has both Jedi and Dark Side in them. Everybody. So I would hate for an author or work to be labeled as one or the other just because they don't jive with another's ethics or tastes. It's a lot more gray than that.
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Apr 9, 2019 08:44AM)
Do for others what you want them to do for you
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Apr 9, 2019 09:48AM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2019, Amirá wrote:
Do for others what you want them to do for you [/quote] (Pablo, check out what I wrote in the 4th paragraph, lol!)

Yes, I was a bit surprised at the scarcity of response to my original post, followed by a long lag time again when Iain recently reposted my thoughts on Sibyl. To be fair, this isn't a thread on that release so a lot of other ground has also been covered.

Robb seemed to understand where I was coming from and expressed a similar surprise at the lack of nuanced examination of the methods taught on Sibyl. I agree with his observation, something I hadn't considered, that many approaches taught do not do a favor to the public perception of mentalists and readers.

As for writing a book or course on ethics as suggested by Stunninger, I once wrote Iain on the idea:

"It would be a really short book, just two sentences: 'Don't pretend you have real powers. The rest is commentary.' (This is a riff on a classic rabbinical story about the meaning of the Torah: 'Treat your neighbor as yourself. The rest is commentary.') Once mentalism is defined as something presented as real, or even as creating the possibility that a performance is real, I think ethics have left the building. I suppose there may be artistic exceptions to this but I don't think they are what is at issue."

I realize that is a controversial view here. David Thiel is probably the go to guy for making a good case for artistic exceptions, though I'm not sure I agree with all he wrote above. If he's saying what I think he's saying, using trickery during post show "impression readings" gives me pause.

Red Devil, thanks for your thorough analysis. As I'm sure you realize my intent wasn't a review of the pros and cons of what was taught on the disks. We seem on the same page with S.C.R.E.W.E.D, yet, with respect, I feel you missed one of my main points. It is the psychological manipulation that is explicitly taught on Sibyl that I find most objectionable. S.C.R.E.W.E.D. was just the most obvious example (even its title, especially in the context of what is taught and promoted in the effect, is problematic for me).

So let me say it again: the approach of ratcheting up negative emotions to later provide a catharsis creates ONLY an illusion of rapport and has no place in entertainment or a legitimate reading. Interestingly, I just came across a quote from Banachek that touches on this very topic:

“I think the most important trick is making it seem like I have empathy for the people like you understand. You've been there before. You know what they're thinking. You know how they feel once you get that empathy," Banachek said. "And once you get a person believing that you're empathizing with them, then you can talk them into doing almost anything.”

Or believing anything. As Banachek makes clear, this depends on using the appearance of empathy as a trick. THIS is the trick we need to most beware as I believe it holds the greatest risk for doing harm. And I suspect from so much that has been written positively about the reactions of the sitters on Sibyl that people just aren't getting this, dazzled as they seem by tears and hugs.

People generally go to psychics when they are lost, looking for some answers, some guidance, some human contact. This makes them all the more susceptible to manipulations and claims of prescience. More susceptible to the dynamics Mr. Woolery wrote about that I cited in my original post, where accurate observations (and those that seem accurate, often the result of a false sense of empathy) fuel false beliefs.

To come full circle, my colleague recently told me that the client I originally mentioned is still struggling with fallout from the Tarot reading. She was accompanying a friend, who was indeed seeking some insights, and decided to accept the psychic's offer for a reading of her own. So I suppose this could be seen as more of an entertainment or curiosity reading.

My colleague shared some insights gleaned from our conversations with the client, particularly Iain's observation that a negatively oriented reading says more about the reader than her, but to no avail. The client can't let go of how the predictions about her friend (obvious to us in the know as the result of "high probability guesses" and confirmation bias) keep coming to pass. This is reinforcing her fears of the worst predicted for her by the psychic, that her problems will be with her for a while. A fairly safe prediction from the perspective of the reader but patently unfair to the recipient.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 11:13AM)
I'm waiting for some "character" or other to say.. "hey, well maybe they're just psychic..."


And then just bimble and ramble their way away cos they agree with any hit is worth aiming at for the sake of ego and/or stupidity...

I'm from the view that Empathy can't really exist in the definition of the term... And unfortunately people warp that meaning...

Sympathy and compassion, absolutely...

But don't pretend you know what it's like to be homeless or survived a disease or anything else, unless you truly have... And even then, perspectives and life experiences also alter how you deal with it...
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Apr 9, 2019 01:35PM)
Bill, you speak wonderful wisdom and continue to give me pause for deeper examination.

Up until recently, I was of the mindset that doing brief readings for entertainment was ethical. But even here I now think great caution still must be exercised. What motivates a person to seek a reading, even just a brief reading at a party? Some, I am sure, are motivated by the hope the reading will shed some glimpse into their future, even if it's first disclaimed as being for entertainment purposes only.

Something else I've been thinking more about lately, obliquely related to readings are books on positive thinking. When I was much younger, I used to truly believe I could accomplish almost anything I set my mind to through positive thinking and hard work. But what I've come to realize over the decades is that one person, with a healthy self-image and good self-esteem, who sets reasonable (for them) goals will have a very different experience with "positive thinking" and "goal setting" than a person with a poor self-image and low self-esteem, and perhaps sets unrealistic goals (for them).

I guess I'm at a place in life where I am more open and sensitive to the fact that we really don't know how what we say or do may affect another person, or how fragile they might be inside, and how we really must be very careful and proceed with caution.

Thanks for your guidance, "Don't pretend you have real powers. The rest is commentary." Honesty. I guess that really says it all.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 01:58PM)
People's motivations are wide and varied, and I think you can easily tell most motivations in many ways...

But mainly, you can go route one and just ask up front...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 02:14PM)
I'll share this from Devil May Care (written in 2016), about how you may want to use Forer statements, yet, there can be very varied outcomes of those throw away lines... Again, just to show you can't measure that you are doing no harm...

Here's some examples:
"You have much unused potential." - The person has certain mental health issues which means they feel at times that their life is nothing but that issue.

"You get a little anxious in new social situations." - The person has anxiety attacks, and though you are correct, they now worry that it looks apparent that they do so, and therefore their anxiety levels increase.

"You have sometimes told white lies to save another person's feelings." - No, but they have been lied to in a relationship, the other person was cheating on them for several months and now they don't trust anyone.

"You have been a victim of a theft or burglary in the past." - Correct, they were also beaten up or threatened and now they are reliving that time again thanks to you.

"You have a strong need for approval and recognition." - Yes. They had a terrible relationship with their parent(s). And then they died before they could reconcile things.

Some of these sound extreme, however they are also statistically viable. And, just the tip of the iceberg.
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Apr 9, 2019 02:19PM)
I have no problems with pretending to have real powers, but I have my own disclaimers. It's all subjective.

I see a lot of focus on negativity coming from readings. What about positive results? Do someone here think nothing positive can come from readings? I'm not saying that's actually the case... but if it happens to be... by all means, don't do it. Imo... readings can change people's life for better... or worse. It's up to the reader.

Max
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 03:38PM)
Why can't we focus on the danger and ego of readings?

I feel that if you think your readings can change lives, then that's a big problem...

I know you're going to give us examples and it'll be in part confirmation bias...

Readings can be fun, interesting, thought provoking, silly, and many other things... All without that natural position of power that many seem to enjoy...
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Apr 9, 2019 04:49PM)
See? I knew it!! I knew there has to be something good about readings!

I'm not saying that we can't focus on the negative parts of readings... I'm simply pointing that it's all we've been doing here lately, isn't it? The rational part in me cannot conceive a one sided coin... no, a coin must have two sides regardless of what side we're looking at. Don't worry, I won't give examples regarding readings that would be in part confirmation bias.

About you "feeling" that if I think readings can change people's lives then that's a problem... it looks to me like we have some preconceptions regarding readings. For instance... if I change the word "readings" for "advice"... what happens? The sentence would be that "advice can change people's lives", which is something I believe to be as true as the sentence regarding readings... and I bet you would say that the context changes... because of the perceived authority thanks to what can happen surrounding readings (such as trickery)... yet, what about someone having more authority for any other reason (such as expertise) giving advice? And even THEN, an expert could give bad advice... isn't it? I lost count of how many specialized doctors have made terrible mistakes... airplane pilots... the list goes. So... giving advice is dangerous? Who should and shouldn't give advice? What about friends? Then I guess I must be a terrible friend... because I give advice all the time, both on things I know and things I don't know about when giving "opinions" on what I would do. I must be a terrible friend doing something so dangerous constantly... yet I can't say my advice sucks, because people constantly come back for more. My mother on the other hand... despite being so proud of me and loving me so much, so much... have given me bad advice more times than I can count... even though she had the best for me in mind. See where I'm going? It's all subjective... the intention of the reader, the intention of the person being read, THE DISCLAIMERS, the expectation, the subject itself, the context... all of that matters to weight a reading for the good side... or bad side.

We should be careful about the negative side of readings... but not become alienated by them, that's what I want to say. Readings can be as complex or as simple as we make it. In the end what matters is an old west trilogy: the intention, the context and the results. That's why I think David Thiel nailed it in his post. With few words he addresses relevant things without over explaining others:

[quote]The line I draw is done like this. When the person comes to me I tell them that I am going to share impressions with them...and that these impressions may or may not be meaningful to them...but that these are the impressions I get when they come for a reading. They are free to do whatever they want with the things I am about to reveal. Then I share my honest impressions with them. [/quote]
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Apr 9, 2019 04:53PM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2019, IAIN wrote:
I feel that if you think your readings can change lives, then that's a big problem...
[/quote]

I wouldn't say that I've changed a life, but rather that I 'nudged' it in a more positive direction.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 04:54PM)
Your mum sounds like a lot of magicians who want to also give readings...

No, I'm sure your mum does her best. And she's not a pretend mum, and you two have your own relationship. And if she's been in your life for a long period of time, then you know her track record on advice giving. Even when we try our best and think we are giving good advice, the person who receives that advice may think otherwise and never say anything...
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Apr 9, 2019 05:07PM)
A single point in my post addressed: the one about my mother's advice. Fair points though... and from them, I'm sure you got what I mean about the subjectivity of it all.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 05:36PM)
I picked it cos its the most important part...

Your views on advice from friends and family... Its massively different from that of a reader...

Whether they like it or not traditional readers are in a seat of power that is different from friends and family... And the interactions, beliefs and track history of giving good or bad advise is different too..

When mentalists also offer readings they can also be seen in a seat of power...

I can tell you a lot about asthma cos I was born with it, but if I give advice it's from my experience and from my asthmatic life... But I'm still not an ears nose and throat specialist and I wouldn't know if you need steroids or allergy meds...
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Apr 9, 2019 05:50PM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2019, Bill Cushman wrote:
Red Devil, thanks for your thorough analysis. As I'm sure you realize my intent wasn't a review of the pros and cons of what was taught on the disks. We seem on the same page with S.C.R.E.W.E.D, yet, with respect, I feel you missed one of my main points. It is the psychological manipulation that is explicitly taught on Sibyl that I find most objectionable. S.C.R.E.W.E.D. was just the most obvious example (even its title, especially in the context of what is taught and promoted in the effect, is problematic for me).[/quote]

Bill, I think I got it.

The question it makes me ask though is: Isn't ALL reading a form of psychological manipulation (of varied degrees)? I ask this to point the larger question of why most other reading systems advertised/taught in the last 100 years don't elicit similar concerns that Sibyl does. For instance, why does Bev's excellent Palm book get a pass even when we know that palm reading can lead to similar abuses? We have all heard the story of the person who goes to a palm reader and is told by some fool he will die at a young age. He then lives in fear his whole 80 years of life...Is the only difference the degree in which Sibyl openly explores the more negative side of life?

In a purely philosophical tone (meaning, not challenging Bill or anyone else, but instead I think this conversation is interesting and worthwhile), aren't we inconsistent if we attack one reading system and not another if our ultimate critique is the risk of psychological manipulation? To illustrate, it could be argued by some that those who believe fortunetelling is "of the Devil" and avoid it like the plague are the most consistent. Is it not the rest of us who are compromising or drawing arbitrary lines who have the problem?

Another way of posing this discussion would be: As long as the reading system book/DVD doesn't overtly point to discussions that are distasteful to me as the consumer, is it okay to exist?

As far as implementation, is it true that even if a reader "tries" not to come at it from an authority angle or actually goes to the lengths of claiming they have NO powers whatsoever, that many querents will give you the cred anyways. (Iain, could you elaborate on how you feel you conduct readings but avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm? This is not a critique to you whatsoever; I am just curious if you have a solid way to articulate an "out" to this that would hold water.)

I can't find a way out of this logically. If we wish to conduct readings in any form, are we left with three optional paradigms?

1. All reading activity is psychological manipulation, even entertainment-based reading, and should be avoided because of its potential for harm.
2. All reading activity is psychological manipulation, but the kind I perform isn't that bad or dangerous and is worth the risk (for entertainment, for positive effects, etc.)
3. Most forms of readings are psychological manipulation, but mine is not. I am curious if anyone here can claim #3 and can logically back it up.

Ultimately, Bill's approach is the most consistent. If you state that people should never imply that their abilities are real, you avoid "most" problems with sitters and you know you have never lied. Of course, there are some forms of reading (i mentioned EE earlier who would apply here) that are entirely consistent with not lying or claiming false powers. But again, don't the sitters in these systems still often believe there is more power to it than is being advertised by the reader? Doesn't that still bring the problem of possible manipulation that leads to harm?

This has been an interesting thought exercise for me, so I hope everyone takes these comments and questions in the exploratory way they are meant. I respect all views on this here, even if they are different than mine.
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Apr 9, 2019 06:21PM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Your views on advice from friends and family... Its massively different from that of a reader...

Whether they like it or not traditional readers are in a seat of power that is different from friends and family... And the interactions, beliefs and track history of giving good or bad advise is different too..

When mentalists also offer readings they can also be seen in a seat of power...
[/quote]

Yep. That's precisely part of my point. What you refer to as "seat of power" I refer as "authority", but we're in the same route here.

Readings, advice... esoteric readings and scientific readings (such as rorschach)... expertise or not in the subject... how much is known in advance... etc. It all weights in several aspects... good / bad... moral / immoral.

Max
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 9, 2019 06:22PM)
I'm off to bed now, but I think the easiest way is if you PM me 3 playing cards of your choice via any means you wish and then pose a question and then I'll reply later on...
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Apr 9, 2019 07:37PM)
RedDevil, you bring interesting things to the table. I wouldn't say readings are "psychological manipulation" though... what I believe is that in any reading ritual, there are tons of "cognitive biases" at play. Here's some of them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias#List

And what I believe to be at the heart of the matter here is how those cognitive biases coming from readings are used. I believe they CAN and SHOULD be used for good.

In practice though, the most common thing I notice in readings is that people seeking help more often than not already have their own answers... they just can't see it, or don't want to see ir or fail to see it. And the reader, in his position of "power / authority" can make them see the obvious. Of course readings are not just that, but this is essentially what I noticed in my experience.

I do have a very specific way of doing readings though... for instance, the way I conduct my Tarot reading is very similar to a Rorschach test... with a little "traditional" flavor... so you won't see me answering questions like "when will I die?", which is exactly what I'm against in readings.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Apr 9, 2019 08:25PM)
RedDevil - "3. Most forms of readings are psychological manipulation, but mine is not. I am curious if anyone here can claim #3 and can logically back it up."

While not agreeing with the appropriateness of "psychological manipulation" and only guessing at what you mean,
I have several books on "legitimate divination" systems and moral stance. Boring for most and useless if you wish to make money doing a lot of readings.
My last "soothing" took 11 hours. And no manipulation involved, psychological or otherwise.

If I stop a process when I catch the seeker in a deliberate lie, is that manipulation? Controlling, yes, but as the process stops there is no manipulation.

I am reading all of this with interest as I may start doing readings - simply because most people are afraid to make any decision
without knowing in advance who to blame. "Tell what I know $20. Promise never to tell - $50"
Message: Posted by: prankmonster (Apr 10, 2019 01:47AM)
[quote]On Apr 9, 2019, Max Hazy wrote:
I have no problems with pretending to have real powers, but I have my own disclaimers. It's all subjective.

I see a lot of focus on negativity coming from readings. What about positive results? Do someone here think nothing positive can come from readings? I'm not saying that's actually the case... but if it happens to be... by all means, don't do it. Imo... readings can change people's life for better... or worse. It's up to the reader.

Max [/quote]

I think part of the perspective that maybe is getting missed is that audience actually wants to experience and encounter real powers. They are willing to believe in you. I think we underestimate the power of the human psyche to want to experience such things. Once you bypass whatever defenses there are, I think what one encounters is profound surrendering to the moment and sure positive and negative things may occur but is it up to the reader though? I think the meaning lies in the listener. The audience have many ways to interpret and connect the dots as they please to or willing to and the most of the positivity and negativity comes from audience associations and not necessarily from the reader.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 10, 2019 02:08AM)
I think if you have to "bypass defenses" then that shows the problem (in my book)...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 10, 2019 03:09AM)
If mentalism is carpentry then understanding readings and using elements of it is upholstery...

Both work independently but can also be combined. If you are both skilled as a carpenter and an upholsteror, then your value increases...

How's that for a terrible metaphor...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 10, 2019 03:31AM)
Redevil quote
"(Iain, could you elaborate on how you feel you conduct readings but avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm?"

My pre-amble contains a few points.

I ask if they've had readings before
How do they feel about them
Is it a regular thing they do
What the oracle is

If I feel like they are a true believer, and by how they talk about it I feel as though I do not agree with certain aspects of their experience (by that if I'm running a risk of reinforcing a certain belief or behaviour I feel is limiting or damaging), then I will politely refuse and explain why.

I find that really easy to do and say. I'm not mocking them or being rude, they've explained their experience and opinion, I am too.

Human being first, everything else is secondary. No pressure to "perform".

Then I explain how I do it. All of it. Story telling, MY interpretation of the things I see, and I will walk them through it afterwards too. Sometimes I explain my rules before I give the reading. But story telling, vocabulary, if it's tarot then it's like 3 cells from a film reel.

Or its 3 pieces of art in a gallery. And I point out that if you took two people to the same gallery and they both picked out 3 pieces of art they liked and talk about why, they could both pick the same pieces and describe them differently.

So all readings are psychological. No matter what. That's how they truly work. This intuition well that people think the answers come from are just a mix of your unconscious experiences and how you personally see things, and how they come out of your month is how you consciously process them via the vocabulary you own.

Then the person you've read for, they then reinterpret what you've said and naturally seek a pattern or a way to relate to it. If they are sceptical then they will actively pick it apart instead at times.

Name any three books that have been important to you in your life and read the synopsis at the back. Link that to the next and compare them. Then take that information and read the the third, do the same. Pull out some metaphors and overall meaning of each book. That's a reading too.

I don't want power or to be seen as important. I want to share and talk over things in an interesting way. I want to listen to feedback and be told I'm way off if I am. Because there's no power there's no problem, no threat. It's a conversation over something unusual and potentially unique.

Sometimes it's good to have a silly non serious conversation even if the topic is serious.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Apr 10, 2019 07:26AM)
[quote]On Apr 10, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Redevil quote
"(Iain, could you elaborate on how you feel you conduct readings but avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm?"

My pre-amble contains a few points.

I ask if they've had readings before
How do they feel about them
Is it a regular thing they do
What the oracle is

If I feel like they are a true believer, and by how they talk about it I feel as though I do not agree with certain aspects of their experience (by that if I'm running a risk of reinforcing a certain belief or behaviour I feel is limiting or damaging), then I will politely refuse and explain why.

I find that really easy to do and say. I'm not mocking them or being rude, they've explained their experience and opinion, I am too.

Human being first, everything else is secondary. No pressure to "perform".

Then I explain how I do it. All of it. Story telling, MY interpretation of the things I see, and I will walk them through it afterwards too. Sometimes I explain my rules before I give the reading. But story telling, vocabulary, if it's tarot then it's like 3 cells from a film reel.

Or its 3 pieces of art in a gallery. And I point out that if you took two people to the same gallery and they both picked out 3 pieces of art they liked and talk about why, they could both pick the same pieces and describe them differently.

So all readings are psychological. No matter what. That's how they truly work. This intuition well that people think the answers come from are just a mix of your unconscious experiences and how you personally see things, and how they come out of your month is how you consciously process them via the vocabulary you own.

Then the person you've read for, they then reinterpret what you've said and naturally seek a pattern or a way to relate to it. If they are sceptical then they will actively pick it apart instead at times.

Name any three books that have been important to you in your life and read the synopsis at the back. Link that to the next and compare them. Then take that information and read the the third, do the same. Pull out some metaphors and overall meaning of each book. That's a reading too.

I don't want power or to be seen as important. I want to share and talk over things in an interesting way. I want to listen to feedback and be told I'm way off if I am. Because there's no power there's no problem, no threat. It's a conversation over something unusual and potentially unique.

Sometimes it's good to have a silly non serious conversation even if the topic is serious. [/quote]

Iain, this is wonderful. This post takes Dr. Bill's "What to do" (Don't claim any special powers) and expands on "How to do it".
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 10, 2019 07:44AM)
I didn't always quite see it this way, but...

I've always found it sad and scary if people feel like they've not changed much in their thinking over any period of time... And if we don't change, to use metaphors...

Stagnate, smell bad, fester...

You can't do what I advocate if your delivery is that of a stage-like psychic, but I don't feel that delivery represents me or how I view what mentalism and readings are... And in the uk you just need to look at the divide on how the public react to people like Derek acorah...

Plus, I like being able to sleep at night... And naps.

Readings without that psychic edge and dressing can be just as interesting and unusual and unique... It just looks and feels differently that's all.

People are free to choose. I have outside interests, experiences and education in a few fields now I'm getting on a bit. I care about the impact our words have on others. And of course, I think my viewpoint is brilliant! Hahaha but I also challenge, test and discuss it with various people that I respect and are smarter than me.

Stoic practices are also very important to me too. So that is a continuous process of adaptive and conscious change too.
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Apr 10, 2019 04:29PM)
Thanks for the illustration, Iain. This whole conversation has been very valuable and I wouldn’t have had it had you not quoted Bill’s.

I have dabbled with readings for years, but I have always struggled on how to do them without getting an icky feeling or violating my Christian roots (which can mean a 1000 different things depending on whom you ask, but I know what it means to me). I am not psychic, but I like the tour guide approach of using an oracle or metaphorical riddle to allow a sitter to apply to themselves.
Message: Posted by: Magic1 (May 20, 2019 12:36AM)
RedDevil, same
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 20, 2019 03:29AM)
Musing on the theme, "avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm"

I recall a discovery/hint from three different cultures during my exploration in divination systems around the world back in the early days of Internet
when an idea could be posted on a virtual bulletin board and get insightful answers form unexpected places. A reading of sorts, I guess.

The idea is to use a pre-read, lIke Iain's question set above. A physical object helps, but you just want to get the seeker talking.

My favorite is a chunk of rock with several flat surfaces. Have the seeker look at the texture, veins, patters, flaws, etc. of each side
while thinking about the problem or situation that brought them to you.

You will always discover information valuable for choice of oracle/approach and clues as to hidden beliefs/bias or expectations.
The best part is that you can stop the process or assign some homework before proceeding.

You also develop essential trust by not "telling them what to do" and being interested in their experience and perceptions.

This approach is also consistent with two other views:

1) never use a phase/term in a presentiment that did not come out of their mouth first.
2) continue the probing process until you stripped away all lies and pretenses.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (May 21, 2019 01:39PM)
Oh, Grow up.
Message: Posted by: hotjacket (Jul 23, 2019 12:49AM)
With great power, comes great responsibility!

Everyone's moral "line" is different. CR can do a lot of good - even though there are those readers who operate well outside of what I consider to be moral / ethical (I'm mostly thinking of certain famous TV mediums).
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Aug 2, 2019 05:59PM)
Iain,
It's been that kind of year, so I wonder if you would honor me:
9 of clubs, 2 of diamonds, 4 clubs
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 2, 2019 06:20PM)
[quote]On Aug 2, 2019, RedDevil wrote:
Iain,
It's been that kind of year, so I wonder if you would honor me:
9 of clubs, 2 of diamonds, 4 clubs [/quote]

Sure, I'm off to bed in a min...

Your comment has kinda influenced what I'm about to say...so.

Lots of people in your life of late, not sure if that's through choice or having to. Money is settled but not much wiggle room let's say.now you have less people in your life and probably feels like a reset button has been pressed. Feels worse than it is and remember that those that leave don't always have a choice but those that stay, do. Feels like glowing embers, warming up. Slow and steady.
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Aug 2, 2019 07:52PM)
Thank you, brother. I read that just the way I wanted to. 😀
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 3, 2019 02:01AM)
Happy to know how accurate or wrong I am! No offense taken!
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 3, 2019 05:10AM)
If you are using the techniques of traditional Mentalism and psychological illusion to interfere in people's private lives you are acting in a reprehensible, unethical manner - no matter how you try to justify it.

If you are using real paranormal powers then you are probably in the clear, ethically speaking.
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Aug 3, 2019 09:42AM)
[quote]On Aug 3, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Happy to know how accurate or wrong I am! No offense taken! [/quote]


You did amazingly well actually. I must admit I silently accused you of googling me. ROFL. Well done and it was exactly what I needed. Thank you!

Even the paradox of having two contradictory statements actually made sense (more people, less people).

This is a great example of the light hearted fun, but also usefulness of CR if handled well:

1. One it shows how the sitter does all the work. My statement, “I read that exactly the way I wanted to” was a facetious reminder that this is how cr works so well. I put the interpretation that I wanted on his reading. Not only did “we” (Iain and I) co-create a dead-on reading, but...

2. I felt better after the reading and it made me smile. What’s wrong with that? What I do with his paragraph is totally up to me and he did not presume to advise me on anything. Besides, I asked for it.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 3, 2019 10:06AM)
[quote]On Aug 2, 2019, RedDevil wrote:
Iain,
It's been that kind of year, so I wonder if you would honor me:
9 of clubs, 2 of diamonds, 4 clubs [/quote]

Here's the break down...

Clubs - social (clubs) lots of them, it's you in the middle. Surrounded.

Diamonds - 2 of them balanced like a seesaw, just not much of it but nothing unbalanced

Clubs - 4, so now less than the 9, but spread out, like tent pegs! So more family and friends feeling to it.

I said the embers thing because overall it felt like a growth/glowing embers thing as I imagined it was almost like a bit outdoors scene, the fire has died down and it's just close friends and you sitting around it toasting marshmallows...

All made up, visualisations, nothing psychic or intuitive, just some basic rules and story telling and imagination...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 3, 2019 10:07AM)
Glad you feel better!
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Aug 3, 2019 11:25AM)
Nice work all around, Iain and RedDevil. Iain, you broke down how you read the cards mixed up with the pictures from your imagination. How about how Robert's statement, "It's been that kind of year..." influenced your words (and perhaps both consciously and subconsciously what you imagined?) as per, "Your comment has kinda influenced what I'm about to say...so." This seems a good opportunity to further explore how we do what we do, weave another thread into the story of your work...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 3, 2019 11:45AM)
Yup, can't quite describe how it influenced me but felt right to acknowledge it...

Was still a reading, no advice, and as we have said, it's a more open and honest way of doing things...
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 11, 2019 01:56PM)
Maybe the easiest way to deal with the morality question is to ask yourself: if your client/participant discovered the true techniques you were using to give your reading would they be happy? And would they come to you for a reading again?
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Aug 11, 2019 10:23PM)
I think that's really a very insightful way of thinking about it.

My experience has been that often people who seek *oracle readings* understand that the oracle is a system and that the reader is merely learned in following the rules of the system (which do include some synthesis and interpretation of course). But then if we're talking about cold reading without an oracle, then it does start to get more murky. Especially if we're talking about using techniques that are designed to create an impression that you know more than you do.

Obviously it's totally different within the context of a mentalism stage show though.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Aug 12, 2019 03:32AM)
LL, you get to why I am so annoyed at the imprecision of the term "cold reading." It means several things, depending on who is saying it. If you are just throwing stock lines at someone for a mini-reading as part of a larger performance piece, I think there is very little in the way of ethical dilemma.

An oracle reading done without prior knowledge about the client is a reading done cold or a "cold" reading. As LL says, people who want a tarot or palm reading all seem to understand that I am interpreting an oracle. It isn't about me being psychic, but rather me having knowledge of the oracular system. If you are using some additional system, ask yourself whether adding in secret methods creates a fundamentally different reading for the client. If it only fleshes out and adds to what you would be saying anyway, I wouldn't see any ethical issue. I don't feel a need for such as the oracles I use are rich enough in meaning to allow for interesting readings without adding hidden work.

But the ethical dilemma can creep in if we see someone asking me for a word of advice and I pull out the stock lines and statistical probabilities to gain trust so I can move him to greater dependence on me. This can take the form of payment, favors, or just the rush of feeling powerful. That's the ethical line I'm not comfortable with.

In the end, I think a lot of these concerns about ethics could be reduced if all readings were given with the idea in mind of "how would this affect me if I were on the receiving end?" The hard part is thinking honestly about how you would respond to a similar reading. Ian Rowland said in his Penguin lecture that one should "say nice things." For a stage reading or tossing lines, I totally agree.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 12, 2019 06:37AM)
[quote]On Aug 12, 2019, Mr. Woolery wrote:

Ian Rowland said in his Penguin lecture that one should "say nice things." For a stage reading or tossing lines, I totally agree.

-Patrick [/quote]

Why not for every human interaction. In my research of ancient and diverse divination systems, I came across an old set of rules for conversation.

Think what you wish, but before speaking review in mind what you are about to say, and ask:

1. is it true?
2. is it relevant to the conversation, or important to the listeners?
3. is it kind?

since that is not about to happen in our culture today, perhaps a cold-read can come closest for the seeker that day, at least compared with FaceBook.
Message: Posted by: RedDevil (Aug 13, 2019 09:21PM)
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
Maybe the easiest way to deal with the morality question is to ask yourself: if your client/participant discovered the true techniques you were using to give your reading would they be happy? And would they come to you for a reading again? [/quote]


This above should be explored and repeated. Or in the preamble just tell them the truth.