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Some tarot readings are the so-called third-party readings, which implies that the reading is done to a person who isn’t present or hasn’t given permission to be part of the reading. While there seems to be an invasion of privacy, there are codes of ethics that every competent and professional tarot reader also follows to avoid violating another person’s boundaries, such as looking into their personal affairs.

When a person asks questions related to another person, the reader should encourage that person to focus on their own thoughts and feelings associated with a particular situation. This allows the cards on the necessary information and not necessarily the whole story involving private information.

Ethical Considerations in Tarot Reading for Someone Not Present

So, let’s discuss some of the key ethical principles of a tarot card reading for someone not present during the reading.

Focus on the Querent

When a question is about another person, the tarot reader should encourage the person who is asking it to make sure that their own emotions and perspectives are the focus of the question. This ensures the reading stays within ethical bounds and is genuinely useful to the querent. The answer has to highlight their role in the situation. The reader uses their experience and empathy to guide the querent to understand their own feelings and how they can navigate the situation.

Emphasize Relationships

Many questions in tarot readings revolve around relationships. There are even separate spreads for that, such as the Love Triangle tarot spread. In such readings, the cards are best used to explore the perspective and feelings of the person who is asking the question. This helps the querent clarify their own needs and expectations within the relationship, which is great for their self-awareness and personal growth.

Case-by-Case Approach

Each tarot reading is unique, and this applies to third-party readings as well. Ethical tarot readers must use their judgment to navigate ethical dilemmas; sometimes, this implies declining the session if the questions feel too intrusive. By doing so, they protect the interests of all parties involved and maintain the sanctity of the tarot practice.

Create a Respectful Environment

A tarot reader's responsibility includes creating a respectful and safe space. This involves clear communication about the tarot's abilities and setting boundaries for appropriate questions. The person asking the questions should feel that their concerns are being addressed respectfully and comprehensively. But they should also realize that any decent tarot reader is against violating other people's privacy.

Respect Privacy and Confidentiality

Confidentiality is critical in tarot readings. Before the session even begins, the querent needs assurance that their reading is completely private. This will help build trust and openness in the reading session. Obviously, confidentiality extends to the information about third parties that might inadvertently come up during a reading. 

Use Tarot as a Self-Reflection Tool

Tarot primarily serves as an instrument of self-reflection and personal insight. Even in readings concerning relationships, the focus should be on the journey and growth of the person asking the questions (as opposed to their love interest). This empowers the querent to use the insights from the tarot for self-improvement and, ultimately, helps them make informed decisions in their life.

Avoid Predictions about Third Parties

Making predictions about someone who is not present during the tarot reading is against the ethical principles of tarot reading. The focus should remain on the person who is asking the questions as opposed to the person they are asking the questions about. This way, the tarot reader respects the autonomy of everyone involved and avoids speculative assumptions.

Respect Free Will

Tarot readers always respect the free will and agency of everyone involved in a tarot reading, be it directly or indirectly. This implies acknowledging everyone's right to their own path and decisions. The tarot deck is a guide for one’s personal choices; it’s not a tool that can be used to influence or judge others.

Guide Toward Positive Outcomes

The ultimate goal of a tarot reading should be to guide the person asking the questions toward positive and constructive outcomes. This involves providing helpful and empowering insights and encouraging them to pursue paths that lead to personal growth and fulfillment.

Avoid Negative Projections

It's important for tarot readers to avoid projecting negative outcomes or fears onto the situation of the person who came to them for guidance, especially when third parties are involved. This ensures that the reading remains a positive and constructive experience, which is one of the most important things about the practice of tarot readings.

How Many Times Can You Do a Tarot Reading for Someone Not Present?

There’s no specific answer to the question of how many times can you do a tarot reading for someone not present. The number doesn’t really matter—you can ask the deck about someone you’re interested in once or ten times. What matters much more is that the reading remains ethical. It's important to respect privacy, avoid over-reliance on the cards, and allow time for changes to occur. Ethical tarot practice prioritizes one’s growth and autonomy.

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