8 Ways to Spot a Psychic Fraud

One thing that blows me up like a Supernova–and makes honest readers across the universe cringe–is the scam artist, the bullshit Tarot Reader (or psychic, or astrologer, or whatever). Because so much of what we do isn’t easy to quantify, because people seek readings in times of stress or uncertainty, the fields draw plenty of neer-do-wells looking to cash in on somebody else’s pain. That is some ugly karma, right there.

So to everyone who consults readers, psychics and other spiritual advisers, please know the signs of being taken for a ride so you can hop off!

Do not trust a reader who…

  • Promises  100%, TOTAL ACCURACY/ PERFECT TIMELINES!!! Readers are HUMAN beings, period. Nobody is perfect. You and everyone else you know has FREE WILL. The future is always in motion and we each have options about how we live it. That’s the point of consulting spirit, you know?
  • Tells you how glow-in-the-dark-HOLY-SPECIAL-GIFTED YOU ARE!!! Flattery gives  a buzz, and I’m sure you’re totally awesome and super-spiritual, really! Your aura may shine into the next state for all I know. But too much is too much. It’s sort of like the smarmy guy in the bar. You know he says, “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen!” to all the chicks, but you kind of want to believe he really means it this time…He doesn’t.
  • Tells you what a WONDERFUL/INSTANT/FATED CONNECTION they feel with you!!! This is a variation of the glow-in-the-dark-holy-special ruse.
  • Has “VERY IMPORTANT/TIME-SENSITIVE NEWS” just for YOU!!! Doesn’t matter about what. Whether it’s lotto numbers or impending doom dangled as bait, the objective is getting the hook into you!
  • Diagnoses a CURSE, BAD KARMA/A DEMON/MALEFIC ENTITIES/HOLES IN YOUR AURA/BLOCKED CHAKRAS/GENERIC METAPHYSICAL ILL…that the reader happens to specialize in clearing!!! (For a hefty fee.) Just to be clear: I actually BELIEVE in magic, spirits, charkas, the whole shebang. And people can, indeed, have problems as a result of energetic imbalances. But if you’ve purchased a reading, you’ve ALREADY paid for assistance. This reader isn’t a professional selling spiritual services; this is a con artist selling fear. Run!
  • Aggressively PURSUES YOU FOR MORE READINGS!!! I’m not talking about signing up to an email list to get notice of reading specials. I’m talking about getting hounded with requests for setting up appointments. Ethical readers look to empower YOU to direct your own life more succesfully. Con artists look to foster dependency.
  • Tells you to KEEP YOUR READING SECRET!!! Your reading belongs to YOU. Whom and what you share from your reading is your business. If you’re being told not to share, there is a reason and the reason isn’t going to be about protecting your interests.
  • Says they are the ONLY ONE WHO CAN HELP!!! Spiritual gifts are by grace. We ALL have psychic and intuitive potential. Good readers develop skills through study and hard work, and deserve to earn from their services if they choose. But by no means does ANY reader possess something no one else can access. Anyone who claims otherwise is either very confused or very dishonest–neither especially desirable traits in a spiritual counselor.

Sometimes people confuse a reader’s ability to get hits–accurate information–as proof the reader is “genuine.” Unfortunately, that’s not going to protect you. Some frauds are masters of cold reading, making it seem like they know all about you when they don’t, while others may actually be able to access psychic information–anyone can learn–but use that information unethically. Free will is always a factor. Not everyone is getting their info directly from your guardian angels and guides, man.

The very best way to protect yourself from psychic frauds (and a whole lot more) is really very simple: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your own life. Trust your inner voice and walk away as soon as you feel uncomfortable! Never, ever, ever give away your power–to someone calling themselves a psychic, a minister, a medium, a friend, a spouse or your mother. Never, ever, ever rely on someone else to make your decisions, live your life, or call the shots for you. That’s your job. Readers can be a huge help for those seeking clarity, insight, perspective and assistance in making informed choices. But a reader who is willing to make your decisions is not a reader who has your best interests at heart.

Be smart. Even if you’re given solid insight from a reader, always look for your own confirmation, always do a gut-check, and never accept as truth anything that doesn’t ring true for you. Keep your power intact and readings can be a powerful tool!

Do you have any to add?

About the Author: Dixie Vogel is a Tarot Reader and Spiritual Counselor who focuses on empowering her clients to regain control of their own lives. This article, 8 Ways to Spot a Psychic Fraud, was originally published on Dixie’s website, A Fool’s Journey.

This article is presented as a public service under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Reprints of this article are permissible as long as the “About the Author” credit and links to the original content remain intact. Please feel free to share it. Thank you!

Fluffy Bunny Psychicism (Right Does NOT = Light)

If psychic abilities come from God/the Universe/Source/Insert-Deity-of-Choice-Here, then it’s good and only good, right? If you play ugly, you’ll lose the gift?

A LOT of people feel that way.

I get the reasoning. The implied argument is that if someone CAN do this “psychic gig,” they must be good and upright and just. Gotta be from Spirit and Spirit is always loving, right?

That right there is how people get conned out of thousands of dollars, man! People also say that a beautiful voice is “a gift from God.” But we don’t automatically trust somebody because they can sing pretty, now do we?

Why do people assume all Spirits are of the light, kind and benevolent variety? And that we, in our uber-fairy-magical-rainbow-wonderous-energetic-specialness, can ONLY connect to love and light and goodness?

“Why, evil only exists to those who believe,” they’ll tell you–“and if you don’t believe, it cannot hurt you.”

To that, I respectfully say, “Bullshit.” That belief serves about as well on the astral plane as it does on the physical plane, man.


We readily accept the idea that there are all manners and varieties of PEOPLE on this planet, but not the same of Spirits. We attribute the idea of specialness to those who have “the gift,” sometimes forgetting that WE, too, have the same birthright to the psychic senses as anybody else. We are ALL psychic. Some of us are just better at it naturally–or often, just work harder at developing it–than others, no different from any other gifts humanity shares.

I DO believe if I were to misuse my abilities, I’d run the risk of losing the knack of tuning in the same way I do now. But that’s not because I think the only source of spiritual help is soft, baby-faced cherubs who bask in the light of my inherent goodwill. It’s because I am trying to DO something meaningful and hence, can attract a higher vibration of spiritual contact than, say, four drunks with an oijii board on Halloween.

If I went seriously south by my own choice, it’s my belief “the flow” as I can access it  currently would dry up in a New York minute. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t find any Spirits to help. Thing is, we attract what we ARE. If we’re con artists, we’ll attract spirit helpers that are con artists, too. If we’re liars, we’ll attract lying spirits. If we’re well-intentioned healers, we’ll attract spirits that are well-intentioned healers. I know what I want to be, and what I want to attract.

I’ve MET con artists who can do readings. Being a good reader doesn’t make someone a good person. Free will and all, y’know?

Don’t equate accuracy with goodness. Always, always, always listen for the ring of truth in your own heart. That ring of truth trumps any aura of righteousness anybody tosses around. NEVER give away your power. That’s the bottom line.

What do you think?

When Readings Go Awry…

“I’m sorry, but I have no idea what you’re talking about.”  Oh my God! It’s the moment every reader dreads.

It’s also the moment every single reader will face, if you do this work long enough. I don’t care who you are. Nobody’s above it. No-bod-y. It can come any time, but I suspect it’s a touch more likely if your head begins outgrowing your hat, you know what I mean?

For me, a hot flash runs down my body and my stomach starts to gets tangled–somewhere around the third chakra, now that I think about it. It’s an awful, awful feeling.

It’s also incredibly humbling, oh-so-human, and without a doubt, part of the gig.

Who knows why? There will always be some people you simply cannot read, for whatever the reason. And even for those that you can connect to, there will be some circumstances where it simply doesn’t work. Maybe it’s the reader, maybe it’s the questioner, maybe it’s the chemistry, maybe it’s not the right time for a reading or maybe it’s something else entirely and who the Hell knows?

I don’t think many realize the absolute leap of faith it takes, to start flipping over cards and running your mouth. Because even when you KNOW it, it’s not YOU who knows it. Readers are not the source of information, they are a channel. For me, getting access to “the good stuff” comes via grace without exception.

When that grace doesn’t arrive, I recommend accepting it gracefully. Sometimes you can regroup and pull a reading out but other times, it just ain’t gonna happen and one had best accept that reality.

To put in in perspective, I believe we get WHAT we are supposed to get WHEN we supposed to get it. If someone needs insight, I am not so arrogant to assume I’m the only potential channel! And if I’m not able to provide insight, I assume there is a reason. I look for a lesson for myself if I can find one, but don’t freak if I don’t see it. Maybe I’ll be given understanding  or maybe I won’t, but it really doesn’t matter.

Because all those readings I do? They are not about me.

But even so, I really, really, really appreciate clients who are kind about it. Thank GOD it doesn’t happen often.

Do you have any readings gone awry stories?

Confirmation in Readings: What is it and Do You Need it?

Photo by by Tambako

Not everybody who picks up the cards can read them skillfully. And not everybody who can read the cards well performs perfectly, nailing every utterance in every reading. It just doesn’t work that way. Even the best readers will have off days.

This is where confirmation comes in. While I don’t much like the feeling of someone testing me in the sense of expecting me to trot out otherworldly revelations like some kind of a psychic dog and pony show, I DO welcome folks looking for confirmation. I look for confirmation myself all the time, both in readings for others and in my personal life.

If I’m getting general information or a reading doesn’t have a sharp focus, I’ll specifically ask the cards to provide confirmation for the questioner–I want my people to feel confident of messages. Looking for confirmation doesn’t signal a lack of faith. It’s having enough faith to ask and expect Source to let you know you’re on the right track, just like checking road signs on the highway lets you know you’re still going the right direction to your destination.

Some use cards or other spiritual tools as props to serve self-interests, manipulate and control, or otherwise bastardize the process. Or unconsciously, they can get caught in the trap of feeling so special and gifted that their ego takes over. An individual may be quite be insightful, intuitive, knowledgeable with their tools but still use those skills in a hurtful way. Horrific karma if you ask me, but it happens.

So it’s important to be able to identify good readings so you’ll know when you’ve got one. Here are some types of confirmations to look for to know you’re getting a good reading.

  • Information is consistent with the facts and your experience–it “rings true.” For big insights, there is often a sense of just “knowing” it’s right, like a click.
  • The reading leaves you feeling empowered–even if you don’t like the situation, you feel stronger or better able to cope. You should leave a reading feeling better than when you started, often relieved or at the very least, prepared. A good reading helps you along your path.
  • The reader will NOT make decisions for you. Spirit respects free will. Good readers do the same.
  • Good readings don’t incite fear. Fear-mongering is irresponsible and cruel! People seeking readings are often vulnerable and scared. To use a reading as opportunity to build a readers’ ego or appointment bookings is unconscionable and good reason for running in the opposite direction. Warnings may be part of a good reading, but they should always be delivered with compassion and hope. Spirit energy is loving and kind and helpful in guiding you though difficult times. If that’s not what you’re getting, it’s not coming from Spirit.
  • The reader doesn’t position herself or himself as the Source. Readers, healers and lightworkers of any type are conduits, helpers, and channels to assist and guide you in finding and enhancing your personal connection with divine energy. There are many paths to get there. Practitioners work to master the use of this energy but are not responsible for it’s existence. Humility and gratitude is always in order. Yes, some of us do this work professionally and need to promote our businesses. I have no problem with that. But to promote oneself over the work is asking for a spiritual smackdown in my opinion.
  • You leave saying, “That wasn’t anything I didn’t already know. You confirmed my feelings.” This is the one of biggest compliments I can get on a reading. I consider it the gold standard in knowing I’ve done my job well.

Would you add to this list? How do you confirm you’ve got a good reading?

How to Practice Psychic Self-Defense

psychic self protection

Call down some light!

CancerMom asked a great question about Psychic Self-Defense, and it’s an important topic. So thank you! Learning to tune out may not be as sexy a topic as learning how to tune in, but it’s more vital to your well-being.

Have you ever talked to someone who was very agitated, fearful or angry, and began feeling that way yourself? Ever notice how sadness, anger, or pain can seem to hang in a room after an emotional outburst? Have you ever spoke of “clearing the air?” Or have you ever walked into a place of worship or maybe viewed a stunning work of art, and felt a very strong sense of reverence and awe wash through you?

These are examples of absorbing energy, sort of like picking up a strong scent and having it linger in your clothes. Powerful emotional vibrations are the most noticeable, and can build in an area over time. (And just like physical scents, a good shower can help dispel energetic “scents” if required.)

Especially doing readings or energy work, or if you’re simply a natural absorber (psychic, prominent Neptune or Water emphasis, in the natal chart or by transit), you’re tuning in, consciously or not, to other people’s energy. You may take on moods, feelings or internal conflicts, without fully understanding it’s not yours. This is why the people you surround yourself with is so important–you feed on whatever they put out and vice versa.

Conscious is better than unconscious here, so what we’re looking to do is intentionally set up some “psychic boundaries.” Anytime is appropriate to practice this, but it’s especially important to work with psychic self defense in crowds of people, if you’re physically run down or especially emotional, doing any kind of metaphysical work, or under stress. These are situations when your aura may be weaker than normal or prone to outside influence.

I’ll be honest–I haven’t always been as consistent about psychic self-defense as I should–and it costs me!  That’s part of  why I was SO exhausted after the last fair I worked–in my eagerness to stay “open” and give great readings, I neglected to properly ground and protect my own energy. My clients didn’t suffer, but I did. So I’m working now on making Psychic Self-Defense habitual because it’s so easy to avoid problems with proper practice.

Psychic Self Defense from Michael Zinker.

 The form of your personal Psychic Self-Defense is going to depend on your spiritual practices and belief system. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy or involved ritual to work–it just has to be meaningful to you. I consider it a form of prayer.

My Current Psychic Self-Defense Routine

I begin with deep breaths, visualizing inhaling positive energy and exhaling all negative energy. (The positive energy I see as golden, sparkley light, negative as black smoke.)

I call down light from heaven, seeing it envelop me and begin absorbing from the feet up, grounding me and filling my body with loving energy. I’m looking for a physical sensation of energy waves washing through, similar to what I feel when physically touched by someone who loves me. That’s how I know I’ve got it. I sometimes also imagine the light clearing out my Chakras, bottom to top, unblocking energy centers for a free flow.

“I release all negativity, and surround myself with the white light of divine love and protection. I am safe and protected.” I like to repeat the light and affirmation here three times.

If I’m preparing for a reading, I’ll also ask for insights that are helpful, accurate, and in the highest good of all concerned.

If I’m preparing to go into a difficult situation, I may also visualize an extra bubble or shield of protection to absorb or deflect negativity, only allowing in positive and loving energy. I tend to see something similar to protective spells in Dungeons and Dragons that I play with my husband. Since I’ve spent many hours as a sorceress, it’s not hard for me to mentally call upon protective special effects!

But how you visualize it is a lot less important than doing it. I always end with a “Thank you,” because it’s appropriate. Gratitude turns up blessings.

Do you practice Psychic Self-Defense? How do you go about it?

Interpreting other people’s Tarot spreads?

reading other people's tarot layout

What do you see?

From time to time, someone will ask me if I can interpret the cards they drew for themselves, often accompanied by a written list of their cards. I’m always  hesitant about doing so. It’s not that I’m unwilling or have performance anxiety. I don’t declare myself the one, true voice of Tarot wisdom, after all. Duh!

And it’s not 100% out of the question. There have been occasions when I’ve seen another person’s layout, and an interpretation was just…there. Popped right into my brain. So I share it, when that happens. But more often than not, I avoid it.

Tarot is a visual medium, so seeing cards listed doesn’t evoke diddly compared to seeing images. But it’s more than that. For me, the cards themselves are the least important part of a Tarot reading!

The magic isn’t just, say, the Temperance card appearing on cue. It’s knowing if Temperance is a warning to cut back on the drinking, a call for balance, a suggestion for integrating disparate forces, or something else I haven’t thought of until I’m right there, in the flow, tuned in and asking for guidance. It’s the flow of a reading that is magic and the real insight doesn’t come from a cookbook definition of “this card in this position means X.” It’s organic, it’s visual, and it’s very nebulous. That’s why an automated reading will never give the same experience as a live reader.

I haven’t actually tried reading a whole spread from another person’s image, although I’d be open to experimenting. The cards are far more than a prop to me, for sure, but they are the medium of communication, as opposed to the actual message.  That’s why learning Tarot isn’t just an exercise in memorization, but a spiritual practice in energy work. You can’t take the spirit out of it and expect the same results.

What do you think about reading other people’s Tarot spreads? Can you? How does it work for you?