How To Find A Reputable Spiritual Healer

artwork:  David Kelmer

artwork: David Kelmer

I work in a field (some might call it New Age, others might call it the spiritual or healing arts) where unfortunately there have been too many instances where people in need of guidance and personal transformation have been taken advantage of (and in some cases bullied) by unscrupulous people looking to make a quick buck off their vulnerability.

It's because of these tricksters among us that I understand why some people are quick to write off astrology, tarot, clairvoyance, chakra cleansing etc. as being nothing more than a cool party trick because..let's face it -- fraud is a real thing (no pun intended).

As matter of fact, now that Neptune, the planet of healing and healers is retrograde (and as such we're being asked dispel the illusions in our lives); the problem with fraudulent healers makes me think about the two sides of Neptune and Jupiter -- the two planets in charge of faith, spirituality, mysticism, as well as guides and teachers. I bring up Jupiter as well because with Jupiter currently in Virgo, there has been a noticeable uptick in the coaching business. On the positive side, Neptune and Jupiter help to uplift, inspire, heal, and unite people together. However, on the shadow side, Jupiter can just as easily exaggerate the truth as well as the ego, making us prone to lies or a God complex; whereas Neptune can make us prone to addictive behavior, deception (or the refusal to accept reality), and victim-savior like relationships. Sadly, it's these kind of dynamics that fuel a bad or imbalanced relationship between a healer and a client.

As a healer, I am happy to say there are ethics and rules that I abide by in running my astrology practice and providing services for my clients. Some of which includes me following-up/delivering on anything that I've verbally promised to my client, informing my client what to expect from me and my services before and after accepting payment, and encouraging clients to ask any questions they may have about me, my work, or the reading process. Incidentally, there have been cases where I have turned down a potential client because they have either asked me for something that I wasn't qualified/skilled to do or they wanted something that I was unwilling to do (like them wanting a reading to find out what someone else was up to -- a BIG no, no). The good news here is that I am not alone in running an ethical healing practice (and I'm always striving to learn how to be a better reader and improve my practice). And there are many other amazing, authentic, and responsible healers out there too. You just need to know how to spot one. As such I've come up with a quick list on possible red flags when dealing with a fugazy healer, as well as tips on finding a reputable one.

Beware:

1. The healer who over-promises on results or isn't clear about what they do/how they do it (aka The Donald Trump). Do they make themselves or their services sound like they're the answer to every problem you've ever had? Do they make grandiose statements about what they can do for you? Are they clear/forthcoming about what they do or does it feel like pulling teeth in trying to get information from them? A healer should be confident in their skills but they should only promise you what they can deliver, especially since most readers know it's up to the client to really make use of the tools, guidance, or information they receive. Also, when it comes to what a healer/reader does, it should always be made clear to you and should you have questions, a reader should always be able to answer your questions in a thorough and timely manner.

2. The healer who uses scare tactics to get you to purchase their services or take their advice. If a healer makes you feel like things will grow from bad to worse if you don't seek out their help or their consistent message is one of gloom, doom, and a sky is falling kind of sentiment, find someone else. Fear shouldn't be your impetus for working with someone.

3. The healer with the God complex. No one and I mean no one, knows you better than you know yourself. If you come across a reader who makes you feel like they know you best or what's best for you even though you disagree, if they make you feel like they have something over you in some way because of their skill, refuse to listen to or accept your questions/feedback, or forget that their job is to support/assist you in making the best choices for you; walk the other way.

4. The healer who is abusive, negative, or just outright creepy. If a reader belittles you, disrespects you, oversteps their boundaries with you, talks down to you, makes you feel bad about yourself/your decisions or just leaves you feeling shitty: don't be afraid to stop/leave the reading, ask for your money back, or dump/avoid them as your reader.

5. The healer who is just trying to get your money. Do they keep trying to upsell you on their products or services using any of the tactics as noted above? Just say no.

Do:

1. Your research. If there's a reader you're interested in, research them. Do they have social media pages where you can get a vibe of what they're like? A legit-looking website? Testimonials from real people or honorable mentions from notable people in their field? Complaints from people online or people you know? Have they been published or featured by reputable media outlet? If you research a doctor, lawyer, hairstylist, etc. before entrusting your care to them, you should do the same with a healer.

2. Consider word of mouth. If someone you trust has been to a healer and has good things to say about them to you, it's a good chance that reader is legit. However, since what may work for one person may not necessarily work for another, see my next point.

3. Trust your gut. I can't tell you how important this is. Regardless of how successful or legitimate a reader looks, it really all comes down to the vibe or the first impression that you get from them. Do you feel like you can trust this person or does something feel off about them? Your intuition will never steer you wrong.

Ok, now I'd like to hear from you. Have you ever had a bad experience with a healer? How have you been able to figure out when someone's legit (or not legit)? Comment below!

Daily Reflections: Seeing Yourself In The Tarot

"Justice" by Yves  http://alk0n0st.tumblr.com/

"Justice" by Yves http://alk0n0st.tumblr.com/

So, an artist on Twitter, who goes by @_martiniboy, created this card inspired of course by Nicki Minaj and the minute I saw it, I couldn't help but to fall in love with it. When I saw the image retweeted into my timeline early this morning I knew there needed to be a full deck based on it; not only because Nicki Minaj has been stealing my heart more and more as of late but because I believe gorgeous artwork like this, Tarot imagery based on people of color, is largely absent from the Tarot market. (A Tarot friend of mine, Beth of littleredtarot.com, recently wrote about this issue on her blog).

As a Tarot reader, I have yet to find a deck featuring people of color that really resonates with me as a black woman, which is why I've been clinging so heavily to my Black Cats Tarot Deck (which features cats, not people LOL).

The Magican from The Black Cats Tarot Deck

The Magican from The Black Cats Tarot Deck

And this is not to say that there aren't any decks that exist with subjects of color, the Daughters of the Moon and Motherpeace Tarot decks immediately come to mind. It's just that the selection is so sparse.

Cards from the Daughters of the Moon deck. Photo courtesy of astroamerica.com

Cards from the Daughters of the Moon deck. Photo courtesy of astroamerica.com

This is also a similar issue I sometimes have with astrology, as the Western astrology I practice is rooted in Greco-Roman symbology. Which is why I often choose to include wider representations of astrological symbolism on my blog and elsewhere. To me, it just makes sense to be able to see affirmative images of yourself if the goal of Tarot (or any other form of divination/spiritual practice/self-development method) is to consistently affirm yourself and your connection to the Divine Source.

But back to Nicki and this glorious card. I (and about a thousand others) have begged the artist to create a full a deck. I'm happy to report that he says he is considering doing two more cards featuring Beyonce and Rihanna (especially since Nicki saw the card and gave it her blessing). I asked him to go for the full 22 Major Arcana. We'll see if he does. Either way, I look forward to seeing more.

Devil in a Dress: What Tarot Has Taught Me (So Far)

The Devil card from The Black Cats Tarot Deck

The Devil card from The Black Cats Tarot Deck

A little over a month ago, in a more determined effort to learn Tarot, I registered for the Alternative Tarot Course designed/taught by the delightful and very knowledgeable, Beth Maiden (@littleredtarot). And I don't know if it's because of Beth's very clear and encouraging teaching style or the fact that we share some kinship by way of her Aquarius Sun and my Aquarius Moon (probably a little of each) but I have never been more eager and confident about learning a new subject since when I first got into astrology.

At the beginning of her course, Beth invites students to do a Reader’s Reading which helps students to explore their strengths and challenges with working with the Tarot. In doing one for myself, I pulled the Devil card as the card representing the strengths that I bring to Tarot. Admittedly, I was surprised at this. I freaked out a bit and immediately thought I may have done something wrong as Googling the Devil card did not return many positive hits. What could this mean? I thought frantically. But then as I sat with the card (as Beth advises), I found myself more intrigued than anxious.  Not only was I attracted to the artwork of the Black Cats Tarot card but I started to think about how the Devil has always been considered to be the influence of what does not go with the norm, the counterculture of what’s expected. Then I thought about what it means to be good, normal, etc,. and how I have never really fit into that conventional paradigm. Ever. And it also made me think about how I do bring an element of this unconventionality to my coaching work/readings (Aquarius Moon in the 7th House/Uranus square Mars/Midheaven).

Words and images that also came to me when viewing the card: seductress, Kali Ma (the Hindu Goddess), bad bitch, witch, being in touch/comfortable with the taboo/dark side, divine femininity, pleasure.

Having been a fan of Tarot since I received my first reading back in 2012, I always had an interest in learning to read the cards on my own but only up until recently did I find the courage to do so. This reluctance has been largely in part of me not wanting to, quite bluntly, fuck shit up. I mean, I had already had a handle on astrology but the idea of memorizing and interpreting 78 cards as a form of divination intimidated me. Blame it on the influence of Saturn in my birth chart but I just couldn't bear the thought of making a fool of myself in the face of more experienced Tarot readers, or better yet, I didn't want to risk giving someone bad information. But when it dawned on me that these were the exact thoughts I had before I became a professional astrologer I realized I needed to get over myself and just put in the work. And then I had another realization, that maybe I was experiencing yet another facet of this Devil energy; of how we can be born with this innate power that we're taught to fear/second guess. But that's a dis-empowered form of this energy. And ain't nobody got time for that.

So, in a move to empower myself (and others) further, I will be offering mini Tarot readings alongside my astrology services very soon. Be(a)ware. Be ready.