Leviathan 13: Nine Satanic sins for Tarot readers.

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There are many ways that you can embarrass yourself in front of a sitter and lose the upper hand necessary to sustain your performance. What follows is a list of nine sins that you must avoid in the performance of a deception, but remember that these rules have their own circumstantial conditions: they're often only sins when committed in the presence of your sitters.

1) Stupidity

Your sitters will expect you to play the role of the all-seeing sage. There are many ways you can manage a sitter's expectations so he or she doesn't get angry when it becomes evident that you're not all-knowing, but he or she will always expect you to provide some wisdom and at the very least a novel perspective. For these reasons, you must seek out a variety of experiences to inform your own perspective which informs all your readings.

You must also be minimally familiar with a large number of topics. You need a variety of life experiences and a polymathic knowledge of contemporary affairs so that you can speak knowledgeably and never find yourself in a position where you genuinely don't know what to say. Stupidity creates walls to communication with your sitter, but wisdom opens doors and gives you the confidence (either in fact or in appearance) to complete your performance. 

2) Pretentiousness

It's true that pretentiousness pays off around stupes, but fortune-tellers make the bulk of their money from the same sitters over and over again. Because of the long-term nature of these relationships, your sitters—no matter how gullible they might be—will always forget what you said, but will never forget how you made them feel. If you put on a pretentious show only a hair's width away from Jambi the fortune-teller in Pee-Wee's Playhouse, your sitters will eventually catch wise and know that you've been taking them for a ride.

3) Solipsism

If you're going to be a lesser magician of any power, you must learn to see through your sitters' eyes. If you can’t understand your sitters’ motivations, you'll fail to deceive them in the ways that they so earnestly desire. Fortune-telling is at worst a cheap entertainment to temporarily distract the sitter from other frustrations, but at best a liberating fantasy that opens the doors to unrealized potential. Either way, you must be able to see beyond your own personal world paradigm if you're going to be a fortune-teller worthy of the name.

4) Self Deceit

Your sitters will reliably insist on believing in your psychic powers, but you the performer must never forget where truth ends and fantasy begins. Truth and fantasy are equally necessary, but you must never deceive yourself into thinking that you can succeed where literally all others have failed. If you disagree, you're very welcome to go on national TV to prove your psychic abilities and become an overnight, world-wide celebrity. I wish I could say that I'd be excited to hear how it comes out for you, but the truth is that I know you'll only make an ass of yourself.

5) Herd Conformity

If you're not paying attention, it's all too easy to forget that there are literally hundreds of thousands of other fortune-tellers plying their trade. What sets you apart from them? You must command your sitters to LOOK, and if you fail this elementary lesson then you will sink into the morass of failed devils of the right-hand path. Fortune-telling is first and foremost entertainment, and the first rule of entertainment is to capture attention. Black sheep are still sheep. Be a wolf.

6) Lack of Perspective

Don't play a devil’s game and think you're doing an angel's work. You're a fortune-teller, and your success depends upon your willingness to tell lies. If you're overcome with guilt when you think about fortune-telling, then you've lost sight of the left-hand path and are deceiving yourself with contrived ethics. If you can't accept that deceit is a part of daily life and that fortune-telling is a tool that benefits both yourself and others (sometimes even simultaneously), then you're reading the wrong book and should seriously consider if you're prepared to take the name of the Devil.

7) Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies

This book that you're reading is an original work in the sense that it's never been written by anybody else in recorded history, but the ideas I'm communicating are nothing new. At best, I'm inspired by the modern Satanic philosophy and religion that descended from the work of Anton LaVey. At worst, I'm a hack who's merely repackaging others' ideas. Either way, the core message that I'm communicating has already been said by somebody before me. Likewise, fortune-telling—no matter the method used—has been around for as long as people have been smart enough to learn the benefit of temporary self-deceit.

You're neither unique nor special: you're just strong enough to be honest with yourself about what you're doing. Fortune-telling is nothing new, and no matter how you dress it up, you're only one more charlatan in a long line of confidence-artists. 

8) Counterproductive Pride

It's good to take pride in the skills you've developed as an entertainer, but don't deceive yourself into thinking you've got the true sight. Sooner or later, your predictions will always fail. If you take so much pride in your predictions that you refuse to be proven wrong, you're figuratively shooting yourself in the foot. Instead, remind your sitters that you never made any promises about accurate predictions and that you always try your best: "After all, not even Michael Jordan makes 100% of his shots!" But if you refuse to compromise your fragile pride, your sitters will think you ungrateful for their patronage and abandon you in droves.

9) Lack of Aesthetics

Never forget that first and foremost you’re an entertainer! Your sitters don’t want to do business with somebody who is "merely ordinary." Fortune-telling is a performance and must be enhanced through the use of candles, incense, bells, altar cloths, and exotic fortune-telling tools. The place in which the fortune-telling is performed must be decorated appropriately with occult brick-a-brack, shelves full of incomprehensible books, and of course yourself: somebody slightly out of place and time. If the charade is incomplete, you're needlessly restraining your performances.