Leviathan 14: Eleven Satanic Rules for Tarot Readers.

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In 1967, Anton LaVey wrote his Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth which describe ways that Satanists are encouraged to interact with others. As it happens, these rules are also useful for fortune-tellers. Let’s discuss these 11 rules and how you can employ them for your best success. 

1) Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked. 

The first and most important rule of fortune-telling is that you must absolutely never attempt to deceive anybody who has not asked you to perform for them. Successful fortune-telling depends on the mental and emotional investment of the sitter who must choose freely to enter into your deception. Absent the sitter's voluntary participation, you'll fail every time.

2) Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.

It's okay to be personable with your sitters, but you must never be personal. It's okay to be friendly with your sitters, but you must never be friends. Boundaries are necessary to sustain the power of your performance, and the more you blur them, the less capable you'll be of providing a successful performance. Or said simply, your sitter has enough of his or her own troubles, so don't add yours to the mix. If you blur this line, I promise you’ll regret it.

3) When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.

In the performance of your deceptions, your services will be retained by a wide variety of sitters, most of whom will assume that you think and feel the same as they. As your client base expands, you'll receive regular requests to divine the nature of magic crystals, discern the properties of haunted items, communicate with spirits, and channel demons. You may be tempted to refuse these sitters, but you'd be wrong because sharing their beliefs is not a prerequisite for taking their money. The truth is that when sitters retain your services, they aren't entering your lair. Instead, you're entering theirs. Under no conditions should you ever during a requested performance attempt to educate your sitter or disabuse him or her of a comfortable fantasy. If you satisfy the conditions of your sitter's fantasy, and you'll be invited back again and again.

4) If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

When a sitter starts to become ungrateful, argues with you about your performance, or asks for free work, it's a sign that your relationship has ended. Contrary to popular belief, the show must not go on: take a bow, acknowledge that the show is over, and find a new audience. The benefit of fortune-telling is that this industry is ever-green. Don't believe me? Just look at Peter Popoff: the famous skeptic James Randi exposed him as a fraud on national television, yet Peter's career as a Christian con-artist is as strong today as it ever was. So if your audience no longer enjoys your performance, there’s no reason to get your feelings hurt. You knew this day would come, so don’t prolong your pain: just fire your audience and find a new one.

5) Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.

If you wish to preserve the lucrative relationship you have with an attractive sitter, then you must never take your sitter to bed with you. There's no harm in using sex to appeal to your sitter, but taking a sitter to bed is a sure way to guarantee that he or she will never pay for your fortune-telling services ever again.

6) Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.

Fortune-telling can unlock the vaults of the Earth and bring you everything you've ever wanted, but you must do so within the scope of the law and only the extent to which your sitter permits. Always remember that there's a fine legal line between offering your services as an entertainer and defrauding your sitters, and be dead sure you always stand on the lawful side. If you choose to break the law of the land, you risk a literal reversal of your fortunes and a free stay at the cross-bar hotel courtesy of the local magistrate. There are many legal ways to use lesser magic for fun and profit, so stay within the law and only take that which your sitter has declared an undue burden.

7) Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.

You probably think that I'm a complete skeptic, but you’re wrong: despite all evidence to the contrary, part of me refuses to stop indulging in the fantasy that I really am able to predict the future. I'm fully aware that this belief is composed of pure fairy-fables, and yet I can't expel it. I don't believe that if I deny belief in magic that I'll suffer a reversal of my fortunes, but I do believe that if I crush this part of myself I'll lose a productive and much-needed part of my imagination and sense of humor. Is it silly? You bet it is, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

8) Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.

Your sitters' problems are your sitters' problems and not your own, but for the duration of your performance, your sitter must pretend that you care as much about his or her problems as he or she does; however, once the performance is over you needn't occupy your limited productive time and mental energy with your sitter’s complaints. Remember the importance of maintaining and enforcing personal and professional boundaries, because this will not only enhance your performance but also preserve your sanity.

9) Do not harm little children.

Depending on the law in your local jurisdiction, it may be legal for you to tell fortunes for sitters under the age of majority, but even if it is legal to do so, minors are sitters that you should strictly refuse. The fantasy you're selling must be entered into freely and of the sitter's own volition, and as mature and competent as some sitters under the age of majority may be, in the eyes of the law they're not able to enter into contracts or give consent to adults without the support of their parents or guardians. Sitters under the age of consent are uncertain legal territory and for the sake of your own self-preservation should be refused.

10) Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.

If you're in fortune-telling for any length of time, you'll attract critics of all sorts. You'll encounter skeptics who make it their personal mission to reveal your deceptions (as if there's anything to reveal?), travelers of the right-hand path who want to save your soul, garden-variety trolls working their own form of lesser magic, and other fortune-tellers who can't escape their guilt-infested philosophies. They will all presume themselves to be dangerous animals, but in truth they're just pests. 

Fortunately for you, they're useful pests because they'll do your best advertising for you. There's nothing so captivating to an audience as an entertaining spectacle, and as long as you don't lose your cool, you'll always come out on top. These animals can serve your purposes, so it's in your best interests to keep them alive until such time as they force your hand and figuratively beg you to kill them with fire.

11) When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.

There are few people more obnoxious than the religiously belligerent. It doesn't matter if you're a Mormon missionary pushing Joseph Smith's fan-fiction, or if you're a fortune-teller pushing Tarot cards: either way, you're giving fantasy to people who haven't requested it. Advertising is its own kind of lesser magic, and it's possible to get all the attention you could desire without being obnoxious about it, but throwing Tarot cards in people's faces will only make you look desperate at best, and incompetent at worst. Don't bother people in open territory, because there are better ways to invite sitters to participate in your fantasies that don't involve embarrassing yourself.