What Are The Ethics of Reading Other People?

My recent intuitive experiment has brought up the issue of ethics, as it relates to reading other people, to find out information about their life and character.

Ahh, I love ethics and the moral highground 😀 Plus maybe there is a useful lesson in here for me, you or anyone who cares to listen!


I got two emails this week from people which further inspired me to write about this topic.

Person #1: Disgruntled

I had one annoyed reader tell me earlier on this week that it was wrong of me to get people to read the internationally revered and adored poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

I did not understand why it caused offence.

My reason for this is that Lorca’s story is in the public domain.  Check out Wikipedia for anything you’d like to know about him.  He’s also deceased.  If Lorca comes to me in a dream and tells me to take my experiment off my blog, I might oblige him 🙂 But in the mean time, I bet Lorca doesn’t mind us picking up on his emotional life from his photo. You can also delve into his psyche through his poetry. That’s what his literary critics do as their full time day job, using his poetry (I had tutorials with some of those people when I was at University – so they definitely exist!)

I plan on doing another experiment of the same kind soon. I will make sure that the person read for is not someone who can stumble upon the experiment and feel violated.

Reading For Those You Have No Business Reading For

Perhaps inspired by my experiment, I had someone else email me with a well-meaning reading that they’d done on me, without me asking for it.  It was depressingly negative. But it was also 100% inaccurate for my current life. (Interestingly, this person also did an accurate reading of Lorca.) Maybe the person who did it never read my posts beforehand, but it’s possible some of the impressions could have been gauged from old blog posts like this one that I wrote a while back in Australia, when I was intensely homesick and sleepless, chasing cockroaches (I have a phobia of them) around my apartment in 30 degree heat and 90% humidity. And I think this reader was just trying to verify their skills.

My point is: don’t read for living people who are not in the public domain, without their permission, if you have no reason to do so. Here’s one reason why: you’ll probably get it wrong.

Spirit will give you the information that you need, and probably no more.

You’ll sense when it serves you to steer well clear of someone, because that serves you.  You can get accurate information about topics that relate to you and your own business.  If you really need to know if your new babysitter is trustworthy, you can have that information – I would even say you have a right to know that information.

But if you read another person ‘just because’, or if you want to know if someone you know is having an affair, as an example, you could get misinformation. The exception to that (to some degree) could be deceased people or public figures i.e. those whose stories are already out there in autobiographies and on Wikipedia.

Because of my own experiences trying to read those I had no business reading, and from my experiences being read in an unsolicited way, I believe it’s a good idea to get peoples’ permission to read them, unless we need the information for our own personal safety and benefit.

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Kate

    Well said Anna. It’s ego driven to give other people unsolicited advice. The only person really wanting to gain anything out of it is the person telling the information to see if they are right. Its polite to ask permission first. It assumes that youre a real person not just a sounding board.

    I think its just fine to put an experiment up of someone who is in the public domain, we see it all the time, and thats what the weekly magazines are all about. And in school and uni we study historical people all the time. I don’t see the difference.

    Bottom line is about intention.

  2. Catriona

    Well said Anna! It’s useful to be reminded of our psychic responsibilities – I’m sure most of us would think twice about reading someone’s diary without asking … and the same goes for reading the diary owner! Obvious when you say it, but easy to forget.

  3. Anna

    Kate – Good point! Intention is really what counts when we’re reading other people, especially in terms of whether we get any information or not…

    Hi Catriona – Thanks for commenting. That is a good analogy. Reading someone without their permission and delving into their thoughts and feelings just to have a nosy, IS a lot like having a read of someone’s diary!

  4. Krishanti

    I am so glad you brought this up, and I agree completely. Nobody likes a nosy busybody, and using intuition to spy on or “check in” on people just feels so unethical.

    One thing I do wonder about, though, is the level of privacy to give a client during a professional reading; sometimes people will say they’re an open book, but I get the definite sense that there are things they do not want to delve into at all. Have you ever encountered situations like that? There is such a fine line in some cases…

  5. Anonymous Please

    Hi Anna! I’ve got a phobia of cockroaches too, especially the gigantic enormous ones (here some of them are quite a bit longer than my hand, at least they’re brown and not a scary black!). I discovered a maxi way to get rid of them (although I imagine back in NZ you hopefully won’t need this info anymore!). I just shoot a jet of cheap splash cologne onto them. It knocks them straight out and they conk out immediately with their buggy legs wiggling around in the air. Then I just sweep them into the toilet hehe!

  6. Anna

    Hi Krishanti,

    Yeah, good point. I generally assume that people who book readings with me are open. I mean, open to me reading their energy, akashic record and higher self and then passing on whatever I can pick up.

    I mean that’s what they’re paying me to do. If someone books a reading and then they don’t want to reveal who they are, they’re wasting their money and time, right?

    Occasionally I do find people with facades, who wish to project something in particular and would rather you didn’t look past those, but I think most intuitives can see past the facades, or at least sense they are there, even if they are very entrenched. And at those times when I have pointed out what is behind the person’s facade, they usually admit that they know they have this facade.

  7. Anna

    Hi anonymous,

    I used to use poison when I was in Australia – it would take them out pretty quickly, if you can actually get close to them to spray it. But I was not too happy about having an apartment that was covered in cockroach poison.

    I am so happy I don’t have to deal with cockroaches anymore, it used to make me so miserable sharing my home with those critters! 😀

  8. Alfredo

    Dear Anna
    Let me say again I think almost all your articles are wonderful and with a marvelous positive energy from your Higherself. You are a fantastic young woman with tremendous power you don´t fully recognise.
    Regarding this article I can not agree totally with you, because Claircognizance and Clairsentience for some of us are a 6th sence, and so we can not say; now I do not want to taste or to smell or to see…
    You can not say; that girl on the street have green eyes and a green dress but I do not want to see that.
    If you send a private email to the girl with the intention of helping her saying her green eyes are very beautiful but the green dress was ripped,I think this is 100% private and ethical.
    The girl can not say:I did not ask you to look at my dress!
    The girl´s dress was on public display when she walked on the street.
    She can ignore the email or thank for the good intention and say the dress was not ripped, it has a new fashion, but can hardly say her dress is a private matter.
    In this article you forgot to mention the difference between the ethics of sending a reading in a private email to the person concerned and the ethics of sending a reading in blog or in a non private way.
    In LORCA case you are 100% right that the story was in the public domain…but not because “he is also deceased”.
    When we are “on the other side” morally and to some extent legally we still have and maintain many rights.
    With my love energy

  9. Alfredo

    Hi Anna, me again.
    May I say a few more words on this so important issue of ethics on reading.
    You too have the automatic instantaneous reading capacity, this 6th sense, because you wrote on your biography:”When I looked at people, instead of seeing…faces, and men in suits and fat old women…I began to see the stories, fears, hopes and dreams.”
    So you too were “reading someone without their permission…”
    So reading someone is not always ” a lot like having a read of someone´s diary.”
    I would like you could change your word ETHICAL to MORAL.
    Because ethics are related to rules and relations of society and moral is something you are born with.
    When you feel in your heart something to be correct it is moraly correct, what society tells you what is correct it is ethically correct.
    I don´t care much what society tells me is correct if in my heart my morals tells me otherwise.
    So the first moral rule or conclusion could be:

    The second point not yet discussed in your article is if it is ok to send the reading to the person concerned. Does it depend on the intention? Or it depends if it was asked for?
    Only now I can see that it should be asked for, good intention is not enough.
    But the real problem is to know when someone is asking for, because words are just one way of asking. Your mouth may be closed but your eyes could be begging for help, your face may be closed because of pride but your heart may be crying for help.
    For the spirit guides it is easy to know when you are asking for help, but for us still on this side can be quite difficult sometimes, and we do make mistakes that produce pain.We are sorry and learning every day. May be the good intention will pardon us. So the second rule could probably be:

    Now on the important question of permission I think you wrote: “don´t read for living people without their permission”…”unless it relates to you or your own business.”
    I would extend the request or permission of someone alive on this side or alive on the other side.
    As I see it the reason why you should not read people on the other side without first asking is because that reading may involve one or more people still alive on this side, with personal secrets.
    Like you, I also assume most “dead” people (quite alive on the other side) do not mind at all any reading because on the other side there are no secrets.
    But it is better to ask because of the eventual involvement of a third person, particularly if the passing to the other side was a recent event.
    Anna do you really think that it must be Lorca that has to come to you in a dream…perhaps you could ask Lorca…You started the event,and it looks you want to put on Lorca the responsability to eventually correct the situation if required…and he must come to you and ask…
    Anna you don´t have to bet he does not mind…it is so easy to ask.
    Anyone that is able to do a reading is also able to ask someone on the other side their permission. It takes one or two minutes. You can ask your spirit guides to ask Lorca if you do not want a direct contact with people on the other side.
    My energy and Lorca energy can not mix so I have just now asked my guides what was Lorca´s view of the reading I and several other people made on his photo.
    The reply was positive and the message was:”The sharp blade of the intellect cuts ignorance bringing enlightenment”
    I don´t know the full meaning of this words and if this words came from Lorca or from my guides. As I have never read Lorca writings I have no idea if it sounds like Lorca´s words.
    So the last rule could be:

  10. Anna

    Hi Alfredo,

    I stick by what I said in the article above: if you have to do a reading on someone just because you’re curious, then it is a violation of privacy. The exception that I have already stated in the article is when the person’s story is already on Wikipedia. In the case of Lorca, his story is on Wikipedia (it’s very famous). Plus he’s dead.

    On the other hand, if the information hits you in the face as soon as you see someone’s picture, then it is not a violation of trust.


  11. Kenya

    I totally agree. But I would go as far as to say ask for higher self to higher self’s permission before validating anything. Is it in my highest interest to ask this question, do i have permission, and may I ask this question…

  12. Konstancja

    Lover, this site is usually fabolous, i only enjoy it

  13. Helen

    Ive just discovered your site, and Ive really enjoyed a few of your articles/illustrations Thankyou.

    Im a Massage Therapist and part of the State requirement for maintaining my license involves 4CE (continuing education) credits every 2 yrs. Just wondering if its something you might be interested in offering, unless you already do.
    Id love to complete a course that youve designed simply because its clearly a vital subject to you and you have a fresh perspective.

    Im not a very observant person, so I like to look at clients birth dates to try to get some kind of a fix on how theyre centered. Basically my intention during each massage is focused on treating them appropriately on every level.
    Id appreciate more advice on this subject if you feel the desire to expand on it.
    Take Good Care of Yourself.

  14. Kell

    Coming in way late on this one, but, you know — the Web is forever. I was searching for unsolicited reading etiquette, and this helped a lot. My prior experiences being read without giving my permission (and when I have given my permission, come to think of it) is all I get are demographics that are horribly off (No, I’m not divorced and I don’t have three kids…) and a depressing and intimate look into other people’s shallow stereotypes (No, I don’t hate my thighs, thanks very much.) I’m thinking of getting involved with some ghost investigation groups (I think I have some clairsentience to places and history, so…) but I’ve been a little nervous about possibly having to deal with unsolicited readings. Sounds like most people won’t be shocking if I say “No” politely, but firmly.

    LOVE the experiements, by the way.

    My favorite cockroach steeplechase story — just graduated college and was a bit cash-challenged. Moved into a new place that needed some “work.” Turns out, I had also rented “Aliens” to watch along with some other stuff while I was doing rampant flat cleaning. Turned out to be incredible inspiration. If only I’d had a flamethrower…

    Thanks for the site. Great stuff.

  15. wendi

    My sister who is often antagonistic towards me has just told me she had a reading and both my self and my daughter were mentioned in it. I rarely seek the assistance of a reader, and I have difficulty in the idea that material for me or about me is mentioned in a reading for my sister who I am not close to and who I do not trust easily. In all the comments on ethics in readings this has not been mentioned. I was not there and did not ask for a reading and the reader could have been reading through the prism of my sisters view this is all very unethical as far as I am concerned.

    • Anna

      Wendi – Yes, that is a tricky one. If you do not trust your sister, then it doesn’t make sense that Spirit would give you a message through her.


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