How to Spot a Spiritual Charlatan


Ah, yes, the Miss Cleo’s of the spiritual industry do make it go ’round & ’round! And by that, I mean the spiritual charlatans sure do give the spiritual industry a bad rap.

A spiritual charlatan is someone who profits off of insincere spiritual work, divination practices, and occult use. This is the type of person who puts genuine divination works to shame. Spiritual charlatans are often difficult to discern, mainly because they can appear as convincing as a true psychic or astrologer. But there are definitely a few tell-tale signs and dead giveaways to spot an imposter!

  1. Services: Spiritual charlatans will offer either an obscure service, or a service that not even medicine can defy. Spiritual charlatans will declare the ability to heal incurable ailments, illnesses, and diseases. Spiritual charlatans will offer services, but not detail what exactly is being offered. For example, an astrologer would write a brief yet concise blurb of what a natal chart reading would entail but a spiritual charlatan would be vague, sparing very few details of a service being offered or what it can produce. True divination services are open about what it entails. Spiritual charlatans will also use a false narrative to make a profit. False narratives will range from again, curing the incurable, to blatant lies of familial curses or ancestral contact. A spiritual charlatan may even try to spin that you’re unable to contact the spirit realm, ascend to another dimension, and more unless they do it for you. Spiritual charlatans will always come up with a convoluted tall-tale of why you’re in desperate need of their services.
  2. Fiscally Fearful: Spiritual charlatans will financially capitalize on fear and control. So, if a spiritual charlatan claims you have been cursed/hexed/or are facing some sort of impending doom, they may also claim to have the cure to fix it. Then, next thing you know, you’re spending major $$$ on the charlatan’s remedies. But the catch is that the remedies either don’t work right away, or you need to go back multiple times in order for it to work. Not to mention that true spiritual work shouldn’t ever leave you feeling sad, disappointed, or anxious. A spiritual provider can identify the problems, but also the solutions or at least aim to instill a sense of hope. A spiritual charlatan will incite more fear, as fear is profitable.
  3. Unreasonably Pricey: Spiritual charlatans aim to monetize, to capitalize! This can come in the form of exorbitantly high prices for vague services, being pushed into a sale, being pushed for multiple rounds of readings, or pushed into a longer reading. With that being said, some true light-workers will have higher prices, but usually with credibility to back it up.
  4. Credibility, Testimonials, & Reviews: If a spiritual charlatan is advertising compensated work, then look for their testimonials, reviews, and credibility. Real readers, psychics, and astrologers will gladly advertise their phenomenal reviews next to their services. Real reviews will be realistic in nature, usually with thorough explanations of what was great about the service and service provider. Spiritual charlatan’s will lack reviews, or simply won’t have any. If there are reviews, spend time reading what the reviews claim and even how many there are. Spiritual charlatans will also most likely be unable to explain where their credibility comes from. Most spiritual providers can attest to their knowledge, but spiritual charlatans won’t be able to explain how or where they got their information from.
  5. Lacks Spiritual Reciprocity: The spiritual charlatan will not follow through on spiritual reciprocity. Maybe the spiritual charlatan won’t provide the service, or their service won’t produce the guaranteed results. Maybe the spiritual charlatan guarantees clout in exchange for work, but the clout never comes. The charlatan may just blatantly ask for money, work, or more without offering anything noteworthy in return. Regardless, there is a definitive skewed spiritual reciprocity, and the spiritual charlatan won’t be on the depraved end of the bargain.
  6. Fancy Titles: Spiritual charlatans have no problem displaying an overt Christ Complex. Spiritual charlatans use self-appointed titles to stroke their own ego. True enlightenment usually doesn’t result in a spiritual charlatan who needs to proclaim it every which way. Titles are typically used to garner attention, and more importantly, popularity. This then creates a following of people who drink the kool-aid, which keeps the charlatan in business.
  7. Consistently Inconsistent: The spiritual charlatan will be a chameleon in nature. Spiritual charlatans will go with whatever will be profitable. The inconsistency can refer to an ever-changing platform that’s really just the same thing packaged a little bit differently each time. The inconsistency could be referring to the charlatan not practicing what they preach. It can also refer to the services offered, or how a reading is swayed. Regardless, the inconsistency is typically apparent, and is another marketing ploy.
  8. Closed Off: Spiritual charlatans will be unable to take criticism, or any form of opposition. Spiritual charlatans won’t be open to negative reviews, feedback to improve, or more. A true spiritual provider and leader is open to criticism, as it presents an opportunity for growth.
  9. Great God Google: Honestly, a spiritual charlatan may try to get as much information off of you prior to your services being implemented. This can be asking for a full name, current place of residency, hometown, and more. This information may be requested in order for the charlatan to do a quick Google search prior to the reading. After all, if the charlatan isn’t all-knowing, Google certainly is.
  10. Bad Vibes: Go with your gut feeling. If someone feels off, then they’re off. If you don’t feel like you can trust this spiritual provider to be genuine, then don’t risk your precious time, money, and energy. It’s not worth it. You can always find someone else.

Now, depending on the type of charlatan, there can always be more tell-tale signs of how to spot the imposter. For example, the fake psychic or tarot reader will try to ask as many clarifying and leading questions to gauge what kind of reading to give. But no matter what, the spiritual charlatans will typically display somewhere between 3 to 5 of the tell-tale signs listed above. While the signs can be obvious, there are also charlatans who can put on quite the performance. So, how can you discern between the true, genuine spiritual provider versus the charlatan?

The best advice to discern between the genuine and the poser is through questioning. I’m not advocating intense interrogation, but don’t be afraid to contact a spiritual provider. Spiritual providers won’t mind a conversation about what their services entail, or their path in their divination work. Spiritual providers have nothing to hide. There isn’t a show to put on to convince a potential client to buy into their work. Charlatans will put on the song and dance, but also avoid answering major questions like what the service entails, what’s being produced, and where their credibility comes from. Spiritual providers will also have a matter-of-fact tone, whereas charlatans will typically be ultra-defensive and even demeaning.

When in doubt, I would caution against utilizing someone’s services. If you’re not 110% convinced that this spiritual provider is genuine, or if you’re in need of that service, then hold off. Don’t waste your precious time, energy, and money. Wait until you do find a provider that you click with, that you know you can trust. There’s always a spiritual provider available, even in the midst of imposters.

Featured picture credits.

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