Note: this post has been revised, edited, and updated and now lives here:
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[dear person], what you need to do is not search but *research.*
There is a lot of good advice out there to help you avoid getting scammed. There is also a lot of bad advice, given by scammers themselves on their scam websites and ads. Then there's a lot of well-meaning advice that is inaccurate, biased, or just plain ignorant. So it's hard to sort the wheat from the chaff when you don't know the warning signs and don't understand the principles of spiritual work. Alas, asking a professional rootworker for a free reading, even a tiny one, is not going to be a good method to determine who is and isn't a scam. It might be a good method to determine who is actually busy with real clients and who has time on their hands to send cold reading tidbits out to whoever asks because their time is not taken up doing any actual spells or readings, though. If a worker gives *every single person who writes* a sales pitch, without even knowing what that person is after, that worker should make you wary; legitimate spiritual workers will not take every case. But it's safe to say that the willingness to work for free in order to tantalize new clients will never be on a legitimate list of things to look for when looking for a good worker.
I actually do occasionally work for free - for instance, for indigent clients who are accepted into AIRR's pro bono program - but I generally have a queue at least a dozen deep of people who have booked work or consultations who are waiting their turn, as do most professional workers, so it makes absolutely no sense to go out of my way to try to "reel in" an unknown client, especially one who has had the sorts of bad experiences that tend to indicate lack of knowledge about the principles and realities of spiritual work. (This is not a jab at you - a lot of very good people have been ripped off because very bad people preyed on their emotions, hopes, and desperation.) That's why I often decline cases from people whose experience of spellwork has been all about the reconciliation and weight-loss spells, whose emotions rather than a genuine interest in spiritual work brought them to my virtual doorstep. It's not because they are bad people or want unworthy things, but because their expectations are usually coming out of left field, and they need to learn some basic principles of spiritual work, and need to learn to do research, before they pay anyone else (including me) to do spells or readings for them.
So, legitimate, full-time spiritual workers aren't receiving emails like this and feeling any sense of "oh my god, I'd better convince this person I have never met, whose case I might not accept anyway." In addition, most of us probably get twenty emails like this every day; even if I wanted to, and I don't, I couldn't oblige all the people writing them. I'm sure you are a great person, and I am positive you do not deserve the treatment you have received. But I've found that clients who have been repeatedly scammed are 1. generally seeking very unlikely or even impossible results that make them vulnerable to the unethical who will promise anything, and/or 2. generally seeking reconciliation with an ex, which means that they are in the number one category that scam artists are attracted to (or, slightly less often, seeking something like a lottery win or a drastic change to their physical appearance through spellwork, which means that unethical workers will take their cases and ethical workers take them only with caveats [*} or not at all, which in turn indicates that 3. they don't know much about how spellwork actually works and instead have lots of misconceptions in their heads, fed to them from a variety of dubious sources online and in the media.)
That's why knowing what is going on is so important. You can't just be a passive consumer. You need to understand the difference between voodoo and hoodoo, between wicca and rootwork, between an empath and a card reader and a clairvoyant and a high priestess, to be able to recognize liars and cheats.
And you have to do research, which should start at the very least with reading what a reader or worker has written about their own work and practice. For instance, I personally don't use the word "psychic," since it means so many different things to so many people that it's nearly useless as a word. Some people think all spiritual workers are psychic or that all psychics are spiritual workers. Some people think psychic = empathic, or that psychic = clairvoyant, or that psychic = medium, or that psychic = returns lovers. None of that is true. There are lots of "readers" out there who will have you believe that psychic = can bring back a lover and that is just rubbish. Not everyone gifted for doing spiritual work is also gifted for doing the type of readings that many clients are looking for. And not everyone gifted for doing readings has even a modicum of ability as someone who can perform spiritual work. Finally, not everyone who *can* do certain types of things is therefore *willing* to do them in every case.
If you'd done research on me, for instance, or even just started at my website page about me, my altar work, or my consultations, you'd know that I do not refer to myself by this useless term "psychic," and you'd also know that I do not advertise full, standalone readings - in fact, I state clearly at my site that I do not do full, standalone readings any more (though I do have reviews from one of several third party sites, which you can get to from my blog, from registered users, meaning I couldn't have written them myself, and those date back about a decade). I am a rootworker, and I do traditional rootwork. I do consultations for clients seeking rootwork that involve divination, but I don't even do what you're asking for, which is tell total strangers, whose cases I might not even accept, "something about themselves."
In addition, even if I wanted to convince you of my ability to do whatever it is you're looking for, which is likely something I don't do anyway, you haven't given me enough information to do it. When you read about "psychics" who don't need you to tell them anything but they can just tell you what's going on without you saying a word, you are usually reading about a classic scam called a "cold reading." You have a box of unsorted photographs in your house, you see yourself as an independent thinker, you had a scary experience with water in your childhood, you haven't quite lived up to your full potential, someone has broken your heart, you aren't naive but people have taken advantage of you in the past, you're having problems with a friend or relative, you are sometimes insecure with people you don't know very well, you are close to someone whose name starts with a J. All of these statements are statistically likely to apply to a majority of any given United States or UK sub-population, and with some minor alterations, to the Latin American and southern European populations. The kind of person you are looking for, who can tune into you immediately from a two-line email and see a particular recess of your life that will be relevant to you and put it into words in a way you can immediately understand, does not exist. I say this as someone who's given and received thousands of readings over the last 40 years. You either go in willing to work with someone who is willing to invest their time, skills, and experience into you and your situation, or you go in skeptical and unwilling to work with them. While you should not fork your cash over to scam artists, you can't knock on doors and introduce yourself by saying "prove you're real." It doesn't even work like that. That's why you need to do research.
A final point is that we are not generally desperate for new clients, which we'd have to be to do free readings upon demand to get them.[**] We do not take all comers - I personally refuse more work than I take. I generally have no more than a dozen clients' work or issues on my desk or altars at any time (not including vigil lights); that's all I can handle at once, since I'm not a corporation, a company with employees, or a front for a marketing scheme, and since I do other things with much of my time besides just readings, or just altar work (people who do only readings and no altar work can do more readings; people who do no readings and only altar work can do more altar work; but I do consultations, altar work, teaching, translating, writing, and research, as well as make and ship products, answer several hundred emails a week, and design and make jewelry). But that usual average of a dozen active cases at any given time keeps me busy, and I'm more likely to decline to work with a client who doesn't understand how spiritual work and readings actually work, rather than undertake what will involve lots of extra time educating them, when what they probably need is to do some research and stop spending money on spellcasters. Many of us refuse work from clients who are psychic-hopping, who are hopping from spellworker to spellworker, who have unrealistic notions of what readings and spellwork are and do, who are seeking reconciliation with an ex, who are pushy or skeptical or demanding, and who do not read about our services and procedures before contacting us for work.
So, here's what I suggest. First, stop searching and start researching. What you find at the top when you search are people who know how to have their sites turn up high in results due to search engine optimization. That's all. They may or may not be legitimate, but they have good tech guys. The sites that handle thousands of clients in a short period of time are owned by a group of people who know how to write their own testimonials and who know how to send out dozens of "readings" and "spell work reports" a day that are all the same vague thing but with the name changed.
Second, have a look at my FAQ here
and pay particular attention to these
Backfiring Work, Karma, the Threefold "Law": More Conjure Myths
Ethics and Accountability: "No Real Spellcaster would...." and other Myths and Legends
Scam Artists: How to Avoid
Scams: On Scam Artists and "Impossible Magic"
Success Rates and Guarantees: Why You Should Be Wary of Those Who Advertise Them
My blog also links to other readers and workers who I personally know to be reputable and ethical. You will find, at their sites or blogs, photographs of work they have done, a glimpse into their background that doesn't sound like it came from a made-for-TV movie, a discussion of what type of work they do and what type they do not do. Anybody who takes all comers for any type of spellwork should make you very, very skeptical.
Third, pick an area of spellwork or readings to learn about, just something small, and learn about it from a variety of places, not just one so-called authority. Even this small step will help you begin to learn to sort the wheat from the chaff. Until you know how to do that, until you know enough about what you're venturing into so that you can be sure your hopes and emotions aren't putting you in a place where you are vulnerable to scam artists, don't buy any more spells, from anyone. Learn the principles of candle magic and spiritual bathing instead, spend your money on a few simple and inexpensive supplies, and learn how to use them for the types of spell you want to do.
I offer you my sincerest best wishes for your pursuit of your goals.
[*] This is not to say that all reconciliation cases are lost causes, or that only unethical workers take reconciliation cases. That is not what I'm saying. But I have lots of articles about this elsewhere. It's also not to say that lottery luck work is only undertaken by frauds or fools - but it is pretty high on the list of unrealistic work that scammers have no scruples about taking on and ethical workers will often caution you about if your expectations seem unrealistic. And for spells to change your physical appearance, I have lots of articles about those too.
[**] Many legitimate folks do readings or consults in forums or on shows or as giveaways for publicity - it's a sensible way to get your name out there and let people know what your reading style is like. Before I was even on Kasamba (which was before it became liveperson), when I first got back to the States and got online, I used to give free mini-readings a few times a week in an old, defunct AOL forum (before it became an MSN forum) to anyone who signed in - or rather, to anyone who made it through my chatroom handler's gate. (It was hectic and each reading had a strict time cap, and I learned quickly that I hate doing readings with the clock ticking - and I still don't do them. The 1200 or so mini-readings I did at three minutes apiece during my time there was enough to last me a lifetime.) That's not the same thing as giving a free reading to everybody who writes you and asks for one, though, which would be impossible anyway. One of my major points in sending this reply is to let clients know how to go about finding what they need - and asking for a free reading is not a good method.