RIGHTEOUS DIVINATION

As everyone involved in the world of divination knows, the ‘occult sciences’ have a bad name in the world that makes claims to knowledge, rationality, and objectivity. ‘Nope,’ the argument goes, ‘we, involved in the sciences other than the pseudo ones are not in the business of mumbo jumbo. We have the righteous obligation to denounce the frauds and the army of readers of signs. They don’t speak the truth.’ As a diviner myself, I can get sick and tired of having to listen to such denunciations, which are often fuelled by one-sidedness, presumptuousness, and a dangerous kind of righteousness. There are reasons why we read cards, the stars, tablets, runes, sticks and stones. So I want to make a few points on what the said righteous folks might also want to focus on when they get high on their redemptive horses or when they do the world a favor by saving it from being duped. As a general rule, I wish that all claims to redemption would be dropped. As Jung once pointed out, belief in redemption and in enlightening others about the obscure ways of the world comes from fear and generates nothing but hatred.

However, in the occult world you can easily come across many methods of reading all sorts of signs. As a professional tarot reader myself  – whatever ‘professional’ means – I get to see many types on both sides of the table. As far as I’m concerned, I keep it simple. I’m interested in how the randomness of cards allows for the emergence of a narrative that many find empowering. As a window to alternative solutions – and often as a tool for uncovering blind spots – tarot is most fascinating. It turns the unreality of the reading situation into a real potential for change. I like it when people go: ‘now, why didn’t I think of that?’ when they see an embodied situation in the cards, and which they relate to, often even before I get to say anything or suggest anything. I find that the visual language and poetics of tarot supersede the established sciences of cognitive psychology and psychoanalysis when it comes to offering solutions to problems. Tarot is a much more efficient ‘language’ that helps articulate clearly a number of otherwise very complex and disturbed issues for any subject.

On a general scale, I find it deplorable that all those who bash divination fail to make a simple analogy. My favorite examples are these ones: we don’t buy Tarot because it doesn’t hold up to what it promises, but we buy marriage, as if that one hits the mark every time – I mean, with people staying married and in love until death does them in. We don’t buy Tarot, but we buy Wall Street. Insofar as everything is narrative, including the pain we think we have, why, then, not go with what we see in the stars? Subjects coming to diviners can sense that a reader will not ask them to play a cultural game and wear more masks. And this is exactly why divination has such a powerful effect on people. More righteous folks should be talking about that. And actually try it.

On a personal level, I have to say that what I appreciate even in the worst kind of reading is the reader’s ability to be and remain present for the duration of the reading – which is something that we rarely experience in a familial or work context. It takes skill and courage to read body language. It takes time and acuity to really know how to look at people. What the subjects respond to is not so much the general affirmations that are delivered, and which can refer to anything, nor the ‘cold’ manipulations of pseudo facts, but the reader’s presence. I wish more righteous people would talk about that, about how even the stupidest reader can still manage to touch others with the help of a few picture cards. We don’t get touched by generalizations. Subjects come to diviners because they are tired of culture. They are tired of ‘rational’ solutions provided by institutions and clever people. They are tired of other people telling them: ‘I told you so.’ Diviners are not in the business of turning people psychotic – culture does that all on its own without the diviners’ help. Indeed, if we want to talk about divination, let’s talk more about how it redefines for us all a world of magic against the background of what we all too easily participate in forgetting.

For all my fellow-diviners, here’s a three-card spread which answered beautifully today’s question: how can we relate to the righteous illuminati?

Temperance will give you the world. If not, there’s always justice. In other words, our task is to rise above the discourse that discredits us in the name of ‘my ‘science is better than your signs.’ We are called to inhabit the world of higher orders and let justice do its work: give people what they deserve.

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14 Comments

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  1. I am going to put an example: weather prediction. The only difference is on the instruments. Meteorologists use a massive amount of machines to measure the measurable. Me, I use 78 tarot cards, my hands, and Alec Satin´s Webpage. In a month, only twice I´ve slightly been wrong, the weather man, 3 times.

    The problem with science, and I DO love science, is that is only as good as its instruments at the time. In Galileo Galilei´s time, science said that the Earth was the center of the Universe. But he, with improved instruments, discovered that Sun was the center of the Universe.

    Now, following my train of thought. How is it possible that Tarot cards, an instrument that has remained relatively unchanged keep on bringing right answers ? Maybe we are the instruments… what do you think?

  2. Camelia,
    I enjoyed this post very much.
    We do not know the mechanism which powers tarot divination,but the results,with the right diviner,speak for themselves.

    • That’s right Maralyn. Things are always much simpler than we care to acknowledge. Either you find a narrative useful or you don’t. Making a distinction between narratives, and decide which one serves us best comes down to applying commonsense.

  3. Divination is the prototype of the symbols of tarot. In fact the birth of symbols arises in the limerence between self-desire and alter. It is in attempting to fill in this fissure between self and world or other selves that the cooperating modes of narrative assist in disguising this disjunctive. We tell stories of our self and others in order to feel significant. That these stories become self-fulfilling is hardly a surprise.

    • That’s exactly it, Paul. What I find astonishing is that while most people can see that light of life and grant it that it revolves around narratives, they also decide that some things are NOT narrative. I have a hard time with this type of folks who insist on walking on the earth with a hood over their heads, and calling that the REAL.

  4. Fortune Buchholtz August 18, 2012 — 10:55 am

    If reading in the Camoin style, we would note that the World is bordered on one side by the rational, and on the other by the supra-rational. Note that these two don’t look at each other, nor for that matter at the World itself – rather the twin bull and lion at the bottom of the World look out to them on either side. This suggests to us a hard truth – we cannot reach the World directly, it must look out towards us through metaphors, and we experience it only via mental states.

    • Excellent observation. It proves Lacan’s point that we cannot escape the symbolic order. We are always in the narratives we create ourselves or let others dictate them for us.

  5. Hi Camelia. Your final paragraph really hits home to me–but from the other side of the table, from the subject’s side.

    what I appreciate even in the worst kind of reading is the reader’s ability to be and remain present for the duration of the reading

    That’s the power from my side, too. That is, the reader’s very presence creates a kind of vortex of potentiality that I, as subject, can’t resist. There’s no place to go but in –into exploration of the fragmentary and unformed (the “blind spots”?). What I respond to is that unnameable something that the reader’s presence makes possible. The relationship between reader and subject (and cards?) must be profoundly symbiotic.

    (If I sound like a novice, I am!)

    • Glenn, I like novices. But your humbleness testifies to more. It shows a noble soul. When you go into the unnamable without preconceived ideas, when you refrain from making assumptions – which may all turn out to be wrong – that’s when you learn. A noble soul is never a novice.

  6. Hello Camelia,

    I love your blog and your approach to tarot. Very inspiring. BUT, there’s a big fat elephant in this room that seems to hover and weight things down. Yes, marriage hasn’t proved to be a lasting or very sacred institution. Many, many people bet on it and end up heart broken. Yes, men are very often assholes. But why carry that cross on such a long journey? Put it down. Leave it at the side of the road and move on. Fuck all that.
    I’m trying to enjoy your web of well written taromantic thoughts, clicking through the pages and taking in a very refreshing way of uncovering the blind spots, but honestly I’m a little tired of bumping into what seems like a rotten resentment of some sort. A little stinky…
    Should I feel bad about having this enormous penis in-between my legs? About being happily married, and being one of the fools that swallowed the pill, and is trying to be a good lover and a good father? Sorry but no. Long live my erection!

    I’m thinking about buying your new book. That deck is gorgeous and you are a fantastic writer; but please warn me if it’s gonna leave a bitter aftertaste in my manly mouth.

    All the best,
    🙂

    Bryan

    • Hello Bryan, and welcome to Taroflexions. Thanks for your thoughts. I am interested in the idea that some of my writing discloses resentment. You’re right about that. In the context of this blog, which is almost exclusively based on real-life tarot consultations, having fun the wise way, if I can be so presumptuous about the wisdom part, and generally trying to helps some folks, I find that I often write out of anger towards the lives of many women that come my way, and which they don’t deserve.

      Of course, generalizing is never a good idea, so I’m ever so glad to hear that some folks actually enjoy their marriages. Personally I enjoy my relationship with my man of 19 years, including the penis – though we are not married because I’m against marriage as a matter of personal principle – call it idiocy if you like – but I can tell you that most people who need or want a tarot consultation need it, or want because something is very wrong with their marriages, precisely at the principle level. So I write for folks who share this ‘cross’.

      No offence to the happy campers. You praise your luck, and give my best to your partner.

      About my book, well, what can I say, go and buy it. What are you waiting for? It’s a good one, I dare say, because it comes from the right place. About this deck, it’s something, I can tell you that. It’s so special that it makes me crazy. But then I like ‘crazy’, so there you have it.

      Enjoy, and let us hear more thoughts from you. Keep going, Camelia

      • Hello Camelia,

        In my many years of reading the TdM, I too have encountered countless broken hearts and tears from girls who where mistreated by their bad male partners. Those cases when you want to just put the cards away and say “Run, woman!” It’s true, in general, we have a pretty nasty record of abuse, dishonesty, and lack of true respect. Generation after generation of bad male DNA heritage. One could also take a rarely visited perspective and ask, Who are this guy’s mothers? Why are they raising boys like this?
        My mom taught me to impress a woman with a good meal and a clean kitchen. She also showed me how to dance and constantly reminded me how a woman “can never have enough panties”. So I cook, clean, dance and buy my wife new underwear often.

        But your words made me think about another thing. In 25 years of being an amateur tarot reader, I’ve had probably a 95% female ‘clientele’. I’m sure you have as well, and this is something to consider. Men go to the bar to drown their pain. They seek for answers in the field, with the ball or the fishing rod. Aaargh! Some may open up to their friends, show their true emotions and say things like: “What a bitch, gimme two tequilas”. But they also get hurt, and a women’s stab can be deep and merciless…

        I wouldn’t call your stance on marriage an idiocy. The ‘institution’ of marriage can kiss my ass. Me and my girl had an alternative love gathering in which we exchanged vows and rings after two children and 8 years of being together. No lawyers, no paperwork. We do not take each other for granted and we’re into this for a fun time, exclusively. But I’m stoked to call her my wife.

        Anyway. Yes to your book. I now live in a small rural beach town in Central America, so Amazon is tricky, but as soon as I can i’d love to get my hands on it.

        Much respect,
        Bryan

      • Bryan, thanks for your thoughts. I’m happy to say, however, that I get to read the cards as much for men as I do it for women. I make no difference in the way in which I approach what people put on my table in terms of the context of their personal stories which they want the conversations around the cards to address. I often send some of these men home with the same type of advice that I give the women, if appropriate: ‘ditch the bastard.’

        On another note, what I have come to realize is that what gives people cause to grieve is the fact that they realize that their partner is not on the same page with them, so a lot of my readings revolve around the implications of not being on the same page, as this renders the subjects at odds with with their shared interests and their sense of place vis-à-vis one another. If people are not on the same page, they will also have a hard time comprehending shared space and what it is all about. A lot of wrong assumptions being are made, which are then stretched to the level of insinuating and implying things that have very little grounding in reality. This is where the real conflict is. So, what I do most of the time is straighten people’s perception of their place in the world.

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