On a number of occasions I’ve talked about the consequences of not being on the same page with the ones surrounding us. Especially in love situations it’s bad not to be on the same page. But at work it can be even more harrowing, knowing that you might waste your time and use your skills in vain. This can be due to two factors: either because your skills are not aligned with the needs of others, or simply because the needs of others are not aligned with your own values. Should you bow and serve, or should you impose your own convictions on others? Should you listen or should you teach? These need not be mutually exclusive, but unless you have a very good sense of balance, chances are that you are prone to fucking up. Either way, when we’re not on the same page with the people that we need to be on the same page with, it’s a bugger.

This is where a tarot reading can be extremely helpful. Especially insofar as the ones who actually dare to consult it don’t always know what bugs them. Either in love or in work, it is often the case that not many feel aligned with the needs of the rest of the world. And believe me, the hardest is the realization that the needs of others – sometimes manifested as a dying ‘desire’ for the newest Gucci bag, or for that one and only hunk and none other, or even worse, for satisfying your boss’s need for you to lie on the job and ventriloquize an even higher and often stupider discourse about what’s relevant – yes, these ‘needs’ of others are not something that we are even remotely interested in acknowledging. So who will suffer? You or the world? Chances are that you will suffer more. The world is always more than ready to move on to the next one who can provide the goods. As history has shown, we are not indispensable. We can try our best to become the best there is on the market, but not even this noble effort can ensure that we succeed. And even if we did, what guarantee do we have that we will also be completely satisfied with ourselves? What if we achieved the best recognition for the wrong reasons?

Here’s a question coming from a schoolteacher in her 40s – a smart woman and all, and well, if I should say it myself, too smart for her own good. I say this while complying with the dominant discourse, namely, the one that dictates that women should look at themselves first, and then be ashamed of being too smart. I mean, really, who needs smart women? Ever?



‘Am I actually helping my students?’ – she goes.

And I go – ‘actually, you’re not. You’re not on the same page with them.’

‘And why not?’ – she goes.

And I say – ‘because you’re not interested in their potential.’

‘And why is that?’ – she goes.

‘Because they try to impress you with what’s not IT’ – I go!

‘Ah, that makes sense’ – she goes.

And I go – ‘It sure does, though it helps you jack shit.’

‘And why is that?’ – she goes.

‘Because you’re both caught in the wheel of the wisdom that teaches the following: what goes up comes down, what comes down goes up .’

‘Bloody hell’ – she goes.

‘Yeah’ – I go – ‘It looks like you’re both more interested in working for za system, than actually figuring out how to align your actual and mutual needs; the needs that are not culturally constructed as mere ‘desires.’

‘Fuck, me’ – she goes.

‘Fuck you, indeed’ – I go.

We all get the picture.

It goes to show that one can have immense satisfaction from having told the truth, from having abided by the truth, and from saying that the truth rules, even if it must come from some random cards. I think it’s a good idea to ponder sometimes on how we distinguish between needs and desires, and to what extent we can only be happy if we render some service to the world. But what if the world needs that which clashes with our own values? Are we going to end up as miserable narcissists, yet satisfied with ourselves for not ‘giving in’, or are we going to acknowledge that whatever the world needs is not for us to judge? Always a tough call. How to stay motivated in the face of realizing that your ideals are worth nothing much. Consequently, and taking my cue from the cards here, the wisdom that I encourage us all to acquire is the wisdom about knowing our place in the world. If we know that, then we will also know when we are called to be critical, for whatever reason, and when we are called to lay it off, for whatever reason.

May you all be blessed with the power to discern.

If in doubt, consult a FORTUNETELLER.


Note on the deck:

Marseille Tarot, Jean Noblet, 1650, as reconstructed by Jean-Claude Flornoy, 2001. A hand-stenciled set.


10 thoughts on “ALIGNMENT

  1. grackleandsun says:

    Tru fax. And delightfully appropriate for me today, as I just got hired at a new job. Maintaining principles, being critical, being of service, discernment. All recurring themes in the workplace. Difficult to balance, even for us 40-something smart women.

    1. Camelia Elias says:

      Indeed. I have to admit that I often go Zen on the job. Though imagine how aligned we all are when no else goes Zen but is more preoccupied with god only knows what else that the job is not even defined as to begin with. It’s laughable. In the public sphere I tried to find value in cynicism. Privately I create a space to myself where I can act alone, and ‘do my thing’. I’m fortunate to love my own company and enjoy aloneness. Within the two spheres combined, I act out of this philosophy: ‘those who are like you will find you.’ If that takes time, I don’t despair and don’t demand pronto recognition. Only so can I be spared the bitterness that comes with realizing that although you possess skills, they are not what the world is looking for.

      Good luck with the new job.

      1. grackleandsun says:

        Exactly. It took me a long time to recognize the ‘those who are like you will find you’ philosophy. But once I found it, the process began to accelerate significantly. Which is good, because I’m only loosely acquainted with patience, lol. Working on it, working on it.

        I try to console myself with the belief that no matter what it looks like, the world doesn’t really want any more assholes either. So, in that way, I think sometimes the only alignment to concern ourselves with immediately is our own. And since I have a life-long belief in a person having more than one soul, alignment is important. The rest seems to fall in place when you keep your eyes and ears open.

        Thanks for the good luck wishes.

  2. Markus Pfeil says:

    Dear Camelia,
    as always, to the point, thank you for this. And looking at the pictures we do indeed see…the starting point is La Papesse, the only woman in the reading and she’s only interested in her book. Reading her script. All the rest of the reading are the men who wrote the book. Le bateleur to get his way, the figures on the wheel in their struggle to remain on top, L’empereur to record how you remain at the top. He is the a-count of the first three….II+I+X(=I) = IIII….Do as you have done and the Emperor will remain there….Evolve the woman to III, the empress and she will teach the emperor about care and values…and evolve the lot to V, the Teacher.
    Lovely cards as well!

    1. Camelia Elias says:

      Thanks Markus. As ever, apt observations. Considering what you’re saying, I can’t help thinking of this: once a teacher, always a teacher. The Wheel may bring about another group to teach, if the one you’re teaching now doesn’t get it. Being off-beat with the needs of others can’t be the point of any teaching, especially if you also have to submit to the Emperors of the world. The Popess knows more than she lets on, but keeping her knowledge to herself is not always the best strategy in a system that requires you to be aligned with its program. Consequently, playing the mystery teacher is bound to irritate any Emperor, hence your suggestion for an upgrade makes sense. You want to please the Emperor, better to become his mistress. Otherwise, just say no, and get out.

  3. Markus Pfeil says:

    Yes! You need to carefully pick your fights. If I become his mistress, his stress becomes mi stress. (Speaking for any woman….). So if you are willing to join, thats the way, otherwise give the wheel a spin. 🙂

  4. Eda Vezelaj says:

    As always, dear Prof., great read. I have often asked myself the same questions you do, perhaps not so well articulated, but the gist being the same. In my understanding, the most difficult part is not the alignment, as much as finding out what ONES values are. We all believe we live by some, but are they really ours? That is a difficult question to answer, just as it is an impossible option choice between ‘toxic narcissist’ or ‘door mat’. While we were not meant to be perfect, I believe employing whatever common sense is, circumstantial know how, and a pinch of empathy should be able to guide one in the process of value identification, or alignment.

    1. Camelia Elias says:

      Eda, you’re right to be questioning values and where they come from, as, indeed, we can all be very suspicious of our efforts to escape the symbolic order of things, or the cultural pre-conditioning we are all exposed to. On this I tend to go with Shakespeare: when in doubt, knock on your heart three times. It will know what the answer is. However in such deep self-searching processes, we may also be prone to go with the better story, or rather invent that what the heart says is also that which we want to hear. It is for this reason that subjectivity is never subjective enough, as it were. But lucky for us, we are all born with an internal moral compass, and just as we don’t need philosophers to tell us the difference between right and wrong, so we don’t need others to tell us what we are and what values constitute us as individuals. So, yes, begin there: knock on your heart and make sure to listen intently. Don’t THINK. Just listen. That’s the condition.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.