On repeated occasions I have stated that perhaps the card that I dislike the most when reading with the Marseille Tarot is the card of the Lovers.

Here is a man choosing between two women. On the one hand, listening to the one who has her hand above his heart, hence symbolically appealing to his brains, and on the other hand, perceiving subtly the hand of the other woman on his heart, and acknowledging it by stroking her crotch.

Hmm, to think or to fuck, that is the question. ‘Who should I pick?’, our Lover boy asks, forever ambivalent and indecisive.

Photo: Camelia Elias. Cards: Wilfried Hodoin
Photo: Camelia Elias. Cards: Wilfried Houdoin


Not being able to decide is a though one, no matter what context. Consequently, experiencing a bit of celestial intervention is often welcome. Cupid shoots his arrow, and boom, the three become two.

The Sun card is such a warm one, and so validating of the fact that one has made the right choice. But hey, what in the Devil? Cupid shot his arrow, and he missed? How can that be? And yet, that’s where it’s at in this three-card spread that ends with the mighty Devil.


But now to the question of agency. One of my favorites. While we may be able to determine what’s happening in the string, it’s not always guaranteed that doing nice pedestrian work, such as following the symmetry and the rhyming elements in the cards, yields satisfactory answers.

Say, we have three figures in the Lovers card rhyming with the three figures in the Devil card. In between there are only two figures in the Sun card. So what exactly are we dealing with here?

Traditionally, the French would say, it’s a question of pride. The Lovers card is about partnership and the pride one feels about having made the so-called right decision. But why only ‘the so-called’?

Well, simply because the Devil following the Sun indicates that the pride is there for the wrong reasons. L’orgueil, the French say, which has a different ring to it than in English. Hells bells.


What else are we dealing with here, if we want to rule out of the equation the boring pride connected with possession and non-negotiable control? What we are dealing with is this:

The Lover having to choose between two women has a flash of insight. He makes his choice and it works for a while. But then, what in hell’s name? The Sun turns into the Devil’s head. Rays into a bat’s wings too.

The two in the middle card sharing things on a mutual basis – everyone’s naked under the Sun, so the suggestion is that there’s no hidden agenda here – have now turned into puppets.

So, what’s going on? Is Cupid the Sun, pretending to make the right choice for the poor Lover, and then showing off his real intention, namely, that of enslaving the ones who made a bond, whether for the right or the wrong reasons?

Has the Lover turned Devilish, perhaps having regretted his choice, and now determined to enslave the women who showed interest in him? Not so easy to see what’s going on.


And yet, regardless of the context of the question – which is crucial in discerning who’s doing what to whom and why – the trajectory here is pretty forward: The Lover cannot decide.

Cupid intervenes. All brilliant.


One thing is clear: Someone gets fucked and not in a nice way. Perhaps the reason why the Lover emerges as the Devil has to do with the fact that he realizes that he made a mistake.

Since he can’t live with that, he obsesses about the ‘what if’ situation. ‘What if I had gone for the other one?’, he seems to whine. Either way, this is a nasty situation.


To the Lover boys out there: when in doubt, make sure you go and consult a wise fortuneteller before you make any major decisions as to who you fancy spending your time with.

To the women caught in an ambivalent situation: Walk, or remember what your mothers told you when they taught you how to stitch: use your scissors some more.

Make those cuts, and don’t swoon as soon as you see Cupid coming to your rescue – supposedly. It’s not sure Cupid has a clean agenda, or your best interests at his heart.


One last point. If you are wondering about that which others call ‘real love’, here’s a fact.

Love is just a construct like everything else.

At the experiential level, what we call ‘love’ is a form of appreciation of the other, or concern for the other. That’s all. The sex part has nothing to do with ‘love’.

At the pragmatic level, a man caught between two women, or his lover and his mother, has even less to do with ‘love’.

It has more to do with choosing a path. Some are well travelled and some are not. And sometimes a man can wonder what the path he hasn’t chosen might have led to.

But that’s all speculation, which in my example here leads to a form of obsession.

I wish I could say that I don’t know men who obsess about ‘what might have been’, but I do. So I take that form of misery seriously.

The fact is that if we didn’t have language we wouldn’t have any of all that emotional stuff we carry around.

Good stuff, for the most part, but stuff that simply wouldn’t exist without our ability to express just what we feel or what we want.

Next time you say, ‘I love you,’ remember that what you’re expressing is words not ‘love’. Love is for the ‘doing’ not ‘saying’.


Note on the cards: Tarot de Marseille, Edition Millenium, as reconstructed by Wilfried Houdoin, 2011.


Stay in the loop for cartomantic activities via the Art of Reading newsletter.

8 thoughts on “MISSED SHOTS

  1. Markus Pfeil says:

    Dear Camelia, as always, astute and to the point with no embellishments. This whole decision and agency thing reminds me strongly of an old joke: There was a man with some money looking for a partner and he had (in this case make it only two) girls. He did not trust cupid, as you say, he might shoot short or far . So he put the two to a test. He gave them each 100 grand and asked them to do what they thought best with the money and show him . So one went and did some clever banking, returning him 200k. The other went, bought a sexy car with good resale value and a nice watch for him and a dress for herself to look good. As such, the man considered them carefully and after much deliberation….he chose the one with the bigger tits. While the guy here makes a choice, I still think it fit here, as L’amoreux canot decide, so the two figures are put under scrutiny as you say, and in the end sex and lust determine the outcome.
    Numerologically (as I like to count) we have 6 – 19 – 15 or 6-2-6, said out in Babylonian Sechs-Two-Sechs or sex to sex is the whole range of his experience.

    1. Camelia Elias says:

      Very nice. Indeed. The one here likes to fuck. And yet. Hell only knows. I see this situation too often. Good if all parties are on the same page. But the Devil card is not a card of harmony. Unless, of course, one is the Devil oneself. In which case tormenting others is quite all right. In animistic parlance, being with the Devil is not the worst. Though in that case one must really know what one is doing. Which is not very often. Alas. So we’re back to trouble double trouble. Sex is good while it lasts. Lust lasts for 6 months – The Lovers card – scientifically speaking. After which you’re left with two options: either you find another one with big tits to fuck and enjoy, or you turn righteous and puritanical. I’d say especially for the latter that the Devil got you good then. Oy vey.

  2. Camelia Elias says:


    Fortune Buchholtz: “Dude, wake up – it’s just a lust thing.”
    2 hours ago · Unlike · 3

    Iulia Dragan: I have to say it again, Camelia : you’re absolutely BRILLIANT !
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Bhima Beausoleil: You’d think people would be warned by now… Oh well…
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Camelia Elias: People like to hope and they like romances. Which is fine by me, as long as I don’t get caught in others’ self-delusions.
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Fortune Buchholtz: One of the interesting things about Wilfried Houdouin’s deck, like other TdMs, is that Cupid’s shooting only at him. The ladies are not so struck.
    about an hour ago · Like · 1

    Bhima Beausoleil: Ah, but that’s the thing with card reading: we just get to show them, or as you put it, to place the mirror in front of them and let them see their mess.
    about an hour ago · Like · 1

    Camelia Elias: Fortune, I’m thoroughly amused. Imagine the cards where Cupid is actually blind-folded. I always weep for the Lover.
    about an hour ago · Like · 3

    Bhima Beausoleil:
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Camelia Elias: Well, Bhima, at least people get to say: ‘That goddamn fortuneteller. Fuck her. She ruined my life.’ I like that a lot.
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Iulia Dragan: =))
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Bhima Beausoleil: Yeah… me too. Specially when after a few weeks / months, they come back knocking at your door, recognizing you’re right
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 2

    Camelia Elias: Of course they do. For we are right. Or rather, the cards are always right.
    about an hour ago · Like

    Fortune Buchholtz: Agreed, Bhima Beausoleil – and yet until XV, you are unsure whether the wide-eyed green sun (looking shocked with his big eyes, weary in their bags, and amused with his wry mouth) is jealous of their situation or appalled. Cupid here seems plain bored.
    about an hour ago · Like · 1

    Bhima Beausoleil: Fortune: I would imagine Cupid would always appear bored in situations like this. Having to sort out what people can’t do themselves. And I’m amused by the sun behind the cupid. It’s just as you say: he doesn’t really care. He’s there to send some light and light will be sent. Never mind the consequences. Next time, you sort your messes
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Fortune Buchholtz: I don’t have Wilfried Houdouin’s book handy here with me – it’s in storage – Bertrand Saint-Guillain or someone, can you remind me why he chose the no-blindfold option? Ty!
    about an hour ago · Like

    Camelia Elias: The thing is also that whereas most people will swear that what they’re going through is unique – and I’m sure it is on the experiential level – the fortuneteller goes: ‘it’s a classic’. There’s no way ‘the people win’ on this one. The fortuneteller always wins. I absolutely love that. It’s the only reason why I read cards. Because I always win.
    about an hour ago · Like · 3

    Iulia Dragan: I can’t argue on that
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Bhima Beausoleil: Camelia: if what they are experiencing is “unique”, i do pity their lives
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

    Camelia Elias: Fortune, I have his book. I’ll check his argument. Though I’m sure there’s isn’t one. It’s just Convers.
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Bertrand Saint-Guillain: Fortune Buchholtz > I don’t have Wilfried’s book ! I guess he followed the Marseillese Marseille Pattern, and from what I remember the Madenie is his main reference deck so here you go, no blindfold on cupid
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 2

    Camelia Elias: Well, pity is a noble art, like all the others of this sort.
    about an hour ago · Like · 3

    Bertrand Saint-Guillain: Conver, Madenie, Chosson, they’re almost all the same if you ask me … but I prefer Chosson anyway ! and to sum up, in fact the blindfold (or some similar device) is mostly a “type I” feature
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 2

    Camelia Elias: That’s right, Bertrand. Usually I read with Noblet. Cupid is blind-folded there. But for the internet pictures Wilfried’s deck is grand.
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Wilfried Houdouin: My arguments about why I’ve followed this specific model is in the deck’s booklet (both in French and English) and in the book’s introduction. Now, my arguments about the cards themselves will be in my next two books, dedicated to the traditional symbolism of the major and minor Arcana, on which I began to work 10 years ago. But the completed 78 cards deck will be released first, hopefully in 2016.
    55 minutes ago · Edited · Like

    Philippe Villard: Thunderbolt under the eyes and the authority of the mother can lead us into the garden of delights, fun, heart to heart, body to body … nudity. New life in the sun. become adult. Passion. Chained with other. Madness of passion. Chains must become deep links, flexible. Do not resist. Accept. Resistance makes us slaves.

    Question: What are we willing to accept that love is really love? What should we know to free us images inherited?
    2 hours ago · Like

  3. Markus Pfeil says:

    Quite so….and if he does the former, we know that the other one is a woman scorned such as hell hath no fury as. And, looking at le diable, he has the outward show of the big lover, breasts and male genitals, but no indication of a vagina, thus, no creation. He is all about posing and being the longest and biggest of all. As soon as creation is about to hit he is out of de ville….another numerical go yields 6=f, 19=s, 15=o…with a lousy th and some accent we have fuck sem oll. Which is again what he does. This of course is the core of modern marketing. Give people a choice about everything, which will make them buy something based on a bad on the spot decision, then make them unhappy over the purchase so they get another one and get caught in a vicious circle.

  4. rohinibabe@aol.com says:

    Camelia,VERY INTERESTING. The Devil coming up is also because of the aspects in the sky which nicely describe it. Maralyn

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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.