I often say that I find all the questions about relationships fascinating. I like the passion, the love and the hate, and the energy and dynamics in the playing of love games. But on occasions I come across questions from people that are of a metaphysical order.
Recently a woman wanted to know something about theft. Some 20 years back she had a brief affair that ended abruptly, but as the love was intense and of the kind you never forget, she has kept returning to it, spinning new narratives around it every time. And now to the interesting part: for all the pleasure in discovering new facets to the old love, one thing has always escaped her.
‘I have the feeling that this man stole something from me, and I from him. Though I can never quite get a clear picture as to what that is.’
‘Quite’, and ‘excellent,’ I thought. ‘Finally a question that goes somewhere.’ I’m a lover myself of such metaphysics of love and everything that it entails: obsession, passion, denial, and resistance. In other words: true love. The other kind bores me.
I did a reading of a three-card sequence side by side – one for her and one for him – and then this is how it went:
What the man stole from the woman:
The Empress, The Fool, The Charioteer
‘What he stole from you is your ‘virginity’. Look at how you keep that shield close to your belly, while almost stabbing yourself with the pointy end of that stick you’re holding in your hand. You resisted for a while, and then what? The man came along, dangled his dick on you, and moved on.’
‘Oh, he would brag about his conquest, would he not?’
‘I’ve no idea. I don’t know this man. But I suspect he wouldn’t be the first or the last to think that if he wins THAT, he’s a winner. Oh, dear.’
What the woman stole from the man:
Temperance, Judgment, The Pope
‘What you stole from him is far more serious than your own reputation. You stole his peace and balance, his sense of purpose and higher calling, and his ability to be a role model for his children. He may have fucked you, dear, and then play the idiot conquistador, but you fucked him harder.’
‘… … … … Ok, I know what my face looks like right now, but believe me, I think I know that. OMG, yes. I knew it. I absolutely knew this. I mean, this man, he thinks he’s so clever. Well, I’m not so clever myself still thinking about the schmuck, but believe me, there’s a reason. OMG, I’m so going to drink to myself tonight. I’ll be dammed. I needed this. I so needed this, believe me.’
‘I believe you.’
Now, the beauty of reading the cards consists precisely in being able to follow people’s experiences and then seeing how exuberantly they are ready for the next step – though sometimes they resist. But sometimes a woman simply needs to have it confirmed all over again, not that the man she loved was a bastard, but rather, that there’s retribution in the world. Poetic justice. As with the world of rationality, what proof could we possibly find for that which we know in our hearts, but cannot demonstrate? Rationality is of no good to us when what we need is to demonstrate to ourselves that our minds are in synch with our hearts, or simply the fact that if we can imagine it, it exists. Love, for example.
I told this woman what I thought of her situation, and why we ended up with what looks like a major imbalance. Unless a woman’s sexuality is everything to her, and her life depended on it, then ‘losing’ it to her own pleasure is not the worst that can happen to her. But for someone to lose his judgment, life force, and identity as payment for his foolish behavior discloses a serious breach with the universe.
The French would call this contretemps – in their romance novels, that is. I grew up with these novels, and I’ve always been fascinated with this concept of being off-beat that here clearly indicates the following: whereas there’s equally high passion in the relationship, there’s also a highly imbalanced recognition of it. That is, while the woman would have no qualms going full throttle on all levels, the man would do the same, but not in every aspect. He would, in fact, lie about the intensity of his own emotions and pretend to be indifferent. He would insist on telling himself that, beyond sex, there’d be nothing else. Eh, voilà, the next thing that would happen would be for him to experience irrevocable loss of his very self, of the forever kind. Of the kind that would have you do all sorts of other things to fill the void and kill the inner pain of the soul, but to no avail, of course. Without a self, there’s little you can do for yourself. That’s logical.
So my theory was that the reason why this woman got to steal so much from her man, while the man got to steal so little from her, has to do with this imbalance, or the situation of being in contretemps, or at odds with having said ‘yes’, when ‘yes’ was all that was needed. An affirmation of the power that each had on the other.
I wonder what kind of champagne our woman had once home, and after her epiphany. Though, as she said: she knew it. And who knows what her man is doing now? My guess is, plodding along like a fool, pretending that none of it has ever happened.
Note on the deck: Jean Noblet, 1650, as reconstructed by Jean-Claude Flornoy.