There are several ways of learning about my method:
Take a foundation course at Aradia Academy
Get onboard the Read like the Devil Practice Club.
Read my books with EyeCorner Press, particularly the Read Like the Devil trilogy
Check also my book What is Not: Marseille Tarot à la Carte (2019) that expands in depth the Read Like the Devil style of cartomancy taking point of departure in the fundamentals of reading a visual text alongside with the deconstruction of the Tarot trumps.
Read my column The Cartomancer on Patheos
For an overview of which books I’ve authored that are best to start with, see my essay on EyeCorner Press, Which one first?
For a general view, here’s what I do:
My reading takes a martial arts approach to reading visual text of sacred and occult orientation. The art of reading is magic. When it’s well cut, it’s penetrating.
Marseille, Lenormand, Playing Cards
In order to get a better sense of what angle I use in my readings, and what methods for reading I have developed, here is a list with some posts on Taroflexions that say something about that. The list includes references to method posts about how to read with the Marseille Tarot, the Lenormand Oracle, and playing cards.
For a storytelling approach to the method of reading cards, check the posts on Patheos.
For a specifically poetic voice in the form of power spells, check the posts categorized as Spells. These posts tend to go a bit viral, so you may want to get a sense of what makes people move, what they respond to, and what they share.
Some of these posts include credits to existing material for reading cards and sources for inspiration.
But my primary approach can be said to follow the cunning-folk approach, which is to say that everything I have to say about a method rests entirely on making logical inferences and keeping close to nature; the nature of nature and the nature of being aware of the nature of things, which is to say the nature of reality.
Unless otherwise credited, all the writing on Taroflexions, Patheos, Spells, Witch, and other journals is based on my own personal ideas, opinions, and experience. This writing combines my competencies, both as they are consecrated in the university and as they are the result of studying with private masters.
Philosophy of reading
I read cards with view to developing extraordinary vision. Mine and the other I read the cards for.
I read cards with view to anchoring a situation in the present moment. Most of us are heavily invested either in the past or the future. Hence an cloudy sense of what to do, grounded in ambivalence. My work with the cards is invested in bringing everyone’s awareness to the present. If you can stay present, you know what to do. If you know what to do, you know your future. It’s that simple. I help people go, ‘Ah, I get it now.’ Right.
In addition to the many essays and posts on cartomancy that I have written and where I have explored these notions, I have also written two books on divination with the cards. In these two books you will find a fuller and more focussed statement of my reading philosophy in general, along thoughts on the practice and pedagogics of reading cards with all that it entails, from ‘cold’ readings to predictive and to spiritual readings.
My divination books from EyeCorner Press consolidate my method.
Quickly here, my book Marseille Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading book is an introduction to reading the Marseille cards, and covers readings with both the trump cards and the pip cards.
What is Not: Marseille Tarot à la Carte is a direct application of the fundamentals of reading a visual text, while holding deconstruction up against received traditions.
The Oracle Travels Light is a book that combines reading cards the straightforward way with reading cards for a magical purpose.
The Read Like the Devil trilogy focusses on my foundation courses dedicated to the reading of the Marseille Tarot, Playing Cards, and the Lenormand Oracle. Each volume (over 350 pages each) is of practical orientation and features student examples and teacher feedback.
As I’ve written over 20 books to date, you may want to check others that deal with the philosophy and practice of reading cards in various forms. You may want to have a look at my pocketbook: Divination with Cards: A Short History, check out The Power of the Trumps and Pips: The omnibus edition, or read Tarot Tracings, and The Childless Witch.
Basically, what I’m interested in all my cartomancy writings is exploring the method, or the skills of reading the cards independently of ‘knowing’ history, or philosophy, or mysticism, or esoteric systems of correspondence.
I simply just want to know how I see, how I go from A to B. I’m interested in what my logic and common sense tell me about what is possible and plausible when I deal with identifying how the visual elements in the cards translate into meaning; meaning that arises also from following the visual cues in the cards and their dynamic transformations.
Method for reading pip cards across the decks
On comparing the pips across the cards, see All’s Well that Ends Well.
Soulwork and unusual spreads
For a soulwork reading, how to balance between giving Cesar what Cesar wants and God what God wants, see, Soulwork.
For how to read with ART-cards, see Queens.
For a Lenormand grand tableau, see The Clover.
For a reading with playing-cards for special situations, see Entitlement.
Spells and using cards as poetry and storytelling
On old magic with new cards, see New Moon Magic
On love spells, see: Spell and Mandrake.
On tarot as poetry, see: Maura’s Pantoum.
On meeting ‘nutters’, see: Tarological Touch
On writing stories with Tarot, see: Renewed Mantics.
On creating a collaborative creative writing project with the Lenormand cards, see: Exquisite Corpse.
On using cards as a Detective Agency, see: A Family Secret (Part 1) and Incubation (Part two), as part of the same investigation.
Cards and stars
On recovering lost things with horary charts, see How to recover what you lost
On cards and horary charts, see Purpose
On cards, magic, and constellations, see Blue Star.
On the relation between planetary aspects and cards, see Quincunx.
On planetary magic and teaching, see Sigil.
On horary astrology, see Abandoned House.
On agency in horary astrology, see The Pathetic Fallacy.
For reviews, see the miscellaneous tag, Review.
For a list of featured posts that resurface from the archive and deal with storytelling with cards and my life and times as an academic and as a fortunetelller, see the category: Selected Writings at the main hub.
Other people’s methods
Enrique Enriquez’s books on tarot are the best. As he uses the old-fashioned cartomantic tradition, everything he says about the tarot can go back to being applied to reading with playing-cards and the Lenormand cards in a fresh and original way. Check out his amazon page here. For a peep into his method, you may like to read my intro to his first volume of interviews, HE RECO ME: Enrique Enriquez’s Poetics of Divination, and Bent Sørensen’s intro to volume 2, TAR O TAR T: The Entires and Exists of Enrique Enriquez.
Another one who reads cards like a true devil is the famous Italian fiction writer, Italo Calvino. His book, The Castle of Crossed Destinies is the best manual in tarot readings.
I’d also recommend the work of Tchalaï Unger for those interested in the Marseille tarot. Her idea with grouping details, becoming a voyeur – ‘sizing up’ the genitals in the Devil card – measuring the wall in the Sun card and then comparing it to the tall buildings in La Maison Dieu and La Lune, and that sort of thing, is very useful. Answering questions for yourself, such as, why the Papesse is the biggest figure among all the other figures on the cards, makes one think of the value of perception. Her basic idea is that we must all develop a dynamic sense of looking. What makes a good reader is the ability to pay attention to details. Imposed meanings are not nearly as interesting as derived meanings. And you can only derive meanings from the cards if you care to look at the cards properly. Give yourself time, she suggests, and I’m all for it. Though this is exactly the hardest part.
A good contemporary Lenormand card reader is African-American Joeanne Mitchell. And I find affinity with the work of Dawn Jackson on playing cards. She does the same thing as I do, namely, focus on the logic of the cards. I could mention more names, but these people are not in the business of being popular and making themselves ‘visible’, so I leave it here.
I like readers who have class. I do not like the ones who act as charismatic politicians, who, while popular with the public opinion, often talk nonsense. My statement here is not based on my being judgemental, but rather, it is based on observation.
Consequently, to the beginners who approach me to check my opinion on self-proclaimed card-masters, or idiotic neo-traditionalists who are always right and know best, I have this to say: Pay attention to what people say, in whose name, from what illegitimate position, and for what business purpose they say it. If you pay attention to what acts language discloses, you’ll be able to distinguish between the hordes. If you think you have a hard time with figuring out who’s doing what and how well, think of what Margaret Thatcher said: “Being powerful is like being a Lady. If you have to tell people you are one, you aren’t.” Same thing with cards. If you have to tell people that you know cards and you’re a master, you aren’t.
Reading cards is not a business you get certified in, and it certainly helps little to say that you’ve been reading cards forever and that’s the reason why you’re good at it. The world is full of people who claim skills in the name of ancillary practice or fancy lineage. Good luck to them.
In reading cards, the only rule is this: Pay attention to what the cards show you right here and now. Period. Demonstrate that you can actually see what stares you in the face. That’s all it takes.
Being a master is not what you say but what you do. Demonstrate excellence through steady doing and habitual awareness of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. That will be enough for others to call you a master.
Stay in the loop for cartomantic courses at Aradia Academy.
12 thoughts on “MY METHOD”
METHOD THEORY is a peculiar configuration, as it conceals:
The remaining vowels: MD RY could be rearranged as:
Y R D M
So, they would spell:
Y = WHY
R = ARE
D = DEE
M = EM
Spell WHY ARE DEE EM fast enough and you will hear something close to GUARDIAN.
METHOD THEORY = GUARDIAN (of) ETHOS + THEO.
Wonderful. Thanks. A tall order, however, to be the guardian of Ethos + Theo. One must know one’s place.
Indeed. Such responsibility is a recipe for alcoholism. 🙂
I rather identify with the sign: =
Merci beaucoup. Camelia
To read like the Devil. A wonderful approach to navigating the conditioning we all inherit as we grow old. Whether that be spiritual baggage, our image of ourselves or even the mundane tasks we all engage in. We all take in these so called truths without questioning where this comes from. Camelia showcases a plethora of hard hitting techniques and questions that forces us to look at ourselves and our lives straight in the eye to take accountability and ownership.
Many of the lessons follow the same principal of leaving everything you know, believe, and hold as true at the door. To come in asking yourself clear and precise questions about concerns you may have. Being able to look at your question with a clear mind as to see what you truly are saying and being able to provide yourself an answer that follows logical inferences that motivates you to get up and do something about it. That way when you go through that door again you know your intentions as clear as can be with and without that baggage. Detachment of everything, noticing the body and where you stand and behaviourally acting accordingly to reach your goals.
As a student of hers though I come forth with hard hitting questions for her in return. How dare a student question their teacher. Especially one with such wisdom and a sharp eye. I know…but I believe she’d encourage her students to speak words that are sharp, words that would disrupt when things get too comfortable, words that challenge for how else do you learn without taking such risk?
Camelia, you can read like the Devil but how about speak like Devil? Lessons upon lessons all valid and all holding tremendous power at the heart of it all but how many of those words speak anything at all? Do you use a lot of words without saying anything? Can your words be translated in any language without losing it’s meaning. Something that has been apparent for many is the lack of clarity when it comes to describing methods, reasonings behind these lessons or the narratives used to relay a particular point. Dare I say it, how much are you up your own ass in regards to the persona you carry. Can you relay this knowledge without the grandiose language? Can you say the same things without the attachment of your own manifested persona? Are you truly detached from your own blindspots when you sit in front of us sharing this information? I ask these questions not to offend or to question your integrity but to question how useful it is to devote such time and effort towards teaching these lessons with people who don’t speak the same esoteric language. Language whether delivered through poetry or with an expansive vocabulary is good and all but it is also a good way to paint disillusion for those who are already sitting with their blindspots. Speaking like the Devil, to me, is about saying all you have to say in a clear, unforgiving, and easy to translate manner. Being able to say words that hit the target no matter what or who those words are directed to.
So I question you Camelia, can you speak like the Devil?
The idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
Literal translation: “You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
What it means: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see. It refers to real objects, though — not abstract meanings.”
Thanks for your questions. Since you like them, let me reply in turn with one: what is the difference between reading and speaking? When you can asker that, you’ll know what I do.
Reading is singular and what I mean by that is it’s done in a solo effort. When you sit down to write something it’s from your mind on to whatever material of your choosing. It’s published and then it’s up to whoever reads it to interpret. Whether muddled by flowery words as a poetic expression or infused with experiences from whatever brought you that wisdom it’s up to the reader to interpret with or without having former knowledge of whatever you’re trying to relay.
Speaking often (not always) involves a more back and forth exchange. When you speak words they’re not tied down to paper. Who you’re talking to is able to say wait a minute what do you mean by that? Translate that for me, or sum up what you’re saying into a clear and concise way so that whoever comes by it gets it no matter their skill level may be. You’re able to refine your words in an exchange.
Think in the same vain as an editor. How can we take what you beautifully written and edit it down just like when we lay down three cards. How can we deliver this point in one sentence if you will.
At the end of the day words really words regardless. But if you’re in the world of fighting blind spots and being sharp that needs to acknowledge that martial arts, spiritual texts, tarot, etc are all subcultures as well on top of all the culture we’re born into and whether we like it or not, culturally influence where we’re at at this very moment. Can your message hit a Bollywood superstar in India, a grandmother in Africa, a high priestess of modern Wicca, a yoga instructor on YouTube or simply a child?
I say this because I know you’re able to refine what you’re getting at detached from these other subcultures and influences into a clear hard hitting manner. You teach us to do this very thing.
Again I don’t mean any offence by this but rather as a challenge. Can you be clearer? Can you hit the same points regardless of who you speak to?
I’m not sure what you’re asking for here. But I can say this: you can only be clear in matters related to acknowledging impermanence: we get born, we live, we die. Everyone understands this. All the stuff in between is is just conjecture, opinion, and projection. Making things clearer about that which I have no clue about to begin with is not part of my program. I speak of the stuff in between life and death, but not in any terms that make claims to ultimate knowledge and truth. People take what they take from me. I’m not concerned with second-guessing how useful or not what I have to say is, and hence imagine that I can do better. What is ‘better’, and who will it serve? If I teach anything at all, then it’s something in continuation of the lesson about our mortality.
Not sure of what I’m asking is a good example of what I meant by all this. Words can confuse. Written words are often set down in a state that cannot be altered unless a reissue or the edit button is hit. Through speaking before writing we can refine those very words. Speaking your written words out loud before publishing is a good example of this. It can all sound different once said out loud.
In summary I’m curious to know if you can simplify more. Being more concise. You write often about the same things over and over again. You get questions regarding the same thing over and over again. The writings and answers are the same at the core just the words have changed. Yet it’s still not clear to the audience or it’s easy to take out of context. Don’t you agree that if you can simplify those very words more concisely there would be no need for redundancy? In your interview with Chaweon you even mentioned you not being as clear in the past than you were in that moment.
I suppose you’re right about not being concerned though. That’s your choice and obviously you’re not subjected to do anything at all. If you see fit by what you have going for you than more power to you.
“People take what they take from me. I’m not concerned with second-guessing how useful or not what I have to say is, and hence imagine that I can do better.”
You can do better, we can all do better. Better in terms of not being stagnant and it serves you as well as those who encounter you. Your learning hasn’t ended just because you teach lessons or because you have a following of people looking up to you. You can be wrong. The idea that all is done and said for is a little righteous no? I guess from my perspective I see a lot of confidence in you and I’m wondering how much of that gets in the way of your own blindspots. When was the last time you sat down to write a blog post and discarded the whole thing out of a possibility of it not being clear enough or it being motivated by external forces? We see little vulnerability from you and of course that’s admirable at face value but how realistic is it in line with the words you write? I refuse to believe you’re emotionless, cold, and free from vulnerability. Vulnerability isn’t a weakness nor is it a strength but it’s realistic, human and about our mortality. How much do you hide behind being unfazed as confidence?
I can be wrong too and I accept that fact. This was simply my opinion in reflection to some comments I’ve seen as well my take on following your blog for a number of year now. I’ve seen some redundancy, confusion and some stagnation but I’ve also seen tremendous positivity and wisdom in you work. It may or may not matter in the grand scheme of things so I’ll get off your back before running this further than it needs to go. I hope I wasn’t much of a nuisance lol. Thank you for conversing with me Camelia. Your time is much appreciated.
Thank you for your thoughts, but it’s clear that we’re not on the same page.
The things you speak of are simply not on my agenda: confidence, vulnerability, what’s behind the mask, betterment, revision of thought, and all that.
I come to cartomancy from a very rigorous Zen practice. I hold zero beliefs in anything. I have zero goals, and zero desire to ‘invest myself’ in certitude. I make zero projections about others, or assume to know what they’re like at face value or otherwise.
I simply go with the flow of it all.
On the note of how I write. I simply sit down and do it. I hardly revise anything, and I don’t concern myself with whether I’m right or wrong about anything.
In the final analysis, we’re forever clueless. I prefer to hold on that insight, in case I entertain clinging to anything whatsoever.
Good luck on your path.