Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community! Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers 3 questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them! I like to hand pick tarot readers that I feel are talented and interesting.
My first tarot deck was the Marseille Tarot. To say that it was a challenging deck for a newbie is an understatement. It’s not an easy deck to read. A year later I switched over to the Rider Waite Smith, which worked better for me as I’m a highly visual person. But there is still a soft spot in my heart for the Marseille. Which is why I was so drawn to Camelia Elias.
I became aware of her when a friend raved about her book, Marseille Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading. Frankly, that book blew my mind. Her presentation of the cards and her treatment of tarot reading in general was unlike anything I have ever read before. Direct, cerebral, and ballsy. I’ve been smitten with her work ever since.
Camelia’s work challenges my brain in the most delightful ways. She says “what excites me the most in my work is the possibility to give people an idea to work with.” She does just that – and more. When I read her blog, I find that I think outside my own tarot box. This is a good thing because one can become too comfortable and smug in their own tarot opinions. She has a way of ripping off my glasses and making me look at the cards in a whole new way. An honest way. It’s this sort of thing that I feel every tarot reader needs from time to time. I’m even beginning to lean back towards the Marseille, my tarot roots!
If you’re needing a fresh, upfront approach to the cards and are ready to expand your tarot mind in new, thoughtful ways, this is your woman.
You might want to check out The Power of the Trumps, a series of 8 video lectures, followed by a Q&A session. The transcript of the lectures is also available on all Amazon channels too. Sherryl Smith of Tarot Heritage described the book as: “An energy bomb on every page.” Camelia also has these fine things coming up soon:
A foundation course in Lenormand: From the 2-card to the Grand Tableau (early Summer 2017)
A foundation course in playing cards (Autumn 2017)
A return to Cards and Magic, a foundation course with the Marseille cards, in a new format (Winter 2017).
I’ll be certainly keeping an eye on her world. You should too – because it will expand yours.
Camelia Elias, PhD, Dr.Phil., is a former university professor. After 20 years in the academia, she left her career to pursue her interests in teaching and writing on the philosophy and practice of reading cards. Visit her work at www.cameliaelias.com
You can find Camelia at these online places:
Check out Camelia’s answers to my questions below:
Q: What is your philosophy about tarot reading?
Camelia: A tarot reading is giving people an idea to work with. That’s all.
Some time ago I read the cards for someone: ‘Nope,’ I said. ‘It doesn’t look like it. Period.’
After 3 months since the reading, the person wrote to me the following, after giving me a very concise report including all the details:
‘You were right! But you knew it already, didn’t you?’
Well, I can’t say I knew it, but the cards showed it.
I’m interested in what the cards show us. I’m interested in how the cards put us on the spot, especially if it’s a place we don’t want to go to.
I’m interested in the unease we experience when we read the cards. I’m interested in seeing how people, when they experience discomfort, tend to take it out on the reader, or the cards, by ridiculing them both, the reader and the cards.
Meanwhile you sit there with your penetrating gaze, and don’t budge. They say, if your gaze could kill. Well, guess what? As far as I’m concerned this is exactly what I aim for: To kill the other with my penetrating gaze.
What use is a diviner who doesn’t aim for that? Who doesn’t aim for undressing the other naked, dismantling towers of fears and desires, anxiety and depression?
When this is said, 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 a cloudy sense of what to do now is 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. The fortuneteller never predicts. She reads the cards.
Q: How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?
Camelia: I help people go, ‘Ah, I get it now. Thanks.’
That does it for me in terms of realizing my goal.
What I see as one of my highest aims too is how to best give advice that’s completely devoid of my own personal involvement with whatever is put on my table.
It’s not for me to judge what motivations people have when they ask questions. I answer just about any question that people can think of, ranging from mundane concerns with love, work, and health to the desire to meet the devil, conquer Jupiter, or playing detective, spying on others. I find all questions equally fascinating, as they disclose a lot about the human condition.
This position has, however, rendered me thoroughly unpopular with other diviners who preach ethics and the dangers of reading for third parties.
But who defines the laws of ethics, and how useful is following such laws that are not of our own making when we have to sit there and deliver an answer to all questions that’s as fast and sharp as a samurai’s sword?
I concern myself with many things, but people’s motivations for asking a question is not one of my concerns.
So what people get from me is a completely non-judgmental position, and a reading that’s equally completely non-involved in things that are irrelevant to the question on the table.
I never go cautiously, ‘It can also mean this’, pointing to a card that can ‘mean’ a lot of things, simply because I never read cards out of context. I never prioritize method and randomly assigned meanings to the cards over what I actually see is happening in the cards.
What a client gets from me is this: ‘Keep it simple, and see the obvious that stares you in the face’. In this sense I’m not a sympathetic reader.
I don’t sympathize with people’s predicaments, as that would mean identifying with them, and identification is not something I dig at any level.
This is another way of saying that I don’t care about feelings or cognitive approaches to the cards of the clever kind. I’m interested in seeing things as they are. I’m interested in cutting to the bare bones. To me, that’s where real compassion resides, with the essential, not the long-winded.
If I’m allowed the samurai metaphor again, I’ll say this: When the samurai fixes shit, he won’t ask you about how you’re feeling today. He won’t be interested in hearing your long story about this or that.
In reality, what we’re always dealing with is this: Things are as they are. They are not as we imagine them, as we wish them to be, or as we fear them they are.
Seeing things as they are is my Zen approach to the cards, and one that I practice with zero compromise.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring tarot reader?
Camelia: Never forget the question and the context of the question. You simply can’t read the cards without constantly relating back to the question. You want to give precise answers, not lecture on the ‘meaning’ of the cards.
The cards mean nothing if they don’t relate precisely to the question asked. Look at the cards and think for yourself. Don’t read the cards under ‘dictation’.
Introductory books to the tarot can help you with some historical context and methods for interpretation, but at the end of day, you have to sit with the cards and your own God-given common sense.
Be detached. Don’t judge the question. Judge the situation. You’re called to demonstrate the ability to discern, and cut through, not to express an opinion.
Always back up what you say with evidence from the cards. Most people will be grateful if you allow them to follow your reasoning, the path you take from A to B. They won’t be sitting there in awe of your ‘secret’ weapon, and learn nothing.
Be kind and don’t make any assumptions. Just say thank you to the cards and the people who grace you with their trust.
Major props to Camelia for making time for me today! Learn more about her, check out her classes and more at cameliaelias.com
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2017