The Cartomancer: The Reading on Point

The Cartomancer: The Reading on Point May 11, 2016

three cards face up -- the outer most cards are blurry but the center, focused card depicts a young woman holding a sword
Grand Jeu de L’Oracle des Dames, Editions Dusserre, in my collection (Photo: Camelia Elias)

When a question is not properly developed, the best strategy is to lay the cards down and let them tell the story. Have at least 9 cards on the table, in whichever layout you fancy. Use whatever cards you adore or abhor.

You will have no assigned positions for the layout, as you will be reading these cards in line, the pedestrian way, from left to write, ending in bed in the missionary position. You below. The cards on top.

Get ready for the obvious. The cards read this way will be merciless in forcing the unconscious mind to the surface of the conscious. It will be like having a big mirror stuck to your nose from above. You will begin to feel the pressure of the cold surface. You will even feel claustrophobic. You will want to get up and run. But this big, reflective surface will be pressing itself on you, your face and your belly. If you’re skinny, you will feel a stab around your edgy bones. You will want to scream too. But the mirror won’t care about your projections.

‘Yeah,’ you will want to say: ‘This mirror of cards will only feel this way if I read for myself. Isn’t it true?’


If you go and see a fortuneteller and have no question, beware. If you see her getting ready to read the cards in line, make up an excuse and leave. She will disclose the nastiest things about you. She will tell you bad things about your useless lover. She will demystify your clinging to possessions, things and other people alike. She will tell you why you suffer and how to fix it. You will not like it one bit. Either the suffering part or the fixing part. She will blow truth through your buttoned up attitude, and every time you will want to say something, she will go, ‘no’. When she will finally go ‘yes, it is this simple’, for a moment there you will have forgotten about protestant positions. Tantric marvels will take hold of you.

As you get a glimpse of your untold question, you begin to understand something about the stories on point that follow a straight line. The fortuneteller doesn’t care about your feelings. She wants you to see what is happening. You will go, ‘Ah’, and then look around to reassure yourself: ‘Yes, today it’s certain I’m not seeing my acupuncturist. I’m with the fortuneteller.’

What’s the point?

a nine-card tarot spread
Grand Jeu de L’Oracle des Dames, Editions Dusserre, in my collection (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Here is a little pyramid inspired by the great storyteller and fortuneteller Etteilla. The cards I’m using are not Etteilla’s own famous design, but what is now known as Etteilla III. This is a facsimile deck edited by Dusserre, after the one that came out in about 1865, edited by Delarue.

We start with the top row and end with the card on point, the point of the inverted pyramid, the point of what is evaded when a question is not formulated.

a close-up of a tarot spread depicting portions of a number of different cards
Grand Jeu de L’Oracle des Dames, Editions Dusserre, in my collection (Photo: Camelia Elias)

An offer is made by the King of Cups related to a past event. A disgruntled Moon is looking on. Ideas are scattered, or so a little spy thinks. ‘What’s this?’ he seems to ask. ‘More work for me to ride with? I don’t think so. Perhaps we can cut a parallel deal, and make an investment in our own bodies?’

But who is speaking at this point? Surely not the Page of Swords. He’s not able to cross any barriers, as he always imagines the worst scenarios. He has a life of the mind not the body. Ah, all is lost. ‘Perte’ the French, say, and you can almost hear the word ‘loss’ ringing like a wounded bell into your years.

What did the King want? Hold on to what, exactly? If only he would turn around to face his reality. His cup and ideas are not met by someone he is on the same page with. You can’t deal with spies. ‘L’espion’ as the French say, doesn’t even know whom he’s working for, or why. When all roads lead to loss, what is the next course of action?

Sitting and waiting for the eternal return will get you lost behind the moon. Insisting on beckoning nostalgia with offerings of clear water will turn your intent to give into a pool of mud.

If your traveller is a spy, you can be sure that you won’t have a companion in your crossings. The simplest resistance will turn your journey into a big NO. You won’t get stabbed in the back, or anything, as the Page is not a man of action, but he will make sure to send word behind your back for an army.

three cards face up -- the outer most cards are blurry but the center, focused card depicts a young woman holding a sword
Grand Jeu de L’Oracle des Dames, Editions Dusserre, in my collection (Photo: Camelia Elias)

What is a King of Cups to do with an army? Get it drunk? Good luck with that project.

The scattered mind falls through the cracks of cooperation. It’s not enough that they look so pretty, those two batons, two helping crutches, at the center of everything.

If the focus is on points, five sharp ones for all the vital parts of the Vitruvian Man, then it is best to just forget about it.

Forget giving, unless you remember you’re a doctor. Ah, the King of Cups plus the 5 of Swords means a doctor, tradition says. I think.

But what if you’re not a doctor? What of the swords? ‘Perte,’ the French say. Loss. It’s just a word, isn’t it?

What do we see? The golden scimitars reflect the glory of the King, his gifts now turned to loss.

‘That little prick’, you want to shout. ‘Is he ever going to grow up?’

‘No’, the fortuneteller goes.

You remember where you are. You make up an excuse, and leave. But not before you will have crossed her palm with silver, as shiny as the moon’s face, in your face.

More stories? Stay in the loop.

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