Photo: Camelia Elias

I don’t read ‘reversals’, cards that are not upright, until I do.

On the rare occasion when I read ‘reversals’, I follow a simple rule. For example, if Justice is reversed, I still see this card in terms of its function, in terms of what Justice does, but there’s an added variation: The function is corrupt. Justice is still Justice, but she’s not doing her job right.

Of course, as I’m not in the habit of reading individual cards, assigning ‘reversed meanings’ to the cards, I never say anything of the sort, but the thinking of it informs my reading in context.

And it can get interesting.

Just a quick example today of a sharp reading that spooked the sitter on several planes.

The French Cross was on the table, and the cards reversed. Not my intention to read with them like this, but since the cards fell on their heads, I went with it. The question was general, about the current status quo, the sharp bits that act as blind spots and what to do about them.

Jean Noblet Marseille Tarot as reconstructed by Jean-Claude Flornoy (Photo: Camelia Elias)

I said to the man:

‘You’re the boss, but you’re wasting your time with keeping busy maintaining harmonious relationships. Your family is a thing of its own, quite the circus. You can’t rule there, even though you think you can. Any woman who betrayed you that you’re thinking of, and impacts on you?’


‘How did you know?’

‘Know what?’

‘About my wasted effort, yes, that’s how I feel, and the other woman?’

I just said the following:

‘I look at this Fool and know that your actions are informed by foolishness that you’re aware of. If you were a mere idiot it would be easier. But when you’re a fool and you know it, it’s harder.’

‘Well, what’s the solution?’

‘To stop. Don’t just pretend to walk away. Do it right. Walk away. Don’t waste your time with things ‘in the name of’. Society is not keen on transgressors, on Fools leaving the home, traveling and not giving a shit, but if a Fool you must be, then so be it. There’s internal harmony in it. Maintain that. You’re not responsible for the lives of others. You live yours, they live theirs. As for the eyes of the public on you, what do they give you? What do you get from maintaining an act? Approval? Approval of what? Respectability that you don’t have? You’re a Fool acting as Emperor. What an impressive con. Put it all down. As to the woman of the book, that’s another story. We’ll save her impact on you for later.’


This is how a reading with the cards that’s based entirely on one question can turn into a series of serious questions that will have the other rolling on the floor. Suffering. ‘Please stop, say no more, I don’t want to hear this truth. It hurts. What can I do?’

‘You know already what you can do. Go and do it.’

And so it goes. A sharp reading is a reading that calibrates the precision that the other needs in their life. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Stay in the loop for cartomantic courses. Next in line is Reading Like the Devil with the Marseille cards, the foundation course that sets a solid standard for how you get precise in your readings. Registration opens on May 26.

About Camelia Elias
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. She works with contemplative arts, oracular language, and martial arts cartomancy and Zen at her own school, Aradia Academy. You can read more about the author here.

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