AGAINST YAKKING August 4, 2019

Arcades Tarot, limited edition of 22 by Camelia Elias (Photo: Camelia Elias)

For 20 years now I’ve had no problems deciding on my vacation destination. It would be on top of a mountain in Norway. The less people, the better. In fact, no people at all – which I’ve experienced many times – topples everything. People would want to know: ‘What is it like to not see a soul for six weeks?’ I’d turn my eyes to the heavens, in a gesture that beats the word ‘sublime’.

This year, however, there’s been a change. Ten times as many people as before. This means that just about every cabin on the slopes of the mountain plateau would be occupied. Hordes congregating. The nationalities would be German and Dutch, and the unit ‘population’ would be three generations of family.

The morning comes to Avalon, and I don’t hear the dew anymore. Yakking has replaced it. Lots of chatter, laughter, complaints, checking in. Especially the checking in is bad. It’s hard to agree on the next destination spot on the mountain, when 10 people having coffee have to decide. ‘Are you all right with this, is this ok with you?’ You’d think that so much care was endearing. It’s not.

This makes me reflect on what part of their lives people try to improve by not giving themselves a chance to just shut up. Even as merely a witness I felt the provocation. I want these people to step up to this shout: ‘Mind your business’. But that wouldn’t do. You don’t get 10 people in the car only so that you can have a solitary experience. Yakking must be done. To hell and beyond.

Jean Noblet Marseille Tarot, 1650, as reconstructed by jean-Claude Flornoy (Photo: Camelia Elias)

I’ve been focussed on focusing myself, as my idea of vacation is in fact very much about that. I rage against distraction when I’m on vacation. The only thing that can move is the wind. That is to say, if I could decide. Sometimes I can, and I do, as I like to test my magical powers. I say to the clouds enveloping the peaks, ‘now you come, descend upon me and stop three fingers above my knees.’ It’s interesting to see when the clouds obey your command.

Such an activity requires focus. A congregation disperses the focus. What can we think of in the midst of yakking, when it can’t be avoided? I asked the cards. The heavy hitters are here: The Devil, the Tower, Death.

Jean Noblet Marseille Tarot, 1650, as reconstructed by jean-Claude Flornoy (Photo: Camelia Elias)

I read these cards thus: People talk incessantly as a means to displace their fear of bondage. The louder the yakking, the stronger the blast. Sometimes yakking is replaced by music blasting the ears. Anything but the deadly silence. But Death is exactly how we can think of it, as a way of enforcing the downfall. There’s only so much attention span that grandpa can have for the grandchildren. There’s only so much planning at guessing where the dedicated hikers go, keeping their trails secret, so no yakking hordes can access them.

Sometimes I sound like the Bible, ‘there’s a time for everything.’ To this I add, ‘there’s a place for everything,’ thinking that I must put down my critical nerve, and ease up some more. But then I think again. Really? Why? Because people can’t tolerate anything threatening? I’m not in the camp of pleasers. I’m a thief of identities. If I could steal the trivial yakking from people, I would not hesitate to do so. I can imagine what would happen seeing so much space in the head freed from anxiety. For why else do we talk incessantly, if not because of anxiety? I don’t buy the narrative that says, ‘we talk because communication enables relationships’. I dream of complete silence, a relationship with the essential. How can we see it in the midst of so many words?

Since I very much have focus on my mind, what with the summer Tarot Prompts being promptly offered beginning on Tuesday, I wanted to let these cards ask me something as well, in line with my own tradition of being prompted by the cards to ask an essential question.

The Devil, The Tower, and Death voice the following: If the cut is on point, ‘no to bondage, no to blasting,’ what is left to focus on? If clinging to fear is no longer part of the picture, and vocally ‘texting’ is no longer a cover for self-loathing, then what of the blade? What will it cut? What will I talk about?

Good question. I’ll keep reflecting on this one, keeping the focus open for myself and others.

I invite you to hop on board the Tarot Prompts cycle, which is a relentless hitting on cherished beliefs and ideas, from fashioning the self to displaying self-importance. Imagine having the self out of focus? I’m relishing the idea already.

For other carrtomantic activities, stay in the loop.

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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