To touch another by skating on the surface of their skin

To touch another by skating on the surface of their skin March 26, 2020

RAYDY-NAUCA Tarot from La Face Cachée Des Nombres by Camille Creusot, 1977. (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Those following my work will know that I’m not a fan of communities. In fact, as a Zen person, I can’t see myself being a fan of anything, as fandom is not what preoccupies my project of discarding both this and that. ‘I’m a fan of nothingness,’ I want to say, feeling at the same time a hot slap over my face from nothingness itself that is better at word deconstructions: ‘Fan?’ Slap. You heard that…

Be that as it may. Perhaps I should say that while I’m not a fan of communities, I do appreciate people coming together for things other than a pat on the back, false – even though well-meant – ‘encouragements’, mediocre sympathies, flake vulnerabilities, or the ever successful managing agenda that’s called, ‘give them what they want to hear’. Err, no.

So here’s a thought that you might use, if shallow thinking is not what to want to hear. It’s not about connecting to people’s feelings. It’s not about connecting to the world’s fear. It’s not about connecting through offering free service whose underlying agenda is a wish for remembrance, as in, ‘remember my name,’ or ‘remember what I did for you in times of crisis.’ It’s about finding a language that can counter the total immersion into a sense of loss, because we’re with immersion right now, not connecting.

Immersion is not the same as connecting. Immersion is similar to finding out that there’s no inside and outside, there’s no ‘inner work’ – as opposed to what exactly, corporatism as a manifestation of outer work?, excuse me while I take a moment to laugh. Slap… You heard that again. Immersion is similar to feeling your own skin in the game, the whole surface of it. Immersion is being in touch with and being touched by the surface of all things.

Those of us proficient in reading cards have an edge here. We can experience a moment of instant skating over the surface of many things, and thus discover quite a ‘hidden’ world there, right under our nose, so to speak. At least that’s how I think of it, as digging deep into the illusion of something ‘inner’ is not my spiel. If I want to be really nasty, I can urge you all to have a talk with your body about this whole business of dark, deep, shadow business of the unconscious and how ‘precious’ it is. Test yourself. If you find that your skin starts to crawl, then you’re there with experiencing immersion with your own god-given surface.

In times of crisis we think of cause and effect. Is this the Apocalypse? Fair enough. But this whole thinking presupposes yet again a separation, as in, there’s an outside and there’s an inside, there’s an outside cause that deeply affects us inwardly. Right. Now we must physically isolate inside, because there’s an outside threat. Fair enough. But who is safe, actually? What does being safe mean? We isolate because of commonsensical risk calculations, not because we actually know what ‘safe’ means. No one is safe.

I’d say that the best way to deal with the illusion of safety is by finding a language of immersion that counters the language of connectivity, connectivity with family, peers, communities, common enemy, and so on. What you want is to notice the surface of things, what happens on the surface of life, and act in accordance.

Take your cards and ask them questions for the surface. Don’t ask, ‘what is love to me?’ Ask, ‘what does love do to me?’ Same thing with loss. Go also from ‘what do I fear?’ to ‘what does fear do to me?’ If you really want to skate on your own skin, then ask questions that used to fascinate you as as child, with an added twist. Go from, ‘were there dragons?’ to ‘what do dragons do to me?’ When you played hide-and-seek and fell, how many scars did you have? Was it worth having them, especially if the love of your infatuation was nearby seeing you bleed?

RAYDY-NAUCA Tarot from La Face Cachée Des Nombres by Camille Creusot, 1977. (Photo: Camelia Elias)

I remember when I was in love a few times. All I wanted was to touch the other’s heart. Literally. Or touch the vibrations of their belly as they were trembling in awe and admiration. So much magic in it. Some lovers went insane. What I’m saying is that if you want to find a language for your love and loss, you start with your skin, and then move on to the skin of the other you want to touch. Can you count their wounds? Feel the breath of their dragons? The recoiling moves of their bodies?

RAYDY-NAUCA Tarot from La Face Cachée Des Nombres by Camille Creusot, 1977. (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Words can only do so much, and they are best when they are not words of maintaining the threat of duality and causality: ‘If you don’t take the path to Eden, you’ll go to hell.’ There’s no either/or. Just a game of gestures, a throaty or enchanting voice, and a skin, thick or thin that receives it all.

Ultimately what you want is to feel it in your fingers, to feel it in your bones, what it’s like to touch another. Think of your work with the cards not as something you do for the sake of digging, for the sake of aligning your conscious mind with the unconscious, or for comfort, the kind that institutes a hierarchy: ‘I’ve been through this myself, now I can help you because I’ve seen the whole of hell. I went from zero to the 7-figure.’ Fuck all the narratives of redemption. There’s no skin in them.

Think of your work with the cards as a procession, not as a process of digging through the illusion of inner landscapes. A procession that touches all the surfaces it parades. Childhood games and rituals. Outbursts of dismissive gestures: ‘not this, not that’. The Emperor doesn’t ‘mean’ power and control…

RAYDY-NAUCA Tarot from La Face Cachée Des Nombres by Camille Creusot, 1977. (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Ask your cards questions of skin in the game. What’s the Emperor’s skin like? Is it hot, cold, plump, hard? How does the skin of the kneeling Star smell? When the Empress lifts her skirts, how close is your nose to her legs? Is her skin steamy? Death has no skin, but the bones are in the game. You can smell them.

I’d say, stop digging your own graves. Stay with the surface of things. Ask yourselves what you think of the dinosaurs. They may be extinct, but they still fascinate. Read your cards for the fascination with the surface of your own skin and that of others, here, now.

Stay tuned for cartomantic courses. Read like the Devil.

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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