Cancel culture according to the Lovers

Cancel culture according to the Lovers August 13, 2020

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

Corona times has contributed to something other than the obvious suffering: ‘people die, they get sick or lose their jobs, there’s destruction in the world.’ Quarantine has contributed to the intensification of opinions in the social space. Most of them uninformed. Among the uninformed opinions, some are hilarious and some are harmful. Some are both, hilarious and harmful, though it takes just the Zen spine to laugh at the latter, since the hilarious and the harmful often results in the plain malicious.

Currently I get to read the cards for cancellations. Of personae. A lot of my current services can revolve around people’s grief with having lost a personal connection due to false rumors. As a person who studies war manuals from Sun Tzu and onwards, I want to say, ‘what else is new?,’ but I read the cards for the misfortune nonetheless, even though I often also start by asking: ‘how significant is it for you to actually care for the opinion of the maliciously ignorant?’ Well, people care, because there’s often a reputation to worry about and protect. Fair enough. I’m all for denouncing the false, if I can.

What I like to do for these situations is cast a ‘grand tableau’ with the trump cards of the Marseille Tarot. I pick the Lovers card and put it aside. I then place the remaining shuffled cards on the table in three rows of 7. Now the Lovers, as the card that represents gossip, rumors, ambivalence, a weak spine, and the impressionable is placed at the top. I perform a quick reading, using the method of reading in line, creating sentences that feature the cards as significators for subjects, or topic at hand, and action. Between the lines, there’s also a specific and concrete evaluation of how I see the situation.

As my own ass gets cancelled a lot in the social media space mostly for reasons I’m clueless about, when I have the time to think about it, I’m interested in the situation when the cancellation of my persona also means the cancellation of courtesy. That is to say, the situation when the ‘judges’ don’t deem me worthy of an explanation.

So here’s a set of cards for one such situation, yet cast for the totally generic, meaning, I don’t have a particular person or persons in mind to lament about. As I said, I actually don’t have the time to speculate on what’s eating others, even when I happen to observe sudden and unjustified shifts in people’s behaviors. I prefer the direct approach. But for the sake of illustration, here’s how you can go about it. Following my short reading here, I’ll offer an impromptu list of situations as well, when the Lovers card is paired with the other trumps.

For the tableau below, note that all the cards are drawn at random after shuffling. I don’t choose cards to fit a preconceived narrative in my head, even when I have a concrete topic that frames my reading. I prefer to see just how aptly the cards apply to the situation. I’m never dissapointed.

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

We start with the World card and finish with Judgment. Let’s see what we can say: You come out of your world, mount your horse and press on with the familiar cycle. A royal couple wants to dictate on your magical offering. ‘What is this,?’ they say, getting investigative. But without giving the time it takes to investigate beyond the foolish, what’s next? Heading towards hatred and misunderstanding. A looney situation. On your part you think, ‘what the fuck did I now do, to deserve this hanging?’ You keep your bewilderment in check, though, because you’re old enough to know better. Heads roll, you decide. Can this impasse be overcome, go back to the warmth of the sun? Perhaps not. The same rays of light inform your teaching, with the unpleasant truth leading the way, busting tall institutions, and making space for flashy news to emerge. So, you’re loud. Maybe that’s it?

Note the center card here: the Moon. Paired with the Lover, what does it tell us? That we’re with a creative situation, when we follow our heart? Like hell. Same hell right next to the lunar misunderstanding. No, the Lover together with the Moon flanking the Devil card speaks of being impressionable, prone to going with lies and delusions. ‘OMG, she is like that? She said what? She actually believes that?,’ the impressionable asks, and then cancels the relationship. A beaut…

Some seven years ago I wrote extensively on the Lenormand cards, to set some records straight. Some thought, ‘fuck, yeah, this is the talk.’ Others got intimidated. The intimidated ones who were open to learning, got a real chance to learn something new. The intimidated ones that already knew everything, got a real chance to turn hateful. So it goes. In the heat of it all, a former student transmitted this message to me: ‘I was asked [by Lenormand person of name] to tell you this: ‘Tell Camelia that I was wrong about her. I made the wrong assumptions, and the lies I was told were just that, lies. I want to apologize. I can’t do it personally, as we never had any encounters, but still I want to apologize.’

I said, ‘Ok, thank you, but who exactly is this person?’ I had heard of the name before, but that was all. I was not familiar with what this person was doing, thinking, or the work they performed. In the name of diplomacy – meaning, I didn’t bring in the underlying structure of the implication for the apology – I said, ‘tell this person that the apology is accepted.’ But I did think, ‘what the hell is the context here?’

The context back then was what the context is still the case today, when the situation is the following: ‘Person-who-doesn’t-know-you-but-likes-you’ [presumably because of what you say, since you’re in the public teaching business] decides to shift allegiance and go with what ‘person-who-doesn’t-know-you-but-hates-you’ says about you: ‘OMG, what?’ No investigation. If there’s any, it’s of the shallow thinking kind.

All fair enough. People believe what they must. This line is part of my Zen teaching, when I expressly insist that ‘no belief at all’ is the better way no matter what the situation is. The more beliefs you hold, the more suffering, including the embarrassing kind: ‘Tell her I was wrong about her’. Admission to error is all fine, but what would be a lot finer is to also ask, when hoping for forgiveness: ‘I wonder if this person I was wrong about actually gives a fuck about what I believe either way?’ That would be taking the path of discernment.

The point of this is the following: If you happen to experience that your persona is being cancelled for whatever reason – well, as if someone random or even close to you can actually ever do that – then what? Will you worry sick about it? Why? Why would you be worried about the impressionable kind, the kind that’s prone to listening to false rumours? Although there’s no shortage of false rumours, it’s not even surprising that so many tend to accept a rumour at face value, in spite of the fact that we all actually know what a rumour is. A rumour is a rumour. Not reality. Given people’s notoriously short attention span, it’s no surprise that hardly anybody bothers to verify what they hear, which is why the rumour spreaders are successful. So we’re all subject to this shit on a daily basis. Therefore the smart question to ask is actually this one: So what? If someone believes a rumour, so what, even when this someone is someone you happen to appreciate? Why would you ever consider what the impressionable think? Whether hilarious or harmful, why would anyone waste their time with the ones who are judgmental, acting not on a just cause, but on their own entitled righteousness?

Here’s an ad hoc list of ‘meanings’ that you can consider, next time you have the Lovers card in a combination. Before you get excited at seeing this card, I urge you to think of it in context.

I’ll just go with the images on my table here in the order in which they came.

Lovers + World: ‘It’s all about me.’

Lovers + Charioteer: ‘I’m tired of these bitches. I’ll go back to my horses.’

Lovers + Empress: ‘Mother knows best.’

Lovers + Emperor: ‘He intimidates the crap out of me’.

Lovers + Star: ‘Mhmm, that one. She’s so exquisitely fuckable.’

Lovers + Magician: ‘I don’t need to be that serious.’

Lovers + Hermit: ‘What if I chose celibacy?’

Lovers + Fool: ‘If I show you mine, will you show me yours?’

Lovers + Devil: ‘I’m not in a cult’ – secretly suggesting cult leader ambitions.

Lovers + Moon: ‘OMG.’

Lovers + Temperance: ‘Maybe there’s something to restraint.’

Lovers + Hanged Man: ‘I’m fucked.’

Lovers + Popess: ‘I wonder if she remembers what I did, what with her anal capacity to keep records.’

Lovers + Death: ‘Love is blind. I lost my head. Or wait, is the Lovers about love? Isn’t this traditional thought dead yet?’

Lovers + Force: ‘I’ll show her. Roarrrr…. Ouch, I didn’t say you could pull my teeth.’

Lovers + Pope: ‘I’m totally devoted. Err, well, I can at least pretend to listen’.

Lovers + Justice: ‘I’m fucked twice over.’

Lovers + Tower: ‘I’m devastated. I did not expect this. In my short life.’

Lovers + Judgment: ‘Finally, I can also point fingers.’

More on the Lovers in context? There’s plenty of it in my book, What is Not: Marseille Tarot à la Carte, and then even more of it in my upcoming Marseille Tarot Foundation Course.

On the Lenormand cards, check out some 300 solid essays, both on Taroflexions and here on Patheos. Also, I’ll be speaking this Saturday at the Lenormand Summit conference.

About Camelia Elias
Camelia Elias, PhD & Dr.Phil., is a former university professor. After 20 years in 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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