MY STORY

I was born in Arad, Romania, in 1968. I came to Denmark in 1990, and since then I have embarked on a reading career.

I consider myself a reader. I read for a living. Until recently I’ve been a professor of literature at Roskilde University. After I quite the academia because I got tired of dullness and lies, I went expanding my cartomantic business. Here’s a short version of me in poetic form: I’m Available.

In the academic world my credentials were two doctorates, tenured professorship for my works in poetics, and books.

In the cartomantic world my credentials are exclamations mark: ‘No shit! You’re always right!’

Speaking cartomancy, in my own view, I’m not the one who is right, as I hardly ever know the people who come to me for a consultation, but the cards are, because they address the people’s contexts and questions directly and head on, which they themselves identify with and relate to via visual analogy. The best kind.

What I’m good at in this connection is sign-posting. I identify trajectories, blind spots, and ways of demystifying the problem. 

Speaking life, reading is living with poetry and ideas. There’s nothing like reading books, oracles, pictures, peoples, animals, the universe, stones and waters. In this connection I see myself primarily as a storyteller whose preferred medium of expression is the oracular, as mediated by natural omens, cards, the stars, bones, and books.

Speaking academic life, I tried to do my part in promoting what there is to promote regarding the participation in the creation of knowledge. But unless your voice sounds of money, no one is interested. 

Part of my research is to explore storytelling on two planes:

First, I see storytelling from the perspective of the interdisciplinary scholar who cuts across narrative, poetics, semiotics, and hermeneutics.

Second, I perform storytelling, that is, embody the scholar cum practitioner. My example is the anthropologist gone native, the historian of religion gone priest, and the semiotician gone fortuneteller.

Why the latter? Because it’s interesting. Because it’s fascinating to look at what we call ordinary mind, and then contrast that with what we call the nature of the mind, the actual reality of our imagination and what it holds for us. Because it’s a way of living life poetically and magically.

SOME BOOKS

I have authored several books in the disciplines of cultural text studies and critical theory. The most recent books are in creative criticism and cultural anthropology on practices of divination, storytelling, and the poetics of visual texts.

One book is on the Marseille Tarot cards and another is on principles of magic.

I have also authored two collections of prose poems, mostly dealing with domestic life and what they call in math, complex analysis: Eight Senses Plus Two and The Logician.

Love is a topic here, that some readers have greatly appreciated, but it’s the kind that goes beyond all dualism, insisting as it does by virtue of this focus on detachment and non-possession.

I also blog about cards and magic at the sister site Taroflexions.

I write for Patheos too, the a bi-monthly column, The Cartomancer.

HUMAN IMAGINATION

Whether academic or otherwise, my work demonstrates a steady interest in the relationship between thought and word, voice and image, and human imagination.

As I look at various manifestations of human imagination, myth and storytelling with visual text, I understand something about  what we call ordinary mind, the mind that perceives things dualistically and by means of contrast, and the extraordinary mind, the mind that perceives paradox and allows as well for dwelling in paradox. This is also what I call the magical mind opened towards wisdom. Reflection is good, but there’s nothing like spontaneous curiosity that has the potential to lead us to places beyond rules and conventions.

So I read cards as a means of tapping into the wonderful memory of situated wisdoms. I read cards not futures. I answer people’s questions in two ways:

People formulate questions that have either a future orientation and are pragmatic in kind. I offer answers to all of them, as I focus on what the present has to say about our positions, fears and desires, emotional and intellectual states. The leading question here is, where are we in all this? And who is this ‘we’ that experiences these states?

The strange thing about reading visual text, or perhaps I should say magical thing, as that would be more precise, is that such a reading lends itself to tapping into what is not manifest in our questions, questions that we may, however, be very eloquent in formulating. The point is that the cards often show what we also hear in a question, beyond the ways in which this question is verbally formulated. It is often the case that most people are surprised to see how well the cards articulate that which they don’t ask, but would actually really want to know.

So I use the cards to trick people’s minds with. To lay bare what they really want to know but are unable to articulate.

If people ask questions pertaining to their passions and purpose in life, in addition to what the cards concretely say about that, I may offer the type of counsel one encounters in the more academically consecrated circles, such as psychoanalysis, or in meditation practice. Usually I assess to what extent such contribution is either needed or relevant (my psychoanalytical orientation here is primarily Lacanian, whereas my meditation insights come from Zen training and Tibetan Buddhism).

As I’m, indeed, also a teacher of practical spirituality through cards and magic, I’m familiar with several discourses on magic, from shamanism to witchcraft, from Norse mythology to Balkan folklore, from ceremonial magic to Vodou, both on the practical level as well as the academic. I am familiar as well with various meditation practices, my own drawing on the Tibetan Buddhist Mahayana/Vajrayana, Dzogchen (Kagyu) orientation.

I draw on shamanism and other nature oriented spiritualities, from cunning-folk to Druidism. My shamanic training and seidr practice have been consolidated through work with Annette Høst, Jonathan Horwitz, and the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studiesand I’m also a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.

I also find renaissance astrology fascinating, and here my passion lies in horary. My method is strictly traditional, as I like symmetry. In charts I only use the 7 planets. I regard the trans-Saturnians as fixed stars in an interpretation, an idea imported from clever man, astrologer extraordinaire and mentor, John Frawley.

I like the simple and basic stories that planetary and stellar magic tell, and on occasion, I craft talismans, mainly following Picatrix and Agrippa.

WHY I LOVE WHAT I DO

  • Because there’s nothing like reading. There’s nothing like reading another person, or books full of wonders. Or the stars, and the earth.
  • Reading is mirroring and through mirroring we learn.
  • Reading books and the others teach us how to tell good stories.
  • I like to know where my place is. I find that knowing one’s place is the most crucial knowledge to gain, and the highest of the arts.
  • So I read everything that allows me to derail my sense of cultural reality, a sense which is too often contaminated by dictations. Personally, I’m a nondualist and nonessentialist. I get off on ‘nothing’ and the paradoxes of the mind.
  • I read signs and omens because they are the poetry of the soul.
READ SOME INTERVIEWS

In the video above, you get to see two of my most favorite people: Jiddu Krishnamurti in conversation with Chögyam Trungpa. Whatever is going on here – and do me the favor of not ‘reading’ this the Western logocentric way – pretty much sums up what I’m all about. Enjoy!

Camelia reads the cards like the Devil.

ENRIQUE ENRIQUEZ

Just reading your book on my break at work. You really get me to think.

VERONICA CHAMBERLAIN

Camelia Elias is the kind of reader I aspire to be.

CLAIRE

Thanks for turning my world upside down with your book on the Tarot.

LISA FRIEDBORG

Camelia is a strong, no-nonsense teacher who knows her stuff and has no problem making you work to know your stuff. She gives you the tools, the guidance, and will tell you when you got it right and when and how you went wrong. I've learned more in her two classes than I ever thought I would. I highly recommend her classes no matter what she's teaching.

ELLEN-MARY O'BRIAN