Welcome to my world of visual language, cards, Zen, art, and analog photography delivered from Denmark with a Transylvanian touch.
I have a passion for seeing the obvious. I read cards like the Devil. I tell fortunes from a martial arts, Zen perspective. In other words, I work with questions and the contemplative arts. I love questions that cannot be ignored, sacred and mundane.
I’m interested in language and its oracular power as expressed through words and visual imagery. Oracles give us access to the present, which most people don’t live. Oracles give us access to spontaneous knowledge.
Cards are like a Zen master’s stick. They whack you over your head, pointing to what attitude is seated in you. Maybe you want to change that.
After retirement from my professorship, I also had more time to create art in the form of calligraphy, talismans, and film photography.
You can find my art, limited edition tarots, gelatin silver prints, and other talismanic creations at the Read like the Devil Shop, where you can both buy a piece of original magic and book a reading under the Read like the Devil signature.
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 tenured professor of literature at Roskilde University. After I quit the academia because I got tired of dullness and lies, I expanded my cartomantic business and launched into fine art analog photography.
In the academic world my credentials are two doctorates (PhD and Dr.Phil, habilitation) and tenured professorship for 10 years out of the total of 20 spent as a professor at three Danish universities. For a stint I was also a visiting scholar at Columbia University, NYC, in 2000-2001.
In the cartomantic world my credentials are the ability to prompt exclamations marks: ‘This reading has changed my life! This teaching has revolutionised my readings!’
I combine consciously my academic training with the idea of being inspired. I write about inspirited states and perform acts of deconstructing what we take for granted when we read visual text or, generally, when we read ourselves in context.
As for analog photography, when I inherited unexpectedly a Leica M2 from 1963, my fortune was made the minute I stepped back into the magic of the darkroom, after 40 years of amnesia.
There’s nothing like reading. There’s nothing like reading yourself, another person, your place in the world, and your path.
Reading is mirroring and through mirroring we learn the significance of reflection. Reading teaches us how to tell good stories.
I read everything that allows me to derail my sense of cultural reality, a sense that is too often contaminated by dictations.
In this sense I draw a line between being respectable – which I have no interest in – and respecting the arts – which I practice. I experiment with photography, short film, ink calligraphy, sigils, and suminagashi and suimonga in the tradition of Takaji Kuroda.
In everything I do I apply martial arts principles to my essential reading and art techniques, inspired by fencing and Japanese swordsmanship.
The Butoh master Hijikata Tatsumi also inspires me in knowing where my place is. I find that knowing my place is the most crucial knowledge to gain, and the highest of the arts.
Others have picked up on my philosophy of reading life and cards like the Devil, and describe what I do quite accurately. In the words of Jeff Silverstein (film and broadcasting):
“Come be seduced by a real life Bond villain with her magical direwolf and invisible henchman. Camelia Elias trains her minions of tarot assassins with tough love and arms them with glowing red pitchforks, samurai swords and emptied minds that penetrate the unseen. Go see Camelia, if you dare and be damned to Read your cards like the Devil for all eternity… (The only thing to fear is missing a class signup deadline. I went from zero to competence in five weeks. Marseille Tarot without tears.)”