What art collectors from beyond the grave are saying



Frank and Frigg (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Yesterday I commemorated the death of a mentor and best friend. Historian and card collector K. Frank Jensen left this world five years ago, joining the spirit army he surrounded himself with in his own home. While he collected all manner of antiques, not just cards, from African masks to Tibetan curiosities, the walls of his house were filled with dead power. We used to laugh at the macabre of his house, while exuding an erotic power and a sweetness hard to describe.

Camelia Elias at Frank’s in Roskilde, Denmark

As I prepare for my next class in Cartomancy and Necromancy, appealing to Frank’s spirit on the day of his death was entirely appropriate. I didn’t call him as an ancestor, because if you listen to the great books of magic, I would have to wait years more, because Frank couldn’t play the ancestor role. But as a deceased friend, it’s like, “I’m allowed. Who gives us these instructions and authorizations, I have no idea. We cannot trace the sources of the instruction that the deceased must have been dead 40 years before becoming an ancestor, or that the deceased can, in principle, perform the same office if he is instead considered a friend or a member of the family.

But whatever. I don’t care about the sources, as not all of them are reliable. No one can have a perfectly natural explanation for personal gnosis. What a laughable thing that would be. We can take the old books and grimoires at face value, but when it comes to the value of their alleged truth, it’s best to relegate that to a deconstructing and mean Zen master. Such a master would reassure you by telling you that everything is only vocabulary. Vocabulary and expanded field of vision already conditioned to and by images.

In the necromantic sessions I follow my own common sense practice to which I add a good dose of philosophy, the philosophy of waiting. When I summon the dead, I am not surprised at what emerges, as my mind is already framed by what I expect to see. No more no less. This also applies to conducting a necromantic session according to a black book of magic, such as the Grimorium Verum. If I bring in a keeper first, I would expect to see an image of what the others before me have decided to be the image of the keeper. I say hello to Scirlin, for example, in this image which is now part of my cultural and imagological competence, and then I get down to business.

Usually there are a lot of questions that I like to ask the dead, but one of the questions in particular that I ask is actually a question that leaves my desire to know for the dead to answer. After a series of online card reads in sets of three, I finally gave Frank the word. ‘Say what you want to tell me. It can be anything, ”I said further, implicitly pledging to take everything the cards had to offer to heart. Three cards fell on the table of the ugly, but extremely valuable Tarot de Marseille Carolus Zoya, a gift from Frank.

Carolus Zoya Tarot of Marseille, approx. 1680 (Photo: Camelia Elias)

10 batons, 7 batons and the knight of swords.

First of all, I thought what Frank was telling me was that my efforts to reduce my workload weren’t good enough. Going from 10 Sticks to 7 is not enough, when your status is actually that of a retiree. We have to be more aggressive. On the other hand, at the descriptive level, we can also take this string of cards to suggest this: you can be a better warrior if you go against 7 clubs rather than 10.

I liked what I came up with first though, as this post more suited my needs. I often complain about not doing anything for fun anymore, because I don’t have time for that. My own household accuses me of working too much. I thought about it, because I wanted to know why the exchange. When I left my professorship at Roskilde University, the idea was to slow down, not increase the workload. But then I understood why I had already started working every vacation, and when I stopped working for the government, why I was working twice as much. Due to the health conditions and attachment to a dog, one had to stay home all the time. What can you do at home? Read, write, teach online, do a multitude of cartomantic readings, commune with your own dead and those of others, and make talismanic art. All of these functions were performed in order to serve the other. How did I use myself in the process? I wasn’t so sure. I started dreaming about having a new sports car, but then I thought: what to do with? Would I even take it out of the garage? How to drive aimlessly in a fantasy cut solve the problem with regular aging, lost passions, attachments and other health issues? I don’t have an answer to my assumption that if I got aggressive in reducing my current workload, I would be able to have fun. But what is amusing?

Today I decided that the fun thing is taking a class in Cartomancy and Necromancy. Given the material I produce for this, chances are I will end up calling what I do amusing, rather than job, although the diligence I bring to this pleasure is roughly the same kind that I invest in work. This can be seen. It’s all vocabulary. In the meantime, if you’re curious about how to work with the dead, you can hop aboard. The course starts this Sunday. Registrations remain open until Saturday.



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