The french version : Interview : Dominike Duplaa - Oracle de la Triade
Interview with Dominike Duplaa
Equi-Nox.net | September 2014
Dominike Duplaa is the creator of one of the best-known and most-used oracles of the last twenty years, the Oracle of the Triad.
What has made his oracle so popular is its relevance, its multiple symbolic references, a clear style and the fact that it can be used as much by beginners as by experts.
Dominike Duplaa’s extreme discretion has meant that up to now he has made few media appearances. But following a certain number of abuses, and fraudulent commercial use of his work, he has decided to break his silence.
How did you get interested in spirituality and esotericism?
I was barely eight when I had a very strange, contemplative experience — transcendent, almost mystical — which at that moment completely obliterated my perception of the world and above all, of myself.
That experience was some sort of Pandora’s box, which made me ask myself a thousand questions I was determined to find the answers to. I already loved reading, and some time after what I like to call this singularity I was given a 21-volume encyclopaedia. I was thrilled to discover prehistory, the evolution of species, the history of ancient Egypt and antiquity.
About that time, I also discovered a whole pile of magazines belonging to my grandfather, which dealt with paranormal subjects. It was all about all sorts of legends and strange subjects, witchcraft, the “evil eye” and lots of unbelievable stories, fortune-tellers, black cats, etc.
Shortly afterwards, I found a book by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, Cave of the Ancients, in an old box. It’s funny looking back, because Rampa (whose real name was Cyril Henry Hoskin) was probably one of the first con artists in this field; there’d be a flood of them later, with the viral expansion of the New Age movement.
That said, his book (I read others later) totally transported my young mind; I found certain correlations — by extrapolation — with the inner experience I’d had that summer.
Although I didn’t understand everything, it triggered nonetheless an even greater desire in me to understand. Not only to understand that instant which had smashed me on the spot, on a warm (and now distant) terrace, but also to understand ‘how’ — and, for the first time —, ‘why’ (‘why’ is always the wrong question).
A few years later — I was 14 at boarding school — after a small accident, a final-year student gave me a book by Hermann Hesse, which he placed on my nightstand at the infirmary while I was half-asleep. A week later, he died in a car accident. He was 18.
That event greatly affected me, and that book came as a pure revelation. I had been asking myself lots of questions, for a long time, but that book — and the boy’s death — had the effect of opening my eyes yet further to a whole world of symbolism, magic and mysteries, which I was determined to clear up come what may. So, I dived.
There’s a magnificent sentence by Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, which I discovered much later, yet which sums up quite well where I was at, at the time:
“How could you reach the pearl by only looking at the sea?
If you seek the pearl, be a diver;
The diver needs several qualities:
He must trust his rope and his life to the friend’s hand,
He must stop breathing,
And he must jump.”
How would you define yourself in terms of spirituality and esoteric practice?
I have a problem with the word ‘spirituality’ because it’s become a catchall word and I
ever really know how people interpret it. Most of the time a supernatural notion — when it’s not supernatural and dogmatic — is implicitly associated with it, and that quite annoys me.
At the risk of setting off a whole load of question marks and exclamation marks over people’s heads, ‘heretic’ is probably the term that sums me up best. Few people take any notice, but in reality ‘heretic’ (αἱρετικός) means “able to choose”. It amuses me a lot that this word has been hijacked by religions to make it mean what in fact it doesn’t mean at all.
Personally, it suits me perfectly.
I am a dissident.
Why choose this extreme discretion, in a world of communication?
It wasn’t necessarily a choice at first, even if I have to admit that in fact the circumstances were quite ideal for me. I’m discreet by nature. The spotlight has never really attracted me. The communication world as we know it today was very different twenty years ago. I took advantage of that, in a way, to stay out of the limelight. I imagine it would be more difficult were I publishing the Oracle of the Triad today.
That said, to put things into context, I was very young when I started to work on these cards. The whole thing took over three years. When I was working on them, and it was clear to me what I was doing and what I was aiming at, I wrote a few letters to various publishers, presenting my project, innocently (or insolently?) enclosing a short biography. All the replies I got were negative and none of them were interested in a work done by some kid. Each letter made it clear they would only consider ‘professional’ work. Even if it infuriated me, it motivated me more and I decided to go on anyway. In the end, I sent precisely two letters to two publishers, without ever mentioning my age or any other biographical information. I just proposed a project, period. Less than a month afterward, I was signing my first contract.
Another very important thing is that as soon as it was published, the Oracle of the Triadwas an immediate success. As far as I was concerned it was obvious to me — once again, I knew perfectly well what I was doing. Thanks to that success, my publisher didn’t need to do any promotion at all. So consequently I was never asked, either to do interviews, or any other kind of promotion, which are nowadays mandatory for this type of investment.
At the same time, I had several musician friends who were starting off their careers, and I could see how their work was taken over by the media, how they and their art were presented as something they were not, and I didn’t want to fall into that trap.
In fact, I suppose I was also somewhat afraid I wouldn’t really be taken seriously. I’d already experienced a certain dichotomy due to my age, several times.
I had done a few exhibitions of paintings and drawings, and at one opening in particular the gallery-owner came to me, visibly delighted, to tell me that a very well known personhad just bought an entire series of drawings and insisted on meeting the ‘artist’. The problem was, when I presented myself to him, that he asked me if I wouldn’t mind introducing him to my father... The conversation that followed was quite surreal. Thatsort of anecdote happened quite a few times, and I was always quite annoyed by it.
As for the Oracle of the Triad, I didn’t claim to be part of any tradition or from any particular school of esoteric thinking. As I said, I was already a dissident. I didn’t really want to be thought of yet again as some little prodigy, which would have left my work in the shadows.
Meanwhile, even if my work subsequently had a pretty major impact, the esoteric press at the time was running out of steam, turning towards more contemporary subjects like UFOs. I wasn’t at all interested participating in that fairground-attraction kind of marketing that was starting to bud. I imagine I could have hired an agent and beaten mypath to TV studios, radio and magazines. Several people kept telling me I ought toactually, but it didn’t appeal to me. That has never been my goal. I wanted people to take an interest in my work for what it is, to make them want to seek and understand, not for them to be interested in me or an image of me which, as it happens, wouldn’t necessarily have matched reality.
Have you been impressed by any particular people along the way?
As far as the occult and esotericism specifically are concerned, my path is pretty untypical. After reading a lot, and at times meeting people who were, to say the least, original — not necessarily always connected with esotericism, though — I must admit that there aren’t that many people, in the end, who truly had an impact on me. I suppose I am not that easily impressed...
Some writings by Hermann Hesse – as I mentioned – and William S. Burroughs, whom I discovered when I was 15 or 16, have been very important, later on opening me up to more edgy characters such as Aleister Crowley. I realise there are very few people who actually understand his work, and even less who get its spark. It’s a real pity.
Geff Rushton too – better known as Jhonn Balance from the group Coil. Beyond many other conversations we’ve had, I had a particularly interesting exchange with him when I was in the middle of writing the manuscript on the Oracle of the Triad, notably about the Isolation card. Geff was a fascinating, visionary lad in many respects. Above all, I consider him the Rimbaud of contemporary music. Nothing less.
Then there’s Colin Wilson, who taught me a lot in terms of symbology during a correspondence spanning several years. Wilson’s knowledge in terms of occultism was monumental, and he was an absolutely charming man. Although he had a neurotic loathing of the phone, we still spent hours in discussion. I think he liked my curiosity, and he was highly amused at my, shall we say, very colourful way of disagreeing with him.
There’s also the wonderful, utterly crucial work of mythologist Joseph Campbell.
Anyone, any one, who’s at all interested in esotericism, should own the complete works of Campbell in their library. I so would have loved to meet him.
Jed McKenna, whom I discovered a few years ago. This fellow is quite a particular breed, probably my favourite contemporary. In fact, I like Jed as much as he annoys me. He’d be that close to obliterating the spiritual question, definitively and absolutely, if his own logic didn’t so often stumble and fall flat. That said, although his work is ratherunknown over here in Europe, it ought to be read by everyone who’s interested in spirituality. Jed’s work is quite... special.
Finally, I cannot possibly omit to mention Sam Harris here. I may disagree on a couplepoints regarding certain parts of his work, yet for me, his approach to the question of spirituality is nothing short of ultimate. I strongly recommend his latest book, Waking Up – A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. You can read/listen to the first chapter of this book here: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/chapter-one
Do you practice card-readings? For yourself, your friends or more widely?
No, not for years. I used to, though, when I was simultaneously studying astrology, numerology, etc.
But even after the deck was published — though it would have been the perfect moment — I never intended to consult as a job, for example. As much as exchanging with others is always interesting, I very quickly understood that what people truly expect from clairvoyance is that it sells them a dream. Most people, sadly, aren’t really interested in any inner quest at all. They want an immediate answer to their problems and questions, whether it’s from clairvoyance or in the domain of ‘spirituality’ or ‘esotericism’ in general — some kind of a fast food, spiritual version of McD’s.
Besides, by then I was already very busy writing my book, and I was working on other things at the same time. But I guess I was always more of a ‘seeker’ rather than some ‘oracle’, I suppose (if you’ll pardon the pun). After a while, I had squeezed the question dry. I just needed to explore further and, more generally, keep trying to understand, study, experiment, and push myself, as well as my boundaries, beyond the next horizon. So I quite naturally developed into different spheres, always more fascinating and enriching, which led me towards new, exhilarating perspectives.
The language of symbols, in a way, transcended me, and always pushed me to go further. On that level, I’m happy to accept that I was (and still am) some sort of a Maldoror. It’s all just pure alchemy.
What about ethics and clairvoyance?
It’s a tricky question, because it calls on two notions that are logically irreconcilable. Ethics is based on moral principles, which concern the well-being of the group and call upon reason. As for clairvoyance, its roots are in the domain of belief; belief is the suspension of all judgement and all logic. That’s actually the very foundation of faith, which is so dear and obligatory to all religions, as well as to numerous esoteric and spiritual disciplines.
Can clairvoyance demonstrate a certain sort of ethics? To some extent, perhaps; it depends fundamentally on the person practising it. But we know all the wrongdoings that are intimately connected with whatever touches on any of these domains, from clairvoyance to inedia.
Then there’s the whole question — which, for me, isn’t even a question — of that infamous “free will”, which pops up like a joker in a game whose rules are meaningless to begin with.
Beliefs were born out of the human need to grasp our environment and give it a meaning. Nowadays we know perfectly well that lightning is not the manifestation of this or that pissed off god. Nevertheless, that seed of belief is still deeply anchored in each of us, since for the most part, we generally come from some religious background.
Therefore, we are formatted to ignore, despise, or even hate chance, and so we seek answers to the great ‘why’ — often deliberately ignoring the ‘how’ which we can more and more answer to, as it happens.
Despite making great strides in our understanding of the world and our selves, particularly for the last 150 years or so, thanks to scientific research (and no doubt because of it), the human spirit — this bad ‘spiritual hub’ — finds itself disillusioned. It’s reassuring to believe, in such a case. Belief is always the best answer to the ‘why’ which haunts our spirit, a spirit who ought to drink the absolute, instead of gazing at its own navel, if you ask me.
I don’t think we can truly reconcile the two principles of ethics and clairvoyance for they both inform two opposing propositions.
Independently, certain religious dogmas are considered necessarily moral (and therefore ethical) based upon the pretext that they emanate from a supposedly ‘divine’ message. But this is a slippery slope. And as we all know, that damn logic, it kills.
How do you cope with the rumours going around about you and your Oracle?
Mostly, it’s quite amusing. Sometimes, it is even hilarious I have to say.
For example, I found out quite by accident two years ago that I apparently created the Oracle of the Triad around the 15th century, in the Middle East. The individual who made up that ludicrous story must have consistently skipped History classes (among others) and can’t have been present the day perspicacity was being given out...
More recently, I read somewhere I was born in 1875 and that I died in 1947...
Apparently, I keep living and dying, creating the same thing over different periods of history. I assure you, you are not talking to the Comte de St Germain right now, neither are you experiencing some communication with the dead.
I am definitely alive, and I’m not made up, as far as I know, of any vampire cells —although the romanticism of such a notion pleases me quite a lot, I have to say.
It also seems I was a very famous card-reader, as well as a high-ranking freemason.
There are still some hilarious posts online suggesting I am a member of the Illuminati.
Be afraid, people, be very afraid. I am everywhere, it seems.All of this amuses me, more than anything else.
But as much as it’s funny, it’s also rather annoying sometimes, because it misinforms the public. If this sort of rumour were satirical or even sarcastic, it would just be funny.
The problem is that these rumours are presented as facts and most people tend to take them as reality. It’s a shame, but honestly it doesn’t bother me much. I actually orbit in a relativist system that makes me smile.
What led you to create an oracle? How did you create/develop the Oracle of the Triad?
It’s a conjunction of two things: first, an insatiable anthropological interest, an incommensurable interest for all the myths and traditions which have forged our species and which, on top of being very interesting, are extremely educational and eloquent about where we are standing today; second, my own artistic lucubrations as a means of expression.
Right at the start, when I was hardly eighteen, I was studying symbolism and the history of religions; I simply wanted to see if I could produce a graphic interpretation of the Tarot of Marseilles. I quickly — and totally — dismissed that idea, though, as it turned out to sound to me completely irrelevant. There were already several versions of the traditional tarot as seen by various artists and/or occultists, and each were all formatted within the rigid framework of a certain number of cards as well as more or less pre-established significations; so it would only have been yet another vision of an otherwise outdated system, bearing no relation to the world I was experiencing as a 20th-century teenager.
That’s why I decided instead to create a completely different thing, obeying specific rules that I conceived according to a much more coherent system, making use of history, its discoveries and the concepts born out of it.
Without being pretentious, this oracle is so far probably the only one to be so thorough and complete in terms of symbology. That’s a fact. There are no others — at least as far as I know — which gather in one single support, a work that combines so many correlations, myths, beliefs and occult or esoteric philosophies together. For each card, each colour, each symbol, each number, each astrological reference, each space and their respective interactions were precisely calculated in order to bring, every time, the sum of different currents of thought coming from diverse cultures and belief systems.
I had drawn several sketches at the time, without really thinking of creating a full set yet. As I was working on the painting of what later became Card 47, Eternity that’s whensomething clicked for me.
I was simultaneously absorbed in reading Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal, and these sublime lines hit me like a train:
“La Nature est un temple où de vivant piliers
laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles ;
L’homme y passé à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers”.
[ “Nature is a temple whose living pillars
Sometimes whisper clouded words;
Man passes through its forests of symbols
Which stare at him with knowing eyes.” ] *
I spent the next couple hours frantically inking page after page with a concept that eventually was to become the Oracle of the Triad. I already knew a lot of things, and I was thirsty to know even more; yet as these few ideas and the general concept were thrown down on paper, I had no idea how much work and time this would imply, nor how it was going to end up pretty much setting my life ablaze.
Three years studying symbolism, the history of religions, numerology, astrology, mythology and a large number of related subjects. Exactly nine months to complete the graphic work. It was an absolutely enormous undertaking, meticulous and completely obsessive. I spent days and nights on it, in pure ecstasy.
What were your references in creating it?
From a purely pictorial point of view, absolutely none.
As for the rest, the list of references I used would be very long indeed. There are so many of them: grimoires and treatises on magic (Piobb and Agrippa), Campbell’s work on mythology, antiquity, ancient Egypt, an old treatise on the symbolism of numbers, etc.
Here’s a little story: I took the initiative (bear in mind I was still a teenager) to write a three-page letter to the local Archbishop asking him — no less — if I could have access to the Vatican archives concerning The Clavicle Of Solomon which I couldn’t get hold of.
The reply I received was so stupid that I instantly wrote back summoning an immediate certificate of de-baptism (yes, that does exist)! Today, my name is obliterated from Christian books, crossed out in black ink, with the word “heretic” in red ink, in the margin.
Apart from classical esoteric references, I was fascinated by archetypes and Jungian psychology for example (among others), which contributed to make of these cards what they are in the way I put all these notions together. I suppose that’s why some people perceive this deck as very psychological, or very ‘spiritual’. Each card represents a whole host of notions and references like a mirror. We are nothing but mirrors.
My publisher was a bit taken aback when she received the manuscript of my book. She wasn’t expecting such a huge tome of over 600 pages. Incidentally, I’d like to pay homage to her work, and her patience. There was easily enough material there for two books, and I let her persuade me that what the public expected was more of a textbook, rather than some enormous encyclopaedia on symbolism they probably would never read — unless, like me, they were extremely interested in symbology and all its aspects.
The manuscript had to be drastically cut, and I am glad I trusted her loving knife.
Why the name “Triad” for this oracle?
The ternary principle kept reoccurring throughout my research — various notions of
divine trinity, Hermes Trismegistus, etc — but also the very architecture of the deck itself unveils an underlying message established according to this principle. I’m not necessarily sure that people see it, but it doesn’t matter. I know it’s there. This deck is full of trapdoors and hidden corners; it’s a bit like some three-dimensional chessboard, if you will...
Apart from these symbolic aspects, the number 3 is very interesting. This third unit makes the duality of its two genitors fertile. Duality creates another unit — the 3 — and this little 3 comes in like a joker who confronts its two comrades to another point of view, and so things start to shift. Nothing is worse than stagnation or inertia.
Also, our reality is in three dimensions, carried on the thread of time, which itself can be represented by 0, the instant T, the initial singularity.
There are several purely mathematical aspects connected to this number that are very interesting. As much as the 1 is born from nothing, the 3 has a material, incarnatedconnotation which I really like, even if that might seem surprising in light of everything the monotheistic religions seem to hammer us with.
After such success, does this oracle still “belong” to you?
That’s the question for any work of art, whether it’s a deck of cards, a painting, a song, a book or anything else, really.
Above all, an artistic impulse is present at the moment of creation with all it contains of the personality and intention of its creator, what s/he wants to say, and the message they want to convey. Once it’s done, it inevitably belongs to the masses, in the sense that all works of art, whatever the discipline, are simply mirrors in which people will recognise themselves... or not. Art is both an invitation and a reflection.
We all make songs, stories and images ours simply because we see ourselves in them at a specific moment in time. Seeing or visiting this or that image again, or listening to some song, re-reading a book, always takes us back to that initial impact. It’s an emotional baggage, which is carved in us and which persists.
Unfortunately, where things go astray is where passion and parasitism start getting into it.
As time has passed, the Oracle of the Triad has become a favourite subject among numerous forums and blogs. That is nice and flattering for it demonstrates people’s interest in the deck, and that’s very cool. Lots of people discuss spreads with each other, etc. At this level it’s nothing more than what you can find for other decks of cards, TV series, bands and anything else you can imagine.
Unfortunately, my deck (and others) is also reproduced in its entirety, as well as texts from the book and/or the booklet. The problem here is that this pillage is illegal, in the same way as sharing a CD or a movie is illegal as well.
Most of the time there’s no mention of my name or my publisher’s, obviously; but what’s worse is that people give absurd, ludicrous meanings to my actual work. Worst of all, the authors of this sort of articles have no shame sticking a copyright in their own name on my work, as if it was theirs.
That kind of thing is unacceptable. Not only because it’s blatant lying, but also because it ascribes intentions and words to me which certainly aren’t mine. Beyond that, it’s a total perversion of what I created.
I have to say, what I find stupefying is the abysmal amount of hypocrisy that appears to reign in a certain part of this so-called virtuous and ‘spiritual’ little world of forums and blogs.
What happens follows a recurring pattern: somebody is a fan of the Oracle of the Triad, and because it’s important to him or her they feel compelled to share it as widely as possible. The intention itself is rather nice. Yet, because it seems spirituality, ‘knowledge’ and ‘teaching’ are apparently “acts of self-giving” that should be shared but not paid for, what better truly loving idea than to scan the cards and reproduce almost the totality of the book, so that others can benefit from it for free?
It doesn’t matter to me, for example, if someone decides that Card 36, Voyage necessarily indicates a journey to Egypt. It doesn’t bother me either if my neighbour claims that the sky is pink, when in reality it is blue. Where I have a problem is when someone makes me say that Card 36 absolutely means a journey to Egypt. I have never written that anywhere. Likewise, if my neighbour published a theory claiming the sky is pink, I’d expect it to be torn to shreds at the very least, since it does not match with reality.
On average, when we approach the administrators and owners of such sites and blogs, and we point out that this usage is illegal, in 99% of cases we’re confronted with total silence — the subject “Oracle of the Triad” is then quickly locked, and only becomes accessible if one is registered — or a torrent of brazen abuse. The clinching argument then is “but we’re giving you free publicity, it’s thanks to us you’re selling your f*****g deck, you’re the one who should be paying us for doing your advertising! If you’re not happy, go f**k yourself” [ ad verbatim ]. Lovely!
Actually, if this were the case, and if these posts and articles really were serving as advertising, my publisher would have been the first to notice an effect on sales figures.
But since it came out the Oracle of the Triad was established on the market in less than two years and its sales have always been stable, give or take a hundred copies (which is negligible).
What’s really annoying for me is that people who discover the deck and research it online come across erroneous, absurd information and then complain that they can’t understand a thing. So yes, I may not seem very nice, but I do react. Although they are given the opportunity to simply delete these plagiaristic subjects from their forums, many administrators prefer not to reply and ignore our request, believing that they can’t be reached. They think that by hiding behind screen names, and being careful to never mention any of their personal details, they can do whatever they want in sound impunity.
Except it’s not true.
Legally they are also in the wrong in regard to the user agreement conditions of the forums and blogs platforms they use. In turn, the latter wishing to avoid any legal problems and respecting the law, just deletes the sites/forums completely. It’s a real shame. I regret it, but at this point, it’s not my problem.
In the first place, it’s simply a question of ethics and responsibility; two notions that one would think really ought to be basic.
I could tell many stories but I won’t. Not yet. These charming and highly evolved people (as they like to consider themselves) will have a good place on the official site of the Oracle of the Triad simply to inform the public about the sort of supposedly enlightened characters they actually deal with...
What these people forget — apart from their stomach-churning hypocrisy (which I mentioned) — is the number of vultures who are also circling around and downloading their already illegal content so as to publish physical pirate versions, which have sprouted up in various foreign countries.
When you buy a book, a CD, a deck of cards, etc, you have to understand that it is the work of a host of people. It is not just the creator and the publisher, but also designers, sound engineers, correctors, printers, distributors, etc. Once that work is stolen/pirated,none of those people are paid for the work, which is legitimately theirs. As an analogy, it’s as if you would build your own house and then found yourself on the street because you’d been thrown out of it.
To reply more specifically to your question: despite all that, yes, this oracle belongs to me and will belong to my estate when I leave this world. What the public may think or imagine about that in the meantime is their affair. With a little luck the Oracle of the Triad will be in the public domain in about two or three hundred years...? Good luck.
A new deck, the Oracle of Babylonia is presented as the original version of the Oracle of the Triad: is that oracle legal? Have you heard about it?
I want to be very clear about this: the Oracle of Babylonia and the book that goes with it are both outrageous, absolutely illegal forgeries.
Neither my publisher nor I were ever informed of this project, and I certainly did not take part in developing something so absurd and ludicrous, whatever some people might unfortunately think.
That said, I can’t blame the public for being confused (sometimes angry), given the campaign of misinformation set up by this publisher — taking over a heap of forums, as a “guest”, promoting this “discovery” — and the very composition of this grotesque thing.
As you mention, this deck has been presented as being the “original, complete version” of the Oracle of the Triad. Whereas my work is composed of 57 cards, the “Oracle of Babylonia” includes 79. The unbelievable argument is that my deck is only an “incomplete” version of the “Oracle of Babylonia” which itself supposedly is (or allegedly is) “one of the most ancient divinatory decks ever created” and whose “origins date back several centuries” in the Middle East.
I can easily put myself in people’s shoes who own the Oracle of the Triad and who suddenly feel they’ve been tricked, on two levels. First there are those who think they’ve bought a so-called “incomplete” oracle, which then seems to them like a lie, if not a swindle. Then there are those who, just as logically, suddenly see a pure marketing operation here: as they point out, there’s nothing easier than publishing a “new deck” with a new name, years after the Oracle of the Triad came out, and claim all of a suddenit is the “complete version” – please return to checkout if you want to discover and handle the “original”.
It’s a pretty despicable concept, and I can’t possibly ignore something like this.
Apart from the fact that it’s extremely insulting to see one’s work stolen and bastardised in this way, it also puts you in a terribly uncomfortable position with several tens of thousands of people who trusted you and who are suddenly told: actually, if you really want to understand certain things, I am now offering you the crème de la crème, thank you for your credit card number.
It’s absolutely revolting.
I have received, and read, several letters and emails, some disappointed, some hateful; even if I can completely understand such reactions they still remain hurtful, as they don’t correspond to reality in any way. The result is that now I’m made to pass for yet another greedy ‘thief’, on the hunt to increase figures on his bank account.
I am not quite at liberty at the moment to reveal some epic details of this awful affair, as the case is currently in the hands of the law. We’re suing. Invite me again in a few months and I’ll tell you a mind-boggling story...
How do you face and deal with such plagiarism and theft of your work?
I should be used to it by now but I have to say it’s not the sort of thing one ever really gets used to. You have to know that — as I evoked — since it was first published more than twenty years ago, the Oracle of the Triad has been among the top three-bestselling decks, just behind the Tarot of Marseilles and the Belline Oracle...
Apparently, the Oracle of the Triad is indeed the most pirated contemporary deck. In 1995 already — barely three years after it came out — a copycat emerged in Israel.
One year later, in France, another publisher produced a book (signed by a relatively well-known author) which was so appallingly stupid that I’ve always wondered, for being so bad, so contradictory and so flagrantly flimsy, if it wasn’t just a publisher’s commission, written at top speed just in order to surf the wave of public enthusiasm for my deck. It was certainly a good way of profiting from audience interest to cash in, nothing more...
Plagiarism and piracy have exponentially become a rampant issue due to the technological means we have nowadays, such as Internet. How do I deal with it? It’s not so great, to be honest, for two reasons.
First of all, it simply comes up against basic respect and reasoning — or lack thereof —since quite a few people seem to believe my interest is exclusively financial. Second, above all, it is about the perversion of my work.
Let me take this opportunity to stress that there are no classes, no courses, no training and no workshops concerning the Oracle of the Triad. Whatever you might come across of this kind is nothing but systematic theft and/or plagiarism of my work.
Ironically, it’s part of the reason why I actually published my book: to give people an opportunity to obtain detailed information about this deck for a reasonable price. That doesn’t prevent certain greedy individuals in need of attention however, offering this type of training at staggering rates — $385 on average — whose content is entirely personal to them, often inexact (when not just absurd) and certainly not approved by myself nor by my publisher. Obviously, for $25 you have to take the trouble to read my book...
I recently discovered that a $578 three-day training course is due to take place in Parislater this month. I was already in shock reading this, yet I wasn’t prepared for the promo tag line which really felled me, I quote: “$460 for jobseekers”. Absolutely mind-blowing!
No, your eyes do not deceive you; this is exactly what is offered. This is purely and utterly revolting.
I’m still waiting for the beginning of an argument from this person concerning their discount rate “for jobseekers”. All I’ve been able to obtain so far is: “Your remarks about the price of my training course are therefore perfectly inappropriate”. Obviously it’s perfectly inappropriate to dare to point out something like this to someone... I have absolutely no patience at all with this type of person, nor with this sort of practice. I intensely, passionately detest this systematic swindling practised by this type of individual, who implicitly associate me with their amoral designs without my asking for a thing.
How about professional clairvoyants using your oracle and furthermore, all the major call platforms for phone readings who offer little applications on their websites for “free readings” as bait and, more broadly that kind of say, ‘rampant merchandising’?
Let me clarify things a bit here. It’s one thing for professional clairvoyants (or amateurs) to use the Oracle of the Triad; it is their right. Many clairvoyants who use the Oracle of the Triad (and other decks) often appear on radio and television, on French and foreign channels, and that’s fine.
On the other hand, things go badly wrong when we realise the gigantic, hydra-like, pyramid scheme call platforms and Internet systems are in this field. It’s nothing but a real mess. Despite the plethora of clairvoyance/mediumnity websites, only a small number truly belong to actual people. The vast majority is just a huge marketing montage, made up of “partnerships” shared by three or four companies on French territory for example, under cover of countless brands and subsidiaries.
Even if certain clairvoyants or mediums actually do work for this kind of platform — they have to make ends meet — quite often, the “clairvoyant” in question is in turn a specialist in the Oracle of the Triad, a specialist in legal questions, a specialist in swimming-pool construction or an expert on questions concerning IT... It makes you wonder.
If we just consider my own deck (but the same goes for others), hundreds of sites offer free readings with the Oracle of the Triad online. Looking closer, we discovered they all stem from one single script — absolutely awfully compiled, on top of that — that gathers the whole of the visuals from the deck yet perhaps only a third of the cards’ significations (rewritten), in a stupid ensemble that does not even make any sense whatsoever. We put a final stop to this.
Even if it were a reading using the real information, of course, neither my publisher nor myself have ever been approached about it. The goal for these companies is always to surf the wave of popularity of the Oracle of the Triad, the Belline Oracle, etc, and lure people in so as to generate profits via premium-rate phone lines or simply to generate clicks on their websites. Without even calling their platform, once you display their page(s) it’s an effective income for them which comes from Google ads riddling the page in question.
One of these companies had (still has) several websites, each under the name of a different clairvoyant who poses as a “specialist of the Triad” — one seriously wonders how at this point they don’t advertise themselves as graduates from the Oracle Of The Triad frigging University — each adorned with the cards from the deck, giving people the impression of a certain authenticity, and that I implicitly approve such a site.
Simultaneously, these same “clairvoyants” appear on other sites as specialists in runes, or other supports. Oddly enough, you can also find their faces in royalty free image banks, as well as in various ads for conservatories, or as directors of insurance companies... Needless to say, after receiving our formal complaints, all of a sudden, these people have instantaneously become long time specialists in the Tarot of Marseilles... Since this deck is in the public domain, this company has nothing to worry about now.
This sort of practice is totally unacceptable.
First of all, not only do I find this amoral and vile, but also, as far as my work is concerned it is nothing less than pure, outrageous parasitism. To explain a little, we worked out how much these sites can generate in financial terms. As the pages are generally saturated with various ads, the mere fact of accessing the site can generate tens of thousands of dollars a year, just on the name of my deck featured in a URL. In the case of call platforms, the figure jumps immediately to amounts three or four times higher, bearing in mind that the same is true for other decks such as the Belline Oracle, Gérard Barbier’s Oracle Gé, etc.
For my part, I will never approve of this kind of fraud. Ever. Then obviously, it’s not at allsurprising this market generates billions of dollars per year, without contemporary authors ever getting a penny — unless they’re partners, and even in that case it’s just laughable.
Sadly for these companies, I am in very good health, and I have absolutely no intention of approving, even remotely, of their practices. Two of them approached my publishing house to ask for a partnership. My publisher told me about it: my answer will always be a flat NO.
Do you have any esoteric projects planned for the future?
After quite a long time, there are a couple things cooking, yes. I’m not in a position right now to give too much detail, but I can however briefly mention one or two.
For a couple months, I’ve been working on the official website for the Oracle of the Triadtogether with a few talented accomplices. Apart from some surprises, the site will give bloggers and forum administrators the opportunity to obtain official material they will be able to use legally this time, rather than stealing it... It will also be an opportunity for me to possibly explain a few things and to reply to some recurring questions about the deck, so as to dissolve certain myths and confusions, notably concerning the ‘infamous’ beige and white cards (depending on the edition) and other somewhat ludicrous ideas floating around that I’ve never really understood, to be honest with you.
My publisher and I also have a few translation projects of both the deck and the book in other countries, some of which might well feature introductions or postfaces written by some very interesting people.
That aside, I’m also working on several other projects that have nothing to do with esotericism.
Would you have any advice for our readers?
Observe. Evaluate. Experiment. Rinse, repeat.
Truth — like reality, on which it depends — never exists in order to please us or to be convenient for us. It is only to be learned, understood and embraced. The mass of the entire universe is equal to zero. When you get to the zero point: have fun!
Who would you like to see interviewed in your place?
But I seriously doubt the man would be willing to undergo this sort of exercise. That said, it could certainly be epic – especially if I did the interview.
Eric Gazano’s question: How can we describe something we cannot see?
(the previous interviewee asks a random question the next guest must answer)
The question is a bit vague (sorry, Eric) but very interesting.
Clearly, we can easily describe something we can’t see by observing its effects on the environment.
We can’t see the wind, for instance, yet we can describe it and explain it to a child, without seeing it strictly speaking. We can see its effects and its influence in a tangible way.
There are many things we cannot see with the naked eye, whether it’s in physics — the atom, or its elements if we dive into the quantum level — just as we can’t see a lot of things in cosmology, yet mathematics allows us not to see them per se but at least to apprehend them logically, and from there to materialise them in a way (I’m thinking of dark matter, WIMPs and black holes, for example).
More than a question, it’s both a philosophical and scientific theme, in my opinion.
Seeing, perceiving, is something quite relative. The human brain is prone to deception and can easily be tricked (optical illusions, pareidolia). On this subject, the invisible-hand experiment in neuroscience is actually extremely fascinating and edifying.
The shortest answer might as well simply be: imagination.
After all, isn’t imagination the crucible of belief?
Your question for the next interviewee:
Can truth be personal, as many New Agers claim?
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© 2014 Hagel, Equi-nox.net – All rights reserved
Translated from French by Dafydd Edward Hughes
*Charles Baudelaire translation © Dominic D. Miller