Thursday, 23 February 2017

Enjoying the wealth - Margarete Petersen’s Ten of Coins

I love Margarete Petersen’s suit of Coins – the imagery is so rich! Rich being a good word for the Ten of Coins…  The Ace showed the snake curled around to form a circle – the one-ness, the potential for creation. In the Ten we see a labyrinth at the bottom, with a jewel – richness mined from the earth – above it. 
Ten of Coins (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot

Above that is an eye – and off to the right is a faint outline of a human figure. The Ten represents the culmination of the journey to ‘wealth’; the eye looks over it all – leaving the safety of the womb (the Ace), and the labyrinthine path that’s been followed to find the diamond/treasure at the centre of the earth. MP writes “The coiled-up serpent…has uncoiled itself and become your visible and invisible companion” – the figure on the right, perhaps?

Layers of the earth
Mined and explored; at the core
Riches of the earth.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books. 2004. 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fishing in the Piscean sea

At 11.31 GMT today the Sun moved (in the Tropical System of astrology) into the zodiac sign of Pisces. In the northern hemisphere, at mid-latitudes, it’s the time of year when the ice and snow starts to melt.  Water begins to flow as it’s released from its frozen, crystalline (Aquarian!) state. Boundaries melt. It’s a time of release, of letting go, of merging. A time to learn to accept what can’t be changed or controlled, as well as a time to surrender to change that is beyond our control.  

Unsurprisingly, then, we find that the sign of Pisces is one of the three Water signs. We’ve already met Cancer, the cardinal Water sign, and Scorpio, the fixed Water sign. Pisces – the mutable Water sign - completes the triplicity. In many ways, I think this is the easiest of the three triplicities to understand – after all, water in its natural state is free-flowing, and can be found in many forms (mutable meaning the ability to transform).

from Atlas Coelestis
The astrological glyph for Pisces is said to symbolize two fish held together by a string. In the constellation, the fish are usually ‘seen’ as swimming away from each other.  Alpha Piscium, the star at the point corresponding to the knot in the cord joining the two fish, is also known as Alrescha, from the Arabic al-Risa – the “well-rope” or “the cord”. The glyph’s symbolism can be extended to represent our dual nature - one fish could be seen as swimming upwards towards the heavens as if looking for spiritual guidance, while the other continues along the path of the Sun (the elliptic), concentrating on more earthly or material pursuits.

In Greek mythology, Pisces has many associations with Aphrodite (Venus in the Roman pantheon), who - as a reward to the fish who rescued her - placed the fish into the night sky. In astrological terms, Venus (the planet) is said to be exalted in Pisces, expressing all-encompassing love and compassion.

Jupiter (solarspace.co.uk)
The traditional ruler of Pisces is the planet Jupiter.  Jupiter, as you may remember, is a huge planet comprised mainly of hot gas. Known as the ‘Greater Benefic’ (Venus being the ‘Lesser Benefic’), Jupiter is associated with growth, expansiveness, benevolence and laughter (Jove, the Roman version of Jupiter giving rise to the word ‘jovial’).  It’s also linked to higher learning, to philosophy, law, and religion (in the broadest sense of the word) – to expanding our horizons, lifting us to new heights (remember that hot-air balloon?!). With Pisces, it’s expressed by living through our ideals, by being compassionate and sensitive, and by developing faith in the universe as well as the self.  William Blake wrote, in his The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, that “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom" – a wonderful description of Jupiter in Pisces!


Neptune (spaceplace.nasa.gov)
Pisces also has a modern ruler, Neptune.  This planet was ‘discovered’ (or identified!) in 1846, and was named after the Roman god of the sea.  Neptune is associated astrologically with compassion and empathy, and is said to show us the areas in our lives where we want to merge, rather than stand out. It’s linked to dreams and visions, and our highest ideals. Imaginative, but not a lover of boundaries – it wants to transcend limits.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Three-fold return - Margarete Petersen’s Nine of Coins

In Margarete Petersen’s Nine of Coins we see a woman meditating on a stone. Waves of light emanate from the stone, encompassing everything around it. My imagination sees a lone tree on the distant horizon.
Nine of Coins (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot

I usually see this as the card of fruition, being able to reap and enjoy the rewards of hard work – be it physical, mental, or spiritual. Venus in Virgo - enjoying the fruits of the  harvest. But it is the penultimate card, so there’s still something else to come; perhaps that’s why the woman in more traditional decks often looks (to me) thoughtful? The woman in the MP deck meditates on the stone; she might be giving thanks for all she has, but she might also be searching within to find out what’s still missing. Virgo - paying attention to detail!

Margarete Petersen’s Three of Coins was about starting something new, letting go of the old, and being aware of physical space. Co-operation on all levels (physical, social, emotional). In the Nine, we have the appreciation of all the hard work, and the abundance that it’s brought – three-fold return!

Ordinary stone,
Earth’s treasure trove; discover
Abundance within.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books. 2004. 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Creation! Margarete Petersen’s Eight of Coins

Eight of Coins (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot
Isn’t this a beautiful image? The idea of a single leaf telling an entire story…the tree it belongs to, its roots – in some ways it seems to reflect some of the Three of Pentacles/Coins attributes, co-operating, connecting with others to create a whole. But in terms of the Eight and the idea of balance (2) and stability (4), this is even bigger than the Three – the nourishment from roots, drawing up nutrients from the earth (Pentacles, after all!).

Margarete Petersen, in her LWB, talks about the boundaries of the Four, and the ‘cosmic dimensions’ of the Eight. More numerology!  In anything involving boundaries, we’re going to have to exercise prudence – unless we’re going to exceed those boundaries. This is the Sun in Virgo card (and the card associated with Virgo is the Hermit, also linked – by some writers – with Prudence, so it’s all linked: don’t you just love all this stuff?!?!); let the sun nourish you as you grow, paying attention to all those connections. MP also writes “If you look closely at a leaf, whole worlds will open up” – the close inspection of Virgo shining light.

Earth nourishes, provides the tools;
We, with care, create the jewels.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books. 2004. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

To harvest or not to harvest? Margarete Petersen’s Seven of Coins

Seven of Coins (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot
Margarete Petersen’s Seven of Coins has an autumnal feel, to me – probably the colours, but also the skeleton/bones and the plant on its last legs… A time of change, liminal space-time. Things dying back to make way for new growth.  I wasn’t sure what to make of the rock drawings in the image, but in the LWB Margarete Petersen talks of them (and the bones of the skeleton) in reference to things happening in different times, different ages – and on to how growth is possible because things decay over time.

I usually associate this card with choosing whether to harvest what’s grown so far or to let it continue growing to fruition (i.e. the Ten). The LWB supports this: Margarete Petersen writes “Don’t interfere; commit to the process of growth” (another reference to non-interference, as in the Seven of Cups).  This is not unlike what Juliet Sharman-Burke has written, in her accompanying book to the Sharman-Caselli tarot: there’s no judgement here, merely an indication that this is a good time to weigh things up – that we have choices. We can stick with what we know, or branch out.

Does astrology help? The Seven of Coins, in the astrological correspondence system I follow, is linked to Saturn in Taurus (and to the final ten days of this sign).   Saturn is about establishing and preserving, as well as about having integrity.  In Taurus, that integrity could grow out of a sense of loyalty or reliability, or perhaps through building (Taurus) or establishing (Saturn) a safe and secure base – one that provides a sense of stability.  Saturn can also be about traditional values, as can Taurus (through its association with the Second House), as well as preserving the status quo, perhaps in order to maintain some sort of approval or recognition within a social context.   There can be a tendency towards conservatism in this combination, as well as that Taurean stubbornness (I like to call it tenacity!), linked to a Saturnian fear of not being in control.  Saturn wants to achieve but Taurus can slow things down, and at its worst could impede progress by not only stubbornness but also laziness.  At its best, progress is slow but sure; it’s steady, and often self-reliant.  Certainly a good time to commit to the process of growth.

Growth, decay, life and death.
Everything is connected
through time; let it be.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ace! Tarot Blog Hop – Imbolc 2017


Welcome to Alison’s Alembic!   You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Karen's The Pure and Blessed Way's or Chlรถe's Inner Whispers blog.  Or you may have found this through TABI’s Facebook page, or though one of the many wonderful tarot bloggers in the ether... It doesn’t matter – what does matter is that you’re here!

Imbolc (pronounced i-molk or i-molg), also called Brigid’s Day or Candlemas, is a cross-quarter festival , marking the end of winter and beginning of spring (in the northern hemisphere). As the Celtic year was based on both lunar and solar cycles, the festival would probably have been celebrated on the full moon nearest the midpoint between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Vernal Equinox (Ostara) -  so if you’re living in the southern hemisphere, you’ll be celebrating this in August!

The name ‘Imbolc’ comes from the old Irish “i mbolg”, meaning “in the belly”, referring to the time of year when sheep and goats are pregnant, carrying their young.   Other etymology includes “oimelc”, meaning “ewe’s milk”, a reference to the onset of lactation in ewes about to give birth.

Birth, beginnings… a time of hope, a time to look towards the future, and what might be.

 Our wrangler for this Imbolc blog, Arwen Lynch Poe, has asked us to look at the Aces in the tarot.  The Ace represent the seed, the thing we plant and then go on to nurture as it grows. Each Ace holds the seed of the energy of its suit, be it the creativity and fire of the Wands, the ideas and … of the Swords, the … of the Cups or the … of the Pentacles.

With this in mind, Arwen has asked us to answer the question -
“How can I best foster the energy of the Aces in my life?”

- in whatever form we choose, be it a spread, a poem, a recipe, or whatever our imaginations come up with. I’m excited to see what everyone else is writing about!

And me? I’m fostering Ace energy by creating Ace haiku…



Ace of Pentacles (trimmed):© Shadowsapes Tarot







Earth full of promise
Nurturing, stabilizing,
Ready to take root.




Ace of Vessels (trimmed):© Wildwood Tarot











Well-springs’ constant flow
Carries seeds of love and joy
To fresh hearts and homes.



Ace of Swords (trimmed):© DruidCraft Tarot




Clouds lift, storms abate,
A sword cuts through, points the way,
Stimulates new thought.


Ace of Flames (trimmed):© Margarete PetersenTarot












A small spark of light
The flame grows higher, hotter:
Ignition, blast off!






Thank you for stopping off here on your own journey through this Imbolc Tarot Blog Hop!  Please do come back and read some of my other posts.  

The next stops on the Tarot Blog Hop are - depending on whether you’re moving backwards or forwards through the list – The Pure and Blessed Way or Inner Whispers. The Master List can be found here.


DruidCraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections
Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn

Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections

Friday, 27 January 2017

Give and take: Margarete Petersen’s Six of Coins

Traditionally, the Six of Coins, or Pentacles, is associated with giving and receiving. Astrologically, it’s linked to the Moon in Taurus. The Moon represents what we need, as opposed to what we want – our automatic or instinctive responses to things on an emotional level.  In Taurus, that automatic response may not be as speedy as it would be in Aries, for instance, but it’s there – it’s grounded, connected to the earth and nature. It’s patient, willing to wait, to be still.  And of course, the physical sensations that accompany feelings – the ‘gut’ instinct, for example, or the need to be in physical contact (touch) – is very much a part of this.
Six of Coins (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot

In the Six of Coins, we can see the Moon in Taurus in the generosity and sharing of our personal resources with others in need.  The sharing is unconditional, almost unthinking – the instinct to help and care and share comes naturally.  In Margarete Petersen’s version, we have two hands and two feet; we give with our hands, and receive (through the earth) through our feet. It’s a very earthy card – all about using the senses to experience and establish harmony in order to encourage new growth. 

Feet planted in earth,
Hands giving freely to all -
Loving exchanges.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004.