Monday, 16 January 2017

Solar power! - Margarete Petersen’s Four of Coins

In the system I follow, the Four of Coins is linked astrologically to the Sun in Capricorn.  Although Margarete Petersen hasn’t incorporated astrology into her deck (as far as I know), the colours she uses in this card conjure up the Sun, for me.  
Four of Coins (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot

There’s a sense of creative energy being “coloured” by discipline and tradition – a single-mindedness, perhaps, working towards a well-defined target. Whatever that target or goal is, it’s going to be about being able to express ourselves and our creativity, but in a responsible way. On the downside, pessimism and cynicism can stand in the way of progress.  We might also find ourselves overly concerned with ‘how things look’, or wanting to hold on to what we have – something that’s often traditionally associated with the Four of Coins.  Either way, the Sun in Capricorn can represent a strong commitment to the material things in life – be they possessions and/or resources.

So many of Margarete Petersen’s Coins cards remind me of the Thoth’s suit of the same name.  Here the square-bounded enclosure is reminiscent of the Crowley version.   Squares are solid, stable, powerful structures; it’s hard to move them, so there’s a sense of protection here, but also of rigidity. . The serpent is back, too, forming a complete enclosed area too – an ouroboros, constantly re-creating itself.. The solidity of the structure and the strength of the ouroboros reflect our own integrity, but we have to remember the danger of inflexibility and the inability to compromise.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Treasure held safely
within strong walls but is it
still accessible?

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Devil in Margarete Petersen’s tarot

The Devil (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot
Margarete Petersen’s Devil is, with Magic, my co-favourite card of the Majors.  A world away from the RWS crouching demon, for sure. I see a multi-faceted jewel, a diamond perhaps, with figures trapped within facets. The face of ‘the Devil’ is also present, at the tip of the jewel. 
Try as I might, I can't see a goat in there! (This card is linked to Capricorn, astrologically.)
Although the facets contain figures, they also represent the ability to shift perspective, I think – like looking at a prism from different angles and seeing the changes in the refracted colours/light. Not unlike the Capricorn goat, having to change direction and find new paths in order to pick his way around the obstacles that lie between him and the top of the mountain.  
The jewel sits in a sea of red ‘waves’ of fire – the passions, desires, that consume us.  MP writes of the “confusion in the passionate flame” – the figures are all topsy-turvy in their quest.  She also writes “In the sharpened vision at the point of brilliance, /New perspectives open”, which sums it all up for me!
I don’t see a right hand raised in benediction here, as in more traditional versions, but I do think there’s a link between the Devil and Hierophant in terms of meaning. One is about working out what to take from the ‘structure’ imposed by culture/society, the other is about working out how not to be enslaved by the trappings of that culture/society.  Ridiculing? Yes, perhaps – the Devil laughs at how easily we fall prey to what we think we need, thanks to the consumerism (and I don’t just mean material) of our society.  No smirking goat in this image but just think of the Thoth's version of The Devil!
Enslaved by desire
Yet unchained, free to escape
Fear and confusion.
 

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004. 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Co-operation - Margarete Petersen’s Three of Coins

The footprint theme of Margarete Petersen's Two of Coins continues into the Three, but here we see only one of them, set within the blue curves of the number ‘3’. The duality has been absorbed, ready to start something new.  A tarot friend pointed out that the Om symbol represents the seed of new growth, something I hadn't noticed.
Three of Coins (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot

In the system I follow, the Three of Pentacles/Coins is linked to Mars in Capricorn (as well as the middle ten days of Capricorn – NOW!).  Mars brings a different energy to Capricorn, compared to the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter in the Two of Pentacles.  Here we’re looking at fiery Martian/martial energy that asserts itself cautiously and in a disciplined way. Ambition, decisiveness, combined with Capricorn’s (the initiating, practical cardinal Earth sign) focus on careful planning. Patience, not a quality we might usually associate with fiery Mars, comes into play here. The sure-footed mountain goat makes its way slowly and steadily, picking its path carefully but with determination.

Margarete Petersen, in the LWB, talks about co-operation in the sense of the physical, social and emotional working together – a slightly different slant on the way I’d usually interpret this card: focusing on the more practical, down-to-earth, tangible issues. 

Working together,
Ideas become concrete
Through combined effort.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004

Monday, 2 January 2017

A new year...and the Hanged Man

My card for 2017 (based on adding the day and month of my birth to 2017) is the Hanged Man, so I thought I’d start off the year by looking at Margarete Petersen’s version.
Trial (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot

She has renamed this card ‘Trial’, although the image is relatively traditional and in the inverted form of a RWS-style Emperor (although not her own). I like the idea of the Hanged Man as the complement to the Emperor – the letting go and submitting to the flow as opposed to the structure and adherence to principles that the Emperor might impose. 
The High Priestess (trimmed):© Margarete Petersen Tarot
The imagery here seems more related to The High Priestess than the Emperor, in that it’s full of duality – sun and moon, two faces looking in opposite directions, warm and cold colours, water and fire, sky (air) and tree and small animal face (earthy). Complementary in elemental symbolism!
In many old decks, the Hanged Man was known as The Traitor, apparently because in Renaissance Italy people who had committed fraud, etc., were depicted in this pose on public notices.   I don’t see The Traitor in Petersen’s imagery or associated meanings, but some people now associate Neptune with this card (rather than the traditional association with Water), which could link it to the idea of deception...  MP writes of ‘evolutionary history’ being looked at...is this a link to chronological history and the evolution of this card’s naming, I wonder?  A burning up of passion and desire, says MP, healing and cleansing by water – the ‘sins’ of the Traitor leading to the re-birth of man from sun and moon, from surrender.

So what does that leave me with, for the coming year?  I think my haiku sums it up!


Hanging upside down
New perspective, sacrifice,
Surrendering all.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004