Monday 30 May 2016

The Little Drummer Boy - Margarete Petersen’s Son of Flames

Son of Flames (trimmed):

© Margarete Petersen Tarot

There’s so much going on in this image it’s overwhelming at first glance, I think.  Gone is the focus on the flame, as in the Minor cards, and the predominance of red.  Now we have more gold and orange – and flashes of blue – coming into play – and the fire now circles, serpent-like, within the frame.  Is he learning to shape the flames in order to create something else? 
And notice how the rectangular ‘boundary’ in the Minors has now been stretched into a square...  the energy of the painting is still contained but it feels more spacious, somehow.
I’ve also noticed that all the Sons in Margarete Petersen’s deck appear to be holding various yoga poses. It’s been awhile since I did any yoga, and the names of the poses escape me, but this could be a lunge. His hands beat upon a drum, the face of which shows both Sun and Moon.   Like the more traditional Pages, he’s a messenger, carrying the story of his clan. 
Margarete Petersen’s Sons have, according to her accompanying book, been given gifts by the other members of the Courts family.  He’s received warmth from the Mother, instruction on how to direct heat from the Father, and beauty and grace from the sister (Daughter).  There’s reference to acquiring knowledge, something I traditionally associate with Pages.  He’s learning how to use the gifts of fire - how to channel them – to brings energy and enthusiasm to his story-telling. 


Drumbeats shape the flames, 
Bring messages from the past - 
Dance in new knowledge.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004. 

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Götterdämmerung - the Fire cycle ends: Margarete Petersen’s Ten of Flames

In Margarete Petersen’s Ten of Flames I see a phoenix rising out of the furnace. I can still make out parts of the embracing couple from the Two and Six of Flames, but now they appear to be mostly consumed by fire. A blood-red skeleton sits in front of them. The word ‘oppression’ is often used with the Ten of Wands – the sense of being overwhelmed, of feeling burdened or overstretched.  I’m not sure I’d use the word ‘oppression’ here, based on the imagery alone; I’m picking up on a sense of surrendering to the flames in order to rise above.  A sort of Death-Tower-Hanged Man crossover!
Ten of Flames (trimmed):

© Margarete Petersen Tarot

The accompanying book talks about cleansing and purifying fire, with all the negative emotions having fed the fire. Throwing off compulsions, growing stronger through both triumph and defeat.  Redemption and enlightenment.  The up-side of oppression, perhaps?

Looking back to the beginning of this journey, the Ace was very much a single flash of fire, the initial creative (some might say divine) spark. By the time we reach the Ten, the fire is all-consuming, burning the embracing couple (representing whatever it is that needs cleansing/purifying). Yet they - and the heart of the fire – are off to the side; the rising phoenix dominates – the potential of the Ace has been realized and is now being transformed into something ‘beyond’, ready to start a new cycle.

Surrounded by flames,
Wins and losses become one; 
Surrender and rise.

Flames dance, brilliant –
From spark to consuming heat 
The phoenix takes flight.

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA, 2004.