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CompassRose  CompassRose is offline
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Join Date: 18 May 2003
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MP's other introductory/general material


Further limping adventures in translation, of Margarete Petersen's various other general notes on card families, etcetera, through the "little red book".
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CompassRose  CompassRose is offline
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Join Date: 18 May 2003
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The Major Arcana


My way began with the 22 Major Arcana. I chose to start with the first card, 0, The Fool. The other cards developed chronologically, but I did not choose them. They came to me in sequence, as though in a dream, totally involuntarily.... 0 The Fool, II the High Priestess, XII Ordeal/Healing, III the Emperor, XVIII the Moon, XV the Devil, XIII Death, etc. Each attempt to choose a card according to my own conceptions and desires failed.

Without a safety net, I leapt into the work of creation. I felt part of an invisible fabric, working from indications, symbols and hieroglyphics; I experienced the feeling of something other than me painting through me. Following the arrangements of these patterns, I felt the strength of these archetypes. Let me tell you one story of my experience. When I painted the “life wheel” or wheel of fortune, the white cardboard eventually dried in an inward curve like a concave mirror after the paint of many attempts had been washed off. I wanted to give up work on the picture. I could not make progress; I was tense, anxious and doubting my own ability. Exhausted, I fell asleep. The next day, I returned to work. There the picture stood. It was early in the morning, and a few sunbeams danced over the surface. Only as I looked longer did I see what the sun made visible: a spider had woven a web, a perfect, beautiful net, fastened to the corners of the inward-curving picture. The beauty of the sunlight on the washed-out canvas and the breath-thin web was such that I could not bear to disturb it. That touched me deeply, and left me free for a new process. I let the picture rest. Only what I did not consciously make or think, what developed, what put chance in my path, seemed genuine and real to me.
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CompassRose  CompassRose is offline
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The Court Cards


THE COURT CARDS
The traditional designations of the Court cards: Queen — King — Knight — Page/Rascal or Little King – King — Prince — Princess, etc.

One can also see the Court or personality cards as elemental families.

I consciously decided to use the terms Mother — Father — Daughter — Son. They are US next, our personal mandalas, our sphere. No matter how far removed we are from our families, their influence always resonates within us. I use the terms mother — father — daughter — son not only in their real-world sense, but as metaphor. Like all metaphors, it is a bridge, for sometimes we must depart, forget everything, in order to return. Though the family is not all, it is nevertheless an essential part of the material of which we are made.

The Court cards stand between the Major and Minor Arcana. If the Major Arcana tell the stories — myths — cautionary tales of all humankind, the Court or personality cards are the social network, the mediators, concerned with communication and exchange. In the body, they ensure the metabolism of the organs, coordinate courses of action, send messages via the nervous system. They urge our emotions as well, such as rage, love, and sorrow. They are the foundation, the basis of exchange, cooperation and affiliation.

Their essence is of the four elements. Four is a number of order and structure, represented in the Court cards as 4x4. Four includes the feminine, represented by mother and daughter, and the masculine, represented by father and son. In painting these cards, I tried to discard all established standards, definitions and cultural conditioning. The images, masculine and feminine, can thus be experienced more impartially.

On the subject of masculinity and femininity, I would like to tell a legend: When the Great Mother Goddess created humankind, she created them male and female so that they might reproduce themselves through time. To the women she granted the knowledge of what is, and to the men the knowledge of how to find the way.
(highly questionable translation of “Den Frauen sagte sie, wohin es geht und den Männern sagte sie, wie man den Weg findet.”) However, the fact that men are always brought into the world by women has, for (some) men proved so fundamental a problem that they have devised innumerable theoretical constructions to excuse it. The problem begins when men and women lose the ability to learn and develop. The men then go efficiently round in circles. But they don’t know that; all they know is that they get nowhere. One could say, historically, that men lost the red thread after the time of Ariadne, who according to legend gave it to Theseus.
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CompassRose  CompassRose is offline
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The Minor Arcana


All 78 cards refer to each other, and/or are connected. Where the Major Arcana depict universal experience in graphic form, and the Court or personality cards depict families, kinship, or the social network, the Minor Arcana concern themselves with the experiences of everyday life. These everyday experiences form a powerful cumulative influence, and one that we cannot escape, unless we can find a key to make sense of them. The Minor Arcana are that key, allowing us to act, and react, consciously. These cards are concerned with what you feel and how you feel, how and where you do not feel, and how you deal with your own feelings and those of your fellow humans. They reflect our role(s) in life, our conscious and unconscious self-images, and the patterns of our social relationships. On the vital level, they reflect our bodies, and our body awareness. They also provide an overview of our projections, desires, fears and hopes. In short, they encompass all that constitutes everyday life.

Just as a thumbnail sketch is not so exact an image as a full-scale portrait, so the details of common everyday events will be differently experienced, lived and perceived by each person.

Through observing the images, characteristic and personal associations of body, feeling and consciousness will emerge. With the help of the cards, we can understand two different perspectives: you, the participant, are also you, the observer. Thus, it becomes possible to recognize blind spots, and see solutions that might not be immediately obvious. The cards become a multi-faceted crystal, or diamond, reflecting a multitude of tiny variations.

The small realm of everyday life is at the same time the entire universe, containing and organizing the whole cosmos. Everyday life also means that certain activities repeat themselves according to schedule — washing, tooth-brushing, eating, drinking, digesting, breathing, walking, sitting, standing, lying, speaking, seeing. Through many repetitions, these activities become automatic — mechanical, unconscious, uninhabited white space on our personal map. While we consciously use ten percent of our potential, the remaining ninety percent is on auto-pilot, driven by the subconscious.

By means of the cards, we can bring the half-seen truths and shadows of our existence to full consciousness. The images simultaneously hypnotize, and break the thrall of hypnosis.

On the physical plane, symbols affect us on many levels. Indeed, they work especially intensely, for symbolic language is ingrained and embedded in us very early, when our perceptions are yet unformed and open. Symbols speak to our very flesh and blood. Indeed, that which we call “I” is frequently so preoccupied with shifting images that we do not in fact know what this “I” truly is.
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