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Margarete Petersen Tarot - 0 - The Fool

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contrascarpe's Avatar
contrascarpe  contrascarpe is offline
Join Date: 16 Oct 2003
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I have finally (at Gardener's urging) decided to start studying this deck, card by card ...... for once, I am going to start at the beginning of a deck because in this case, I know Ms. Petersen designed the majors first and then sped off from there.

My first reaction is that this Fool is a little different than your average Tarot fool. For once, I get a sense that I know the place he is leaving. It seems to be one which is a calm, safe place. The sun shines down on him but there is just a hint (a shadow?) of the moon directly in front of him. The ledge on which he stands is flat, unlike the rocky mountains in the rear.

He is in a cocoon, surrounded by storm clouds and a raging ocean. He is taking chances, well aware that the unknown is a very scary place. Previously I had the perception that our Fool was leaving one unknown entity to face another. This makes more sense - we all have an idea of what we are leaving behind and it should be expressed that way.

The old man's face in the cliffside tells me that we never have to take a journey alone unless we want to - that there is always someone ready to guide us if we accept them in our lifes. The gryffin is a symbol of those we love who are holding us back from our dreams. They mean well, but they don't always know what is important to us. We have to sometimes fall on our own in order to learn how to get back up again.

I love the makeup of this card, particularly the crashing waves. I feel this would be a good card to meditate to - concentrate on the center and try find a calm in the face of all the chaos around it.

Top   #11
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firemaiden  firemaiden is offline
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So nice to have your input here, contrascarpe. You've made me realize that I think the fool is like a snow globe. Although perhaps it is a reverse snow globe, where the snow storm is going on outside the globe. The bubble of light in the center of the card is maybe like the eye of the storm too.

It makes me think the world card, and the wheel of fortune, at the very least are both to be seen within the Fool. Not to mention the Hermit (or hierophant?) whom we have also seen by the face in the cliff I wonder if all 22 majors can somehow be found in microcosm (aren't we talking about microcosm when we say snow globe) in this one card.... chaos... unlimited potential.
Top   #12
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Namaste  Namaste is offline
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I can't help revisiting the Margarete Petersen Tarot study because I am so very taken with this deck. I bought the light bordered English version, and am doing all I can to acquire the now extremely rare wine-coloured German edition.

In spite of the respect I feel for those who have studied the MP before me, and very painstakingly and masterfully translated the German text of this extraordinary work, I have refrained from reading the insights of those whose understanding of Petersen's tarot I would do well to study in my quest to deepen my own appreciation of this artist's vision. This because I don't wish to be influenced in my own halting exploration of these magical cards until my own efforts are spent, at which time I will avail myself of prior wisdom.

What I did notice is that Firemaiden, who encouraged me to invest in the whole Margarete Petersen, and not just the Majors, for which I am most grateful, started with a translation of Petersen's poem for the Fool.

I take the liberty, now, of transcribing from the English LWB the following:

The Fool

You are young and far away from home.
A glittering crack,
Heaven, sun, and clouds,
And foaming waters.
The elements at play.
Blue breath.
Risk finding the way to yourself.
Engage yourself where chaos begins,
Where you stand alone and without help
Facing life.

This is what I see:

The Fool, the seeker who doesn't yet know that she is searching, nor what she seeks, steps out of the swirling, primordial, albeit playful chaos of sky and water into being. She is conscious and aware, yet unaware of the world. She has crossed over from the unmanifest to the manifest. The abyss that opens up before her both descends and ascends. She has a choice. She can become aware of the world and what it holds following the guidance of her higher self, or forget that she is a spiritual being about to embark on a physical experience until she enters transition again at the end of her life.

She prances along unselfconsciously and confidently. Why shouldn't she? The griffin/eagle holds part of her garment in its beak, prepared to carry her aloft perhaps? Open any dictionary of symbols and the eagle either appears as an angel, a messenger of, if not a representation of the divine itself; or at the very least, a being of extraordinary power. In Petersen's Fool, is the eagle our higher consciousness? I appreciate the fact that she decided to replace the dog with the eagle. I think it was from this detail (in the first and only card I saw of this deck at the time) that I realized how powerfully Margarete's images would speak to me.

A human being's journey is always a solitary one. Perhaps others can travel alongside, but, when all is said and done, we come into existence alone and must pass into transition the same way. I do think we do have help, though; the help that comes from our very essence and is part of whatever intelligence governs the universe.

I have always considered each life a stage in the journey of finding a way to myself, so Petersen's Fool and her words resonate deeply within me. Finding "this way to yourself" is both, to my mind at least, the most important and deceptively simple task before us, because englightenment is possible. It isn't as though we are learning or discovering anything new, it is just a question of remembering.

MP's fool wears red, symbolizing both the life force that animates physicality, but also, perhaps, the sacrifices and whatever else "the flesh is heir to," as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, that await us as we move through life.

Interesting also is the circle that frames this touching scene; a window or the lens of a periscope that allows us a view into another reality. This circle, can it signify that we (at least our souls) are eternal like the Godhead? What about the fact that half of the frame is silver and the other gold? Inside the circle, we see mountain peaks: the meeting place between heaven and earth? The place where gods of myth have always resided, at least in the human imagination? Or are we to understand them to be the center of the universe from which life (in the person of this fool) springs?

When I immerse myself in this card, I am filled with hope and joy. It encourages me to move forward, not foolishly or impetuously, but surrendering to my higher self. I often feel that we are all inclined to want to control everything too much, including every facet of our lives. This Fool reminds me that I don't have to be in control; that even if it scary and difficult to relinquish said control, it is absolutely necessary.

As to the sun. I turn to Western alchemy where the sun represents the ego of the alchemist, to be worked on and transformed, like the ego of each individual. I am put in mind also of Astrology which links the sun to individuality, the will, ego and personality, all of which are a product of consciousness which we must learn to master, since we are not alone in the world.

I see, now, looking at the card again, that the intense movement of the water and sky also points directly to the current of life.

In other words..., will I not be better off if I just go with the flow, and isn't that what this artist, through her dreams, is trying to tell me?

Please..., do join me. I know there are other Margarete Petersen tarot lovers in the seat right next to mine at AT.

P.S. I have noticed yet another thing about this image. Is there not a craggy face of a benevolent elder carved into the rock face of the cliff off which the Fool is about to step? Behind that face there seems to be a shape, much like a brain, criss-crossed with what looks like synaptic discharges...
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starsongs  starsongs is offline
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I can't stop looking at the Fool; its wonderful!!

Seems to speak simultaneously of where we have been and where we are going...of what IS..I get a sense of the true Cyclic nature of the Fools journey by looking at this card..

See the Angel in the clouds on the right side behind the Sun?? (19) it Judgements (20) Angel sounding her call to Awaken to the higher self?...the beginning and the end...and the new beginning...

Thanks to you all for sharing your thoughts...So enjoyed and have been inspired by reading this thread...

thanks, (((((Namaste)))) for the heads up

Top   #14
Namaste's Avatar
Namaste  Namaste is offline
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Originally Posted by starsongs
See the Angel in the clouds on the right side behind the Sun?? (19) it Judgements (20) Angel sounding her call to Awaken to the higher self?...the beginning and the end...and the new beginning...
You're right, dear Starsongs! I hadn't noticed the Angel. It does seem to be the same one who visits the Fool/Querent in the Sun and the Judgement which makes you absolutely right. Further evidence that The Fool, who represents us all, is on a journey towards "enlightement"!

Thank you so much for your insight. I was beginning to feel quite lonely out here; especially when I thought there were other MP Tarot lovers at AT who might be interested in the rekindling of this beautiful deck.

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September Pixie  September Pixie is offline
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September Pixie 

I don't know if anyone else has pointed this out or not.. but the fool is encased in his own perfect world.. while the world around him crumbles and churns like an angry sea.. yet in his mind, everything is perfect and calm.. the world is at peace.. he is looking at the world through rose colored glasses not exactly paying attention to the dangers around him..

The man beneath the cliff, the protector, the knowledge of the earth.. and the white bird by his side, his symbol of youth and naivety..

This is a striking image and I can see the urgent need to pay attention as well as to learn from mistakes..
Top   #16
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firemaiden  firemaiden is offline
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Delicious observations, September Pixie.
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Mimers  Mimers is offline
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The first thing I noticed about the Fool are Angels in the clouds. I get the feeling of them guiding the orb that the fool is in along on the stormy sea. I see how the Fool is so small in this great big storm, yet oblivious to it's waves. Maybe this world is only as bad as we will let it be or what we perceive it to be.

I see slivers of the sun and moon surrounding the fool. He is between night and day. somewhere where time does not exist. I love September Pixie's observation about how the Fool is protected in his orb. Are my Angels protecting me too?

This is a beautiful Fool card. I would interpret it as taking chances. Taking the plunge. Begining a journey where there is no turning back. Trusting your Angels and forgeting about what is 'correct'. Seeing the bright side of things.

Top   #18
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Alison Cross  Alison Cross is offline
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Alison Cross 

I know that this thread has not been visited in a while, but I'd like to contribute as this is becoming one of my favourite decks and I recognise the need to work more seriously with the imagery.

I can recognise what everyone has said so far about this card - except I see the circle of silver and gold as representing the sun and moon/yin and yang, positive and negative (as in electrical charges, not morally weighted words). So for me The Fool is stepping towards the Sun - a sort of hidden path to the qualities of The Sun card itself?

As the elements storm and rage around The Fool, he/she is in their own little world, untainted by the outside world, undamaged. Yes, I see the face in the cliff. Does this mean, I wonder, whether The Fool represents stepping outside of the knowledge associated with the head? To live it, not read about it? Not sure about the eagle/gryphon holding the robes in his beak - definately looks to be holding him back though?

I do hope that some of you are still around to help me on my journey through this deck :-)
Top   #19
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firemaiden  firemaiden is offline
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Welcome Alisson. I look forward to pulling the deck out and revisiting it with you. The eagle gryphon definitely deserves further thought.
Top   #20


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