Margarete Petersen : Seven of Swords - the drama of the inner critic


Margarete Petersen : Seven of Swords

This card came up along with the five of coins in response to a question about what causes these "brambles" to obscure my path and how to clear them. Here is what I saw before reading MP's text.

  • Description

    A transluscent butterfly splashed with the colors of morning sun is breaking out of a pink globe. It might be a butterfly, or it might be a bright lunar moth moving across the moon toward the outstretched talons and beak of a great bird of prey.

    The long blue shadow of the bird's neck and hooked beak looms over the sphere, yet this shadow also ressembles a romantic nightscape, of dark jagged cliffs and moonlit clouds.

    Nightscape or shadow, it doesn't darken the butterfly, whose left wing floats above unscathed as though on a different plane all together; in fact, her wing casts shadows on the shadow.

    But these creatures from opposing planes have come to the same circle in the same moment, and it remains to be seen if the talons will crush and tear the fragile insect in the next second, or will she flutter free.

    The patterns on the butterfly's wings also vaguely seem to outline continents on the earthly globe, while the eagle's night-shadow against the butterfly's patch of sun-yellow suggest the drama of night into day or vice versa, as might be seen from space.

    The card may be viewed here: Sieben der Federn

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Here is what I understood of the German. I particularly love what she says of the bird.

  • Translation

    Seven of Feathers.

    Extend your Consciousness-Antenae into your inner voices. From which perspective will experience come? You are the bright freshly metamorphosed butterfly, who contemplates things as though seing them for the first time.

    You are the black Shadow-bird with sharp talons and beak, ready to rip apart that which does not please you.

    The more you wish for yourself to be the way others should be, the more you will be torn apart by your projections. Learn to recognise cases of self-fulfilling prophesies and hypnoses.

    I can not, one must not, it can't be, it doesn't work - I must yet... and so on.
    How do you nail yourself down?

    See your inner blindness, and transform your attitude towards your own negative images.

Sieben der Federn
Bewüßtseinsantennen auf deine inneren Stimmen ausrichten. Aus welcher Perspektive wird wahrgenommen? Du bist der helle, frisch geschlüpfte Schmetterling, der die Dinge so betrachet als sehe er sie zum ersten Mal. Du bist der schwarze Schattenvogel mit scharfer Kralle und Schnabel, bereit, das zu zerreißen, was dir nicht paßt. Je mehr du dir wünschst, wie die anderen sein sollten, desto mehr wirst du von deinen Vorstellungen gekrallt. Die Fallen der sich selbst erfüllenden Prophezeiungen und Hypnosen erkennen. Ich kann nicht -- man darf nicht -- es geht nicht -- es klappt sowieso nicht -- ich muß doch usw.
Wie nagelst du dich fest? Deine eigene Blindheit sehen und die Haltung gegenüber eigenen Feindbildern verwandeln.



I missed it! Describing the image, I did not take into account one of the most important aspects of the composition -- the Antenae, how they are extending into the eagle's shadow, and the consciousness metaphors posed by the butterfly (usually a symbol of the soul, for heaven's sake!).

The image suggested to me the battle of dark and light forces, but I didn't think about the limiting "shadow" cast by self-negativity over a soul's hankering for free flight.

I love Margarete Petersen's twist, how the "stealth" aspect of the traditional thief card shows up here in the looming shadow of a partly-unseen predator.


Random Thoughts

"We are the Borg - Resistance is futile (sic)"? :D

Tell me, FM, Does Ms.P. follow any known card meaning convention?

The image would seem to fit in rather well, this time, with a Thoth-like concept of futility or "living dangerously", but always with the notion that escape is possible via some devious route or alternative plan? Interesting... this might be supported by one interpretation of the Five of Coins as a reference to the different ways people handle (material) difficulties and worry. Some flutter in confusion, some gather up what remains and move on? Butterflies are deceptive in flight - All the apparent fluttering is now known to be astonishingly efficient... and even purposeful - Notably if you've ever tried to catch one? })

Maybe a question for our resident entomologist? ;)




Yes indeed, Monsieur Macavité. She does take the Thoth meanings into account everytime. I am finding that she manages to include both RWS and Crowley meanings, perhaps also traditional Marseilles meanings (but I don't know those) and make them work together. Then she takes a step beyond, in her unique way. This one of the reasons I am so excited about this deck.

I am so glad you brought this up. I hadn't thought about the futility aspect, and you are right, it certainly fits!

I just love what you said about fluttering and deception. In fact I loved your whole post!

You brought up the Five of Coins, which was the card I drew together with this one -- I think it is amazing how well they go together, especially since my question had to do with not being able to see the way for the brambles, and her interpretation for both of these cards brings up inner blindness -- due in this case to negativity, and in the case of the 5 of coins, to fear of loss.

Little Baron

trusting my antenae ....

The fact that we don't see the eye of the bird in this card sends a slight chill through me. He or she is an annonymous preditor. Here, I can feel shadows of the RWS card. I am distrusting of the bird, who could be out to capture the butterfly.

In the traditional version of the card [from Waite], we think of theft and sneakiness. Here, I think of spying or stalking. Decieving. If this card fell into a throw, I think it would be a time to keep my wits about me and try to be conscious about my surroundings. It would be a time where I might not feel safe. I would watch what I say. I would copyright my work. I would trust my own antenae if I felt that something was not right.



Well, LB, spying and stalking certainly fits with this image.

What I love about MP's poem, as with every single one of her meditative poems on her cards - is how she relates the whole scenario to an inner landscape- - She tells us her bird is the "black Shadow-bird" - a part of us just as equally as the "bright freshly metamorphosed butterfly." One part of the psyche (the butterfly just like the Fool), "contemplates things as though seeing them for the first time", while the bird is like the harsh inner critic "ready to rip apart that which does not please you." --- All artists know this phenomenon, I think, of ideas we think are brilliant - surfacing within us fragilely like a fluttering butterfly, only to be crushed before they even fly, by the dark shadow-self...

Little Baron

Very interesting. I must show this card to my friend. She feels that I sabotage some of the good things in my life, due to fear of failure. And I can see that here. When something begins to flutter, I am also quick to jump in a rip it to pieces ... before someone else does.

Lovely to have you in the threads with me FM. I needed some company.