Margarete Petersen Study -Ace of Flames


  • The fire of life-force. Flame from flames. The origin of fire. A force, which springs open shells, capsules, buds, husks and borders. Inner forces are powerful. What was bound together, incubated and heated, wants to come out. The past and the future are burned. Only that which is immediately there counts. To be present and awake, to take action in the moment.

Link to image: As der Flammen

MP uses the language of plant-life - shells, husks, buds, to suggest the power of this life-force fire -- blooms spring from buds, shells are cracked, eggs hatch. The past and future are consumed -- this force is both creative and destructive.

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The Ace of Flames reminds me of a burst of fire exploding from the center of molten lava. The lava seeps through the frame in little canals and channels. It can not be contained. Slowly but surely it will take over the whole frame. It is spreading now as we speak.

I asked my daughter if she were to describe this card and immediately she said birth. Like the Phoenix, it turns to fire and then is reborn. Here is energy being 'born' and expelled out into the world. It is meant to spread and cannot be contained inside the frame.

I would interpret this card as a bright idea that will lead to many possibilities. Enthusiasm and driving force. This card excites me just from looking at it. The Ace of Flames shows how one idea can lead to so many possibilities!

This card revs me up!



Wow, Mimers, three cards a day! You pose quite a challenge for those of us hoping to keep up with you. I've been mulling this one a while, because of the contrast between your reading and Margarete's. Yours is closer to my more familiar reading for the Ace, a time of beginnings, the fire that will eventually spread out to fill in a whole project, the energy that starts you on a journey. The view down the path, the focus on the future. Margarete's approach is (as so often), slightly aslant from the traditional. Tell the truth but tell it slant, that's our gal. She says, focus only on the moment. Okay, how does she mean that? At first, I think of people using a flame to focus their meditation, looking into the heart of the flame and trying to still the thoughts of past and future. To me, that stillness is a kind of death, an absence. It is the opposite of fire. The flame depicted in the card is far too alive for that kind of passivity, far too vivid, potent with potential. And what is potential if not a moment of looking to the future? How can it be something more? What did she mean?

I've been stumped, trying to reconcile the two views. But finally something came to me. The act of writing. Or painting, or any creative endeavor. Creation is at once a promise to the future, and a commitment to the present, and a drawing down of memory and experience. The one act incorporates all time. The flame in her painting is so powerful, it takes me over. I am consumed. And I feel that way in writing, those lucky times when it goes well. I am caught up in it, in the present. But I do it for the future. And here's the contradiction, I can only get to that future, the future in which something got created, if I'm not aware of the future, if I'm lost in the present.

Little Baron

I also understand that this card is of the moment. Or at least, it is for me. The flame burns bright. It is hot. It is a little like an explosion.

And then I think of sex. I often think about sex when we look at fire in tarot. This card is like the orgasm. It is powerful. It is a rush. It is exciting and fulfilling. But it doesn't last for long. Well, not for everyone, anyway. If you think of it as exhillerating for the moments that it is happening, you could almost separate it from the 'working up' to that point and the contented after-glow that follows. It is just the present. That spark. That blow. A single flame or explosion is not always enough to keep a fire burning, but it is enough to trigger the possibilty.

I think of this as a burst of energy and enthusiasm.