Margarete Petersen Study -Four of Coins - Order and Limits


Link to the card: Vier der Münzen

Interesting card... talk about a mise-en-abîme... we have a series of chinese boxes, -- in a sort of telescoping perspective drawing the eye deeper and deeper in.

At the opening is a snake coiled around itself three times, not exactly an ourobouros, (I don't see him biting his tail) and there is also, in the end a finite bottom: the final, smallest inward box, does not lead to another.

The telescoping boxes, if they were round, might give the suggestion of the human eye.

The traditional stability of this card, normally suggested by the square thus is given a new twist by the third dimension...

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  • Take the space. What began very subtley as a new experience, becomes solidified with the four. It becomes clear, solid and ordered. Borders are erected. The order of things gives security. Neccesity, (is) a space to limit. If you fixate too tightly on limits, they can become a prison. In this card we meet the snake from the Ace and the Two of Coins. Here it is the symbol of calm and flexibility. Through the snake, the numbness (rigidity), born of immobility, will be overcome. Four different paths lie within this card: the solid, delimited room; the security which comes from it; the power of limits in the sense of protection and prison; the snake, which can overcome the limits -- through her, everything can move a little.

    Four in the element of earth: to take space, set limits, create order for oneself, to calm down.


Thanks again for that link, firemaiden...

It certainly is a wonderfully artistic deck.

With regards to the four, I especially like her the statement to 'create order for oneself'. This enables and establishes the possibility of the unfurling of the snake.

By the way - any idea why Margarete Petersen swaps the Chariot and the Hanged Man in the sequence on her site?


Gosh... the Hanged Man, Prüfung is marked XII, and the Chariot VII. The Website is that of a gallery, and is not connected with her, perhaps they just goofed. :)


A circle within a square

I see here boundries and there I am, so small and far away, in the center. There are many layers to this card and the outside layers to the frame if you will are bright and cheerful. These layers fall outside of the coiled snake. Inside of the coiled snake it is dark and muddied. There is a unhappy looking face in there with a square on it's nose. In that square of gold, I see myself meditating.

I would take this card to mean keeping oneself focused and not going off in different directions. For today in particular, I take this card to advise me not to become side tracked at work. I have a very important prodject going on that needs closure. Today will be the day, if I can stay on track. Then I will be outside of the snake's coils and find some release even though things are still structured outside the snake it is more open and 'happy' looking than the dark box in the center.

Little Baron

I see quite a lot of the RWS card in this one.

I see a box within a box, within a box ... [etc].

It reminds me of people putting things away for safety. Locking them up and guarding them, as this snake does. It is about protection and power over these things. And in earth, I think this can be a solid and secure thing. It might signify a time of stability in the home, business or finances.

But it could also be obsessive. I see obsession over objects and money. I see more interest in these than in people. What use is things in boxes?

A great card for savings, but it might ask, what good are savings while piling up in the bank if you could do with a good holiday? Are we being too overprotective? Could we distribute a little of our own wealth to someone less fortunate? Could we pass on things that we no longer need? Is a tarot deck better in someone's hands than shrinkwrapped on a shelf where it will never be used. I also see possessiveness here, using people as objects.



Very interesting connections, LB -- yes - I can see it now -- there is an obsessiveness in these telescoping boxes. It's like it would be hard to get out.

(still not sure why she wanted a snake in these cards...)

Little Baron

In this one, it feels as though the snake is guarding.



Not only guarding. The snake is a symbol of raw energy, power which is one of the traditional titles (if Crowley counts as traditional) of this card. The snake adds some hope to the picture of boxes in boxes, turns it into a fortress rather than a prison.


Yes it is interesting, now that you mention it, he could be guarding the boxes, just as the serpent of the ouroboros incubates the egg of the world.

I find it interesting that he serves (as per MP's text, above) as a symbol of flexibility - suggesting a way of transcending those limits which are represented by the boxes.

I said in my opening post that the last box does not lead to another, but in fact, doesn't the image suggest a long square tunnel with light at the end? Does not the final box open into the light?