Margarete Petersen Study - Four of Cups - a mountain lake at night



  • Recognize feelings and take responsibility. What do you feel right at this very moment? Clarify, order, and structure your feelings. Where and how does a positive or negative feeling arise? What do I do with it? For example, should one indulge it, hold it back, or exagerate it? Become aware of how feelings affect one's perceptions. How, and from what does a feeling arise?

    Light, lukewarm feelings - powerful whirlpools, which exert a magnetic suction. Dark, unclear, cloudy, or free flowing feelings. Make distinctions in the diversity of the palette of feelings.

    Observe feelings without identifying with them. Set boundaries. Through definition and clarification, feelings grow to overflowing, and bring fulfillment.

Link to the image: Vier der Kelche

I see a golden frame, opening like a window onto a moon-lit lake at night; a lone fishing boat. From the horizon, a mountain rises, its snowy peak barely discernable through the veil of clouds. Shapes in the clouds suggest a white winged horse rising; a tiger; an eagle's head, a woman; and where the moon should be, a cloaked and bearded male figure....

It is most interesting that this card, which at first appears so abstract, will yield a clear landscape to the patient observer -- but not without the application of time to allow the image to burn through the fog in the mind -- It is this process itself, which most potently delivers the meaning of this card; whose imagery speaks of obscured horizons, clouded light, and an unclear path. The path, like the painting, will eventually become clear with patient application, and the will to make distinctions and draw boundaries, as MP says, in the variegated palette (of feelings).

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Recognize feelings and take responsibility - certainly feelings are evoked with Cups - and responsibility with the four...

But how do the cups - this element of fluidity - not only emote but build the world? By contrast to Fire - the latter reflecting the electrical impulse, the penetrating dash of invigorating pain - the latter, Water, the Magnetism which envelops and soothes, heals and protects not only the four corners of the Earth, but its living, feeling inhabitants...

To set boundaries - the card also seems to provide a frame - not a delineation as to what is inner and what is outer - but a thick protective covering but which to permit the inner to reach stable and forming feelings - feelings of substance arising within the moving frame.

One is drawn inwards... deeper within the envelop of one's being... finding the inner strength through which to experience what may otherwise be too ephemeral.

Beautiful card and deck...


I chose this card because it is one of the minors that is just too abstract for me to relate to.

Here is my best go before reading the other posts. I am hoping more delve into this one so maybe I will have and 'aha' moment.

OK, I see myself looking down from above at a pyramid with the top cut off. Inside this pyramid are gases swirling around. There is a light trying to come through from deep inside the darkness of the pyramid, but it is getting caught up with the gases and is unable to shoot out from the opening at the top.

I would interpret this as being unable to express one's self. Feeling like you are outside one's self looking in. Meditation where one looks within and tries to release energies that are being blocked.

That is a long shot. I really tried to be objective and not think of my ideas of what the 4 of cups should mean. I don't know where the pyramid came in. I was thinking frame at first, but that impression changed when I looked closer.



I just read the other posts and was impressed. I can see now how my interpretation of the picture could also mean letting go of fealings. I also was and observer from above the pyramid which coincides with MP's interpretation of observing your feelings.

Very helpful.


Right off, I see the outer box as a frame...almost like our body is a frame to the spirit and feelings within.

The darkness in the center is very lunar to me...murky, like my insides often are when I am not acknowledge emotions that need to surface...the whiteness, like clouds floating are the spirit that carry my emotions to the surface ...gently sometimes and sometimes intrusively, but eventually, what rests within the dark interior lake floats up and must be acknowledged.

The square is that four, the plane that is solid.....four directions, four elements....but it cannot "contain" what rests within...the ephemeral parts of our being..the soul, the spirt, the feelings.

In the upper right corner, it looks as if the foggy whiteness is escaping from the frame...I keep seeing those Harry Potter pictures that have moving people and landscapes within...these "white" elements are pure and not
"negative." They simply ARE...and must be recognized so that we can keep the stillness centered within us.


Back to read other posts now....

Little Baron

Inner storms and shipwrecks ...

I see this card as contained emotion.

Unlike the others, prior to it, it is not allowing water to flow in and around it's subject. The ace opened without anything to hold it back. The emotion of the two buzzed from side to side of the card, rocking the heads like the dizzy rush of new love. The three was growth and energy, being celebrated in abundance. But here, the frame is thick and heavy. It weighs down the card and holds everything in place. But does water like being held in place like this? Will it not just stagnate? Does it not need to flow and find a release?

Many years ago, I split from a long time love. But for a few years before, I had considered doing so, each and every day. I loved him. I cared for him. But I wasn't in love with him.

But I didn't want to shake the foundations, so I held in how I felt for a few years. This card reminds me of that. That inner storm or shipwreck that swirled around inside me in the same way as the turbulent sea and sky thunders within the four walls of the card's frame. And it made me ill.

I believe we need to release. I believe it is not healthy to hold in our emotions. In this card, I feel the frame needs to be smashed away. On a good side, you might say that the card predicts a feeling of emotional security - possibly in a relationship with another. But relationships, like water, need to move and flow. Fear stops us from moving out of our comfort zone some times. But we must move, all the same. If we don't roll with life, soon enough the thunder within this card will break out of it's own accord. Thinking of the 'five', which follows, this card might be an indication to aid this release before some kind of external conflict or situation breaks it [and you] unexpectedly.