Margarete Petersen Study - I - Magic


  • Sun-winds stroke the strings of a Sitar--
    the songs of the birds -- air vibrates and pulsates --
    it resonates through the mask - I AM.
    The soul glides into the new body--
    Always new self-configurations.
    Knowledge of the essence of the elements.
    Fire - earth- air- water.
    Quicksilver dance of tones.
    Memory of oneness of being [Einssein].
    Audible breath.
    I AM.

Link to image: Magie

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The painting looks to me llike a wooden mask bound by a crescent moon on one side, clues from her text show me that there is also the gourd-base of a Sitar to be seen here.

The sitar has decorations that look like eyes and a mouth.

See sitar site.




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Masks are used for what? To summon the spirits? Or to transform oneself? Or both?

This is an interesting card, and it retains an echo of Der Narr (The Fool) - with the Sunlight stronger now, and the Moonlight not quite vanished.

Sitar music can be very hypnotic.

I would suggest to this Magician that it is time to Rise and Shine and to stop fooling us with his mask... I must admit, he gets a little on my nerves, but I suppose masks do that to people - they do make us nervous because we're not sure what is behind them. Wouldn't like to wake up at night to find this Magician hovering over me.


At first glance this is quite a frightening card. As a teenager I went to school with some boys who had been badly hurt in a car accident and this face reminded me of the very serious injuries they suffered.

I had read Marguerite Petersen’s explanation of the image: Through the Mask it sounds, I AM….. and then the image became more positive. The artist saw this as mask but in my unknowingness I see it more as the face of the Magician emerging from an inferno of energy and the as yet incompletely formed mouth uttering I AM .

The Magician is the Tarot Major that I understand the least. He does not feel real for me and I never get him in personal readings. I know what others say about him but identify with little of it. The power of ONE seems to fit. In this image the Magician is taking form. Is this what he means for us? When we begin something, alone, we face the chaos of a new experience. Is finding oneself in that space the choice of Fool and beginning to act a choice of Magician? There is something here beyond my ken. One can sense the tremendous power in this image.

To return to my opening comments, the boys in that car accident had to remake their identities and lives, which had almost been taken away from them. In some ways they also had to become Magicians. I don't know what ultimately happened as we left that town when my Dad got transferred.

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face

grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this imeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in this magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I'm flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.

Rilke: Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29


The Magician says I am.

He thereby provides the practical key to the rest of the trumps. It is by way of his skills, his magic, his knowledge that we are able to put the other arcana (mysteries) in place.

Magician provides the practical key. He establishes the rapport of the personal effort with the spiritual reality (from Mediatations on the Tarot)

This is the key to everything.

If we do not make this link between personal, practical effort and spiritual reality then it all means nothing.

When our living is effortless because of acceptance, because we are living completely in the present moment or because of faith then we have achieved that rapport

This is the mystery of the Magician.

So this card represents the connection between personal effort and spiritual reality - the Mask - or does it mean that we have to peel away the mask to reach this understanding?


Sorry for butting in BUT someone told me once that John Lennon played a sitar. His music changed the world like a magician!


I know there is supposed to be a sitar in this image but I can't, for the life of me, see it.

The artist herself refers to it but I still can't see it.

The face predominates and it doesn't look like John Lennon or a sitar. :D :D


That's funny, ros, I was thinking about Lennon too when the sitar came up too, its the first time I heard of the sitar, was on the Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club band. LOL.

The sitar certainly evokes a magical atmosphere. Have you seen the pictures of sitars and how they ressemble the picture on the card? The gourd of the sitar is an empty vessel. The mask is an empty vessel, yet the gourd, like the mask, allows itself to be inhabited by an essense, by a wind that blows throw it like a spirit and makes a sound -- to say I AM -- therein lies also the illusionist aspect of the bateleur, who says "I AM" where he is not... is it a manifestation of spirit in wood? Or is it just wood?

Are these just pieces of cardboard with paint on them? or magical slices of universal essense that summon the sparks of stardust when we shuffle...

Illusions... yes... no... a breath... here.. not here...hide and seek...


Right :)

I've never seen a sitar. Had the wrong image in mind.

Here is another picture and I can see the resemblance now - even where the face/mask fits in.

Hmmmm..............we all get there eventually.


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