Margarete Petersen Study - Nine of Feathers - drawing out the demons



  • To kill by not paying attention. To feel the pain of rejection, exclusion, and being abandoned. Go back to the nodal points of fear and anguish and observe closely. Close scrutiny will draw the demons of ignorance out of the floorboards. Step closer to that which you reject and fear.

    Make an active decision and plunge into the deepest layers of your being.

Link to image: Neun der Federn

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Layers of red and black and that freaky, fearful eye in the right of the image! Petersen uses duality throughout this suite. One eye is always clearer that the other. Again, this seems to emphasize the issue of choice to me. But it also suggests that things are not always as we perceive them. There is always duality, often ambivalence.

Red can represent fear. When I am fearful or angry my body heats up, I flush. As an adolescent my skin use to change colour (aaaghh the pain of it!). We use the term “hot” with anger. Heat is also associated with fear and resentment, and Petersen uses red and black evocatively in this image

To deal with this card you has to confront it, look at it steadily. To deal with fear, anger, resentment, you have to do the same. Confronting this image you are inexorably drawn to the other eye, and you want to open it, to see with it. Seeing the whole picture will be revealing. Seeing with two eyes may take away the distortion. Because I have one eye only I know that I have probems with depth perception. I don't fill cups right up and parking cars in narrow spaces is a challenge :D. Eyes as metaphors for issues of balance and perception are a consistent theme in this suit of Feathers. I am not sure where the idea of Feathers came from but it suggests the importance lightness and subtlety in dealing with these issues as well.

The place where I work is undergoing some major, major changes. We deal with grief and loss all the time in the lives of our clients and that is what staff are feeling at the moment. I organized a staff development session yesterday with our Art Therapist who showed us in the most gentle way how she uses art therapy with our clients. Art therapy is very well established in the USA but quite recent in Australia.

Sometimes professionals in human services are very reluctant to undertake activities like this because they are afraid of what they will reveal about themselves. They are afraid of losing control.

Yesterday, in the most gentle way, Helen took us to our personal creative spaces. We drew and modeled with clay for a couple of hours. We had to work individually and together. For 15 minutes we had to close our eyes and model in soft clay a portrait of ourselves.

It was the most amazing experience. 40 people who came into that room on edge, some of them consumed with fear and distrust, left relaxed and open. The power of art and discovering another space within ourselves was immense.

This is what the Tarot does for me, particularly this deck


I copied the 9 Feathers image for my journal and as I was posting it saw another eye to the right - the red, red eye! It seems so obvious now but when I scanned the card several times and contemplated it, I simply did not see the bloody eye! I saw the muted face and closed eye to the left, the eye in the middle but not the eye on the extreme right.

This replicates experiences i have often had with the Petersen. Some most obvious things I've completely missed. Others, less obvious come through after further meditation. The deck is itself an experience in challenging perceptions.

Seeing this extra eye just augments the impressions I had initially but this so obvious exception made me wonder what else I miss in my life :D :D.

Little Baron

that inner scream ...

Scary Mary ...

This card speaks true horror and fear to me. I can hear the scream piercing my ears. The sound of terror.

It is being alone on the moor - that lonely misty landscape I see at the bottom of the card.

It is waking in a cold sweat from a nightmare.

For that one second or two, you are absorbed in worry and fear, as if picked out under a miscroscope. All you can hear is your own, inner scream.

I worry a lot, so can relate to this card. Some worries are valid. Some are not. But each has the same intensity. All I can hear is that inner scream. Nothing else matters at that time.

Rationality goes out of the window when I am in this position. For me, this is a card of nightmares, whether founded or not. Our mind distorts what is true and this is where the panic comes from.

Inner fears. Your worst nightmares.