The New Orleans Voodoo Study Group - Guedeh La Flambeau, 3 Petro

Little Baron

I have always seen the fire suit in tarot to have a strong sexual connection, but I don't think I had ever seen a deck that so blatantly displays my way of thinking, until I purchased The New Orleans Voodoo. Sexuality and fire really burn in this card. A young man with a healthy, shirtless body dances with a woman. One of his hands is held between his legs; apparently, to further enflame himself. The woman, who does not appear to resist, is said to be swept off of her feet.
We are told that the primary attribute of this card is force and strength, which is particularly of a sexual nature - an interpretation that makes me feel somewhat unsettled, along with what can be seen as a rather uncomfortable image, depending on how you view it.
Guedeh La Flambeau is described as 'the flashing brilliance of the orgasm' (which is often referred to as 'the little death'). It is likened to the 'instant brilliant seduction experienced by the moth before its body joins with the flame it loves so much'.

So this card (Guedeh La Flambeau) is the primal, masculine, sexual urge? Of course, this drive does not have to be reserved only for men, since some women have extreme sex-drives and urges that could be described as masculine.
I think that in tarot, especially when used as a tool in 21st Century society, there is a need for such a card. Of course, we have The Lovers, but that deals, more generally, with love than sex. There is The Devil, but he is about temptations of all kinds and does not concentrate on the sexual drive alone.
But here, we have sex. And without the power of water, we have the dry, blunt act. We do not see the emotional build up, the tenderness or the foreplay - we feel the orgasm. And in life, this may be the sex that many experience and many enjoy. It reminds me of couples I see in nightclubs, that in some situations, have just met - dancing together, with one thing on their minds. It may be an urge that needs to be fulfilled, but for those that are looking for a relationship, in some cases, it might not be enough.

In the accompanying book (by Louis Martinie and Sally Ann Glassman), it is stated that this power, strength and magnetism may not always be sexual in nature. So in a reading, it may just be displaying the lack of something. In terms of the work I need to do today, it might be the getting it done, without the emotional or creative enthusiasm or spark. In a lover, it may be someone whose charisma comes across (in it's dryest, purest form) as arrogance.

Having a little trouble with this card - it does make me feel uncomfortable. I think it is the idea of force in sex that bothers me, but of course, that is not a problem if consented to by both partners.
But generally, I see the card as the act, the orgasm, extreme sexual energy, masculine sexuality, rather than the two characters that represent it.

Any thoughts? Please?



I'm glad you posted so eloquently on this card, LB. I just got the deck today, but don't have the book, so this post is very enlightening to me and now I really like the card. At first I wasn't so sure if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing there. I think it's quite true, too, what you say about some women having the intensity of sexual libido and sex drive that men are more known for. I have a friend currently who is like that, while I've not shared that intensity and drive in recent years so I wasn't really understanding her "pole dancing", if I might be so bold as to put it that way. (I meant a different kind of pole as in the one strippers use to be suggestive and sexy, not a double entendre, folks----no pun intended at all.)

You know, I don't see any element of force in regard to sex here. The woman looks to me to be quite happy about the situation and is looking out at us as if to say "Woohoo, look what we've got going on!" :D The flames are licking at her as much as at him and she doesn't look the least bit unwilling to me. It looks like a celebration of sexuality for its own sake.

Quite a different take on what would be a three of wands, I'd say. I really like it. I think if I got it in a relationship reading for someone, I'd be able to read it quite accurately in whatever context I found it.


notes from IDS studies

This card shows Guedeh La Flambeau in a loose embrace with a woman. She has a slight smile on her face, as does he. He has a hand between his legs to further excite himself. The woman is lifted off teh ground.

The fire (passion) is the third entity in this card. There is a very sexual connotation, and it jibes with the selection of Guedeh as the representative of this card (the Guedeh are the lwa of Death...orgasm is called le petit mort ["the little death"]).

This card perhaps indicates sexual choices...even gluttony (the self-stimulation even in the presence of a seemingly willing partner). Perhaps a sex addict, or someone who takes as much pleasure as possible? Ruled by sex? Again, the fire is the third entity in this card...the passion takes a life of its own. The flames are higher than Guedeh and the woman...out-of-control passion. BUT...the flames are coming from Guedeh's butt, feet, and arm...this could have a non-sexual connotation in that one should hurry up and get moving "light a fire under your butt". In older times, giving someone a "hotfoot" would make them move faster as well.

Guedeh's pants are purple/yellow (intuition and intellect?). One "feels" the connection then tries to rationalize it. The woman's dress has hints of purple; no intellect, just intuition (no "rationalization").