Margarete Petersen Study - Mother of Flames



  • I am the flame born of flame. Ashes have consumed the fire, and my heart is pure as gold.

    I am the tiger-rider, and I tear up the pattern which hinders my spontaneous self expression. Lust lives in my nerves and muscles.

    Undulating rhythms take over me. I am royal red. The mother of all colour. Barefoot, stamping out sparks on the earth, I consume and transform food in my intestines. I transform hate into love, jealousy and greed into compassion. In black lava-earth, I sit on bright green plants.

    In the flaming river of unending transformations I appear at crossroads and highways with a dish filled with blood and chains made of skulls. I am an actress, and love the stage. I change masks and clothing yet I am unveiled.

    The sun pours her golden light over me, and makes my form shine. Every day I make a fresh bargain with the Goddess Taboo. I gift those who nourrish me with lust and ecstasy. I take what I need for my realisation from the Man of Flames.

Link to image: Mutter der Flammen

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Hmmm. This card is tough for me, both the image and the text. The image looks simply like formless flames, the face of a tiger appears in strips on the left side of the card, and a few masks on the right side, and also at the bottom.

Otherwise, all appears formless to me.

The references in the text to crossroads, and skulls and blood, make me think of Hecate, though I fail to understand her link to this card.

I am unable to find a Goddess actually named Taboo (or Tabu, or Tabou) on Google, so perhaps it is a poetic invention of MP...

I would be delighted with anything enlightening others might have to say.

I wonder why the formlessless...


I definitely see a female face.....sometimes when I look she's facing, sometimes in profile]..... through the flames yet of the flames, in the centre.

firemaiden said:
I am unable to find a Goddess actually named Taboo (or Tabu, or Tabou) on Google, so perhaps it is a poetic invention of MP...

I'm quoting from The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols.... the existence of taboos in all human societies:
"....bear the clearest traces of having originated in a doctrine of souls, and of being determined by the supposed likes and dislikes, sympathies and antipathies, of the various classes of spirits towards each other. But above and behind the souls of men and animals has grown up the overshadowing conception of a powerful goddess who rules them all, so that the taboos come more and more to be viewed as a means of propitiating her rather than as merely adapted to suit the tastes of the souls themselves. Thus the standard of conduct is shifted from a natural to a supernatural basis."

....although I'm not sure how this relates to other parts of the text!

I just love this card.... and what Margarete Petersen says about it!


Since this Queen is the one I most often choose to represent myself, and since I am a devoted Margarete fan, it's no surprise that this card appeals to me intensely. I compare the image to that of the Daughter of Flames, a figure dancing and throwing off flame, and in this woman I see someone whose additional age and experience makes her MORE wild, more intense, more heedless of the cost to herself. She pours out her energy with abandon, a spiritual ecstasy of the flesh.

Rilke describes such a woman, a Spanish Dancer:

A match is struck: the centre blazes white
before the flame spreads out in all directions
and, all around, the orange tongues ignite.
The audience in a circle. All at once
she comes alive and flares into her dance

and suddenly the dancer is all fire.

The eyes flash once: she sets ablaze her hair
then in an instant, boldly, brilliantly
whirls her whole dress alight - and you can see
two angry arms extended from the flames
like writhing serpents, rattling and alarmed.

At last it is enough, for she can spare
exactly this much fire, nothing more.
She rakes it up to cast it, roaring, down
and watches as it blazes on the ground
her manner masterful and arrogant.

Serene in victory she lifts her head
and smiling sweetly in acknowledgement
she stamps her sturdy feet and leaves it dead.

(translator Stephen Cohn)


I've been fascinated by the way the Petersen, the Haindl and the Thoth compliment each other. I think where Margarete mentions the blood and the chains (necklaces?) of skulls she is referencing Kali, whom Haindl chose to represent his own Mother of Flames. The power and sexuality of this Queen are beautiful, but also frightening and capable of consuming. Kali is a creator, but also a destroyer. Fire in corporeal form.

I was also struck by the phrase "I gift those who nourish me with lust and ecstasy. The Akron Banzhaf guide to Crowley says this of the Queen of Wands: "The goddess of love in the form of a temperamental, energetic, charismatic, but also egotistical and inconsiderate woman, full of desire and a thirst for life whose heat inflames the passion of her partner." Great stuff! Reminds me of Haindl's Kali, who is summoned to defeat a demon and then begins to dance in a celebration so wild that she begins to consume the world.


There is certainly an explosion of energy in this image, beautifully captured in the Rilke.

I like your comparison also with the Thoth. I don't have the Haindl. The Petersen is by far the more dynamic even so.