This card has always given me pause. As a Mambo I am always hyper-aware of myself and my words, actions, and gestures. I constantly review what I am doing, how I am doing it. When I write to you either as a group or individually, I check and re-check my words – to make sure I said what I meant to say and did not imply something else. On a recent TV show, one character said “I always examine my feelings for motive.” I feel much the same – what am I saying and why am I saying it. Hence, my pause over this card.
The traditional meaning is one of intimate power. We see a nude woman sitting astride a bright red snake, flames extruding from its mouth. The card exudes sexual innuendo galore – she is Babylon of the Bible, or Pomba Gira of Quimbanda, displaying her female sexuality in full command of the allegorical snake she is riding. But she is also the Queen of Wands in the traditional deck. There she is imagined as a woman with a small black feline at her feet, a sunflower in one hand. The implication here is one of fertility, sensuality, life.
Glassman’s queen is all that and more. The traditional little black cat has been re-imagined as a fiery red serpent and she communes with it in a green field, in the nude. Her sunflower has been blasted into the flames that the serpent breathes out, and the entire image is one of energy and power. This queen is stripped down, there is no need for decoration or decorum. She does not need the trappings of her office to command the serpent. This queen is a take no prisoners kind of woman.
When this card comes forward, the meaning is one of cleansing and clearing. The Petro Mambo is a stern queen. She does not mince words, and doesn’t candy-coat the discussion. It is what it is. Her ability to speak clearly is supported by the fiery breathe of the serpent – her very konesans in physical form, writhing between her legs, lending her its strength to conquer what’s in front of her. One way of looking at having the serpent as an ally is to acknowledge the gifts of knowledge, transformation and secrecy. It also means taking the plunge for yourself. The Serpent in the Garden of Eden did not make Eve eat the apple - he merely implied that if she did, wondrous things would come her way. This serpent on the card is making the same statement - embrace all that I have to offer and find the truth of your divine nature.
This month, be prepared to hear the hard truth. It won’t be easy and it won’t come with sugar to make it more palatable. It will be tough talk that will hurt - not intentionally, but for your own good. That hard talk will bring about transformation, hot and fast. It will be a change for the better, even if it doesn’t feel like that at first.
As Betty Davis once said, hang on – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.