Just as a heads up before we get going–I have included a little newsy bit at the bottom of the post with what to expect fo the upcoming week. Be sure to check it out to know what’s coming.
This is the first card in the Weekly Tarot Card series where we explore the Major Arcana. The Tarot is a journey that we are always a part of, and as such, during this journey, we assume the role of the Fool.
Because we are open to the lesson that this journey will provide for us, the first card is the Magician. As such, we have armed ourselves with the basic knowledge of each of the elements/suits when we went over the Ace of Wands, Ace of Swords, Ace of Cups, and Ace of Swords. These are our staples when we explore the Magician.
On Mondays we explore the different depictions of the Magician. While I share the descriptions of the various Magicians in my own decks, I invite you to pull out your deck(s) and examine and describe what you see, either out loud to yourself, in your tarot journal, and/or in the comments below (I love exploring new decks, so please share!)
The Magician stands in the center of the card facing the reader. The background is yellow, and the top of and bottom of the card are decorated with roses and lilies in dangling garlands. The figure is dressed in a white robe with a red outer robe. Around the figure’s waist is a blue snake biting its tail, and around his head is a yellow band.
Above the figure’s head is a lemniscate (or infinity symbol). The figure’s right arm on the left side of the card holds up a wand, while the figure’s left hand on the right side of the card points toward the ground.
Between the reader and the figure is a table, upon which is a Pentacle, a Cup, a Sword, and a Wand.
The Spiral Tarot shows a man facing the reader. The figure is in the midst of action, with hair blowing around, and his red robe decorated with Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands blowing. Part of the robe is decorated with the glyph for Mercury. The figure wears the winged boots of Hermes/Mercury.
Above the figure’s head is a lemniscate, and in the figure’s right hand on the left side of the card is a wand directed toward the sky, to which, white light is directed. The left hand on the right side of the card, points down toward a tree in the bottom corner, showering it with light.
The background is divided into sections, a green section in the bottom right hand corner, a pink and blue sky in the top right corner, a golden sky in the top left corner, and the bottom left corner is dark, suggesting an underworld or spirit realm as ghostly figures are vaguely apparent.
Just under the Wand of the figure is the Hebrew letter, Bet. On the other side of the card is an up-pointing triangle with a horizontal line through it, the symbol of Air, above which is the Kabalistic Tree of Life.
The Magician in the Aquarian Tarot is a male figure with a mustache and an orange and blue band around his head. Above him is the lemniscate. He wears a yellow robe with a snake around his waist, biting its tail. Both his arms are down, neither of his hands are seen. Though, on the right side of the card leans a Rod.
Before him is a table which shows a Sword, a Cup, a Pentacle, and a Rod.
The Vampire Tarot shows a figure with red hair staring at the reader. The figure wears a black robe that hangs off the shoulder, revealing a pale torso with a red-tattooed belly button, a circle with seven rays shown. In the figure’s red hair are several red, white, and black feathers.
In the background, a gnarled web of black traces the shapes of a Cup, a Sword, a Wand, and a Coin. Above the figure’s head is a red lemniscate.
The Faerie Tarot shows an old, bearded faerie in a blue robe, with blue wings and a tall, purple, pointed hat In front of the hat is a golden lemniskate. In the figure’s left hand on the right side of the card is a wand with four berries at the top, around which several red sparks of light decorate. Around the faerie floats a Sword, a Cup, and a Disk.
White flowers decorate the two bottom corners of the card and greenery hangs down from the top two corners. The frame of the card has a lemniskate in the center on the bottom and top, while the left side of the card is patterned with Wands and Cups, and the right side of the card is decorated with Swords and Disks.
There were three different version of the Magician painted by Lady Frieda Harris under Crowley’s instruction, though the middle on pictured above was the one that was approved.
There’s a seperate post just for these three, though will only be for the descirption and observation. Since the majority of the symbolism is the same just arranged differently, there is no need to do a full series just on the Thoth Magus.
The Prisma Vision Tarot shows an impossibly large, full moon, and the silhouette of a man in a suit, reflecting the starts. It is a profile view of the man, who is working magic on a tiny person between his two hands. Three bare trees are silhouetted against the moon.
The Impressionist Tarot is a rendition of Paul Gauguin’s 1902 piece, The Magician of Hiva Oa. The painting shows a figure with long black hair and a red cloak. They hold a wand up in their right hand on the left side of the card, while the other hand remains concealed.
On the table between the reader and the figure is a Cup, a Pentacle, and a Sword. Behind the figure is a wood, implying the setting to be amongst the trees.
As you go through the various cards, what do you notice that is a running theme in imagery? What do you notice tends to differ? Which of the images resonates with you? Why?
Spend time considering your own tarot decks, and do your own comparisons. Share what you find in the comments, or what you found useful in these descriptions. Tell me what I might have missed. Let me know what’s going on in your brainspace!
News of the Week
I just wanted to take a moment to let you know a few things going on. As mentioned before, I’ll be doing the Thoth Magician as its own little series, at least for the description. So, maybe not a series, but it will be something on its own.
Today is also the first day of the 2019 Camp NaNoWriMo! To support writers and also to light a fire under my tail, I am running a #30DayTarotWritingChallenge (hashtagged there so I don’t have to be redundant), in which I provide you each day with a Tarot spread to help you along the way with your own writing project.
I, myself, will be participating not only in CampNaNoWriMo, but in using my tarot spreads to guide my story. I’ll be posting my own updates once a week (I haven’t decided which day yet, but I’ll let you know) to keep myself accountable but also to check in with those of you who are participating.
You can follow me on Instagram and get the spreads there as well.
If you want to be in my Camp Cabin, let me know your CampNaNoWriMo username, and I’ll happily add you.
Happy reading and happy writing!
The Decks Used
The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.
Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’
Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.
Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.
Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.
The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.
Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.