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The Magician | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 4: Symbolism

This is the fourth installment of the Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first three installments in the following links:


The Magician

Table of Contents

Relate the introduction back to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Introduce the symbols picked and why. Not all cards carry the same symbolism, and some simply do it for the sake of creating an appealing picture. However, some cards are packed with imagery with the intent of stimulating the intuitive senses. It is these symbols that I intend to focus on.

Color: Yellow, Green, Red, White

Rider-Waite Magician
Green

Green is the color of fruition, of fertility and creation. It is also the color that corresponds to the heart chakra. In the context of the Magician, it is a representation of the creative powers that the figure holds.

Red

Red is the color of passion and of action. Over the white robe, the Magician wears a red robe.

White

The white robe under the red represents purity. The Magician needs the combination of purity of intent and passion to manifest.

Yellow

The sky in the background of the Rider-Waite Magician is bright yellow. Yellow not only is a color of good omens as it’s deemed a ‘happy’ color, but it can also represent spirituality. Because it is also the color associated with Air, it is a color of intellect.

Animals

Snake

In the Aquarian Tarot and The Rider-Waite Tarot, the Magician is seen with a snake wrapped around the figure’s waist, biting its own tail. This is a representation of the Ouroboros. In alchemy, this represents the regeneration of self through inner transformation. It can be similar to the infinity symbol in that it is a continuous loop, and thus represent the eternal journey we are n of learning through cycles and elevating to the next level.

Ape

Thoth Magician

In the Thoth Tarot Magician(s), there is an ape in each one. As the Magician is meant to be a replica of the god Mercury, the monkey is Mercury’s companion, Cynocephalus. This goes back to the original implication of the Magician in the Tarot de Marseille, in which the Magician was sometimes called the Trickster. Cynocephalus was a stretcher of reality, of truth. In the context of Crowley’s creations, there is an implication of the need to seek out the truth and unlock the puzzle. Crowley was fond of initiation.

Hebrew: Bet

Image result for image hebrew bet

This is the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and thus corresponds to the number 2. It means house, and thus is a place of sanctuary. Considering that Mercury represents the house of Self in Astrology, it could very well imply how we construct ourselves. Furthermore, the Magician is a card of manifestation.

Plants

In the Rider-Waite Magician, the card is bordered with red roses and white lilies. They are the cultivation of intent and desire. The Roses in particular represent creation and desire, passion, and the senses (five petals), pleasure and beauty. The Lilies are a representation of spirit, the color of them represent the purity of spirit. Likewise, they represent a level of expertise found through truth.

Posture

The posture of the Magician is standardly with a the right hand raised upward holding a wand, while the left hand points down to the ground. This is the physical representation of the statement, ‘As above, so below.’ It is a reminder that if we can think, believe, and feel it, we can manifest it in the physical world.

Elements

Aquarian Tarot Magician

There is a table in front of most depictions of the Magician, with a representation of each of the suits on it. If there isn’t a table, generally then they are depicted in some other way. In the Spiral Tarot, Faerie Tarot and Thoth Tarot, these representations are floating about the Magician. In the Vampire Tarot, they are part of the background.

They represent the tools that the Magician has at his disposal. As the Spiral Tarot LWB says, ‘The tools of the universe are there for you.’


How do you resonate with the imagery in the Magician? What do you notice in your own deck that wasn’t mentioned? Let’s talk about it!


The Decks Used

Aquarian Tarot Magician

 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

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

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 Vision Tarot

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 Tarot

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.

Spiral Tarot

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

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

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.

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2 Comments on “The Magician | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 4: Symbolism

  1. Pingback: Tarot Writing Prompt: – Karma Star Tarot

  2. Pingback: The Magician | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 5: Putting It All Together – Karma Star Tarot

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