Today’s card draw from The Wild Unknown Tarot is the Magician.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
- Card Description
- Considering the Card, where I look at how I would interpret certain imagery used
- Traditional Rider-Waite definition
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, the creator of The Wild Unknown writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust .
pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown Guidebook
Description of the Card
The Card shows a Cheetah, who holds herself on the Pentacle while a Sword points upward on the left side of the card, and the Wand lays between the Cheetah and the reader, flat. A cup sits next to her flank. The sun shines down from the top left corner. Her positioning is facing toward the left, but her head is turned so that she looks directly right.
Traditional Card Meaning
In the Rider-Waite traditional version of the Magician, there is a figure holding an arm in the air while the other points down toward the ground. On the table before the figure is a collection of representations of the suits/elements. Each of these are his tools to bring his idea forth into manifestation.
The Magician represents the masculine energy of action, and thus, is the idea growing into a budding seed.
What I derive from the Card itself
I feel like there’s a lot of valuable symbolism in the Card despite it being a simplistic depiction.
Cats are generally associated with witches, but this is a fast-acting cat, one embracing the sun, thus likely to take on the masculine energy of the Magician. The energy is very much fiery in this Card, and indicated by the sun and the Cheetah herself. But she’s grounded by the Pentacle. She is the connection between Sun and Earth.
Furthermore, her posture indicates both past (left) and future (right), left and right, ‘black’ (left) and ‘white’ (right), unconsciousness (left) and consciousness (right). To me this brings forth the implication of bringing the lessons of the past to move forward. This would absolutely make sense as the number of the Magician is 1, which indicates a beginning. With every beginning there is an implication of an end, usually represented by a 10, though in the Major Arcana, represented by the World. Thus, the suggestion of bringing past lessons forward to move on to the next stage make complete sense.
There is also the union of uniting the known and the unknown—at least, the call for it. This won’t have been able to happen yet, but there is a call for it (that’s where the High Priestess comes in). What this says to me is that both aspects, just like the tools on the table, are available to use, but it needs to be known how to use them. Thus, while the known and the unknown—the conscious and the subconscious, rather—are at the ready, the reader or querent must know how to use these tools.
The posturing both left and right also expresses to me a state of neutrality. The Cheetah is neither left, nor right, and yet is both. What the neutrality says to me is that the energy expressed in the card is neutral. It is neither good nor bad, but has potential to be either. The one yielding and using the energy is the one to give it a positive or negative aspect.
The Sword point up on the left side of the card says a couple of things to me. For one, it’s on the left side of the card, which tells me it’s dealing with the subconscious. That it is pointing up indicates higher messages to be listened for, since Swords deal with communication and thinking. It’s also an indicator that the energy of the Magician is still within the Thought realm, and needs to be pushed out into the physical realm (hence the Cheetah (representing Fire to me, thus active and passionate energy) standing on the Pentacle).
Then, there is also the Cheetah herself, as her animal self. She is the representation of energy readying itself to move. A cheetah watches her prey and then races toward it. They’re known as being one of the fastest animals, and thus, the message of the Cheetah is to focus on the target and to move quickly. There is energy stored for just such a purpose.
About the Deck
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.