July 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
What I find interesting about this Magician is that his “tools” – the lantern, the seashell, the feather and the leaves, representing the four elements and four tarot suits – are behind him. They hang from his wings while he focuses on the magic he’s performing. The traditional image, one that is repeated in many decks, is of the Magician standing behind a table with his tools in front of him. In those decks he is actively using them yet in the Shadowscapes he almost seems to be ignoring them.
Why is that? It made me think about the tools we have at our disposal at any given time. Some we actively use – a pen, for example, or this keyboard I’m typing on, or a violin. Others are passive, stored in our brains, integrated and assimilated into our existing skillset. For example, the ability to type is a tool but it’s one that I’m so comfortable with, so familiar, that I don’t really need to refer to it anymore. It has become automatic.
A common interpretation for the Magician in a reading is something along the lines of “you have all the tools you need”. Which sounds great. But what are we saying there? Imagine someone doing a reading about an upcoming presentation that they’re nervous about. The Magician comes up as advice and we say “you have all the tools you need – just be confident and charismatic and you’ll be fine”. In other words, you don’t have to do anything and you’ll knock their socks off.
With the Shadowscapes Magician, maybe the advice would be more along the lines of: “Make sure you know your stuff. Don’t get caught out. Memorise any stats you might need. Be prepared for any questions they might throw at you. Rehearse your presentation over and over again until it rolls off the tongue like a saleman’s spiel. Learn how to operate the projector with one hand.”
And isn’t that what magicians do? All the great illusionists are just very very good at practising. They practise a trick a thousand times until it’s second nature. They read about other great illusionists. They study tricks done by others. They practise on their friends. They’re brilliantly committed to making you believe in them.
So maybe that’s the message of this Magician: Make sure your tools are behind you, where they will be of most use.
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Shadowscapes Tarot copyright Stephanie Pui-Mun Law