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RWS - 1 the Magician

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RWS - 1 the Magician


Seemingly taking its cue from the Wirth representation, Pixie depicts the four elements in lieu of the tools of the trade upon the table (of course, the Wirth had the Wand and three representative elements upon the table).

Unlike the earlier Marseilles type decks, Waite also inverses the raised and downward arms: the Magician's right arm is now raised, his left (especially index finger) pointing to the Earth, seemingly drawing down into focussed manisfestation the Will from above.

Interestingly, and like the Fool before, so many aspects of this card is the mirror image of that which came before in the Marseilles: not only are the arms inversed, but so is the table and the voluminous vegetation.

The Magician's hat has been replaced by a hair band and a suspended lemniscate, further emphasised by the ouroboros of his belt.

The Roses and Lillies, this time represented as a garden, are symbols repeatedly used...
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I generally see the upraised hands as relating to the idea of "as above, so below." The right hand is raised because itis the active hand, while the left hand is lowered because it is the passive hand. He draws down the power/spirit/whathave you with his right hand, and directs it into the earth, into physical being with his left hand. I think the use of the wand in his right is sort of like a lightning rod, to help draw down more power.

Perhaps the Marseilles decks were drawn without regard to the magical tradition of passive and active, or maybe the roles of the hands where reversed when the deck was drawn? I have studied very little cermonial magic, so I have no idea. I tend to see this card more as the Magician as a representative of the God, maleness, etc., balanced by the High Priestess. Interestingly, if you look closely, it looks like her left hand is held slightly higher then her right.
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what I have been curious about that card:
1) He uses a wand although there is another wand on the table in front of him - why ?
2) Is there any special meaning about the arrangement of the tools on the table ?
3) Why is his coat/vest/whatever coloured red ?
4) And then there was something about that the table would not be showed as a whole - but I forgot about that....
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Aren't those great questions...

I'll respond in such a way as will undoubtedly not quite conform to responses which would be desired by those who prefer this deck - and will hopefully thereby also attract their responses.

If one looks at the 'transition' deck between the Marseilles depiction and the RWS depiction, ie, the Wirth, one sees within that card only three tools on the table precisely because of the hand-held wand. Yet this Wirth card, I think to most of us, looks a little imbalanced, as though there ought to be the full complement of elements upon the table... and so, I think, Waite's proper rendering of all elements thereon. This however, leads to either a duplication of the wand, or its 'non-acceptable' omission from the Magus' hand.

I think that, as some have, viewing the held wand as either a representation of Spirit's Will, or as a re-duplication upon the Magician of the four elements is taking away from the simplicity of what the image demands: to be a Magician, all basic tools need to be represented, and the Magus needs to uphold his wand - the rest is seeking to intellectualise the visual duplication which arises when the basic tools are represented by the four suits (as opposed to the tools of a cobbler, a trickster, etc.).

With regards to the colour of the vestments, the card as a whole is closely connected to the Magical Will - the colour red will therefore need to be somehow incorporated by those who seek such representation.

The three legs only of the table appearing certainly adds Masonic significance (three pillars around the pavement/table) - but it is also reproducing the Marseilles simplicity of design, which may not have had such implied association (which I do think is carried within the RWS).

As to the arrangements of the tools upon the table, certainly meaning can be derived - but could they have been effectively depicted in another manner?

Of perhaps greater significance are the number of roses and lilies, and the relationship of these to, respectively, the numbers 5 and 6.

In terms of the comment by Silverlotus with regards to which hand being upraised, I do understand the argument presented. I know that for myself, however, if I am actually working along those lines, and seek to 'bring down' the Will from above, it is my left arm which is raised, and my focussing right pointing towards the earth (with or without a wand). The right arm raised - but then lowered to its focal grounding point - is also appropriate for the magical act of the Magician's will...

...this should get some responses
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thank you very much, JMD !!
I am sorry in case I do not fulfill your expectations about an intense discussion as I lack the knowledge - on the other hand there are two question left :
.) Why did the RW deck not show the magician with a magical weapon that one would associate with the fifth element ? Especially as itīs existence was part of the GDīs teaching...
.) What do you think is meant by 5 and 6 ? The elements and all that a pentacle contains with regard to that number on the one hand and fire united with water, so male united with female, so Tiphereth on the other hand ? A journey from the four elements over the fifth towards equilibrium, so to say a personal development of the Magician ?

Looking forward to your reply
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2 wands


I had an interesting discussion with a friend yesterday, whose opinion is held in high esteem by me. She said that she would not have thought of the thing in the Magicianīs right hand to be a wand but a scroll, a scroll of wisdom and/or power, like the Tora of the HPS. I can not give a reason for it, but by mere feeling it does make more sense to me.
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i agree with Lupo138 regarding the object being held in the right hand. It appears to resemble a scroll, not a wand. I also think of it as the counterpart to the scroll of The High Priestess. It suggests knowledge received from "above" or a higher level of consciousness. It could be seen as the fifth element--that of spirit. (The Deva Tarot has 5 suits of which the fifth is called Triax & represents the etheric or spirit.)
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I have always seen the Magician as the great synthesis, the blending. The four suits are represented on the table. He stands before them in a "power pose". It seems to me that the qualities of the suits are embodied with in the Magician.

He also seems to be a conduit, linking the above with the below. He links higher knowledge with the mundane.

Thoughts?
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Thank you for your interesting introduction, jmd. Isn't this magician a rather grand departure from the "bateleur" of the marseilles tradition? I mean the "bateleur" just looks like one of those annoying saltimbanques you see on the sidewalk...kind of a hustler, whose magic powers are limited to picking pockets.... and now we have a rather more young and elegant person, with apparently some dignified powers...how did we get here from there??

bateleur, euse n. Vieilli . Personne qui, en plein air, amuse le public par des tours et des pitreries. (= someone who amuses the public with tricks and clowning)
(dictionnaire universel francophone)
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Re: 2 wands


Quote:
Originally posted by lupo138
I had an interesting discussion with a friend yesterday, whose opinion is held in high esteem by me. She said that she would not have thought of the thing in the Magicianīs right hand to be a wand but a scroll, a scroll of wisdom and/or power, like the Tora of the HPS. I can not give a reason for it, but by mere feeling it does make more sense to me.
My first impression was that it is a candle, with two flames; yeah, strange enough... and if look at the card from certain distance, they lit (an effect related to the yellow space)...
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