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Ancient Egyptian Study Group - 1 Magician

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Ancient Egyptian Study Group - 1 Magician


Imagery
  • Thoth, the god of Magic, descends from heaven to Earth along a golden path that is also a pyramid. As he descends, his foot rests on the moon, for he is a lunar deity.
  • The Ogdoad, his frog- and serpent-headed aides line his path. They are two dimensional representation of the forms of creation. Each one carries an ankh and one of the emblems of the four elements (Wand, Sword, Cup and Pentacle).
  • Beneath Thoth is the ring symbol, the hieroglyph that represents infinity.
  • Thoth was the god of time, which was linked to the moon as a form of celestial clock. He wears a lunar crescent upon his head. His association with the moon and the hours of darkness led to him becoming the guide to the souls of the dead.
  • His head is that of the ibis, which was the symbol of mental concentration.
  • The winged solar disk (is there a particular term for that?) above his head represents the earthly embodiment of the sun gods, which was visible to all mankind.
  • Behind him is the nebulous cloud from which the stars are made.
  • He is the messenger of the gods. As the voice of the creator, he is responsible for the execution of the will of Amun. Through his command over the Ogdoad, he has access to all the powers of the Universe.
  • In his hands he holds two wands, one lotus-tipped and one tipped by papyrus. Each wand has a serpent wound around it. The manner in which he holds the wands shows the source and destination of the power that flows through him - it comes from the Sun and is channeled to the Earth. He manifests divine will on the material plain. He instructs mankind in the ways of the gods.

Interpretation
  • The intellect, its ability to probe and examine the environment and its power to change and transform that environment if it's found wanting
  • Productive thought, creative ideas, the mind put to constructive use
  • Self-confidence and belief in oneself
  • Practical knowledge vs. theory
  • The ability to organize people, time and events, to plan things in a way the benefits all concerned
  • Someone engaged in overseas trade
  • Communication, diplomacy and negotiation, possibly on another's behalf
  • A spiritual leader, one in receipt of divine guidance
  • Skill, possibly combined with cunning
  • Medical or veterinary professions, a natural healer
  • A time of new opportunities or beginnings, new doors opening
  • The first decisive step along the road of progress

Further Study
The Ogdoad were four pairs of deities who each represented the male and female aspects of elementary principles: primordial waters (Nun and Naunet), eternity or infinite space (Heh and Hehet), darkness (Kek and Keket) and air or invisibility (Amun and Amunet). The goddesses were shown with snake heads, which are symbols of death (either of enemies or by suicide), while the gods were shown with frog heads, which are symbols of genesis and reproductive life. Male/female and life/death further the dual aspect of each pair of deities. Nun and Naunet would be holding Cups. Amun and Amunet would be holding Swords. Because Heh and Hehet created the Sun, I'm guessing they would be holding Wands. By process of elimination, Kek and Keket would have to be holding Pentacles.

The lunar disk on Thoth's head shows that he controls time and seasons. This crescent moon also resembles the beak of the ibis. The ibis is further connected to the moon since it stays near the water and tides are controlled by the moon. The ibis also symbolized wisdom.

The ring is a traditional symbol of infinity or eternity, transposing the circle into the real world of tangible, functional objects.

The lotus is connected to the Sun, while papyrus comes from the Earth. The serpents have multiple associations: eternity, creators and destroyers of the universe, healing and wisdom.

The pyramid is associated with ancient wisdom, spiritual initiation and the spirit manifesting itself into the earth. It's usually seen as a passageway by which the dead pharaoh could ascend to the afterlife, but here it's being used as a passageway for Thoth to ascend to Earth. The pyramid is also a symbol of the power of life over death.

The imagery and interpretation sections are based upon information found in the companion book to the deck. The study section is information that I've culled from various resources and/or pieced together myself.

Rodney
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I got a lead on the winged solar disk (thanks fluffy!) and was able to find out more about it. It's a form that Horus Behudety took (thanks to Thoth's magic) when he battled with Seth/Set. The goddesses Nekhbet and Uazet, who are usually seen as snakes on either side of the winged solar disk, are most likely the snakes that are coiled around the staffs that Thoth holds in each hand.

Rodney
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The ring at Thoth's feet is the Shen ring, which is also called the shenu, which is associated with a number of other gods.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcarter
In his hands he holds two wands, one lotus-tipped and one tipped by papyrus. Each wand has a serpent wound around it.
Through further research into other cards (namely the Lovers and the Chariot), I believe I now know who/what the two serpents wound around the wands refer to. I believe the serpent wound around the lotus-tipped wand is Tefnut (who holds a lotus cup in her hand in the Lovers card and was known to take the form of a snake wrapped around a scepter). The other serpent is most likely the goddess Wadjet who was depicted as a cobra wrapped around a papyrus stem.

Rodney
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Another possible interpretation of the two wands (as also depicted in the World) would be that they symbolize Upper and Lower Egypt. In Thoth's hands they would represent the unification of the two areas into a single country.

Rodney
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