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Shadowscapes Study: Magician

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Silver Crow's Avatar
Silver Crow  Silver Crow is offline
Join Date: 25 Apr 2010
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Silver Crow 
Shadowscapes Study: Magician

The Magician

The artists description from :


The Fool drifts past as a seed in the wind, as a twirling feather, as a crystal mote of condensation, and she sees the Magician. She watches the boy who is initiated to the mysteries of the elements. He is taught and masters conjurings, summonings, bindings.

One day she cannot resist, and she trails fingers of wind across his eyes and he opens them with a start, seeing for a moment. "Who are you?" he demands, but oh so quickly the spirit transforms into a stag and bounds away.

He chases into the woods. Always the stag is just out of reach. His bare feet press into the earth. The air rushes through his hair. The sun beats upon his shoulders. The tantalizing flash of white from the stag darting through the verdure taunts him unbearably until suddenly...

It is gone, and he is alone.

Upon a rock he sees the gifts that have been left for him. The relics of the elements glint in the sunlight, and as his hands close upon the offerings, a smile touches his lips at the power that surges through them.

Meaning:Originality, creativity, skill, will-power, self-confidence, dexterity and slight of hand. It is about grasping the unseen around you, and harnessing it to become reality. This Magician draws upon relics representative of the elements: Fire in his lantern, the voice of the Sea in the shell, a breath of Wind in the raven's feather, and Earth from the leaves.
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r0sered1ster's Avatar
r0sered1ster  r0sered1ster is offline
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Between his hands is a green orb, it seems as if he is creating something from the relic...harnessing it's energy. I see his lantern not just as fire but guidance or inspiration too, in the creative process. On the outcropping the Magician stands on are small figures carved into the stone, sylphs perhaps?
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Inkscape  Inkscape is offline
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In a way, he bears the weight of the world on his shoulders -- each of the elements dangles in some fashion from his wings -- but he supports it all equally, effortlessly. And even though he can soar to great heights with those wings, he remains firmly rooted to the ground.

There are markings around the orb in his hands that make it look like a sun... there's also a sun tattoo on his shoulder. There's a halo (which is also related to the sun) above his head, bent into an infinity sign. All that makes me think of prominence, power, warmth, creation... and there are lots of flowers blooming below all of those suns =)

At the top of the stone, you can see a snake coiled up around another orb, in some kind of celtic knot. That makes me think of earth, the world, birth, life, renewal... kinda interesting that the snake's head is so close to the Magician's heel. As R0se pointed out, there are also slyphs of some sort at the base of the outcropping... I'm not sure what to think of those. But what interests me about them is that they seem to be supporting each other in a vertical fashion... and in that way, it's like their holding the Magician up.

After you look at the Magician for a while, take The Devil out and put it side by side. They're almost reflections of each other They're both horned and winged (feathers for the magician, webbed for the devil), they're both bent at the knees, they're both standing on a stone, and they both have something floating between their hands (and their hands are in the exact same position, with both palms facing away from the object).
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The Magician represents the power of the magician in a fairly standard way. Hanging from his wings are the signs of the 4 elements. The lantern, or fire for Wands. It looks like some kind of ring for water, and Cups. A feather for air, or Swords, and leaves for earth, or Pentacles. There are lilies and roses representing passion and thought.

But I think the thing that stands out to me the most is the contrast. I think the choice of colors in this deck is often meaningful. The top of the card is purple, the "mystic" color*, and the botton of the card is green, the color of Pentacles and this earth. The Magician's orb is also green. Additionally, The Magician's wings are white but black underneath.

*Jung called violet the "mystic" color.
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r0sered1ster's Avatar
r0sered1ster  r0sered1ster is offline
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That's a fantastic observation, I never thought of the colors on the card that way. I struggled with this card, he didn't seem to fit what I thought of the magician but thank you for your insight!
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The first thing i saw when i looked at this card was the Sylphs or female figures entwined with one another arching up to the top of the stone that the magician is perched on. i havent figured out what exactly is the purpose of them in the picture. I agree with JSNYC that the classic definition of Magician is displayed here.

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JSNYC  JSNYC is offline
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Originally Posted by Inkscape
There are markings around the orb in his hands that make it look like a sun... there's also a sun tattoo on his shoulder.
I was thinking about this while away. The sun tatoo on the foot of The Fool is now on The Magician's shoulder. Maybe this is referencing a situation where what drove The Fool to take the leap (off the cliff) has now been moved to an advisory role... The voice on our shoulder that we sometimes listen to, or sometimes ignore...
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Ana's Song 

Also the two birds perched on the Magician's wings - these look like ibis to me, with the down-curved beak. They are of course sacred to Thoth, who amongst other things represented wisdom and knowledge (also linked to his patronage of scribes - back in the day people who could write were considered wise, right? ) as well as magic and sciences as we would classify science today.

Interesting that Stephanie Law's description mentions offerings, as ibis were often raised as sacrifices against pestilences... and in this card, the four offerings dangling down from the two ibis are the elementary gifts of fire/air/water/earth. So even without reversing the card, we can see some negative elements of the card in the implied blood sacrifice of the birds.

Also the focus and concentration on his face makes me think of an alchemist mixing elements together to create gold.

Though I can't quite see why he would choose such an uncomfortable-looking pose to be on to create something out of 'nothing'!

And the rock he's squatting on is quite masculine, thrusting out of the rock below - earthy, male energies right there.

All up a very strong and powerful image despite the muted watercolours.
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hemlock  hemlock is offline
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Can anyone else see the rocks he is stood on as a comical emu holding a sphere - or is it just my warped imagination? Once I saw the bird's face - the green eye looking to the left & the 'smirking' beak as he rests his hands on the orb - I can't see it as anything else! No idea what this means though!
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Sagefire  Sagefire is offline
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For some reason I was blind to his leminiscate until I drew him out of the deck to ponder on this occasion!! There have been some fascinating insights on this classic character in here. I feel much more differently about this magician than I have in other decks. Usually when I look upon the magician's face there is always a bit of snarky, 'oh look at me' energy, that he has the power and he is happy and willing to show it. This magician is much more modest. The look on his face appears more responsible than most, and as was mentioned above, it takes a lot of concentration and effort to maintain a pose like that. He clearly understands his power is serious business, and wields it carefully and wisely. Love those red-hot blazing feathers that hang down from his wings, "fire indeed hot!!" I think this guy knows how hot it can really get.
Top   #10


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