The Wild Unknown Tarot - The Magician I


In the background of the card is a source of light, shown as a dark space against the white background of the card with orange and yellow coloured beams emanating from it.
In the foreground sits a leopard or cheetah, he sits with his body facing left but his head is turned so that he is looking towards the right (the future). On his chest is a lemniscate, an infinity symbol that looks like the Arabic number 8 turned on it's side.
In front of the leopard are the suit symbols; an upright sword, balanced on it's hilt, a pentacle that the leopard rests his front feet on, a goblet or cup and a stick or wand.

The number of The Magician is 1.

Some thoughts on the number 1:
One - The Aces - and there they all are on the card
A burst of energy - and there it is in the flash or source of light.
Power, controlled and focused.
The seed.
The beginning but also the end, a part of something but the number 1 also represents the whole (so the seed that is the beginning but also has the potential to be the end, the whole thing).
The ego.
The self.

Some thoughts on The Magician
The Magician represents the masculine principle, he is active, focused, conscious. In many ways he is the opposite to the High Priestess who represents the dark, inner feminine.
The Magician is a doer and a communicator, he makes things happen. He channels energy and makes it into something else. Sometimes he's a trickster, especially in older decks where he is represented by a street performer doing slight of hand tricks.
In decks based on the Rider- Waite-Smith Tarot he is a ceremonial magus, channelling divine energy and using the representation of the 4 elements (the Aces) to make that energy into what he wants it to be.
In readings he tells you to take action, to go for it and he assures you that you have everything you need to make whatever venture you are starting a success - he (you) literally have all the Aces right there, what you do with them is up to you.
In some decks he is said to represent Mercury, messenger of the Gods and so also someone who channels energy in the form or words and communication. So this guy is a great communicator, often a manipulator who can make people believe him even when he's not being entirely truthful (the slight of hand tricks in older decks)..
He can be selfish, putting his own interests first (his number is 1 so he is number 1 in his own mind).

Some thoughts about this Magician
In the Wild Unknown deck The Magician is a leopard, cheetah or panther. These cats hunt alone and hide their prey, often eating it when other animals wouldn't bother because it's not fresh - this shows that he looks after himself and isn't prone to sharing.
When hunting a leopard can be very fast but only in short bursts, he's also completely focused on the kill - I think these are definitely Magician qualities.
He looks to the future but is also aware of the past.
His lemniscate says that his power is infinite and since he is the beginning but also the end of the number sequence, I think this fits very well too.
The power comes from the flash of light behind him, not from him himself, he just uses that.

If anyone has any more thoughts on this card I'd love to hear them.

I've attached an image of the card.


  • The Magician I.jpg
    The Magician I.jpg
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The spot pattern on the coat suggests that this is a leopard rather than a cheetah (no central spots in the rosettes). Leopard skins were worn by priests in Ancient Egypt and Rome. The leopard is also associated with Dionysus in Ancient Greece, God of Wine. These links give this card the association with divine intoxication and being a bridge between the world/altered states.


Hi Flaxen,

Thanks for the information - I didn't know that about the spot pattern on leopards and cheetahs.
I like the Dionysus link too, I've never associated The Magician with Dionysus but I like the fact that there is a link between different states of consciousness there, that makes a lot of sense..

I think that the animals have been chosen so well in this deck.


I just drew this as my "card of the day" for today, so I'm giving it a good pondering.

A few things I observed: Although the leopard's head is turned to the right, his eye seems to also follow the reader. He is being observant, vigilant -- nothing will get past him. He could whip his head around in a flash. Although he looks gentle and approachable, like all wild cats, he can be aggressive and dangerous if the situation calls for it (or even if he just thinks it does).

With his paws on the pentacle, he is guarding his material possessions (or prey). The sword and wand form a protective shield around him on two sides. All that he needs in life is before him, but he is looking the other direction. The wise sun is behind him. Will he bask in the sun's rays? Will he chase after whatever it is his head is turned toward? Will he bury his "possessions"? Or will he turn and leap out of the card at the reader? The Magician is alert, athletic, strong, powerful, and capable -- but can he be trusted?


The Magician is portrayed by a notoriously proud and alert animal: the cheetah (or leopard). He has a powerful stance and his gaze is focused. He is sizing up his surroundings, not with any urgency, but with a natural awareness of all that is at work around him.

The lemniscate symbol appears on the cheetah’s chest. We’ll see this symbol on a few more cards from the Wild Unknown tarot (it also appears on several cards in the Rider-Waite tradition). This symbol can represent ‘the infinity sign’ suggesting the infinite nature of all life and all matter.

This symbol also reminds me that the wisdom and archetypes within tarot transcend space and time – this is why the cards have resonated with so many people for so long. The tarot goes through different incarnations and different artistic interpretations, but its core messages always remain relevant.

The four suits of the deck – sword, pentacle, cup and wand – are laid out in front of the Magician. His front paws rest on the pentacle, suggesting his ability to take raw materials and create something tangible.

Surrounding the Wild Unknown Magician are rays of orange and yellow light – colors that convey active energy and vitality. The rays emanate out from a singular point in the distance. This shows a concentration of energy, which was previously undirected (as we saw with the Fool) but which is now available to the Magician through his understanding of the four tools before him.

The Magician has an innate ability to tap into – and actively channel – this infinite energy. He has complete confidence in his abilities. He knows that his greatest power lies in his unshakable knowledge that he is – as we all are – an empowered creator.


What a lovely card.
The leopard is very stealthy, creeping up on his prey before the last minute high speed pursuit. I think he also sits up trees so that he has a good vantage point and possibly can't be seen.
Is this also a bit Magician like - to be stealthy, watchful?


I just started studying this deck, and I thank you for your posts it helps eveybody a lot! However, I don't understand one thing: some of you suggest that behind the loepard's head in the magician card is the sun but if it were the sun, why is it black? The creator of the deck surely knows how to play with colour, she could have drawn the sun in bright yellow. Why black? It is a mystery for me; any thoughts?