The Magician In The Pride Tarot

© US Games Systems, Inc

“Here, the Magician of traditional tarot takes on the form of a Nahual, a Mexican witch or sorcerer, who has the power to transform into an animal at will.” – Felix D’eon (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

Suggested Archetype: The Nahual

The Nahual (Nay-hoo-awl; also spelled Nagual) is nuanced beyond the Euromerican “Trickster”. A Nahual ~might~ be a spirit that claims an animal as its host and then lays claim to a human companion. A Nahual ~might~ be a Mesoamerican human who is born (or learns) shapeshifting magic from a local elder. Nahuals are understandably mysterious and if I met one? I wouldn’t expect a truthful origin story.

In some regions, Nahuals are considered evil and nothing good is said of them there. Elsewhere, they can be forces of good or ill. They are still hunted with intent to kill in some communities. Really.

The indigenous religions of Mexico and Central America were so ravaged by conquest and then infused with Spanish Catholicism that the survival of the nahual at all is remarkable and speaks of its mutable and adaptive nature. In the traditional RWS cards, the Magician is channeling invisible magic from above through a wand in their right hand and then themselves to their left hand down below. This Nahual has the greater mastery of magick, of willful change.

Primary Symbolism

The Four Magickal Tools: The Magician grasps a wand (Fire) and sword (Air); in a pose that makes me think of the “the lamb of God” in Christian iconography. Before them is the cup as a gold chalice (Water) and around their neck is a gold pentagram (Earth).

The sword appears to have an owl on its pommel. That ~might~ be the emblem of Tunkuluchú the mythical owl in Mayan folklore associated with solitude, evil and death. I view the associations of Tunkuluchú and the nahual with “evil” and “wrongness” to be a very good metaphor of how many cultures (in North America and elsewhere) view transgendered people. If I am interpreting Felix D’eon’s imagery correctly, this card reclaims Tunkuluchú as a sacred creature of power not to be hated and feared.

The Magician as Huay Chivo: If I ever get the chance, I will confirm that the Huay Chivo was Felix D’eon’s inspiration but it is a reasonable guess. This is the “sorcerer-goat” found in Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán (southeastern Mexico) folklore. In this card, the Magus has their stout goat or ram body, a very masculine face (artistic self portrait I think?) and feminine hairstyle and jewelry. The red and white roses adorning the Magus’ hair correspond to the red and white flowers in the RSW card. Combined, they represent purity of purpose (white) and passionate intent (red) aka the Spirit + True Will as entwined forces of magick.

The background: The Magician is on a cliff only a mountain goat or mountain sheep could possibly reach. They are looking over a fertile valley. This has the Magician more separated (marginalized) from the mainstream community than RWS would suggest with its corresponding garden. The Magus is viewing home from on high, however, at the locale and time of their choosing which symbolizes independence and empowerment.

Reading The Magician (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • You have exceptional talent and skill; you will be a success at anything you apply yourself to.
  • Now is the time to act creatively and innovatively to get the result you desire.
  • As long as you take action, you can change the situation in a positive way.
  • Don’t be afraid to claim your own power and identity; what other people think doesn’t matter.

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • Your idea is a little too ambitious and can’t realistically happen at this time.
  • You might be misperceiving the situation and wrong about what is really going on.
  • There is a lot of chaos and dishonesty being intentionally thrown into the situation.
  • The person (who the Magician represents in the spread) is being very selfish and narcissistic.

In Questions About Relationships

You as The Magician Upright: You are both very desirable and desired. This relationship can happen the way you want it to as long you don’t take the other person for granted or act in a rude or abusive way.

You as The Magician Reversed: Are you being honest and presenting yourself to this person in a sincere way? Do you want a relationship with them simply because you really like or love them or could there be ulterior (or shallow) motives? Take a good look in the mirror and decide if you are being the person this relationship deserves and focus on fixing that if the answer is no.

The Other Person As The Magician Upright: Whatever qualities this person has that are attractive to you? They are genuine. This person is metaphorically a shining star. They probably have very clear goals for themselves (such as career or artistic/hobby pursuits) and probably a big social network full of people who like/love them. If they are currently polyamorous or otherwise open to things beyond your own experiences? Don’t expect that to change. Jump in only if their established lifestyle is something you can embrace too.

The Other Person As The Magician Reversed: This is a very complex person living a very complicated life. They aren’t necessarily morally bad or toxic but they are not in a good position right now to offer the kind of relationship you are seeking. That ~could~ change. It might be worth to just stay friends to see where you both are in a few months.

“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good deal like learning the secret of magic from a magician.”

― Orville Wright

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