Thursday, April 19, 2012

Perception of Power

Decameron Tarot- Magician
The esoteric title of Trump I, The Magician, is The Magus of Power.  Those are pretty big words to cover a very big idea.

What do I know to be true about Magicians?

  • They have power.
  • They manipulate their world to suit their vision of reality.
  • They harness energy.
  • They study and learn their craft.
  • They are creative.
  • In tarot, The Magician is ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication.  They communicate.
  • In tarot, they were once portrayed as Le Bateleur, the juggler, the traveling con man who would take your coins and make you beg for the privilege.

There are two figures on this card.  Which one do you identify with?  Go ahead, I'll wait while you think about it.

Are you the well fed man in the front, self satisfied as you stroke the behind of a pretty young thing, your arm thrown possessively around her most precious asset?  If you are, you are fully clothed, and she is naked.  Does that give him the power in this relationship?  The subtext is that he bends her to his will, as any good Magician would, in this case of this card physically as well as metaphorically.  She is his thrall, and he removes his clothing when he feels like, if he feels like it, and her flesh is permanently on display for his pleasure.  Not a bad gig for him, is it?

Or are you the nubile creature behind him?  If you are, I would put forth the hypothesis that maybe you are the one with the power in this dynamic, and even better, you have possibly tricked your partner into believing it is he.  Notice her face.  Her expression is one of lust, pure and simple.  She is not there because she is tied.  She chooses to stay, chooses to bend over for him, chooses to let him explore her.  He desires her, and there is power in desire.  She is strong enough to bare herself while he remains covered.  She has nothing to hide, yet remains mysterious.  He is hiding everything yet is fully on display.

Pamela Colman Smith- Magician
One's natal Mercury is never far from their Sun planet, so how we communicate is an intrinsic part of who we are.  How we express ourselves sexually is part of who we are.  At different points in our lives we will be each of these figures, and it is most likely that we will experience power and desire from both ends of the equation, as the dominator and the submissive. Whether we revel in these positions or chafe against them tells us much about who we are and where we are in our journey.

The Waite Smith rendition of The Magician is often thought a young man, though I believe the figure to be androgynous, with full mastery of the elements that surround him.  He waves a phallic wand around proudly, with no embarrassment about the source of his prowess, and he points to the roses and lilies below him, potent symbols of purity and awakened sexuality entwined, and anyone who has seen a Georgia O'Keefe painting cannot deny the correlation between flowers and the sex of women.  Our puritanical society often has us believing this juxtaposition is impossible, but The Magician sings a different tune.  He boldly declares it is possible to be both lily pure and rose red passionate.  He uses the wet, deep Cups and the hot, hard Wands to equal avail.  The cold and pointed Swords sharpened tip is as light as a lover's kiss in his hands, or cutting as deeply as they were made to.  The earthy Pentacles promise pleasure yet tie us to us to our physical selves, and all these elements, with all their nuances, are notes in The Magician's symphony, and the most important realization of all is that The Magician lives in each one of us.

Le Veritable Tarot de Marseille
In the most functional of sexual relationships, this power play is but a spice in the recipe of the couple's successful life together.  Ideally, each partner is happy with their position and actually, whether consciously or un, made the choice to come together in this dynamic.  The danger lies when The Magician's trickster aspect comes forth, when the manipulation of power is not just a playful interlude between willing lovers, but a dangerous deception and need to either control or be controlled.  The shadow aspect of the powerful Magician is a liar, and cares more for power than people.  That person will be an inconsiderate and possibly even cruel lover.  All Magicians are manipulators.  The light expression of this will make a masterful lover who plays their partner's body, as well as their own, like a fine violin, with the belief that anything done in the names of love and mutual pleasure goes.  The shadow expression is a controlling person who cares only for their own pleasure and perception of their power in the relationship, with little love and not a care for the pleasure of their partner, except as it enhances their own.  They may lie, and express devotion when all they really feel is lust, and often that lust has little to do with the other person and more to do with the narcissism of the shadow Magician.

Call your Magician into power whenever you want to experience or give pleasure, whether in a sexual relationship or not.  One of the most basic aspects of The Magician, almost always portrayed, is that they are willing and able to take matters into their own hands.  Sexual awareness and health does not depend on having another person to express it with.  Pleasure is where you find it, which does not necessarily mean with a partner, and we owe ourselves the fullness of life whether in a relationship or not.

"Power resides only where men believe it resides."~ Varys the Shadow, Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin

I believe at first blush, the first card from the Decameron Tarot appears to be a lecherous man subverting the will of and taking advantage of the naked girl.  With deeper study, I began to feel that the image is portraying a very healthy sexual relationship in which each partner is getting what they need and willingly, perhaps even lovingly, taking care of the other.  We should all be so lucky to experience such a dynamic, and when we are not, we should all love ourselves enough to provide it for ourselves.

You can explore your Magician and expression of power with The Magician's Power Spread.

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