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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

The Magician 魔術師 (塔羅牌)

The tarot (/ˈtæroʊ/, first known as trionfi and later as tarocchi or tarock) is a 600-year-old tradition pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot and Austrian Königrufen, many of which are still played today. In the late 18th century, some tarot decks began to be used for divination via tarot card reading and cartomancy leading to custom decks developed for such occult purposes.

In today's mind, tarot is indelibly associated with divination, fortune telling, or cartomancy. Tarot was not invented as a mystical or magical tool of divination. The association of the tarot with cartomantic practice is coincident with its uptake by Freemasons as a fountain of eternal, divine wisdom. Tarot evolves alongside art and culture and today, tarot decks have also increasingly become more personal, and occasionally political, while reflecting a greater diversity. I have previously seen some Venetian Art Tarot decks and I am forever so drawn into the mysterious world and endless possibilities of Tarot, so I thought I might do a card or two using my photographs...It's been a long time since I did one after doing Justice Venezia 3 years ago....

The Magician card is numbered One – the number of new beginnings and opportunities – and associates with the planet of Mercury, and hence the signs of Gemini and Virgo in astrology. He stands with one arm stretched upwards towards the Universe, and the other pointing down to the earth. His positioning represents his connection between the spiritual realms and the material realms. The Magician uses this relationship to create and manifest his goals in the physical realm. He is the conduit that converts energy into matter.

As a master manifestor, the Magician brings you the tools, resources and energy you need to make your aspirations come true. Everything you need right now is at your disposal. You have the spiritual (fire), physical (earth), mental (air) and emotional (water) elements to manifest your dreams and desires. And when you combine them with the energy of the spiritual and earthly realms, you will become a manifestation powerhouse! The plan is to bring these tools together synergistically so that the impact of what you create is greater than the separate parts. This is alchemy at its pinacle!

Like other tarot cards, the symbolism of the Magician is interpreted differently depending on whether the card is drawn in an upright or reversed position. While the upright Magician represents potential and tapping into one's talents, the reversed Magician's potential and talents are unfocused and unmanifested. The reversed Magician can also be interpreted as related to black magick and to madness or mental distress. A particularly important interpretation of the reversed Magician relates to the speculated connection between the experiences recognized in archaic societies as shamanism and those recognized in technological societies as schizophrenia; the reversed Magician is perceived as symbolizing the degree to which those experiences and abilities are unrecognized and suppressed, and the goal is to turn the card 'upright', or re-focus those experiences into their positive form.

My friend, Italian writer and poet Giorgio Cauchi as the Genie/ Magician. Giorgio comes to the Carnevale every year in a Genie costume, but the colors of the costumes change every year. I think this costume fits nicely into my Venetian Tarot series...

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