I got this idea in the shower tonight (the bathroom is my sanctum cogito, excuse my bastard Latin): 21 days ’til the solstice; 21 days of light turning to darkness before it turns around again; 21 Majors – not counting the Fool who makes the journey – and I have the Light and Shadow Tarot that’s been waiting patiently since July to be given a starring role.
Every day I’ll pick a Major in sequence, then draw a Minor and interpret the two together along the theme of exploring the light and darkness within, on the way towards the World. We’ll see what kind of disaster it turns into !
I The Magician – 6 of Swords
The first thing that jumped out at me was the ferryman in the 6 of Swords. Is that the symbol for Mercury he’s got around his neck? Yes, it is. Mercury/Hermes is a psychopomp, “ferrying” messages and souls from one world to another. The Magician is commonly aligned with Mercury.
The light and dark/calm and disturbed waters on either side of the boat remind me that the Magician navigates the same waters, using Will to pull order out of chaos, knowing entropy is always waiting; always walking the line between the two, recognising the value in both.
I’m also getting a very strong Air-Water message. Not just from the 6 of Swords, but the Magician with all those fish! Again, walking the line, moving between the worlds. What’s interesting is the contrast between the Magician – who seems to just throw things at the wall and see what sticks – and the ferryman in the 6/S, who uses a compass (Science?) to chart a course. Even the visuals in the card are strikingly different: chaotic vs. nicely ordered straight lines.
“Method behind the madness”; Big Bang. Life (lots of plants etc. in the Magician) explodes out of a single moment, (seemingly) without direction and it is scary. No, intimidating. But once the dust settles, Life progresses with an amazing sense of purpose, as if it always knew what it was doing in the first place. So there is faith here, too. Even when the light is blinding and the darkness overpowering, it eventually sorts itself out. Sometimes the light is searing and blinding; sometimes the darkness is overwhelming and consuming. You have to dip into both to make the stuff in the middle.
And don’t forget that the man in the 6/S is making his way through unknown waters to new shores. There is an inherent sense of adventure (and faith!) in this card. Gods know, the Magician loooooooves an adventure, preferably one that goes “BOOM!” and maybe sears the eyebrows a little. If I was starting a new project (and I kinda sorta am, internally…) this would be a very auspicious pair of cards to receive. They seem to say, “Yes, you are ready and prepared.”
Finally, I like how these tie in with the cycle of light-dark-rebirth. It is specifically mentioned in the LWB for the Magician, and the Ferryman facilitates. Traditionally, he only ferries one way (special circumstances notwithstanding) – from life to afterlife – which fits the “dying” sun, but the psychopomp can bend the rules and bring the dead back to life. I don’t know where I was going with this; it will come to me later.