The Bear Magician, and the Little Magicians in All of Us

The Magician card, and its call to mastery and transformation.

I needed an icon, a logo, for this site. I decided to sketch out my own… a Bear Magician Card. It seemed appropriate. I’m a Bear and I love the Magician card.

Bears are hairy gay fat men, usually…. they are a subculture of LGBTQ folks, specifically gay men or those who identify as men, and they were created by all the people considered “not popular enough” to be friends with in the dominant popular gay group. Gays themeslves were outcasts from society, but found a way to have their own set of outcasts too, haha, and here we are. We created a group of folks like us— and we made it to be inclusive, so that anyone who had been rejected by the dominant group could hang out with us. This was the ideal. The Island of Misfit Toys! Often I feel that inclusiveness is still there. However, bears being humans, they have subsequently divided into subgroups too, and have their “popular” people and their outcasts… ah, human nature. But anyway, I digress.

The Magician card is one of my two favorite cards in the deck. I’m a Capricorn, so perhaps the Magician is my ideal self–the person who can get it all done because they have all the tools—the swords, pentacles, cups, wands. Wait, they have ONE of each–the Ace of Wands, Cups, Pentacles, Swords. But having four aces, and themselves being an Ace of Major Arcana (their number is 1 too), they hold all the potential for great things in one card. It is the show off card! The King of All Trades card. The Superman card. The Knock-em-Dead in your Interview Card!

My other favorite card is the 8 of Pentacles–the hard at work card–oh so Capricorn. But I find they go good together because of our belief that hard work brings success–and that you can’t really have success without the hard work. We all know that has mythic edges.

You can work hard and not be successful in a world where you don’t have privilege.

You can be successful without working hard in a world where you have privilege.

So the two don’t always go together, but it is a popular myth, a myth that drives us to succeed and drives us to work hard, in order to control our destiny. If Magicians come from the 8s of Pentacles then if we work hard we can have all the destiny control in our hands! Certainly we can strive for mastery of SOME things.

Though I don’t think it’s always a given–that we become a master of our trade, of our career, of our skills— I believe we should still strive to make ourselves better in some way–whether that is through Pages (their study and curiosity), or Knights (their drives, their actions!) or through ideas, material production, passion, or love– the cards give us a reason to keep going, to keep striving. Though no one may see it, we become little Magicians.

I’ve never heard of a card that says you need to give up on yourself… a card whose advice is to stop trying to work on yourself (or to not love yourself). (No, 4 of Swords is about taking a breather, a rest.) Tarot is built for self-reflection, self-actualization, self-determination, self-transformation. Tarot is trying to transform you if you can hear it. If you can walk into Tarot believing that you will come out better attuned to what you need, who you are, what you are striving for, and who you can become–then Tarot is a good tool for self-discovery.

No matter the route you take through the cards, Tarot is created to, ultimately, make Magicians of all of us.

Published by jstueart

Jerome writes science fiction/ fantasy and queer fiction and has been published in many magazines and journals including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Fantasy, Tor.com, Strange Horizons. His first collection, The Angels of Our Better Beasts, was published in 2016 and was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award. His work was/is a finalist for the Eugie Award and the World Fantasy Award. He also makes art---acrylic paintings and small watercolor paintings. He holds a PhD in English and is currently working on an MA in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He lived for 10 years in the Yukon Territory, but now lives in Columbus OH.

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