The Tarot, the Magician and a story of Odin

From The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The Tarot card of Wednesday or Wodens/Odins Day is The Magician, Major Arcana 1.

The Magician’s ruler is the planet Mercury, symbolic of communications, diplomacy, travel trade and commerce like Hermes, the Greek Messenger of the Gods.

The Magician can be slippery in the extreme. His other face is The Trickster, his shadow is Loki. If the card is drawn upside down, be careful what you are doing here. Watch this one.

He signifies self-command. ‘Me, Myself, I.’

The elder Norse rune associated with Odin and The Magician, is ANSUZ meaning wise counsel – ‘one of the Aesir’. It is from this same language root we derive the modern word ANSWER. It is the rune of teachers, counsellors, writers, actors, broadcasters and other public speakers. In magical work, you would use this talisman as an aid for exams, interviews, vivas, auditions,public speaking and so on. Draw it, say its name, keep it on a piece of paper nearby or on your person.

From Wikipedia

At one with the elements, he is The Mage. Mastery of skill. Timing. This is an excellent card if one is job hunting, starting a new venture, or hoping to meet someone new romantically. Generally male in readings but a female may embody the Magician. Anyone who is operating at the top of their game is The Magician.

He is agile, like Gemini, endlessly curious and inquiring, restless, potentially ruthless in the pursuit of his aims. But unlike The Emperor, who must engage with organisation, this is ultimately a cat who walks alone, or is ready to at any time.


Photo by Pixabay on

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">They whispered of the arrival of the The Out-Walker, seen only under clearest skies, in the evanescence; the fast changing light of dawn or dusk, standing beneath the alder on the low hill beyond the village borders.They whispered of the arrival of the The Out-Walker, seen only under clearest skies, in the evanescence; the fast changing light of dawn or dusk, standing beneath the alder on the low hill beyond the village borders.

He stood in outline or else in shadow, but where he appeared, the ravens followed; always two of them, sometimes perching on his shoulders, and people whispered they could only be Huginn and Muninn, twin pets and scouts of Odin the All-Father, Grimnir of the One Eye, the other traded with the giant Mimir, the wisest of the Aesir, for the knowledge of All Things.

Photo by Vijay Bhaskar on

But what did He want?

What could any living person give Odin that he hadn’t long ago surrendered by his own choice in exchange for that knowledge, hanging nine days and nights on the great Ash tree, the world tree, Yggdrasil?

Only their bloody deaths in battle could please him, so the songs said, so the people thought, and the wives and mothers shuddered at these sightings.

They could not know he meant no war, he planned no war and he scented no spillage of blood. Not at this time. Not in this place. Everyone fell silent when the word passed. 

He has been here again.

Beneath the alder, Odin stood, cloaked against the east wind, breathing in the sights and sounds and smells, drawing them in deep, knowing himself an object of terror. But he could not stay away, craving company, thee warmth of their smoking hearth fires and their songs and stories, music; the smells of their cooking; roasting meats, smoked fishes, things savoured all the more by the mortal folk, heightened in their knowledge, that what was left of their lives could be reckoned in mere years, months, hours or even minutes.

The ravens were his pride and joy, his precious ones.

He craved the things he could not have; rough jests with other men, their goodfellowship. Even the fights, though he would always win, and he longed to lose, even just once, to know what it felt like, a knowledge denied him, that even Mimir could not trade. A stout infant to pull on his beard as it bounced on his knee, squealing to the beat of all the old rhymes. A snuffling dog to run with him after rabbits, or lie scratching its fleas or snore at his feet. A woman to laugh with, lie with, warm in bed, or even scold him and box his ears if she dared.

Valhalla was Valhalla, and the village, the village. Warriors sang of glory and Valhalla, their highest desire and greatest dread. They dreamed of immortality.

But when Odin grew weary of books and battle, of wayfaring, of roads and ships under wheeling stars, he dreamed of an alder, standing on a rise.

And he was there again, dreaming of the village.

KEH 2021

Photo by David Besh on

The High Priestess: Hathor, and Hecate, goddess of ghosts…

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

In the language of the Tarot this card may simply mean a woman, just as The Magician may simply signify a man.

Beyond that, The High Priestess corresponds with Monday as a day of the Week. It is not the Moon card as one might naturally expect. The Moon card correlates with the zodiac sign of Pisces and in terms of timing of events may suggest dates late February into late March.

The High Priestess may be like Circe, a scholar and a witch. She may be a reader, an artist in any medium, a writer and a teacher. She may be a herbalist or hedge-witch, a midwife or a doctor. She may be in any line of work at all, but whatever she does, yes, she studies – hence the scroll in her hand- yes, she learns from others, but above all she learns from herself, and she is ready to talk in silence, like her masculine counterpart, The Hermit, and to walk and work alone. She is recognized by HOW she does things, rather than necessarily what she does. She may be single but even if she is married and a devoted family woman, there is always the sense that she is somehow set apart.

The light is cool, silvery, perhaps remote at times though not cold.

You can see in this card various mythological references: the pomegranate of Persephone, as she wanders alone between the World and and the Underworld, and the cow horns of Hathor, goddess of the sky, of beauty, fertility, music and joy.

You see the Owl of Hekate, goddess of ghosts, keeper of the crossroads.

The owl as a totem animal is also very strongly associated with Athena but hers was a Little Owl. Hekate’s was a Barn Owl which was also associated with the Mabinogion, and the legend of a magical woman who was turned into an owl; a story which featured in a famous novel by Alan Garner, The Owl Service.

Here however, unless I am mistaken, the artist has chosen a snowy owl instead of the more usual choice of the Barn Owl aka screech owl for Hekate, The High Priestess, the tragic Blodduedd, etc.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on

The Owl Service

Garner was fascinated by the love triangle of Lleu Llaw Gyffes (the man cursed never to have a wife on this earth), Blodeuwedd (the woman who was magically made out of flowers for him) and Gronw Pebyr (her lover). In the Welsh tale, Blodeuwedd conspires with her lover Gronw to kill her husband Lleu, but Lleu escapes his murder, turns into an eagle and flies away, eventually to be restored to life by the magician Gwydion. Blodeuwedd’s punishment is to be turned into an owl, while Gronw is killed by Lleu with a spear that passes through him and pierces a stone.

Click Here to read more about this in The Times Literary Supplement (The site has all the usual cookie notifications)

The High Priestess may be solitary or serious, even solemn, but she is not an ascetic, any more than is the zodiac sign of Taurus, which is also associated with Hathor, the cosmic cow which carried the weight of the whole world.

When this card is drawn reversed in a reading, a female (though not necessarily female) querent may be feeling very unhappy, possibly lonely, but if it refers to a woman in the querent’s close environment, the High Priestess Reversed can warn of another woman who is not a true friend.

Proceed with respect, always, but be careful of how much you tell her.

How could anyone be a true friend, if they are bearing any hidden grudge, or want something they thinks you have, and which you are not withholding, but you cannot give it to them, even if you wanted to, any more than a cow could simply shed its horns.

In this respect, this Tarot card corresponds with an old Norse rune called Perthro or Perdhro, meaning secrets, cup, chalice, sanctuary or paddock.

It seems apt for Halloween.

People meet on the road or the path or on the bridge or on the strand, but, like The Hermit, the High Priestess accepts solitude as the price of learning and the integrity of the sanctum she serves….whatever that may mean in the case of the real life individual.

Real friends commiserate with bad news, but that is too easy to do, and the real test, the acid test is, when they rejoice in your good news.

The High Priestess watches, waits and takes counsel with herself.

The Watcher by The Well of Wyrd

Circe by Waterhouse

She works alone with words and stones,
Disposing glyphs on graven runes,
Wyrd runs water; she must deal,
In whisperings and Fates unsealed,
Winds of fortune shape and shatter,
Time, disposing of all matters,
Is Serpentine, the ouroboros,
Endless, rolling, still coils sinuous.

Happy Samhain hauntings

Till next time 🙂