Doctor Who Tarot – The Magician (sketch)

A pencil sketch of The Magician card from the Doctor Who Tarot project. The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) stands in the center with his arms crossed. He will have a cup of tea, a sonic screwdriver, an Olympic torch, and a fob watch arranged above his head. The background will be the time vortex.

The Magician - The Doctor

The first Doctor Who tarot card I sketched was the Magician. This is the second card of the Major Acana, numbered 1 (because they start with the Fool as 0). The Magician is a skilled, knowledgeable, charismatic, inventive, tricky man; the male power of creation; a herald of new ideas and new ways of seeing the world; the transformative process of insight and tapping into one’s true potential. This card is also associated with the Aces of the Minor Arcana. See other write-ups at Aeclectic Tarot and the American Tarot Association.

For me, this card had to be the Doctor. If the Major Arcana are viewed as a mystic journey that the Fool (i.e. the Querent, the person the reading is for) undertakes, the Magician is the first person the Fool meets, who shows the Fool a vision of all the possible futures and gives the Fool the tools needed to make those futures real. The Doctor tends to show up when things have started to get a bit weird for a previously oblivious human, clarifying some things and giving the beginning of a handle on the situation, while opening the human’s mind to the wonders of time and space in the process. And he’s brilliant.

The tools of the Magician are actually the four suits of the Minor Arcana, as seen on the Aces. In the traditional decks these are the Wand, the Sword, the Cup, and the Pentacle; in this deck they are the Olympic Torch, the Sonic Screwdriver, the Cup of Tea, and the Fob Watch. Since I had to pick one face of the Doctor to go on this card, I chose Ten because he’s the most closely associated so far with all four suit-objects. On the sketch I’ve just labeled where they will go, arranged above the Doctor’s head, because I will draw good quality large versions for the Aces and then drop small versions into this card.

The Rider-Waite-Smith card puts an infinity symbol above the Magician’s head instead, so I’m going to have the background of the card be some kind of swirling time vortex imagery, to show the Magician’s connection to eternity, esoteric knowledge, and un/predictability. This, again, will be put in later when I make the pretty digital version because there’s no way I was going to be able to draw it with pencil.

The picture I used to attempt the face, hair, and crossed-arms pose in the proper proportions is here. It changes the symbolism a bit to have his arms crossed instead of directed out like the RWS version, but I thought about it while I was drawing it and decided I didn’t care. He’s also supposed to be looking straight ahead (there’s a bit of a cool thing where if you put the Magician and the High Priestess cards next to each other, they’re looking straight ahead, while if you do the same thing with the Empress and the Emperor, they’re turned toward each other; it’s significant to the meanings), but I redid the eyes six or seven times and couldn’t get it to look right, so he’s looking a bit off-center and possibly at River Song on the High Priestess card. It might even make more sense to have them looking sidelong at each other in the context of my deck. We’ll see.

The Rider-Waite-Smith version of the Magician card. A man in a white tunic and red robe stands behind a table with a cup, staff, sword, and pentacle on it. He holds a wand up in his right hand and an infinity symbol hovers above his head. The background of the card is yellow with a border of vines and red and white flowers.

The Magician in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck


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