Whimsical Tarot Magician: Puss ‘n Boots

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On the Whimsical Tarot Magician card Puss ‘n Boots stands proudly, his right hand holding a sword above his head, his left pointing down. This is the usual pose for the Magician; it symbolizes the connection between the spirit and physical worlds and the ability to take ideas from the realm of the spirit and manifest them in the physical.

As is also usual for this card, there is a lemniscate above Puss’s head (The lemniscate is a sideways figure 8. It is a symbol of mathematical infinity which can also stand for the infinity of possibilities.) He is surrounded by symbols of the four suits of the Minor Arcana: wands, swords, cups and pentacles. According to Gail Fairfield in Choice Centered Tarot, this symbolizes the idea that the processes of the Minor Arcana are the tools the magician uses to move between fantasy and reality.

In the story of “Puss ‘n Boots” a miller dies, leaving only his cat to his youngest son. The cat, however, has ideas. Through a variety of tricks and stratagems, Puss brings the young man to the favorable attention of the King and the King’s daughter, and eventually gets him a fine castle and the hand of the Princess in marriage.

I think Puss makes an excellent Magician. For one thing, he gets things done. To me, one of the key aspects of the Magician is his abiilty to make something out of nothing; his ability to take his thoughts, fantasies and dreams and turn them into reality. In order to do this, he must master his surroundings and his own skills and talents. This means that the Magician also implies this mastery and, I think, a knowledge of just what your talents and skills are. If you don’t know what you’re good at, you might waste time trying to use skills you don’t have. (Puss first gains the King’s favor by catching rabbits and other game and giving them to the him. Capturing game is obviously a “catly” skill and one Puss was very good at, so it was wise to use this method.)

Puss also embodies another aspect of the Magician, that of the Trickster. Fairfield, says “The Magician, familiar with tricks of the trade, can discriminate between illusion and truth while the audience may not know the difference.” This is also true of Puss, who is the only one who really knows what’s going on as he manipulates both King and his master to the desired end (which is a positive conclusion for all concerned).

I think it’s important that Puss does not do supernatural magic, but accomplishes his self-appointed task by using his intelligence, cunning and creativity. This reminds us that the Magician’s power comes, not from some special ability only a few of us have, but from the effort of concentrated will and determination.

Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot

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