The Chameleon

“See chameleon
Lying there in the sun
All things to everyone
Run, run away”
– Slade, Run, Run Away

Once in a while the question comes up online about how the Magician should be interpreted when it appears as the “person of interest” in a reading about a possible romantic connection. The sense I get is that the inquirer has a reasonable suspicion that the Magician can be a “slippery character” and they’re nervous about the consequences if they decide to engage. Yes, he’s charming but can he be counted on to always be there? In order to get ahead of the next query of this type, I thought I would take a few minutes to jot down my own observations.

In thinking about it, the esoteric correspondence of Mercury to this card perfectly captures its capricious temperament. In astrology, fleet-footed Mercury shows few immutable qualities of its own and therefore often takes on the “coloration” of any planet with which it appears; this most likely arises from the fact that it typically accompanies the Sun in the heavens at a distance of no more than 28 degrees of longitudinal arc, thus always conjunct or quite close to it. The notion of Mercury as the mythological “messenger of the gods” (particularly as a “morning star” preceding sunrise) comes from this same intimate association, along with the occult idea that the Magician links the spiritual “Above” to the physical “Below” via his upraised wand and downward-pointing gesture.

But I’m not concerned here with the exalted interpretation of this card, rather with its more practical implications as a “love interest.” What is the Magician like as a “person?” Intelligent, quick-witted, versatile and talented to be sure, but also restless and prone to wander if not constantly stimulated. He strikes me as the “boon companion” who may disappear when the chips are down. Great fun but not much good at “slogging.” I might want him at my side for a night on the town (or sneaking me answers during a math test) but not in the middle of a war unless he’s military intelligence operating from the rear. In a romance, think “never a dull moment” . . . for as long as it lasts. As alluded to in the Slade lyrics, being “all things to all people” can become an obsession so there is no risk of being pinned down to any single impression of who he really is: one moment a celebrated “darling of society” and the next an unreliable grifter to be avoided at all costs. The traditional view of the Magician as a street-wise mountebank or con-man of the sleight-of-hand kind is the source of the second insight.

How then do we advise the anxious querent who is considering the benefits and risks of entering into a relationship with the Magician? Assuming they won’t take “run, run away” (and far away at that!) for an answer, they need to know that they’re probably not looking at a lifetime commitment, at least not without a lot of squirming, whining and chafing (as well as philandering) by the Magician if he lets himself get “hitched.” He’s a master of the well-turned phrase as long as it doesn’t include any kind of “vows.” As the antithesis of the old Howlin’ Wolf blues song, he’s built for speed, not for comfort. Or, as the other old (often-appropriated) blues song goes, “Don’t let the screen door hit ya . . .” on your way out.


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