My advanced digital illustration students are working on the collaborative tarot project again, and I chose the magician for my contribution because I had a particular model in mind. Paul knows a lot about tarot, and when I asked what he'd like to see in the piece he said that it would mean a lot to him if the piece were very traditional.
I'll leave it to him to describe the meaning: "This card's name refers to the way in which humans transform their own consciousness. The posture of the Magician is a representation of human effort and artifice as channels for powers greater than human beings themselves. The four traditional Hermetic instruments lie on the table near by: a chalice, a staff, a sword, and nine coins. The lemniscate over his head represents control; the white band encircling the Magician's brow and snake binding his waist represent the limitation of ignorance by knowledge, and not the reverse as it is sometimes supposed. The roses symbolize desire, and the lilies, again, symbolize knowledge. The nine coins and the Wheel of Fortune inscribed on the disc of the sun represent important numerological connections of this major arcanum to the nine of Pentacles, the Wheel, the Sun, and the Hermit."