Hi Steve,SteveM wrote: "The original story concerns a juggler who joins a monastery, but who is incompetent at studies, singing or any craft or skill suitable to the cloister. When the monks each bring a gift to the statue of the Virgin on the Virgin's birthday (a statue, a prayer, a missal) he can bring nothing, but he creeps alone at night into the chapel and performs his juggling act before the statue. Discovered by the monks, he is about to be reproved by the abbot when the statue of Mary speaks, saying that the juggler's gift is acceptable to her."
Thanks for reminding me of that tale, which I like a lot.
On a personal note -and if you can forgive me for speaking as a tarot reader- just yesterday I was telling to a client of mine how useful is for me to think of Le Bateleur in terms of a secular magician or sleight of hand artist. Legerdemain is an important metaphor for the practice of a craft -any craft- and for the way in which such practice builds one’s personality and give ourselves a sense of value and purpose. Legerdemain talks about how practice makes perfection. At the same time, it talks about how such perfection evolves from the repetition of the smallest gestures. The repetition of a sleight builds in muscular memory and a set of automatic bodily responses, in a way that is no too distant from martial arts. (No wonder why some professional magicians I know see that practice as an spiritual exercise). Our craft is that realm we can control, even if we cannot control the rest of the world. More important, that idea of ‘building ourselves through our craft’ and ‘perfecting our practice’ can be applied in practical terms by anybody no matter what the person does: a shoemaker has his craft, but an accountant too. I find that alternative explanations for the image -as the Magician being a sorcerer- lack usefulness and applicability in people’s lives, or at least, they take the advise into a more ethereal realm.
Back to the above tale, we all have a craft whose mastery we can offer.