Twelve Days 12: Ainsworth from Magus’ Bride

I threatened to do this last week. I just didn’t watch a lot of anime this year. Really, for me, I watched a lot, maybe more than since I was in grad school. But I just can’t recall a twelfth show that I can do justice to. I watched a little of a *Monogatari, and two whole episodes of MHA. Maybe next year I’ll write about those! But, for now, on Christmas, I’ll just do a reading for Ainsworth from the Ancient Magus’ Bride.

As with the reading for Chise, we’ll do four cards: past/present/future + the spirits. I have to use this Santa Muerte Tarot, given Ainsworth’s status as resident Bonedad.

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The accompanying book says the Knight of Swords indicates a past time of isolation which, if used properly, can lead to strength rather than weakness. The advice is to pursue your goals. Ainsworth has certainly done that. His past is one of “weakness” — that is, relying on people when he was cast out for being what he is. That isolation has made him quiet, almost taciturn, which is a stumbling block in his relationship with Chise. But it has made him confident in himself and strong enough to act on his quick decisions: as in the card, the sword is inside him. He no longer needs anything else — at least, outside of his emotional life.

Which brings us to the present and the Six of Cups. The tens are usually about fulfillment and possible new beginnings. I can’t recall how many times I’ve talked about this, so forgive me if it’s old hat now: the tens are both the end of a sequence (1-10) and the beginning of another (10-19), so the cards often symbolize both at once. In this card we see a beautiful butterfly, with the skulls appearing in the background. So far I’ve found very few cards where the skeletal figures are implied rather than directly portrayed. I think that means, in the cards where they’re implied, that the image of one of life itself. And Ainsworth, in his emotional life, is surely experiencing strong powers that are not death-like at all. For the first time, in fact, he has to fight against death to protect Chise. His powers of self-preservation are clearly strong, but they have usually functioned on anger or intellect. Now he has an emotional core that he’s not used to. That’s the entire point of the series. I’m given to understand some people are uncomfortable with the show because it begins with Ainsworth purchasing Chise. That discomfort is the point. Ainsworth knows she had to have volunteered — the auctioneer doesn’t act as though it’s strange to ask someone to turn themselves over. There is, in fact, an old tradition of selling onself into slavery. It’s not exactly a British tradition, but it’s  historical and means we can read the purchase as weird and bad without reading it as literal human trafficking. Chise basically sold herself, using the auctioneer as a go-between.

What does that tell us about Ainsworth? He’s a big dumb guy, basically. He knows all the information, but none of the emotional content. It takes him a long time to understand what it means that Chise would choose to sell herself in this way. Even when he uses her emotional state, he doesn’t understand it. That’s his first goal in this whole endeavor. That goal quickly becomes secondary, as he gets attached to Chise, but it was what started the whole thing. Now he has the unfolding of an emotional core in him he didn’t have before, like the slow unfolding of a butterfly’s wings.

In the future position we got the Queen of Pentacles. That could be Chise herself, acclimated more to life and enjoying the earthy side of things (as we know she does, since she spends so much time growing plants and messing with animals). The booklet says the earthy, powerful person wants to go higher, but is too afraid, since what they have now is already great. The “advice” is to go higher, because the self-sufficiency will serve you well there, too. That’s what the ladder is for in the image, I would assume. Chise and Ainsworth both have that problem. They want more out of life, but they are afraid to move forward themselves. They both do it, of course, or we wouldn’t have a story. But their fear is part of what creates the conflict. They fear each other, when they’re each the one the other needs in this moment in time. The card indicates, unsurprisingly, that they will “climb that ladder” eventually.

Finally, the spirits position got the Page of Pentacles. According to the booklet the biggest risk here is waste. The sensual earthiness of the pentacles is leavened with the lightness of youth, just beginning to mature. Ainsworth, personally, is part spirit and has a stranger relationship to spirits than Chise and other human wizards might have. He is one of them, after all — just enough to be disliked by most of them. Ainsworth is the only wizard we see, so far at least, who does not have his own familiar. He is his own familiar, presumably. So all the other spirits come to him with a light touch, since he has no strong relationship to most of them. The “advice” attached to this card is about figuring out when is the right time to “spend.” Ainsworth is usually pretty good at that, but when it comes to Chise he tends to forget everything he knows about timing. That spiritual relationship will allow him to “mature” in the sense of learning why things should be one way, as well as that they should be that way (which his tutors taught him long ago).

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There you have it! That’s Christmas.

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One thought on “Twelve Days 12: Ainsworth from Magus’ Bride

  1. Pingback: 12 Days of Anime 2017 Omnibus – Better Living through Symbolism

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