After almost three years of being reserved by MeeWah, I think it's OK if I post on this card now.
This card shows the twins Tefnut (goddess of moisture) and Shu (god of air), who were the first beings created by Amun-Ra. They begot Geb (god of earth) and Nuit (goddess of the heavens). Shu refused to let his children procreate by keeping them separated (air keeping the earth and heavens separated) and declared that Nuit would never bear children during any month of the year. Thoth, who had already divided the year into 12 months of 30 days each, came to their aid and won five days from the moon. These were added to the year, but didn't belong to any month. It was on these days that Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys and Horus the Elder were born. The wall behind Tefnut and Shu depicts this story, showing SHu holding Nuit out of Geb's reach with Thoth shown on either side. Tefnut and Shu's story highlights the aspect of this card that deals with a fall that brings progress and a loss that brings pain. Geb and Nuit's story highlights the aspect of this card that deals with a love that transcends all obstacles.
Tefnut's dress is the color of Gemini (orange). It has purple straps decorated with yellow disks, and is an allusion to air, which is the element of Gemini. The blue lotus cup she holds in her hand is the watery symbol of womanhood. Once, Tefnut and Shu argued and she left Egypt for Nubia. Shu quickly decided he missed her, but she changed into a ferocious, bloodthirsty lioness who destroyed any man or god who approached her. Adopting a disguise, Thoth was able to get close enough to her to convince her to return to Egypt.
Shu wears a feather in his headband. The hieroglyph that represents him is the feather, which symbolizes truth (and was also Maat's emblem). He holds an orange Waas scepter in his hand. He wears a red bracelet on his upper right arm and a white bracelet on his lower left arm. His belt is white and yellow (according to the companion book - it looks white and orange to me), the color of Mercury. As the air, Shu was considered to be a cooling and calming influence and also a pacifier.
To the left of the couple is the tree of life, heavy with 12 red apples and a snake. To the right is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Resting against the sandy bank is the sword of Zain, which is the path between beauty (Tipareth) and understanding (Binah) on the Tree of Life. The sword is the emblem for the element air and represents the intellect. Other than the obvious parallels to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, I'm not sure what the trees, apples and snake have to do with this card.
The mountain in the background suggests the primordial mound seen in the Fool.
In addition to the lioness, Tefnut is also known to take the form of a snake wrapped around a scepter. One of the wands that Thoth is holding in the Magician may be a representation of Tefnut. If so, the other wand could represent Shu. It's possible that in return for him helping them to procreate, they might let him wield their powers. But if it's not Shu, what god or goddess is represented by the other wand that Thoth holds? Since the Ogdoad is four couples, it would make sense that if the wands are gods, then one would be male and one would be female. On the other hand, Tefnut and Shu were part of the Ennead cosmology while the depiction on the Magician is of the competing Ogdoad cosmology. So I could argue it either way.