Card Meaning: I The Magician

The Magician
Element: Air
Planet: Mercury
Hebrew letter: Beth, ב


 The Magician, the second card of the Major Arcana is the first that is numbered. One, as active, male principle that is able to tap universal power and use it for creative purposes. The Magician is the first step that brings symbolism of The Fool in manifestation. It is depicted as a highly skilled and powerful adept, a master of circumstances and an archetype of achiver. The second clue about this card is nature of action being performed. The Magician is not afraid to act because roots of his action is in the higher realm. Above his head, figure eight in horizontal position symbolizes eternal, infinite, spiritual roots of the Magician's actions. That position enables him to be able to shift events in his favour - to make the World change around him according to his will. He is depicted as a young male, resembling the Sun God, Apollo. All in all, we can say that The Magician stands for personal power, action, focus, determination, manifestation, self confidence, movement, energy and creativity. 


 In old Italian decks he is called Il Bagatto or Il Bagatello, which has similar connotations to the French decks term Le Bateleur, "the mountebank", a practitioner of stage magic. The image that would seem to correspond with the Magician in Mantegna Tarocchi is labeled Artixano, The Artisan; he is positioned second in series, after The Beggar (The Fool). In 18th-century hand painted deck made for the Visconti and Sforza families, The Magician appears to be playing with cups and balls. Occultist Oswald Wirth turned Le Bateleur from a mountebank into a magus in his deck based on the Tarot de Marseilles deck . The curves of the Magician's hat's brim in the Tarot de Marseille deck is similar to the mathematical sign of infinity. Also, symbols of items that represents suits are added,: cups, swords, coins and a wand in the Magician's hand.


In readings, The Magician symbolizes action and true originality. In its positive meaning, this card certainly encourages swift action and active attitude towards life. It is a call for tapping into one's full potential. This person is capable to acomplish many things, seemly unpossible to others. The Magician implies creativity in its primal stadium. You can act now and use this force for your highest good. But be warned, the trick here is to use this manifestation tools wisely. Practice art of clean thought, clarity of desire, heart and purpose. After that you will be able to manifest thought as a true magician. Negative side of this card implies ego attachement, greed, ineptitude, someone who is copying others. You must ask yourself do you manipulate power of the word for selfish ends. Attachement leads to suffering and fear.

primordial creation, wand, cup, coin, sword, sign of infinity, roses

  The Magician's right hand is stretching above, to the sky holding a wand, and the other pointing to the ground below. His statue implies "as above, so below", ability to channel divine creativity in material world below. There is a table infront him. On the top there are wand, cup, sword, and pentacle, which are representative of all the suits of the tarot cards. They symbolizes  elements needed for manifesting: fire, water, air and earth. We can say that those are gifts of the Spirit handed to The Magician by The Fool. His robe is white, telling us about his pure intention and wisdom. The outer garment is red and without belt, showing desire and passion that can be put aside if necessary. The flowers above his head are showing us his desires that are yet to be manifested. Below him, in the garden of life there are also red flowers, symbolizing desires but also the white ones symbolizing pure thought uncontaminated with desire. There are five red flowers telling us about five senses that we employ in fullfilling our desires. The four lilies are telling us about the laws of nature we need to follow to obtain healthy and proper fullfillment. The Magician wears a headband. In order to make magic he need to focus his mental capacity on an object of manifestation. Mental discipline is the tool for transforming The Garden of Life beneath him. The wand in his hand points both ways, and is held in his right hand, so energy is flowing consciously upwards and downwards bringing the the Heaven on the Earth. The Magician's Hebrew letter is Beth. Beth means "house". It is the first letter of Torah although the second letter of alphabeth. The first word that was in beggining as a primordial cosmic egg is Beth. We can say that if The Fool is universe before manifestation that The Magician is first creative force that comes in the manifestation. The Fool holds his belongings in a bag, we can't see them, they are umanifested. The Magician holds his tools in his hand and on the table before him, they are visible and ready to use. But only half of the table is visible. One part is still in subconscious because although The Magician is initiated he is not fully aware of his own self. Many associate this card with the planet Mercury, the god communicating between the other gods and humans. So, he is a channel, not the source itself.

   A youthful figure in the robe of a magician, having the countenance of divine Apollo, with smile of confidence and shining eyes. Above his head is the mysterious sign of the Holy Spirit, the sign of life, like an endless cord, forming the figure 8 in a horizontal position . About his waist is a serpent-cincture, the serpent appearing to devour its own tail. This is familiar to most as a conventional symbol of eternity, but here it indicates more especially the eternity of attainment in the spirit. In the Magician's right hand is a wand raised towards heaven, while the left hand is pointing to the earth. This dual sign is known in very high grades of the Instituted Mysteries; it shews the descent of grace, virtue and light, drawn from things above and derived to things below.

   The suggestion throughout is therefore the possession and communication of the Powers and Gifts of the Spirit. On the table in front of the Magician are the symbols of the four Tarot suits, signifying the elements of natural life, which lie like counters before the adept, and he adapts them as he wills. Beneath are roses and lilies, the flos campi and lilium convallium, changed into garden flowers, to shew the culture of aspiration. This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God, the will in the liberation of its union with that which is above. It is also the unity of individual being on all planes, and in a very high sense it is thought, in the fixation thereof. With further reference to what I have called the sign of life and its connexion with the number 8, it may be remembered that Christian Gnosticism speaks of rebirth in Christ as a change "unto the Ogdoad." The mystic number is termed Jerusalem above, the Land flowing with Milk and Honey, the Holy Spirit and the Land of the Lord. According to Martinism, 8 is the number of Christ.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by A.E. Waite

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