Magician in Tarot
The Magician card is the first in the major arcana, with the Fool card given the numbering zero being both the start of the soul’s journey and the end.
It begins the first pairing, or polarity, between the masculine and feminine or yin and yang.
Whereas the High Priestess represents going inward and nurturing our intuitive capacities, the Magician represents taking action and being fully incarnate in the physical world.
You may have heard the aphorism, “some people are so spiritual they are of no earthly good to anyone.”
This is not the case with this tarot card.
When it arises in a reading it indicates an upsurge of energy to begin something, master a skill, focus and create.
Manifestation begins with a thought. Applying concentration, will and energy to something moves it from a desire to an actuality.
Our duty is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.
- Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
The Magician in tarot takes the guise of Hermes within the mythic deck. Hermes earned the affection of the gods to become their trusted messenger when they wished to communicate with humans.
Hermes attends to travellers and guides souls into the underworld.
In the Heroes Journey motif, the fool, or young soul requires a call to adventure to unearth their potential.
We all begin as fools. The journey to becoming a wise fool requires we leave the safety of familiarity and routine.
In the Lord of the Rings myth, Gandalf acts as a trickster who prods, provokes and pushes Frodo to leave the confines of the shire.
When this card appears in a reading, it is time to pay attention to the sudden appearance of someone new in your life who will act as a catalyst. Your invitation to grow may come through other means such as a disturbing dream, an epiphany or synchronicity.
In the Rider Waite deck, the protagonist has his feet on the ground and one hand pointing to the heavens (representing help from above) and one to the earth.
Think of artists or scientists like Albert Einstein who regarded themselves as conduits for higher consciousness to channel through them.
When we limit the power we assign to our own egos we become like a lightning rod for something far greater to emerge through us.
Another facet of the card includes the impulse to start mastering each of the four elements displayed in the Rider Waite deck by fire, water, earth and air.
In the mythic deck, Herme’s wand is wrapped in 2 snakes, representing dualities which need to be integrated.
The Cup of Fortune symbolises good fortune in the area of emotional matters, such as love.
The Pentacle, which can also be viewed as a coin, represents mastering physical matters such as business and finances.
Herme’s father, Zeus, issued him with a sword which symbolises the importance of one’s mind and thinking.
Poet and philosopher David Whyte wrote a book called “The 3 Marriages,” which argues that our life involves integrating differing marriages such as that with a partner, our relationship with ourselves & that of expressing our vocation. This is a life long endeavour, which few manage to do well.
The Magician Tarot
An interesting way of determining the Magician tarot meaning is by looking at real life people who have displayed its qualities.
Environmentalist Greta Thunberg felt overwhelmed by the enormity of climate issues.
She stopped going to school, she barely ate and she was engulfed by depression.
Her life changed when she took action.
Greta participated in a school strike that launched her to international fame, becoming the poster girl for the world’s rage at inaction on climate change.
In just over 12 months she went from pronounced isolation to become the youngest person selected by Time magazine as its most influential person of the year.
In mastering the elements and becoming a conduit for the collective consciousness, Greta illustrates the surge of energy and new direction which the Magician tarot card brings.
You might find that while doing a dedicated tarot love spread or a general spread the theme emerges of relationships and love.
If the Magician card surfaces as an outcome or in a position indicating the future, then it can be taken as a positive omen that you will attain a relationship you seek, or that you are undertaking the important foundations to manifest the relationship you desire.
For people who have been deeply hurt and become guarded, it can symbolise the need to change one’s thinking and simply imagine what it would be like to enter a loving, enriching relationship with an equal.
“As above, so below” is one of the mantras that underlies the principles of manifestation.
The Magician Tarot Love
Should the Magician surface in a reading that is foreboding, the card may provide a warning about the shadow traits of the card.
It can represent infidelity, as magicians can become masters of illusion, specialising in deception. This energy can be used destructively by con artists and charlatans. Think of all the gurus and cult leaders who mesmerise seekers with the promise of something good.
The Netflix series, Dirty John captures the darker potential of this archetype. Based on the true life of John Meehan, he exudes self-assurance, confidence and great reserves of energy. He’s a classic charmer.
After being released from jail he lives in a trailer. Upon creating an entirely false image he manages to win over Debra Newell, ingratiating himself into her lavish mansion and wealth.
What does the Magician tarot card mean?
Tarot cards reflect a polarity between the healthy and destructive elements of every archetype.
The positive, or light aspects of the tarot magician include feeling great reserves of energy which can be directed to birthing new projects and getting things done.
It can represent the invitation to be a conduit for the collective unconscious to work through us to achieve noble and great things.
The development of skill is another healthy aspect of the card. Think of the myth of Harry Potter who goes from an inept bumbling boy to become a great wizard who kept malevolent forces at bay.
If we are to fully undertake the soul’s journey we have to be aware of the shadow side of every archetype which needs to be faced and integrated.
At its worst, the tarot magician card represents being self-serving and using others for gain. It is duplicit and all style and no substance.
If given power it can lead to megalomania. Think about the worst atrocities in history. Adolf Hitler summoned this archetype to mesmerise people with his vision of a better society.
How might you express the best of the Magician, bringing more wonder, awe & joy to the lives of others?