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I, The Magician

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on January 6, 2011 | Comments (2)

In the beginning of tarot’s existence, the Magician’s role was primarily that of a stage magician or even juggler. This, by extension, was interpreted as a con man or someone who tries to trick you. Like the Fool, the Magician was not the noble or admirable character it is today. This card was a warning to beware of being taken for a ride.

Today, however, that interpretation, like the historical meaning for the Fool, is reserved for the reversed or ill-dignified position. Instead, we focus on the Magician’s skill, his ability to make effective use of all the resources at his disposal, to create something out of seemingly nothing.

The Magician is usually shown with a table. On the table are items representing the four suits of the tarot deck. Or three, as the Magician is usually holding the wand. So then, before him are the sword, pentacle, and chalice. He holds the wand because the wand represents the will, and for the Magician magic begins first with his will, or his intent.

When this card comes up, we usually say that whatever you set your mind to create or accomplish, you will. You have all the resources you need as well as the knowledge and skill to use them.

The Magician featured here is from Ciro Marchetti’s Legacy of the Divine Tarot.

Reader Comments

Written By Blackbird "BB"
on January 11th, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

Hi Barb,

Its a lovely card, and quite powerful.

Honestly I’m kind of Drawn to Feminine Visions of the Magus, like in the Gendron or Goddess Tarots; as I see the Magus as a vision of Balance, while a Male Magus (like this presented) seems more an image of concentrated power. More of a King?

Another thing while I have your attention.

Did it ever strike you, the Magus seems kind of an advanced card for his place on the fools journey. I might swap him with say the Hierophant. We start out Learning, Observing, Defending the Forms; in time we learn the knoweldge and wisdom behind them, and trancending the form. (Hierophant) become its master. (Magus.)

Of course I very much doubt I will ever see this deck, but It is a thought to chew on, no?

Hope your Holidays were happy ones, BB.

Written By Barbara Moore
on January 13th, 2011 @ 8:54 am

I totally agree with that! If we are lining the cards up in order of their contemporary meaning, the Magician would be further along…not merely learning about how to work with universal energies but being incredibly adept at it.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to “renumber” the Majors in a way to reflect your (or whoever is doing this) idea of their place in the journey? That would be a really fun activity for a Meet Up group.

As for feminine versions of the Magus, have you seen the High Priestess for the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn? That one always seems to me like it should be a Magician card.

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