Tarot Card Meanings: The Magician

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The Magician (“Le Bateleur”) – Card I

Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins’ gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.

–“Magic,” by Shel Silverstein

In our previous entry, we discussed The Fool…and we covered the fact that The Fool is Magic.

This means that The Fool doesn’t have to do anything special to make Magic happen. The Fool doesn’t have to try hard or get into the right mental state or be having a good hair day in order to summon Magic into the world – The Fool just has to be The Fool.

In contrast, though, where The Fool is Magic, The Magician does Magic. There’s an element of conscious striving and willpower to The Magician’s work that’s not necessarily present in The Fool.

The Fool is Divinity in the first yocto-second of Reality, spinning there in the still largely featureless Void, and just starting to realize that It, Itself, exists.

The Magician is that same Divinity the merest fraction of an instant later when It says with great Authority, “Let There Be Light,” and as a result of that effort of Will…there is Light.

It’s highly common practice in Tarot – across a huge percentage of decks, and definitely across the Big Three decks we’ve been treating with the greatest emphasis here – to portray The Magician as a skilled practitioner who has each of the four Tarot Suit icons at hand, ready for immediate use. This is meant to indicate that The Magician is equally masterful with any of the tools and avenues that lead into Magic, be it the Wands and Fire, the Cups and Water, the Swords and Air, or the Discs/Coins/Pentacles and Earth.

Think about this: as sublimely skillful as the Queens and Kings of Tarot may be, each is expert only with the business of their own respective Suits (for example, the King of Wands is a ninja warrior when it comes to the use of Wands and Fire, but he might not be much slicker than you or me when it comes to, say, Water-centric Cups affairs). The Magician, though, is laboring under no such limits. The Magician is incredibly versatile, then, is part of the message.

[Sidenote: in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, each of the Aces features a mysterious hand thrusting into the card’s scene from some other location or some other plane of Reality, and delivering the icon of that Suit into the card – I firmly believe that each of these hands belongs to The Magician, who has fully energized the Suit icons, and is now embedding each one into its proper layer of Existence so that the rest of their Suits can grow from them, like lush fruit-bearing trees sprouting upward from fertilized seeds…]

But aside from saying, “The Magician can do Magic” – which is certainly valid and on-point as far as it goes – what other meanings can you wring from this card in a practical, applicable, real world sense when it appears in a reading…?

On the downside, when The Magician is surrounded by more negative cards and energies, or even when the card just feels darker and more ominous for you, The Magician can signify things like shadiness and slipperiness, the con artist ready to prey upon the unwary…the silver-tongued huckster who can bind you in a web of smooth lies…a self-interested party not bounded by emotional ties or much of a relationship with things like ethics and morals…the possibility that things will fall in line with the will of the most powerful rather than with what’s actually good and fair…a focus on dazzling style rather than helpful substance.

But then on the plus side, when The Magician is operating at higher frequencies, this card can represent excellent communication, a clearer sense of focus, a sharpening of skills, adaptability, a flair for languages, an incoming rush of information or knowledge, heightened powers of persuasion, and the ability to actually reach out and edit the world outside exactly as a writer might modify a block of text.

The Magician says that all the Magic you will know, you may indeed have to make yourself…but during Magician-phases, you will absolutely be able to do just that.

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