The Magician

The Magician

Divinatory Meanings

Skill, diplomacy, address, subtlety; sickness, pain, loss, disaster, snares of enemies; self-confidence, will; the Querent, if male.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Physician, Magus, mental disease, disgrace, disquiet.

Inner Symbolism

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.


1. The Magus, Magician, or juggler, the caster of the dice and mountebank, in the world of vulgar trickery. This is the colportage interpretation, and it has the same correspondence with the real symbolical meaning that the use of the Tarot in fortune-telling has with its mystic construction according to the secret science of symbolism. I should add that many independent students of the subject, following their own lights, have produced individual sequences of meaning in respect of the Trumps Major, and their lights are sometimes suggestive, but they are not the true lights. For example, Éliphas Lévi says that the Magus signifies that unity which is the mother of numbers; others say that it is the Divine Unity; and one of the latest French commentators considers that in its general sense it is the will.

The Magician

Divinatory Meanings

The Juggler - Will, Will-Power, Dexterity.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Will applied to evil ends, Weakness of Will, Cunning, Knavishness.

Symbolism of the Keys

The Juggler or Magician - Before a table covered with the appliances of his art stands the figure of a juggler, one hand upraised holding a wand (in some packs, a cup), the other pointing downwards. He wears a cap of maintenance like that of the kings, whose wide brim forms a sort of aureole round his head. His body and arms form the shape of the Hebrew letter Aleph, to which this card corresponds. He symbolises Will.

The Magician

Description and Meaning

The first sign or house in the Zodiac is the first step in the direction of Manifestation, and Aries is the High Priest as well as Avidya or Ignorance, standing before, c.q. above cognition. Potency and power are its attributes, because all and everything is immanent in this stage of Beginning. Power abstract, undeveloped, simple, but for that reason mightier than every detail or phenomenon, and the master of Nature. The ultra-positive, the very superior, and in the lower human sense the ultra-egotistical. Like the first note of a composition in music, it determines the tone and gives the key. From the First spring the Four, and so the symbols of the Four Elements appear on the table of the Magician, though his action, as far as action goes in this card and principle, exists in potency only and is indicated consequently in the wand in his right hand. In his superior abstractness he is eternal in relation to the phenomenal world, which is indicated by the symbols of Eternity above his head, the lemnescate, and around his waist, the serpent.

Waite: "This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God, the will in the liberation of its union with that which is above."

Mathers: "He symbolises Will."--This is exactly Aries.

Papus: "The Unity principle, the origin of which is impenetrable to human conceptions, is placed at the beginning of all things." His upright attitude indicates "the will that is going to proceed into action."

The First house or Ascendant gives the key-note of the physical self, reflection of the Higher Self, and thus in the practice of divination the Magician denotes the consultant, personally. In every figuration of cards it is further the 'beginning' and initiative.

As far as we may ascribe siderial meanings to the cards of the Greater Arcana, the Magician should rule the month of Aries, i.e. from the 21 March to 20 April. It appears gravely doubtful, however, if this may be considered to determinate incidental occurrences in time. It will certainly relate to properties of the sign Aries in general and in particular and consequently owned by people born between those dates. But for the rest definition of time, date or hour must be sought in the cards of the Lesser Arcana, as far as we know.

Astrological Correspondence


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