Tarot: The Magician

Tarot: The Magician

Tarot: The Magician

The Magician represents willpower in its purest form. They are an energetic craftsman and an artisan of the highest order. The Magician understands that any tool becomes magical when it is wielded with intention. This card represents the connecting force between the etheric and corporal realm. It is also a reminder not to misuse this power to humble or control those around us. A true magician practices their craft in order to improve their own life, and by extension, the lives of others.

The first card of the major arcana appears when it is time for you to set clear intentions in life. It’s time to put thought into action. This is an ideal time to create a crystal grid or a vision board. Use creative visualization, spellwork, or other tools that allow you to focus and consciously direct your energy. Call on the power of The Magician to begin manifesting the world you desire.

The Magician Reversed

The Magician reversed shows a lack of focus, willpower, or skill in manifesting your intentions. It indicates a time when you may be feeling powerless or unable to harness your inner potential. This card encourages self-reflection and the need to hone your skills before taking action. Reversed, the Magician advises you to align your thoughts, actions, and intentions to regain your power and effectively create the outcomes you desire, emphasizing the need for mastery and self-awareness.


“I am the master of my own reality, creating my own magic and manifesting my desires through the power of intention and action.”

Major Arcana Symbolism

Tarot Card NameThe Magician
Traditional Card ImageryA man and a table with objects on it
Traditional SymbolismMagic, willpower, the hermetic arts, the initiate, the occultist, applied knowledge, adaptation, higher consciousness, manifestation, silver-tongued, trickster, manipulation, changefulness, male querent
Card NumberI, 1
Classical ElementAir
Influencing ElementAether / Akasha
Traditional Upright MeaningCreativity, directing your will, action, constructive power, manifestation, skill, communication, technology, magic, creative visualization, initiative, work, self-confidence, eloquence, persuasion, subtlety, being resourceful, ability, concentration
Traditional Reversed MeaningDeception, communication blocks, trickery, abuse of power, a liar, creative stagnation, illusion, wasted talent, manipulation, a charlatan, ill intentions, being out of your depth, cunning
Archetype In NatureThe magician linking the earthly and the divine through the medium of human imagination
Astrological CorrespondenceMercury, Virgo, Gemini
Yes or NoYes
Crystals and StonesBurmese Sapphire, Light-colored Lapis Lazuli, Angelite, Blue Calcite, Sodalite, Azurite, Star Sapphire, Celestine, Dumortierite, Aquamarine, Blue Topaz, Rose Quartz, Blue Kyanite, Hawk’s Eye, Jeremejevite, Blue Pearl, Labradorite, Blue Lace Agate, Apatite, Blue Flash Moonstone, Sapphirine, Blue Spinel, Turquoise, Chrysocolla, Amazonite
The Magician

Tarot Through the Ages

Tarot was originally invented as a card game in the mid 15th century. French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette, also known as “Etteilla”, was the first to assign divinatory meanings to the cards in the late 1700s. Many others have followed in his footsteps, bringing their own unique interpretation of the cards. In our exploration of the Tarot, we weave together contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of the past. This blending of past and present perspectives offers a more holistic view, allowing us to connect with the evolving narrative and lineage of wisdom that has shaped our understanding of each card over time. Let’s dive into some of these historical interpretations…

Allegory of The Magician

I saw the Man. His figure reached from earth to heaven and was clad in a purple mantle. He stood deep in foliage and flowers and his head, on which was the head-band of an initiate, seemed to disappear mysteriously in infinity. Before him on a cube-shaped altar were four symbols of magic: the scepter, the cup, the sword and the pentacle. His right hand pointed to heaven, his left to earth.

Under his mantle he wore a white tunic girded with a serpent swallowing its tail. His face was luminous and serene, and, when his eyes met mine, I felt that he saw most intimate recesses of my soul. I saw myself reflected in him as in a mirror and in his eyes I seemed to look upon myself. And I heard a voice saying:

“Look, this is the Great Magician!”

With his hands he unites heaven and earth, and the four elements that form the world are controlled by him. The four symbols before him are the four letters of the name of God, the signs of the four elements, fire, water, air, and earth. I trembled before the depth of the mysteries I touched…

The words I heard seemed to be uttered by the Great Magician himself, and it was as though he spoke in me. I was in deep trepidation and at moments I felt there was nothing before me except the blue sky; but within me a window opened through which I could see unearthly things and hear unearthly words.

-The Symbolism of the Tarot by P.D. Ouspensky (1913)

The Magician (I)

The Magician (I)

The Magician card shows The Magus, Magician, or Juggler. This figure is sometimes referred to as the caster of the dice and mountebank, in the world of vulgar trickery. This is the symbolical meaning of Tarot according to the secret science of symbolism.

Many independent students of the subject, following their own interpretation, have created individual meanings related to the Trumps Major. Their opinions, although suggestive, are not the true interpretation. For example, Éliphas Lévi says that the Magus signifies that unity which is the mother of numbers. Others have said that it is the Divine Unity. One of the latest French commentators considers that this card, in its general sense, is the Will.

This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God. It is the Will, liberated by its union with the divine. It is also the unity of individual being on all planes, and in a very high sense it is thought itself. The sign of life is connected with the number 8. Christian Gnosticism speaks of rebirth in Christ as a change “unto the Ogdoad” (into the number 8). The mystic number is called 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.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

The Magician Card Imagery

The Magician Card shows a youthful figure in the robe of a magician, having the appearance of divine Apollo, with a confident smile and shining eyes. Above his head is the mysterious sign of the Holy Spirit. The sign of life, like an endless cord, forms the figure 8 in a horizontal position (infinity symbol). Around
his waist is a serpent-belt and serpent appears to devour its own tail. In this card image, the conventional symbol of eternity indicates represents 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 the highest levels of the Instituted Mysteries. It shows the descent of grace, virtue and light, drawn from things above and derived to things below. The suggestion throughout this card is the possession and exchanging of the Powers and Gifts of the Spirit.

On the table in front of the Magician are the symbols of the four Tarot suits. These symbols signify the elements of natural life. They lie like tools before the adept, and he uses these tools in a way that suits him. Beneath The Magician are roses and lilies, field flowers and lily of the valley. The garden flowers show the fertile ground of aspiration.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

The Magician Meaning

The Magician Meaning

The top of the figure is occupied by the divine sign of Universal Life placed upon the head of the Juggler (Also Known as The Magician). The bottom of the figure represents the Earth ornamented with the symbols of Nature. Lastly, the center of the card is occupied by the Man himself, placed behind a table covered with various objects.

On the right and left of the figure are the hands of the Juggler, one of them bent towards the Earth, the other raised towards Heaven. Man with one hand seeks for God in heaven, with the other he plunges below, to call up the demon to himself, and thus unites the divine and the diabolic in humanity. In this way the Tarot shows us the role of universal mediator.

The Juggler holds the wand of the Mage in the left hand, which he raises, and the other four great symbols of the Tarot are placed before him: The Cup, the Sword, the Pentacle. The four great symbols are placed upon the table at random and it is Man who rules them and must arrange them. God, Man, and the Universe are the three meanings of our first card.

-Modern Translation of The Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

Significations of The Magician

  • The Divine Creator = God, The Father, Osiris
  • The Receiver = Man
  • The Divine Transformer = The Active Universe, Natura Naturans

-Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

The Magician Card

The Magician Card

The Meaning of The Magician Card Throughout History

The Tarot deck is a beautiful synthesis of esoteric thought and archetypal imagery. The journey of the deck, shaped by the events and values of each era, has continued to evolve and take on new significance as it adapts to a larger cultural story. Often a tarot card will have a variety of names and meanings. Exploring the historical interpretations of each card will create a deeper understanding of this powerful method for divination and self-discovery.

Various Names for the Magician Card

Tarot de Marseille (1650)The Juggler
Court de Gébelin (1781)The Thimblerig / Bateleur
Etteilla (1783)Illness
Paul Christian (1870)The Magus
Golden Dawn (1888)The Magus of Power
Papus (1892)The Juggler
Rider-Waite (1910)The Magician
Thoth (1943)The Magus
The Magus of Power

Card I: The Juggler
(The 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 symbolizes Will.

Upright: Will, Will-Power, Dexterity
Reversed: Will applied to evil endsWeakness of Will, Cunning, Knavishness

-The Tarot by S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1888)

Support Independent Bookstores With These Tarot Selections

Bring the Wisdom of the Tarot Into Your Life

We have put together a collection of some of our favorite Tarot items. The deep symbolism of the Tarot can be used to access a wellspring of inner wisdom and guidance. This method of divination is also an incredible tool for accessing your own powerful intuition.

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

The Magician (I) - The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain
The Magician (I) – The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain

This guide by Arthur Edward Waite, the designer of the most widely known Tarot deck and distinguished scholar of the Kabbalah, is the essential Tarot reference. The pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the celebrated 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings. Contents describe symbols and secret tradition, ancient Celtic methods of divination, and wonderful illustrations of each Tarot card. This book is the perfect complement to old-style fortune telling and also serves to make the Tarot entirely accessible to modern-day readers. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot is the classic guide to the Rider-Waite deck and to Tarot symbolism in general.

Pre-Raphaelite Tarot

The Magician (I)– Pre-Raphaelite Tarot by Luigi Costa ©2019 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission
The Magician (I)– Pre-Raphaelite Tarot by Luigi Costa ©2019 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission

The vivid colors and medieval imagery of the Pre-Raphaelite movement makes for a tarot deck that is rich with a sense of mystery and romance. Luigi Costa has created a work of unsurpassed beauty and deep spiritual power. This deck, based on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith cards, is at once cryptic and insightful, the perfect combination of qualities for readers and collectors alike.

Harmonious Tarot

The Magician (I) - Harmonious Tarot by Walter Crane and Earnest Fitzpatrick © 2005 Lo Scarabeo srl. All rights reserved, used by permission
The Magician (I) – Harmonious Tarot by Walter Crane and Earnest Fitzpatrick © 2005 Lo Scarabeo srl. All rights reserved, used by permission

The mythical world of Lady Victoria Westwood will enchant you with it’s charming feel of a hand-painted tea cup or maidens fanning a goddess. The borders of the Harmonious Tarot show typical Victorian decorative flowers, and the backs are intense, mirrored mazes like rugs or wall hangings that are ideal as focal points for meditation and pathworking. It’s subtlety and whimsy makes this deck ideal to bring forth new insights and realizations. Like the Victorians, it’s depth is often more than is apparent on the surface.

How will you Harness The Transformative Power of The Tarot?

We invite you to walk into a cosmic narrative in which we are all a unique element in each other’s story. Humanity has long used sacred tools for awakening the soul and illuminating our path toward enlightenment. The Tarot is simply an instrument. These cards amplify your inner wisdom and empower your highest truth.

What aspects of The Tarot can serve you as you walk through your own Mystic Doorway?

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What you have read is only the beginning…

Mystic Doorway is always gaining new insight into the rich symbolism of Tarot. We are looking forward to sharing with you as we continue to expand our knowledge of this divinatory tool. Check back with us soon to see what we’ve added to our Library.