Hi again, out there! I hope your summer is treating you well! This week, we’re going to continue on talking about the Major Arcana with the next step in The Fool’s journey – represented by The Magician.
This is one of my favorite cards. If you remember our discussion about The Fool, then you’ll recall that the Fool represents our pure soul state in that time before we step into the physical world. Following in the journey of the Major Arcana, I suppose you could look at the Magician as the link between that blank slate of the soul and moving towards the physical world. Associated with the planet Mercury and elemental Air, the Magician is about transforming the intangible into the tangible by taking the infinite part of us (our thoughts and ideas) and using the tools at our disposal for manifestation in the physical world.
In the Rider-Waite Deck, the Magician is numbered as 1, and depicts a person with their right hand to the sky and their left hand to the Earth. I think of this symbolism in two ways. Firstly, being a Jungian Astrologer, the image always conjures up thoughts on synchronicity and mirroring for me – think, “as above, as so below.” Also, this imagery supports the symbolism of taking something invisible and manifesting it into the physical world – i.e., creation.
There is an infinity symbol floating directly above the person’s head suggesting that the parts of us you can’t see, our thoughts, ideas, creativity, etc. is linked with the infinite nature of the source that is the beginning and end of everything. It speaks to the interconnectedness between everything that ever is, was, or will be. I’m not a religious person, but if you are, you may think of this as a “God.” For the purposes of the discussion here, I use the term “the source” because it’s inclusive for both religious and nonreligious people.
A table with a pentacle, a cup, a wand, and a sword upon it sits immediately in front of the Magician. If you remember the very first TarotBlog, we discussed that these are the 4 traditional suits of a tarot deck, and the following associations apply.
All of these materials on the table represent the “tools” that both we and the Magician use to bring our ideas and inspiration to fruition in the physical world.
When this card turns up in a reading – expect a surge of energy for getting things done!
When this card appears upright – I tend to think of it as a green light to get started on something. In the Magician, we’re deeply in a process of bringing something out into the world. In tarot and astrology, there are a lot of periods that suggest non-action and reflection - we all love Mercury Retrograde…right? Ok, that was sarcasm, but seriously, this card does not signify that it’s a good time to sit around and think about doing things without acting on them.
When this card shows up, it’s telling the querent that they have all of the tools at their disposal, it’s a call to creative problem-solving and creation, and it’s most definitely a time to get to work.
I know I said this wasn’t really a card that embodied long periods of reflection. However, I do urge people to trust their instincts when this card is on the table. We and the Magician know, in our gut, what resources are available to us, and what is the correct thing to do. We just have to listen and not let fear stop us from manifesting what we know we can create. So, rather than spending time pontificating on something – this card says, “Trust your gut. Use your tools. Act.”
The reversal on this card typically signifies one of three things to me when it turns up in a reading. We just talked about listening to our instincts when we see the Magician upright. When it shows up reversed, we’re talking about action that is overly self-serving and not necessarily following out intuition or serving causes bigger than ourselves – it’s manifestation for pure personal gain rather than the good of the collective. We’re a part of the collective. When we manifest things that are in the best interest of the community, it benefits us as well. When this card shows up reversed, it's indicating that someone isn’t using the highest version of themselves to get things done – think manipulation, deception, avarice, etc.
The second, very simple, interpretation that comes with the Magician’s reversal is creative blocks. These blocks can be for any number of reasons or internal/external factors, but the idea here is that energy is just not flowing towards manifestation and creation.
Lastly, this reversal can also signify that the querent isn’t using the tools at their disposal to get something done, or that they are ignoring their natural skills and abilities in a given situation. The upright Magician tells us we have all the tools at our fingertips. Reversal warns of the struggle that can occur when ignoring those implements at our disposal. Really, in this interpretation, the reversal is trying to show you how to work smart, not hard. In other words, you can build a house without a hammer, but it’s gonna take you along time. So, use the hammer.