The Magician

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The Magician (Ⅰ)
Type Major Arcana
Position 1 (Ⅰ)
Letter bet ב
Color Yellow
Direction Above
Astrology [[astrological sign::Mercury]]
Note E

The Magician is the first of the Major Arcana of Tarot.


Rider Waite deck

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, the Lemniscate (this only appears elsewhere above Strength). 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.

The bower above him represents the passion and protection of love, repeated in the Queen of Pentacles. It shows his work originates from Love.

Upright Meaning

Upright, the Magician represents creativity, new ventures, and the successful manifestation of desires and goals. It's a good omen for specific wishes or new projects, and suggests that the subject should act consciously and keep focused and committed toward one thing. Distractions should be eliminated.[1]

Reversed Meaning

Reversed, the Magician represents greed, deceit, manipulation, and using skills for negative ends. It can also mean trickery, untrustworthiness, and confusion - a stereotypical cars salesman, using charm and manipulative ability to confuse one into buying into an idea. The reversed Magician suggests one is out of touch with reality, and that one's true potential isn't being realized. Additionally, one may have a skill that could help one's spiritual journey that isn't being used, and often indicates a need to focus within.[1]


  • Links Kether to Binah as path number 12 of the Tree of Life
  • Yetziratic Intelligence - the Transparent intelligence
  • Infinity symbol also over the head of the figure on Strength.
  • Organic Time - The Big Bang The exnihiliation of the universe. In Time, You initiate Change.

See also

External Links


  • Waite, A.E. (1911) The Pictoral Key to the Tarot: Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition Under the Veil of Divination. London: Rider.