The Magician

Alt names: The Magus
Keywords: Capability, empowerment, activity
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Range of meanings

Light: Taking appropriate action. Receiving guidance from a higher power. Becoming a channel of divine will. Expressing masculine energy in appropriate and constructive ways. Being yourself in every way.

Shadow: Inflating your own ego. Abusing talents. Manipulating or deceiving others. Being too aggressive. Using cheap illusions to dazzle others. Refusing to invest the time and effort needed to master your craft. Taking shortcuts.

Questions to ask

  1. Which approach takes best advantage of both your masculine and feminine perspectives?
  2. What am I empowered to do?
  3. What would you do if you weren't afraid of failing?
  4. How might my abilities come into play?
  5. To what extent am I making the most of my talents?
  6. Which tool do you need today?
  7. Would it help to try to channel some form of higher power?


Personal Growth: Asserting yourself can be an important step toward wholeness. When your work or life experience has given you special insights or talents, shrug off self-doubt and apply them fearlessly. Act confidently, and feelings of confidence will follow.

Work: Exercise whatever authority you have. With the right resources, you’ll succeed. But not everyone who appears empowered really is. With an eye toward growth, seek allies who focus on steak, not sizzle. Be a mentor … or find one. Deploy tools and resources against well-defined goals.

Relationships: A relationship should empower you. Does yours generate positive change in your life? Do you feel happier and more fulfilled? A relationship that supports your goals is to be valued; a relationship that doesn’t must be changed or cast aside.

Spirituality: If others were to see you and your life as an expression of the Divine, what would their impression of the Divine be? How can you improve that perception? How can you better dedicate yourself to being a channel for positive energy in the world?

Fortune-Telling: A powerful man may play a role in your day. Your current situation must be seen as one element of a much larger plan.


Astrological: Gemini

Planet: The Sun, Mercury

Hebrew: Beth/House/2

Archetype: The Ego/The Self

Religions: Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom, known to the Greeks as Hermes and to the Romans as Mercury. Christ working miracles. Brahma, the Creator.

Fool's Journey: Consciously or unconsciously, the main character receives or controls a resource that holds the key to the story’s primary challenge.

The Number 1: Origins, unity, seeds.

The Lemniscate: The ∞ sign. Symbolic of infinity and spiritual mastery, the lemniscate floats above the Magician’s head and the woman on the Strength card; some also see it reflected in the oddly shaped brim of the Marseilles’ Juggler’s hat. With the Magician it implies infinite potential, with Strength it implies infinite self-discipline.

Red Robe: Worn by the Magician, suggesting masculine empowerment.

Snake Belt: Worn by the Magician, fashioned like an oroborous, which is a snake swallowing its own tail. Suggests constant reinvention.

Magician's Tools: Very early decks depict the juggler with a wand, cups and balls, and a knife—tools of a common conjurer. Some later decks change these to a cup, a blade, a pentacle, and a wand, suggesting mastery over the four dimensions of life. Contemporary decks may use other symbols to suggest similar themes and additional alternatives for action.

Coins: One of the four suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called pentacles or diskc. Coins suggest health, wealth, practicality and physicality. Their domain extends beyond money and finance to all physical things, including the human body. Coins explore your attitude toward resources of all kinds: what you’ve been given, and what you do with it. In RWS-influenced decks, Coins are often called Pentacles. A pentacle’s design (with the upright star in the middle that represents the human body) reminds us that physical blessings, from possessions to our bodies, are to be used for higher purposes. In your own life, how often do you focus on 'the star in the coin'?

Cups: One of the 4 suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called vessels, or chalices. Represents intuition, spirituality, affection, and motivation. As a suit marker, Cups suggest receptivity: they are vessels, waiting to be filled. Cups have long been associated with divination (remember the uproar caused when Benjamin stole King Joseph’s cup?) and, by extension, intuition.

Wands: One of the four suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called rods, staves, or staffs. Represents desire, inspiration, vision, creation, and invention. Many decks depict budding Wands, suggesting the potential for growth. As a suit marker, Wands suggest the power and potency of a king’s scepter. When a Magician wants something to happen, he waves his magic wand to make his intentions manifest.

Swords: One of the four suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called blades, knives or athames. Represents logic, objectivity, intellect, and choice. Along with the responsibility such talents bring. Swords suggest logic, clarity, and decision-making. Remember the story of wise King Solomon, who once offered to slice a baby in half in order to resolve a dispute over motherhood? Swords cut through confusion, revealing our agendas in the process.

Content generously licensed from Mark McElroy via