Whether you’re new to tarot or have been reading for a while, here’s some tarot interpretations and meanings for the Magician card.
In this post, we’ll look at:
- Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Magician – Upright
- Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Magician – Reversed
Let’s begin with the symbolism and interpretation of the Magician card.
Interpretation of The Magician Card
In the tarot’s major arcana, the Magician is numbered as 1.
If you notice, the number 1 is similar to the pronoun “I” – representing the self.
The Magician is a representation of the “self”, the “ego” and is the creator of his own reality – what he thinks, he manifests.
The Magician knows how to wield his resources together, to take bits and pieces of what he knows and has gathered, to create something tangible, usable and real.
This is different from the sense of creation that the Empress embodies which is creating life or something out of love and beauty.
The Magician creates from the mind and intellect, from resources and knowledge.
The Magician is sometimes seen when you have everything you need in front of you; you just have to apply what you’ve learned and what you know in order to put it all together.
When you see the Magician in those instances, look no further for extra materials or resources.
You’ll have to MacGyver your way out of the situation.
The Magician is cunning and swift, a sharp-thinker and is very observant.
Think of illusionists who play tricks of the eye on spectators with slight-of-hand illusions.
The Magician can be someone who’s a smooth talker or fast talker, often associated with sales men who know the tricks to linguistics and manipulation to seal a deal.
These tricks don’t have to always be seen as the work of con artists, but can work in your favour when trying to make delicate negotiations or to get someone to favour what you’re proposing.
In the Rider Waite Smith version of the Magician, he has a cup, sword, wand and pentacle on the table before him.
Each representing the elements found in the tarot are seen in the Magician card:
- Cup = Water
- Sword = Air
- Wand = Fire
- Pentacle = Earth
The Magician knows how to use each of these elements separately and combined.
He knows which one of them work together harmoniously and which ones don’t.
The four elements of water, air, fire and earth are considered the basic elements for life in alchemy.
The Magician speaks to us as we learn to create alchemy in our own lives.
Through the energy of the Magician, we learn what elements fit together, what elements don’t and how to blend and manifest our own reality.
The Magician is also about intellect and communication – how you express yourself, your thoughts and ideas.
What you think and say, you create your reality.
You affect your reality with what you think and say.
What you hear from other people affects your thoughts, ideas, behaviour and your reality.
The Magician is quick-witted, sharp and intelligent – he’s a problem-solver with a keen eye for the minor details and ingredients of every situation.
When the Magician is reversed, there can be difficulties with the ego, the self, communication and thinking.
There could be an overinflated sense of self or the ego; or there could be weakness with self-identity and sense of self or ego.
There may be a lack of ideas or solutions to figuring out a situation or problem.
You might not know where to start on a project or idea.
Quick-wittedness and manipulation techniques could be used for ill and bad intentions.
Tricks of the trade or psychological/linguistic techniques could be used to swindle, cheat or scam instead of using the system to help others.
A smooth-talker or fast-talker may have ulterior motives.
As you’ll see, it should come as no surprise, that the planet Mercury is associated with the Magician.
Next we’ll look at Mercury’s connection with the Magician.
Astrology and The Magician Card
All the major and minor arcana cards are associated with the planets and signs.
The Magician is associated with Mercury which is the planet of intellect and communication.
We commonly hear about Mercury the most when he goes retrograde three to four times a year.
To get a better sense of Mercury retrograde and what it can mean to you, think of what the Magician card reversed means to you. (We’ll cover reversed meanings further in this post.)
If you understand a bit about astrology, you can use what you know about Mercury and connect it with the Magician card in your interpretations.
Mercury is a planet of communication, wit, knowledge, intelligence, writing/written communication, electronics, thoughts, ideas, and expression.
Thoughts and ideas are often pieced together from information, past memories, influences, things heard or seen, past experiences and then sorted and processed to formulate new ideas or thoughts.
One idea or thought can lead to another and another; share an idea with someone else and you get feedback, then you formulate and re-think and adjust, processing it and re-thinking.
The Magician is the embodiment of this internal alchemical process of inner and outer communication and thinking, to manifest and create our own reality.
‘Je pense, donc je.” (Cognito, ego sum. / “I think, therefore I am.”)
– René Descartes, “Discourse on Method” (1673)
When finding your own interpretations to the Magician card in a reading, you can use Mercury as a reference point.
Try to see if you can find similarities of the planet in your reading.
Numerology and The Magician Card
The Magician card is numbered 1 (one) which is seen as the beginning or start of everything.
The number one in numerology is viewed from a spiritual perspective as the number of creation.
It can be summed up as everything coming from / starting with one.
The Tao says:
“From the one comes two
From two comes three
From three come the ten thousand things.”
Then there is also this excerpt taken from an alchemy theory:
“One becomes two
Two becomes three
And out of the third comes the one as the fourth.”
– Axiom of Maria, a precept in alchemy
Everything starts from one.
One produces results which are seen after it unto perpetuity.
It is the primal force.
The number one, like the Magician, shows independence and individuality.
While zero (the Fool) is considered to contain nothing and everything simultaneous, it’s from one (the Magician) that everything becomes into form and reality.
The 1 (one) leads the way for more to come afterwards.
Although the number 1 (one) can be simple on its own and simplified, it allows for the potential of more complexities to come after it.
Keyword & Phrases Meanings of the Magician Card – Upright
- The self
- The ego
- Focus on a task/project to bring to reality, to manifest
- Communication skills
- “Know-how” knowledge
- Putting skills and knowledge to the test
- Will power
- Potential of the self and what you’re capable of
- Action – taking the next step in a plan or idea
- May prefer to work alone
- Understanding the mechanics of something, how it works
- Self-confidence / knowing your stuff
Keywords & Phrases Meanings of the Magician – Reversed
- Lack of understanding
- Lack of skill or know-how
- Egocentric / egomania (e.g. full of “it”)
- Too much confidence or lack of confidence
- Unsure what to do next
- Not knowing the mechanics of how something works
- Lack of self-awareness
- Unrealized or squandered potential
- Using skills or knowledge in a manipulative or harmful way
- Con artist, swindler or cheat
- Lack of communication
- Problem(s) without a solution known or to be found (so far) / may be in over your head or out of your expertise
- Lack of will power or too much will power (“damn or be damned – to get something done no matter what happens”)
Looking for tarot books? 25 Books about Tarot has book recommendations to help beginner and advanced readers on their tarot journey.
To follow this tarot series through all 78 cards, check out Learn Tarot.
Stacey & the Tarot Pugs
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