Tarot Tales: The Magician

The Magician, or Magus, represents potential and capability. It’s card one in the Major Arcana, and the first card the Fool ‘meets’ on their journey. This is a card of manifestation, and realising the tools you already have.

In the Rider Waite Smith deck, the Magician is standing at a table with the four natural elements. A pentacle (earth), a sword (air), a wand (fire) and a chalice (water) are all gathered on the table – these are the building blocks of any creative process, and symbolise having all the tools you need to get started. There’s an infinity symbol above his head, which shows his ‘endless’ potential. One hand is pointing up to the spiritual realm, and one is pointing down to the material realm. Right now, the entire world is the Magician’s oyster.

But what world will he choose to make?

In the Thoth deck, this card is named The Magus. This is a younger man, someone who’s becoming a true master of destiny. He’s risen from the earthly realm, and is ‘balancing’ on top of the subconscious. The Magus is the Greek psychopomp, Hermes (or Mercury). With winged feet, he can travel between realms, both bringing gifts and returning with them, and ultimately manifesting by this will alone. He’s full of energy!

The Magician is a master of communication and persuasion. This is all about using what you have (and if you don’t have it, then manifest it!) to shape the world around you. This energy encourages us to fully tap into creativity and self-expression. To genuinely believe in our abilities. To change energy and ideas, into actions and outcomes. He’s an alchemist.

The Magician Reversed

The Magician always has a warning, whether it’s upright or reversed. Yes, this is great potential and power. But it also asks for ethical conduct and integrity. The Magician’s energy always has the potential for manipulation, deception, or misuse of power if it’s not wielded responsibly. So stay true to your values and principles, and operate from a place of honesty. 

On a practical level, the reversed Magician can reflect inaction – maybe you know what you want, but you’re not taking action yet? Perhaps you’re worried you don’t have all your ducks in a row before you start? 

It represents our innate ability to build things. It’s no mistake this card comes after the Fool, that naive innocent who’s taken a leap of faith. Sometimes that leap can make us wobbly, or bring doubt. The Magician is an ally, saying ‘Hey – you know what you want. You have what you need. Let’s do this, and let’s do it responsibly.’

Within each of us, lies huge potential. A small rock thrown into a lake creates ripples for miles. The Magician is here to show us how our own ripples can transform the world. This is when your words turn into action. You have the skills. You have the knowledge. 

Let’s do this!

Journal & Reflection Prompts: The Magician

Think about the qualities of the Magician and the Magus, as shown above
How do you see yourself embodying these qualities, in your everyday life? What could work, or not work? Why?

Reflect on the tools and resources you have right now.
How can these help you manifest your goals and intentions? What do you feel you still need (and do you truly need it)?

Think about why you may not have ‘started’ on something just yet.
What new opportunities or creative endeavours could the Magician inspire?

The Magician is a master of their own surroundings.
In what ways do you feel empowered or in control of your own destiny? And if not, what can you change?

Polly is a practicing witch who primarily works with Persephone, Brigid and the Cailleach. She's the High Priestess expert on seasonal Australian practice and archetypal symbolism, and is a teacher at Witch School.