The Magician – The Trickster

The Magician The trickster, charlatan, quick speaking, grifter. He uses all the skills at his disposal to master a situation. Intelligent, capable and gifted he uses the tools at his disposal to master his reality. 

And God, said ‘Let there be light’

Concept of Logos : Greek: (“word,” “reason,” or “plan”) plural logoi, in Greek philosophy and theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.

The Magician represents the word spoken the causes creation to come into existence. The Fool might represent the void and infinite potential. But The Magician is the first action – the decisive word, act or idea that sets a fate in motion. He speaks and a universe comes into existence.

He says I am 

He lays claim to his destiny through sacred words known only to him and other sages. He is a creator, the divine architect enacting his vision, he shapes and bends reality according to his skill and knowledge.

The Fool is our innocent wandering in life. The Magician is our decision to turn one way or another, to mould or shape ourselves by choosing this or that direction. He moves with determination, drawing from his knowledge. He barters, bargains – sometimes even thieves if he needs something. He is delightful at times and untrustworthy at others. Above all things, his goal must be attained.

He is cleverness and intellect, bright and sharp. He brings news but tells it in the way that suits him most. Both a liar and truth-teller, he manipulates and manages others through skilful use of words and display of knowledge unknown or poorly understood by others. Catch his sleight of hand, or you might be taken for a ride too!

The Magician is entertaining, engaging and curious. But he is quite solitary, he can even be mercenary in how he relates to others. At times unethical, amoral, concerned only with the knowledge, with the goal – his weakness is his coldness – a lack of regard for the subjective experiences of others.

He is intelligence, ideas and ambition. He says, I am. I will have. I will become. 

The Magician represents you as you commence your journey into the world, curious, with some knowledge and skills to tackle the challenges that face you. The whole tarot is given to the Magician – and the mysteries of the cards depend upon his skilled interpretation. The Magician is the guide at the Crossroads. He is our will power directed towards one action instead of another. He helps us strategise and claim our destiny for ourselves – instead of simply stumbling into it as the Fool does.

The shadow side of the Magician 

He flickers and sparkles, beautiful and inspiring but he is also intangible. Words are illusions and we can be enchanted if we listen too often to his voice. He can be the wicked conscience – who provides clever reasons and justifications for eschewing your morals and ethics and getting what you want. He is slippery, he might technically tell you the truth, but you don’t hear it, you hear what he wants you to hear. The Magician can be a medicine man or a conman, you must look closely, don’t be distracted by his act – see what drives him and what he is really after. 

The Magician has all the ‘weapons’ of the tarot but moves between them; the Will (Wands), The Heart/Feeling (Cups), The Reason (Swords) Material Need/The Bodily Awareness (Disks) are but tools in his manipulations. This is not the magic of nature or witchcraft – but alchemy, science, imposing oneself upon the natural world, as if outside of it (the result being, wonderful relief from natural realities like illness and death; or the disastrous results of technology that destroy the Earth and risks like of all who live on her.) Hence, the ambivalence – the amorality – associated with this card. Look to the cards around The Magician to get an idea of whether he heralds good results or bad. 

Astrological symbol: Mercury

Number: 1 for The Magician; 8 for the association with Mercury.

Myths. Gods, persons & stories associated with the Magician:

– Hermes’ theft of the Cattle of the Sun

– Loki, Hermes, Mercury, Exu/Eshu, Thoth any and all threshold and gate keeping deities.

– All ‘magic men’ such as wizards; sages, clever and canny men.

– Heralds – bringers of news, they shape and define the news beyond the facts or mere information.

Key words

Communication, commerce, trickery, travel, intelligence, speech. Decision making, intelligence directed toward action. Cunning, manipulation, management of a situation or person.

Skilfulness, talent, you have the ability to impose your will in the reality and achieve your goal.

Carefully selecting the right tool for the job.

Beware of being tricked by one cleverer, more skilful or worldly than yourself

Decisiveness, clever speech, using intellectual approaches to prevail in your situation.

As a person or a psychological state 

Determined to achieve your goal, you strategise and move tactically. Having to lay emotions aside and overcome obstacles using wit, skill and charm.

A person who is fascinating, a little dangerous or mysterious, but callous and detached.

An intelligent, educated and skilful person, not the most sensitive but intellectual and inventive.

Minor Arcana associated with this card 

The King and Knight of Swords

The Ace of Swords

The 8 of Wands

The 8 of Cups

The 8 of Swords

The 8 of Coins/Disks

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