The Magician

Desire into Manifestation

"A Magus cannot be ignorant, for magic implies superiority, mastership, majority, and majority signifies emancipation by knowledge.  The Magus welcomes pleasure, accepts wealth, deserves honor, but is never the slave of one of them; he knows how to be poor, to abstain, and to suffer;  he endures oblivion willingly because he is lord of his own happiness, and expects or fears nothing from the caprice of fortune.  He regrets nothing which must end, but remembers satisfaction that he has met with good in all."
-Arthur Edward Waite, The Mysteries of Magic, A Digest of the Writings of Eliphas Levi, 1886

Alexander Daniloff, Tarot by Alexander Daniloff, Russia/Italy, 2010
Daniloff's specialty is tarot showcasing medieval symbolism.

The Magician is the first key associated with the Major Arcana.  The Element of the Magician is Air and the Planet is Mercury

Qualities of the Magician are Determination, Skill, Focus, and Manifestation.  Alternate names for the Magician are The Juggler, The Wizard, The Cups Plater, the Mountebank, The Magus and The Paghead.  Symbols are The Wand, The Altar, Tools and the Infinity Sign. 

In German The Magician is called Der Magier and Der Gaukler.  In French, Le Bateleur, Le Joueur de Gobelets, and Le Mage.  And in Italian, Il Bagatto, L'Artigiano, Il Giocoliere, and Il Mago.


Typically shown positioned behind an altar or table, one hand pointed to the sky, the other to the group, represents as above, so below, the symbolic connection to the earth and the sky, the outer world and the inner consciousness.  The Magician serves as a conduit and connection between the two.  His raised hand is sometimes shown holding a gold chalice or wand, and at times, a gold band encircles his head.  Atop the altar, his tools are laid out in an orderly way.  In most Tarot decks, the tools are what represent the four suits (Cups, Pentacles, Wands, Swords), reflecting both the four directions and the four elements:  air, fire, earth and water.  Loaves of bread and a white dish also occasionally make an appearance on the altar.  The card also features the archetypal symbol of infinity, the Ouroboros, often depicted as a serpent devouring its own tail, represents both eternity and transmutation.  


The Magician is willpower and pure, single-minded determination.  Harnessing the power of both the spirit and material realm, he can transform, transmute, and bring about change through a variety of means, using the infinite tools at his disposal.  He is fueled by creative purpose, achieving his desires through focused alchemy.  He is potent, powerful, able totap into the universal force, uniting mind and body, to manifest his goals.  He is imaginative, masterful, unifying thought and emotion to see tasks through the completion and fruition.  The Magician is potential realized, action as it evolves into manifestation.  

Domenico Balbi, Tarot Balbi, Italy, 1976
Inspired by esoterica and occult subjects, artworks by this Italian artist blend Kabbalistic, astrological and alchemical symbolism.