Basic Card Symbols
Red & White coloring, the lemniscate (infinity symbol), a small wand, a table displaying a chalice, a pentacle, a staff (wand) and a sword.
Basic Tarot Story
Traveling on his way, the Fool first encounters a Magician. Skillful, self-confident, a powerful magus with the infinite as a halo floating above his head, the Magician mesmerizes the Fool. When asked, the Fool gives over his bundled pack and stick to the Magician. Raising his wand to heaven, pointing his finger to Earth, the Magician calls on all powers; magically, the cloth of the pack unfolds upon the table, revealing its contents. And to the Fool's eyes it is as if the Magician has created the future with a word. There are all the possibilities laid out, all the directions he can take. The cool, airy Sword of intellect and communication, the fiery Wand of spirituality and ambition, the overflowing Chalice of Love and emotions, the solid Pentacle of work, possessions and body. With these tools, the Fool can create anything, make anything of his life. But here's the question, did the Magician create the tools, or were they already in the pack? Only the Magician knows - and on this mystery, our eloquent mage refuses to say a word.
Basic Tarot Meaning
At #1, the Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud ("And God said 'Let there be Light!' and there was Light"). Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand (Mercury *was* the god of thieves!) and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil. The 4 suits laid out before him remind us of the 4 aces, which in the Tarot symbolize the raw, undeveloped, undirected power of each suit. When the Magician appears, he reveals these to you. The reader might well interpet this card as telling the querent that they will be given a vision, an idea, a magical, mental image of whatever it is they most want: the solution to a problem, an ambitious career, a love life, a job.
If any card in the Tarot is the Tarot, it is the Magician. He's one of the most recognizable cards, always a favorite. He's also the only card in the Majors that refers to the minors with the "trumps" displayed upon his table. If the reader believes the Magician stands for the Querent, then the Querent either is, or is currently finding himself eleoquent and charismatic at this time. Both verbally and in writing, he is clever, witty, inventive and persuasive. People listen and agree with him. He also has an interest in science. He might be, in fact, a doctor or scientist or inventor.
Standing for someone other than the querent, the Magician could be a skillful doctor, scientist, inventor lecturer, salesman, or con-man. It's important to remember that the Magician can as easily be clever as skilful, a trickster as well as a magician. This is someone with a magnetic personality, someone who can convince people of almost anything. For better or worse, his words are magic.
Most importantly, the Magician card stands for the "reveal" - as in a magic trick. The handkerchief is draped over an empty box, the Magician waves his wand, *presto!*--now there is a dove in the box. The Magician card does the same for the Querent--only what it reveals is not birds or rabbits but NEW ideas. Emphasis on NEW. When the Magician card appears, the Querent is likely to say: "Now there's an idea! Why didn't I think of that before?" Truth is, the Querent had that idea in his head all along. The Magician merely revealed it to him. But what will the Querent do with this idea? That's a question for the next card....