A youthful figure in the robe of a magician, having the countenance of divine Apollo, with smile of confidence and shining eyes. Above his head is the mysterious sign of the Holy Spirit, the sign of life, like an endless cord, forming the figure 8 in a horizontal position . About his waist is a serpent-cincture, the serpent appearing to devour its own tail. This is familiar to most as a conventional symbol of eternity, but here it indicates more especially the eternity of attainment in the spirit. In the Magician’s right hand is a wand raised towards heaven, while the left hand is pointing to the earth. This dual sign is known in very high grades of the Instituted Mysteries; it shews the descent of grace, virtue and light, drawn from things above and derived to things below. The suggestion throughout is therefore the possession and communication of the Powers and Gifts of the Spirit. On the table in front of the Magician are the symbols of the four Tarot suits, signifying the elements of natural life, which lie like counters before the adept, and he adapts them as he wills. Beneath are roses and lilies, the flos campi and lilium convallium, changed into garden flowers, to shew the culture of aspiration. This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God, the will in the liberation of its union with that which is above. It is also the unity of individual being on all planes, and in a very high sense it is thought, in the fixation thereof. With further reference to what I have called the sign of life and its connexion with the number 8, it may be remembered that Christian Gnosticism speaks of rebirth in Christ as a change “unto the Ogdoad.” The mystic number is termed Jerusalem above, the Land flowing with Milk and Honey, the Holy Spirit and the Land of the Lord. According to Martinism, 8 is the number of Christ.
Divinatory Meanings of The Magician
Skill, diplomacy, address, subtlety; sickness, pain, loss, disaster, snares of enemies; self-confidence, will; the Querent, if male.
Physician, Magus, mental disease, disgrace, disquiet.
Infirmity. Trouble, Sadness, Anguish, Evil, Displeasure. Harm, Pain, Misfortune, Disaster.
Mental Illness, Head Injury, Unfortunate Situation, Disgrace, Trouble, Anxiety, Affliction. Physician, Magician.
Thierens: I. Aries.
The first sign or house in the Zodiac is the first step in the direction of Manifestation, and Aries is the High Priest as well as Avidya or Ignorance, standing before, e.g. above cognition. Potency and power are its attributes, because all and everything is immanent in this stage of Beginning. Power abstract, undeveloped, simple, but for that reason mightier than every detail or phenomenon, and the master of Nature. The ultra-positive, the very superior, and in the lower human sense the ultra-egotistical. Like the first note of a composition in music, it determines the tone and gives the key. From the First spring the Four, and so the symbols of the Four Elements appear on the table of the Magician, though his action, as far as action goes in this card and principle, exists in potency only and is indicated consequently in the wand in his right hand. In his superior abstractness he is eternal in relation to the phenomenal world, which is indicated by the symbols of Eternity above his head, the lemnescate, and around his waist, the serpent.
1. Le Bateleur – Paul Foster Case
“Bateleur” means “juggler,” or prestidigitator.” Thus the name given to this trump in the exoteric Tarot refers to the lower aspects of Mercury. Here is a symbol of manual dexterity, like that suggested by the rulership of Mercury in Gemini. The mountebank who surprises yokels by his sleight-of hand, the trickster in the commercial world, the subtle deceiver – these are the lower meanings of the card. That Manly Hall accepts the attribution of this Key to Mercury is sufficiently clear from his having had the caduceus, or wand of Mercury, put in the Juggler’s left hand. The sceptre, cup, sword and coins on the table are the emblems of the Tarot suits, the things which the Juggler plays with. And if we remember that the minor trumps of the Tarot are all related to definite time-periods, we shall understand something of importance here. For Mercury is also the personification of the self-conscious mind. He is the Thoth of the Egyptians, and in Egyptian symbolism he was sometimes represented as a dog. Thus the Juggler is the dog who bites the Fool’s leg in the preceding Key. He feeds on the movement, or motive power of the Spirit, on the motion principle of the sky. The secret of his magic power is that he can make suitable combinations of time elements.
Le Bateleur – dignified
Skill, adaptation, constructive power, initiative, subtlety.
Le Bateleur ill-dignified
Craft, the power of sense-illusion, lying, deception, cunning.
I. – THE MAGICIAN
“Man” Superman. The Initiate. The Occultist. Higher consciousness. Human Logos. The kabalistic “Adam Kadmon”. Humanity. “Homo Sapiens”.