Basic Card Symbols
Red and 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.
To the Fool's eyes, it is as if the Magician has created the future with a word. All the possibilities are laid out, all the directions he can take: The cool, airy Sword of intellect and communication, the fiery Wand of passions 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 by willpower and desire. The lemniscate (infinity symbol) over his head indicates the energy of thought. Thus, he draws divine power down from the heavens into his white wand, molds it with that energy of thought, and makes it manifest on Earth (his finger pointing to the ground). This is that most ancient magic to make real whatever he imagines in his head merely by saying it aloud. ("And God said 'Let there be Light!' and there was Light").
Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is often represented by Mercury. Mercury is the planet and god of smooth talkers and salesmen. Also clever with the sleight 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 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 tarot reader might well interpret 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 major arcana that refers to the minors with the "trumps" displayed upon his table. One way to look at them is as ideas that the Magician is offering you.
Thus, the card is about getting an idea and finding a way to verbalize it. This is the first step toward making it a reality. Which is why the Magician can indicate a time when one is eloquent and charismatic, clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.
Keep in mind, however, that the Magician could be a trickster. If this card represents some magnetic person in the querent's life, they need to make sure that he's or she is a genuine magician, not a con man.
The card can also indicate an interest in certain careers or someone who is already in one of those careers: a scientist, inventor or medical professional. The card also relates to careers where speech and writing is of great importance: salesman, motivational speaker, storyteller, politician, commentator. This might be the querent himself, something the querent wants to be, or someone who was, is or will be in his life.
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 probably had that idea in his head all along. The Magician merely revealed it to him, allowed him to verbalize it and crystallize that idea. But what will the Querent do with this idea? That's a question for the next card....
Onto the next Tarot card, the High Priestess...
Back to the list of Tarot Card Meanings...
See examples of different Magician cards here.