I wanted to spend a little extra time with the Thoth Tarot‘s Magician. The Thoth deck is known for its extremely esoteric imagery, and is designed to be a tool that the initiate slowly unlocks the meaning of.
As a result, there are lots of hidden things within the cards. I personally am not as adept as I’d like to be on the matter, and so I only cover the basics. However, I do want to be a little more detailed when it comes to the Magician.
Some publications of the Thoth Tarot contain not one, but three different Magi in the deck.
There were three different version of the Magician painted by Lady Frieda Harris under Crowley’s instruction, though the middle on pictured above was the one that was approved.
All three Magi have the same symbolism, just arranged differently.
In the first two, the Magus on the left and the middle Magus, at the top there is a circle with wings. A scroll and wand float near by. Below the winged orb is a figure with two crowned snakes coming from behind the figure’s head. The snakes and winged orb make up the caduceus.
The figure in the first card is gold and purple, with winged feet. Below the figure is a gold and purple monkey. On the left side of the are floating flames, above the figure’s right hand, while above their other hand is a floating cup. below the arm on the left side of the card is a disk, and below the arm on the right side of the card is a sword. The background is a vertical mirroring of blue and indigo spirals.
The middle image, the one chosen by Crowley for the deck’s release, has a figure looking as though he is standing on a pedestal, though the pole beneath his winged feet is that of the Caduceus. On the left side of the card float a wand, flames and a disk, while on the right side of the card floats a winged egg, a cup, a sword, and a monkey, reaching up to the figure. The background is made up of straight lines at different angles, with varying hues of blue and indigo. The figure and images themselves are a very yellow gold.
At the top of the far right figure is a gold Lemniscate. There are no snakes that come from this figure, but instead there are four sets of arms from the figure’s shoulders. Each arm holds an object: the top two holding a cup and a bolt of lightning; the second holding an wand and scroll; the third pair holding a pen with a fish at the top and a winged egg; the bottom pair of hands holding a sword and a disk. Coming from the feet of the figure is a caduceus. Behind the image is the outline of a monkey, its eyes centering at the crossing point of the lemniscate. The background is blue while the figure and all the objects are gold. The figure’s sandles have wings coming from them.
Using the Trio
In more recent publication, all three cards have been used in the deck. My first Thoth deck only had the one Magician, and was the larger deck. However, the deck I currently use is the smaller deck, which ame with all three.
There are a few ways to consider using these cards.
- Ask the cards how they want to be associated
- Pick your favorite and use the other two as altar pieces or magickal work (I’m sure neither Crowley nor Lady Frieda would be offended at that choice)
- Consider each one to represent a different aspect of the mind
- Your choice
At the end of the day, they are your cards, and you can do with them what you’d like. One can represent ego, while the other represents spirit and the other represents mind. On cane represent the external, the internal, and the meeting of the two.
I once read somewhere that each of the cards represented a different esoteric tradition, though I can neither remember where I read it, nor remember what the traditions were (I think It was Greek and Egyptian, then I don’t remember the final one). Likewise, I don’t recall how valid the claim was because I can’t remember the author.
I suggest spending time with them, meditating on them, with them, and see what you discover about your relationship with the cards.
How do you use these three? Do you use all of them or only one? What have you learned about the Thoth Tarot and the Magus?