This is the third installment of the Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first two installments in the following links:
Now that we’ve taken the time to observe the imagery in the Magician and meditate with the card to develop our own understanding from our experience, it’s time to delve into some of the correspondences, such as the element and the number.
The Magician corresponds to the planet Mercury, and the themes of Mercury can be seen in many of the depictions from Monday—the winged boots and the caduceus being key features.
Mercury represents communication as he was the messenger god. There is a speed to him, and what’s more, he brought communication from higher powers.
The Magician also corresponds to Virgo, as Mercury rules over Virgo. Virgo is the sign of the virgin, and thus this sign is meant to have a more spiritual aspect because of its purity. Virgo is also an Earth Element, even though Mercury is Air. Mercury also rules over Gemini, which has been called the trickster sign in the past, and in the traditional Tarot de Marseille, the Magician was often called the Trickster.
One could say that the Magician represents all of the elements. After all, each representation of each suit, thus element, is presented on the table before the figure. However, it is actually Air that corresponds to the Magician. I personally view the Magician as Earth.
Consider the Pentacles. If you recall from last week, the Pentacle is a five-pointed star, each point representing a different element in the suits and then the top point representing Spirit, the conglomeration of all of the elements. This brings the elements to the next step in the cycle, and elevates them. It is, essentially, that which manifests the elements into the physical realm.
And that is what the Magician does: he manifests using the tools of the suits before him.
While Water and Air and Fire are energetic, and difficult to catch hold of, Earth is tangible, holdable, and is the solidifying of the energies in the tangible, holdable world. It is through the Actionable energy of Fire, the Intellectual energy of Air, and the Emotional energy of Water that we can bring our Will into the real world, to make manifest. You need the drive, the know-how, and the love of what you are doing to be able to achieve it and bring it to fruition.
However, as I said, the actual element of the Magician is Air, which is completely understandable as Mercury is the Magician, the winged god who brought messages, and represents clear thinking. The Magician is a card of the mind, as in order to manifest, a clear picture of the desired outcome, and a solid plan must be in place.
This is a card of swift ideas, of bringing that which resides in the mind into the physical world. The stance of the Magician has one arm raised, pointing to the heavens while the other points to the ground, which is the representation of ‘As above, so below.’ Considering Mercury to be a god communication, a bringer of messages of the higher thought, then the element of Air makes perfect sense for the Magician.
The Magician corresponds to the number 1. This has to do with several things: Obviously it’s the first card in the Major Arcana, the first figure that the Fool comes across. 1 represents beginnings, and it is the starting point of creation.
1 is the first mark that is made, the place from which all else follows. Once another point is made then there can be a line (2), and then a third point makes a shape (3). But neither of those are possible without the first point. Thus, 1 is the initial stepping stone of action.
Mercury is also the first planet in the Zodiac, which also brings forth the power of 1. The first house in the Zodiac represents the Self. This is the sense of discovering what is within, what it is that makes you, you, and how you operate. Thus, this card, while that of manifestation, is also a card of Self-knowledge.
I think that when it comes to deciding the element of the Magician, that is up to you to discover what it means to you. I waffle back and forth between Air and Earth, though the consensus is that the element is Air, communication, messages, intellect.
The number 1 corresponds to Mercury, but that also of self, which is all the more reason for you to meditate on the Magician, and discover it’s association for yourself.
The Decks Used
The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.
Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’
Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.
Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.
Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.
The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.
Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.