1. The Magician
From the late 18th century until the present time, the mystics and occultists have found the uses of tarot cards in efforts of divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways. Like what have been mentioned before, tarot cards are separated into two; Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. Previously, we have learned an insight about the first Arcanum of the Major Arcana, the Fool (the Fool is also considered as the last Arcanum in the Major Arcana and is known as 22nd Arcanum). For the addition of information regarding tarot cards, one of the practitioners of divination by using tarot cards is Aleister Crowley, the inventor of the Thoth tarots.
Let's begin with the Arcanum that comes after the Fool. The Arcanum is known as the Magician, the first Arcanum. It is also known as the Magus or the Juggler (I). In France, the Magician is called Le Bateleur, the mountebank or the sleight of hand artist, a practitioner of stage magic. The Italian tradition calls him Il Bagatto or Il Bagatello, which has similar connotations to the French term according to old dictionaries. According to the Mantegna Tarocchi image that would seem to correspond with the Magician is labeled Artixano, the Artisan, he is the second lowest of the series, outranking only the Beggar (who corresponds with the Fool). Some renovations were made and the mountebank was turned into a magus. The first Arcanum was officially known as the Magician in Rider-Waite tarot deck, the tarot suit that was developed by A.E. Waite from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1910.
The Magician is commonly associated with action, initiative, self-confidence, manipulation and power (more specifically, the power to harness one's talent). In Rider-Waite deck, the Magician is portrayed in its suit as a youthful figure in the robe of a magician. Above his head is the mysterious sign of Holy Circle, the sign of life, like an endless cord, which forming the lemniscate of infinity. About his waist is a serpent-cincture or girdle (an ouroboros), the serpent that devours its own tail. The ouroboros is an ancient sign of eternity, eternal becoming, or transmutation and transformation, but in this case it indicates more especially the eternity of attainment in the spirit. In the Magician right hand is a wand that is pointed to the heaven or the sky while his left hand is pointing to the earth. This iconographic gesture has many meanings, but is endemic to the mysteries, symbolizing divine immanence, the ability of the magician to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. On the table in front of the Magician the symbols of four Minor Arcana which signify the classical elements of earth, air, fire and water. Beneath are roses and lilies, the flos campi and lilium convallium, changed into garden flowers to show the culture of aspiration.
In divination, when the Magician appears in the spread of the tarot cards, it points to the talents, capabilities and resources. Since the Magician can be interpreted as something that has to do with self-confidence and power, the message of divination that involves the usage of the Magician is to tap into one's full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to respond to transform something. There are choices and directions to take, parallel to the theme of the Fool's Journey when the Fool begins to make his first choice. Guidance can arrive through one's own intuition or in the form of someone who brings about the chance or transformation.
Somehow, the card also can mean the manipulator is floating around, usually if it's in reversed position in the spread. He may be a beneficent guide, but he does not necessarily have our best interests in mind. He may also represent the querent's ego or self-awareness. He can also represent the intoxication of power either it's good or bad. The reversed position of the Magician shows the dark side of the Arcanum. While the Magician represents someone with power, the reversed version of the Magician means someone misusing the power or not using the power in its full potential. The reversed form of the Magician can also be interpreted as someone who is ruthless. It still follows the basic means of the Magician, the initiative and self-confidence, but in darker and eviler form.
The Magician plays an important role in the Fool's Journey where it is the earliest level of the man in his journey to make his first decision. Some more choices may follow, but the first one sure is the most important. That's why the Fool's Journey is often associated with fiction where the protagonist is given a choice in the early stage of his journey. Once again, Star Wars is one of the triumphant examples where the protagonist, Luke Skywalker is given his first choice in his life, and also his heroic journey. Because it is the early stage of the journey (because the Magician comes after the Fool), it takes self-confidence and determination to make a choice. Many young writers may use this method to make their stories, but be careful with the cliché and overused plot.
Besides of the journey, the Magician can also be seen in the characters of the fictional works. Once again, Star Wars is given a privilege to provide an example. Since the Magician is the Arcanum that precedes the Fool, the Magician is often associated with the foil or the closest side-kick of the protagonist. It means that I will take the lovable rogue of the Star Wars, Han Solo as an example. Both characters (Luke and Han) reflect each other's personalities and Han provides the most triumphant example of the Magician Arcanum. While not being fully involved in storyline, Han is a man with self-confidence, power and initiative, the themes that perfectly mirroring the Magician Arcanum. Besides, Han also provides the darker version of the Magician Arcanum, or precisely the reversed version of the Magician. He is initiative yet greedy and manipulative, to the point that he may turn his comrades to the enemy (especially in the early stage of the story), perfectly reflecting the malignant side of the Magician.
As a conclusion, the Magician is the early stage of development in a journey. It may be good to create a literary work based on this theme. Not only the hero's journey, you can use the theme of the Magician for your characters. All the Arcana can be used for making the characters too and it will be explained some other times. Until then, have fun.
The Next Arcanum: The Priestess