The Magician Tarot Card Meaning and Art Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
About the Deck
These cards are featured in my book, "A Concise Guide to the Tarot" by Loren Lundgren. I took the information for the meanings on these tarot cards from "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition Under the Veil of Divination", by A. E. Waite, 1911, now in the public domain. I edited the tarot card descriptions and meanings for clarity and brevity, modernizing the text. I scanned in the original black and white illustrations of the cards drawn by Pamela Colman Smith, from the 1911 book. I digitally retouched and painted those illustrations in detailed color.
Loren Lundgren, © 2021
DescriptionA youthful figure in the robe of a magician, having the appearance of divine Apollo, with a 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-sash, the serpent appearing to devour its own tail. This is familiar to most as a symbol of eternity, but here it indicates the eternity of attainment in the Spirit. In the Magician's right hand is a wand raised toward heaven, while the left hand is pointing to the earth. This dual sign indicates the descent of grace, virtue and light, drawn from things above and passed 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 tools before the adept, and he uses them as he wills. Beneath the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley (see Song of Solomon 2:1), changed into garden flowers, depicting the culture of self-improvement. This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God.
Meaning of The Magician from the Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
Skill, diplomacy, subtlety; sickness, pain, loss, disaster, the traps of enemies; self-confidence, will; the Querent, if male.
Physician, Magus, mental disease, disgrace, anxiety.
According to Many Schools of Thought
The Magus, Magician, or juggler, the caster of the dice and mountebank, in the world of vulgar trickery. This is the colportage interpretation, and it has the same correspondence with the real symbolical meaning that the use of the Tarot in fortune-telling has with its mystic construction according to the secret science of symbolism. I should add that many independent students of the subject, following their own lights, have produced individual sequences of meaning in respect of the Trumps Major, and their lights are sometimes suggestive, but they are not the true lights. For example, Eliphas Levi says that the Magus signifies that unity which is the mother of numbers; others say that it is the Divine Unity; and one of the latest French commentators considers that in its general sense it is the will.
Will, Will-Power, Dexterity
Will applied to evil ends, Weakness of Will, Cunning, Knavishness.