The Magician

The AlchemistAlternative Card

Number: 1 | Element: AIR & EARTH | Planet: MERCURY

Upright: Manifestation, Inspiration, Skills
Reversed: Greed, Manipulation, Untapped talents


The Magician holds the number 1: the number that universally indicates the start, the first step.

The position of his arms creates a balanced shape. Such gesture implies the connection of the two realms with firmness. The right arm is stretched upwards and represents the spiritual world: a golden wand signals its active force. The left arm is pointing down to the material world: a rope is tied to the wrist, which links to a state of passivity, or receptiveness.

From one arm to another he carries the celestial heat to the physical world, converting the energy into matter. For that reason, he is often called “the Miracle Maker”.
He is sometimes compared to a God, an entity that creates a world by giving life a meaning and a direction: like Prometheus who brought fire to humans, or a sculptor who gives life to a lifeless stone. This concept is universal throughout many narratives: in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, God is deemed “the builder of the world”, “the architect” or “maker of the universe”. This is also common in ancient cosmogonies (Judaism, Islamism) or in the precepts of Freemasonry.
In front of the Magician, a table displays the objects related to the suits of the minor arcana, and the classical elements.

Related to Air, or the mental/intellectual sphere, we can see a sword. Water, linked to our emotional side, is represented by the cup. Fire, which reveals our active spirit/will, is depicted by clubs or wooden wands. Lastly, the Earth is represented by the coins, which relates to our physical body and material side.

Beyond these elements, we considered that a fifth one must be included. That is the quintessence, the mythical element of Aether (here represented by the vessels on the table).
In ancient texts, Aether appears as another element, the purest of all, transparent and weightless, free of all chaos. Aristotle and Plato considered Aether to be the substance of stars, the divine element, and the ingredient of the soul. Homer, in the Iliad, places Zeus in a realm made of Aether. Ovid’s Metamorphoses states a clear reference to Aether as the purest element created, apart from all the others: “The god placed above these winds the ether, without weight, a fluid free of earth’s impurity.” This element is related to our souls, to the essence of being and creative intelligence. Knowing that Aether is contained within the vessels on the table, the Magician holds all the tools and ingredients to create, shape and change energy into matter, or ideas into forms, at his will.

The other objects such as the skull and dices are the external and unpredictable factors in our lives.

The table itself has a shape of a triangle. Such is connected to the global meaning of the card: Manifestation, or a higher perspective or balance between Body, Mind and Soul (with its symbols engraved in the table’s legs).

In Buddhism, the triangle symbolises the three bodies (kāyas) of Buddhahood, named Trikaya.
These bodies are: “Dharmakāya”, the truth Body or the Body of Essence; “Saṃbhogakāya”, the Body of Enjoyment; and “Nirmāṇakāya”, the Body of Transformation.

Together, these bodies form the wholeness of Buddha, and once they are balanced, they reveal the path of the true enlightenment.

Under the table, in a darker shade, vines and snakes are visible, incited by the creative power emanated by the Magician. He reminds us that our emotional and creative powers must be grounded in the physical world.

The blue robe of the character suggests his attributes of the imagination and inspiration, as well as an aura of wisdom and security, akin to the aura of a prophet.

Authors who study the tarot of Marseille usually link the blue colour to spiritual receptiveness. For that reason, his body has blue skin, resembling a channel or a body that receives and converts cosmic energy.

Upright Meaning and Interpretation

Manifestation, Inspiration, Skills

The Magician is pure manifestation, for he gives you the energy you need to do anything you want. This means it is probably the best moment to invest in an idea or a project.

You can feel that your Body, Mind, and Spirit are balanced, thus you can take action and go forward. Focusing on your main goals will lead you to incredibly positive changes.

Reversed Meaning and Interpretation

Greed, Manipulation, Untapped talents.

The reversed Magician alerts you to be careful and to be aware of the opportunities or obstacles in your path.

You might see your projects stagnant. That could indicate that your efforts are misdirected or aimless. Your fullest potential is locked – you must concentrate and find out the source of this barrier.

It may be possible that this card infers that someone is trying to manipulate you, clouding your judgement with doubts and obstacles, and therefore preventing you to see the big-picture and move forward.

Alternative Card:

The Alchemist

The Alternative version of The Magician portrays the Alchemist from A. Jodorowsky’s “The Holy Mountain”. As a piece of fan art, we intended to recreate the iconic scene of the alchemist sitting on his throne, immersed in divine light. His white clothes and meditation pose connect him with the celestial sphere, while the goats by his sides represent the physical world. In some cultures, the goat is related to Earth fertility and is a strong sexual symbol. That way, this card symbolises a balance between the sacred and the profane.