The Magician is a card I struggle to connect with; I have a hard time feeling strongly about it, either way. The images in various decks are often quite lovely and interesting, but they don’t “speak”. They don’t seem to communicate the depth of the card’s meaning, other than a surface representation of “as above, so below”, with the Magician himself being the conduit. Subsequently, it’s in the pile of “I’ll get to it in the future” cards. But I had a little “a-ha!” moment while meditating on the card Monday night. In retrospect, it’s more of an “uhhh, DUH.” moment, but I’m just glad it happened!
There are… details, but the end result is: The Magician is The God in his creator aspect! While looking for cards that possibly capture this Creator-God version of The Magician, I remembered the Sol Invictus Tarot. Surely, a deck filled solely with gods would have something interesting for The Magician? Why yes, yes indeed. Excerpts on The Magician from the book makes this exact connection!
“Elohim, the Biblical Creator, can also be seen as representative of the Magician’s resourceful nature- It created the heavens and the earth in six days, resting on the seventh, and It created using only what It had. It used its Will and Energy (the necessary tools of magic) to bring Its idea into manifestation, just as a modern-day magician does when he or she performs a magical ritual. The only difference is that the modern-day magician has physical tools, such as the ceremonial sword and chalice, as well as his or her Will and Energy, whereas Elohim had nothingness, or chaos.
The word ‘Logos’ is Greek for ‘the word’. In the Biblical creation story, the creative word is what brings the heavens and the earth into manifestation (Genesis 1:3-31.):
‘And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.’ (Genesis 1:3.)
The “creative word” is also used today by many Hermetic magicians, amongst whose many aims it is to be able to perform magic with a simple word. It was the Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus who first used the term ‘Logos’ to refer to Divine reason, or a plan of God that gives meaning to the constantly changing universe. To some, Logos is the Word made flesh: Jesus Christ, as well as a single word that embodies an entire concept.
It is no coincidence that Jesus has been chosen for the Hierophant in the Sol Invictus, because this card and the Magician are often seen as very similar: ‘Hierophant’, after all, comes from the Greek ‘hierophany’, meaning ‘manifestation of the sacred.’ The difference is though, that the Magician is the process by which the sacred is manifested, whilst the Hierophant is the sacred in manifestation itself, just as Elohim bought about the process of Creation and Jesus is the manifestation of the Word of Elohim.
The Magician is the lightning rod, the conductor (hence the lightning bolt in the card) through which the process can take place, but it is not the manifestation itself. That’s where The Empress comes in :)
ETA: Recently discovered Sabian Symbols and am having fun breaking my brain and using them for additional visual inspiration. So what was Monday’s symbol?
6-7 deg Capricorn “A Veiled Prophet Speaks, Seized By The Power Of A God”