If there is ever a card that has the power to render us completely skeptical, it is the Magician tarot card, also referred to as Le Bateleur in Italian tradition.
How does magic, or a magical being, fit into our real life? What does the Magician card mean in tarot cards?
Magician Tarot Card Meaning
Upright meaning keywords: Power, skill, logic, concentration, willpower, manifestation, psychic powers
Reversed meaning keywords: Greed, untrustworthiness, conniving, poor planning, manipulation
In a nutshell, the Magician, when explored in a tarot reading, is symbolic of skill, talent, application of the will, manifestation, ability and sacrifice. This card is associated with knowledge and mystery when upright.
When upside down, the Magician is also known as a doctor, or an issue regarding poor health. It’s significant of loss, whether it is human loss or the loss of one’s dignity, ability, or the total disgrace caused by a hopelessly wrong move.
The Magician is the second card in a traditional tarot deck but is numbered 1, following the Fool. The Fool is the most powerful card in the tarot deck because it’s the only card with the ability to transform. The Fool and the Magician are similar because they share strength in willpower, a love for action, and an encouraging spirit.
After the Magician, the next card in the Major Arcana is the High Priestess. The High Priestess represents a connection to the spirit world and serves as a threshold separating our realm from the mystical realm.
The Magician Tarot Card Description
The Magician is the second card in the Major Arcana. Originally a true magician, the male being in this card is here to get us to focus and manifest.
As a magician, this is a person who relies upon the invisible energies. The solid things of life are mere tools for the Magician; he works with the cosmic forces and the elements of nature.
The Magician is a reminder of faith, religion and beliefs gone past; his body language is obvious: “As it is above, so it is below.” Meaning, all things balance out in heaven and on earth. All things affect each other; they act in a way that complements nature, rather than fight it.
In the Rider-Waite deck, the Magician has his array of magical tools before him, and each tool represents a suit within the tarot deck. There is a chalice or cup, a sword, a pentacle, and a wand, which is literally a “magic wand” in this case.
He will use the elements of nature — air, earth, water, fire — with respect, for the purpose of healing, teaching, manifesting. Above his head is the endless figure 8, there to remind us that we are all a part of the endless cosmic flow, and that it is all in our mind.
Upright Magician Meaning
Whether you are using this card as your very own representative during a reading, or you get this card in its upright form during your reading, it is there for one supreme reason: Get your act together — now.
This Major Arcana card is telling you that there is always hope, but so much of that hope and positive outlook depends on what you do to get there. It is a smack in the face that says, “You can do this!”
This card is there to stimulate you into believing in yourself once again, and to use your own magic.
And what is magic? Magic is making something from nothing. Magic is creation — creating something where before there was nothing. And that it is truly up to you to make your life happen. It is up to you to be resourceful and intelligent.
In other words, if you want something done, do it yourself.
Let’s also keep in mind that the Magician is the healer of the deck. He is the doctor, the metaphysician. If you get this card during a reading, consider yourself on the mend. It is a great, powerful and positive card in any reading.
Reversed Magician Meaning
The Magician reversed is an entirely different ball game.
If you get the Magician reversed in a reading, it is an alert: “Wake up! You are blowing this royally! Do not be a fool!” While you might not get that literal a description in your tarot book, the meaning is basically that.
This card is telling you that you are ruining something right before your eyes, and you are not even aware of it.
Stop and take a pause here. Did you get lazy? Did you forget something that once meant so much to you? Are you becoming a different person than the person you wanted to be? Are you starting to dislike yourself?
The Magician makes is obvious: You need a “magical” change and, as we have learned, “magic” is creating. So figure out what went wrong and then apply yourself.
Because that is the magic in the Magician — the knowledge that things don’t go anywhere unless there is a force behind them to make them happen. In this case, the magic is you.
This card in reverse is also a heads-up on your mental health.
It is a way of letting you know you need to start paying attention to your own health, both mental and physical. It is a card that tells you to seek help if you need it, and that you are special, no matter what. And you should treat yourself as special.
The Magician Tarot Card’s Meaning in Love and Relationships
This is a good card to get, even though it seems a bit vague or non-related to love. In a love tarot reading, you will not get this card unless your relationship is either meant to go the distance, or it is already proven to be strong.
When this card comes up in a love reading, think of it as a sign that you have grown and that, from this moment forward, you can only accept respect and honesty in those you choose to share your life with.
Love and Relationships: Upright Magician Meaning
In a love reading, the Magician tarot card appears as a sign that your relationship may be moving into deep commitment territory, if you are already in a relationship. In another interpretation, an upright Magician signifies happiness and a stronger level of commitment.
For those who are single and get the upright Magician in a love reading, it means it is time to open your heart to love!
The Magician in a love reading is there to set the standards for you, and for you to keep those standards in mind for the future. This card tells you to suffer no fools, and to attract only the best as this is in your skill set.
The Magician has no room for game-players or those who intend to hurt others.
Love and Relationships: Reversed Magician Meaning
If you receive a reversed Magician in a love reading and are in a relationship, this card signifies that you may be lacking trust and honesty with your partner, especially when it comes to your true wants and needs.
It is best to be up front in your relationship, rather than try to manipulate them.
The Magician reversed for a single person is a message that you should stop feeling so jaded about finding love in your life. If you stay negative and give up hope, you will not attract anyone; instead, keep your head up and bring that same energy back to you.
The Magician Tarot Card in Astrology
Some say the Magician represents all elements, but its one true element is air. Air is all about communication, intellect, and messages — all of which the Magician signifies.
Along with its air element, Mercury is the Magician’s planet; Mercury is the god of communication who represents clear thinking.
In astrology, the Magician holds the power of 1, as well as the first house in the Zodiac, which represents the self. The Magician, therefore, represents the sense to discover self-knowledge, as well as the power to see into other people and understand how they work.
Ruby Miranda is a New Yorker who learned astrology, I Ching and all types of cartomancy and numerology from her crazy, gypsy mother. She currently writes for a wide range of esoteric publications.