The Rider Waite Deck
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood
The Magician is an exciting card - a symbol of the Divine Conduit, of Prime Manifester, empowered with the ability to draw down the energy of Above and bring in into being on Earth.
The alchemists wrote of the magnum opus – the Great Work – the process of using the prima materia – the first matter – to create the philosopher’s stone – the famous symbol of perfection, enlightenment, and spiritual transformation. This is the first card of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. We can think of The Fool, Tarot Card Zero, as the prima materia, first emerging into the physical realm. The Magician, the Alchemist, wields control of that energy. This IS our journey: as an eternal being we come in and out of the physical realm to learn to perfect the craft of being human so our spiritual enlightenment can expand through eternity. It is important to note that the Magician is not something we attain with gaining layers of perfected learning – it is who we are when we arrive. We ARE the magic!
The Tarot is a powerful guide filled with ancient symbols and wisdom not only of its own particular teaching, but of astrology, Kaballah, and the alchemists’ troves. The Magician stands before the altar of this wisdom represented by the symbols of the Tarot suits – the Pentacle, the Sword, the Cup, and the Wand. These symbols also represent the physical elements of the Earth, the aspects of the human being (body, mind, emotion and energy) as well as the Spiritual Directions (North, East, West, and South). Each Tarot card is layered with symbols, clues, a roadmap, so to speak of our physical and spiritual journey. And the Magician calls it all in, standing erect, aligning with the meridian of the physical world connecting the Below to the Above through the magic of the spinal column ( an actual electrical conduit) – and good feet!
We are each an Altar of Spirit – our very essence is Spirit and we incarnate Spirit with every breath, every action, every thought. These manifestations of our lives create the Altar of the Magician even as we are the Magician creating the altar.
As we progress in life, we find that our journey towards the Great Opus is impossible without learning through “the other” or through our relationships with people, the choices we make, the paths we choose and those we leave behind. This process of discernment mirrors back to the Magician, standing with one arm raised to drawn in the power and the other pointing to manifest. Somewhere in this process the Magician’s awareness is directed at taking the power or directing the power.
We can certainly use our magic to only take what we want for ourselves, to amass personal wealth, power, prestige, ownership of things and to take from others their love, friendship, possessions, trust; we all do this to an extent. We also can use our magic to give back to the world, to the relationships of our family, friends, and community and in so doing discover that making a positive contribution (sharing our magic) helps to enhance the magic. It brings us closer to the Source whereof all matter emerges. At this point we discover the great magic of keeping the symbol of infinity shown above the Magician’s head as an active and real way to walk through life as the Altar, the Magic, the Responsible Power and leave some of that behind as we go forward. We always have a choice. The Magic is given to us outright. How we learn and choose to use it is up to us.
…Kathryn Ravenwood 9.6.18