Understanding The Tarot Magician--Manifesting the Potential of The Fool
The Magician--Turning Ideas Into Substance
If The Fool represents pure, directionless potential (symbolized by its numerical value of "0"), then The Magician (the number "1" card in the deck) represents the urge to begin focusing that potential energy and applying it in a very specific direction. The Magician creates his reality by the force of his focused will. The person for whom the reading is being conducted (called the "querent") is being asked to make a decision and to take the appropriate action necessary to bring that decision to fruition. Keywords for The Magician include: Power, Action, Application, Awareness, and Resourcefulness, and the masculine (initiating) power of creation.
In the card, we see a lamniscate ("infinity" symbol) floating above the Magician's head, signifying that he has the unlimited power and intelligence of the Universe--as well as its guidance--at his disposal. There is the suggestion that creativity is divinely inspired: it is the Magician's task to make of himself a conduit for the divine energies seeking manifestation on the material plane. This is further suggested by the wand in the Magician's right hand, held upward toward the heavens, and his other hand pointing toward the earth: he will take something that does not yet exist, other than as an idea, and make it real.
On the table before the Magician are laid out the tools he will use in manifesting his creations. They are each symbols of the four kinds of earthly experience, and are hence the four suits in the Tarot deck Minor Arcana: the golden coin, or pentacle, symbolizing the material world and the physical senses; the sword, denoting the intellect, which is capable of slicing through illusion; the cup, symbolizing the capacity for feeling, or emotion; and the rod, which stands for intuition and spirituality.
Drawing the Magician card implies a mastery over the material world, creative action, self discipline, and a willingness to take risks. These are very high-sounding qualities, but it could be said that anyone who begins--and completes--a new project, exemplifies all of them. They will take a vague idea and make a concrete plan. They will gather the materials and other resources necessary to implement the plan. They will invest the time and attention necessary to complete the project. And, generally, they will do all of this with the understanding that their efforts might well result in failure. But the energy of the Magician is never thwarted by failure; it merely becomes the urge to reevaluate the idea, thence to come up with another plan (using the knowledge gained from the previous failure) to begin the process all over again.
The shadow side of the Magician (depending on its placement in the spread) might include too much initiating energy, and a tendency to begin tasks when there are others not yet completed. There might be an overbearing, bullying attitude, a missionary zeal which might alienate others who might be needed for help. But this shadow side can be mitigated if the querent seeks the higher purpose in all he/she does, and maintains a close, steadfast relationship with his spiritual side.