AS ABOVE/SO BELOW. Not just the name of a found-footage horror movie staring the adorable Ben Feldman, but also the motto for the second card in the Major Arcana: The Magician. (Real talk tho: anytime I see a movie remotely related to archeology, I have this urge to stop whatever I'm doing and go back to school so I can go all of the places/learn all of the things #opencrowncenterproblems). Mercury governs The Magician, which is associated with the element of air. Mercury also rules all forms of communication: speech, gestures, written language, tweets, etc. Regardless of whether they are spoken or written, words and ideas are energy and the element of air keeps them secluded in the ethereal realm UNTIL they meet the Magician's alchemy. The energy of this card brings that realm of ideas (air) and grounds them down onto the physical plane via the element of Earth, which also governs this card, hence AS ABOVE, SO BELOW.
The Magician is a master manifestor and represents the essence of creation: creative power and the moment where IDEAS become THINGS. He reminds us that manifestation takes courage, effort, concentration and discipline. He takes the creative potential of the Fool and turns it into actual means of expression, but whereas the Fool can be either constructive or destructive, the Magician chooses creation. The Magician also wants us to find the joy in the process of creation, very much reminding us that it's not just about the destination, but about the journey and all the lessons and knowledge we acquire along the way.
In the Rider Waite deck, The Magician is shown standing behind a table with one hand pointing toward Heaven and the other toward the Earth (AS ABOVE, SO BELOW! all over this card). The infinity symbol above his head symbolizes his spiritual enlightenment, as he is able to bridge the unconscious and the conscious, air and earth. On the table, you can see objects that represent the four suits of the minor arcana: a cup, which represents emotions; a sword, which represents logic/reason; a wand, which represents career and ambition; and a pentacle, which represents finances or physical/material matters. These are his tools. In French, the Magician is actually referred to as “Le Batuleur,” which translates to “the juggler.” Despite there being no actual literal juggling happening on the card (boo!), this is a kind of perfect alternate title because The Magician is metaphorically learning how to juggle and balance these tools. Through his work, he determines what ideas and inspirations get plucked from the ether and turned into real-world tangible endeavors.
When the Magician appears in a spread, it is a powerful (and positive!) opportunity. The alchemy of the Magician it’s all about transitioning our ideas from THOUGHTS to THINGS, about taking action and manifesting the shit out of them. He also wants us to remember that manifestation isn’t magic. It’s not a passive thing. All that New Age spiritual bypass ideology of "thinking it into existence" kind of misses the fact that we have to TAKE 👏🏻 ACTION👏🏻 IN 👏🏻THE 👏🏻REAL 👏🏻WORLD 👏🏻to actually manifest our dreams on the physical plane. That's why he has those tools on his table, to remind us of the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-your-hands-dirty WORK that manifestation requires. It takes courage and effort and planning and concentration and discipline to turn our ideas into reality. But he also wants us to enjoy the ride, and to take joy in the process of creation. With the help of The Magician, we're going to learn how to (metaphorically) juggle, and that’s pretty rad.
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Bunning, Joan. Learning Tarot Reversals. Weiser, 2003.
Skinner, Megan. Essence of the Tarot: Modern Reflections on Ancient Wisdom. Green Frog Publishing, 2016.
Wen, Benebell. Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth. North Atlantic Books, 2015.