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Spirit made manifest, the Magician is the number one card in the Major Arcana, and it represents leadership.

What I See:

This card is full of energy with its reds and yellows and orange-browns. I get a sense of spirit from the aura that appears to be around the Magician. I imagine he’s invoking some magic ritual and there are dancers dancing outside the frame of the picture. Perhaps an attempt to contact the ancestors who left the hand prints on the cave wall.

Light (upright) Reading:

Creative energy flows with focused will, passion, and joy.

  • Keywords: Creativity, Dexterity, Skillful, and Showmanship.

Shadow (upside down or reverse) Reading:

Sometimes an overconfident attitude may be hiding a secret lack of confidence.

  • Keywords: Manipulation, Superficiality, Charlatan, and Cynicism.


The Magician is associated with Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Perhaps incorporate a dream within your plot. Perhaps it’s a ghost story. Or have a sidekick stage a rescue or intervention.

In most decks, the Magician has the infinity sign, showing the flow between heaven and earth, spirit and matter. Perhaps your plot features life’s never-ending circle.

  • Themes: Empowerment, Will, Focused Intent, Magic, Creative Energy, Skill, Action, or Ecstasy.


The Magician opens a door between the physical world and the spiritual world.

  • Archetype: Animus (the male element in the female unconscious) — Vogler refers to this as the Shapeshifter, Trickster, Sorcerer, Gambler, or Thief.

[Tricksters] cut big egos down to size, and bring heroes and audiences down to earth. ~The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler

  • Mythical Figures: Hermes, Mercury, Merlin, Loki, and Thoth.

The nine-point personality enneagram can also be useful for character building.

The Magician is E1: Perfectionist and/or Reformer

  • Self Image — I am right
  • Passion — Anger
  • Virtue — Serenity
  • Narcissistic Trap — Perfection
  • Avoids — Vexation
  • Speaking Style — Teaching or Moralizing

E1 people are instinctive, spontaneous, and intuitive. Their “gut” feeling is the center of their awareness. They are often direct or territorial. They are concerned with power, ruled by aggression, and may be troubled by self-doubt or self-blame.

Additionally, look up one of the Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) for personality traits.

When the Magician shows up in your writing practice, you might want to channel the Magician’s magic into your writing practice by working with a real “magic wand” — a pen or pencil so smooth that it makes words flow through you, rather than from you. ~Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner

Image: Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert from Llewellyn Worldwide