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Livia's Avatar
Join Date: 02 Jun 2004
Location: Denver, CO USA
Posts: 84
Golden Tarot - The Magician

Ok here we go...
I really like this card....more now that I have looked at some of the source material
The bulk of the card's source can be found at
It is from the portion depicting the Christ figure creating the animals.
The above site states the artist was adept at using limited space to "populate the biblical story with a maximum of incident".
I think that makes this work perfect for the card...a lot of activity without clutter.
I was once told that "wholeness make you holy". This card makes me think of that. The Magician is using his skills, and from the expression on his face and gesture his compasion (his empathy if you will) to do something maybe bless the animals, create, conjure, call?, combining knowledge, nature, life (animals), and the tools of the suits (tools of life).
His infinity comes from an illuminated text you can view it at
fourth from the bottom look for Legend of Saint Ladislas (from the Anjou Legendarium) it is amazing how it was extracted from the border and integrated into this image, just for that it is worth a look at the source.
I love how it comes from an illuminated text, it reminds me of the line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade "may he who illuminated this illuminate me" (hear Sean Connery saying this)
I was wondering if anyone had any opinions about the magician being represented by Christ? Well, I am sure you do but could you share them?

"for every complicated problem, there is a solution that is short, simple, and wrong" - H.L. Mencken
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Old 12-07-2004     Top   #1
Emily's Avatar
Join Date: 14 Feb 2002
Location: England
Posts: 7,630

Hi Livia,

I thought the image looked familiar. I like the fact that this card has again moved from the traditional looking Magican but is still very much recognisable as the Magician. He still has the suit emblems on the table - cup, wand, knife and coin.

Instead of his right hand being raised, it seems to be pointing in blessing at the animals to his right. One of these animals seems to be taking a bite out of a sheep.

# # Emily # #

A good student never stops learning
Having fun with the Liber T
Not all who wander are lost
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Old 13-07-2004     Top   #2
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lark's Avatar
Join Date: 07 Oct 2003
Location: In the Spirit Room, Wisconsin
Posts: 8,516

This card reminds me of the story of the creation.
After all there is no bigger magic trick than creating the universe out of nothing.
Each thing on the table represents a part of that creation.
air, heavens-swords
earth, animals, man- pentacles
Having Christ depicted in this card makes me understand it in a different way.
Look at the gentle way he is creating.
So thoughful and with purpose.
But with creativity.
And he won't leave anything out because each creation is a link to the next.
Just like each major arcana is linked and connected to the next.

I don't see any illusion or tricks in this card is a true magician with a deep understanding of true magic.

Thank you for all the links Livia.

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face. W. B. Yeats
*Hermits Unite
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Old 13-07-2004     Top   #3
Livia's Avatar
Join Date: 02 Jun 2004
Location: Denver, CO USA
Posts: 84

I was thinking about this, how it is a Jesus figure, but the story of creation, which i am no biblical scholar but i am pretty sure he came after creation/genisis. I think it goes to how the trinity is interchangable, all are one. The original artist I am sure used him because he is an easily recongizable figure for 14th century patrons to a church, who couldn't read they could learn the story through the altar piece. And who else to play the ultamite magician... other than Steven Spielberg.

"for every complicated problem, there is a solution that is short, simple, and wrong" - H.L. Mencken
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Old 13-07-2004     Top   #4
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WolfSpirit's Avatar
Join Date: 10 May 2002
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 14,035

Originally posted by lark
I don't see any illusion or tricks in this card is a true magician with a deep understanding of true magic.
Good observation, there is indeed no trickery.
Being fond of animals, I like this take on the Magician

Apart from the tools of the suits, there is also a vase on the table - just checked this in the book, it is a vessel for knowledge (this is an unknown symbol to me)

Just wondering if anyone else noticed this...on the right side of the Magician, it just looks as if there is an animal's tail (cat's tail or similar) in between his robes - on closer look I saw that it was just the shade of his robe, but I still like to think that there is an animal sheltering in between the folds of his clothes

There is so much to see in this card, I wish it were bigger

If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them
you will not know them, and what you do not know
you will fear. What one fears one destroys.
― Chief Dan George
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Old 14-07-2004     Top   #5
RedMaple's Avatar
Join Date: 10 Aug 2004
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 885

Great Magician card -- the true magic has to do with how we relate to the non-human world, and he is surrounded by animals.

As for Christ in this context -- I find it interesting that the original artist portrayed Christ in this way -- says more about the artist, I think, than Christianity, which sees animals as soulless.

I wept for days as a child when a priest told me my dog who had died recently wouldn't be in Heaven because dogs don't have souls. My beautiful soulful dog. My father knew better, of course, and assured me my dog would of course be waiting for me when I got to the end of the star road.

An interesting folk addition to the Jesus story, which fills in some of the gaps, I think. Lovely lovely card.
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Old 24-02-2005     Top   #6
formerly similia
Grigori's Avatar
Join Date: 11 Dec 2004
Location: Aussie boy, born and bred
Posts: 7,654

Originally Posted by lark
Look at the gentle way he is creating.
This is my favorite part of this card. He has all the power of The Magician, but needs no big performance or production to work his magic. To me its a more natural magic (goes with his bare feet), there ready to be used, rather than something that has to forced, or worked at.

I don't think it detracts from the intensity of The Magician, but serves to make the process easier. Perhaps a querent could even be unwittingly manifesting something.

Originally Posted by lark
I don't see any illusion or tricks in this card.
I do see a little trickery however in the animals. There are two animals just above The Magician's right hand that are fighting (and I think drawing blood). So not all his creations are innocent.

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died
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Old 24-02-2005     Top   #7
Parzival's Avatar
Join Date: 26 Apr 2004
Location: Maryland, U.S.A.
Posts: 848
Golden Tarot -- The Magician

Beautiful meditations on this magnificent Magician. It seems to me that he blesses as he creates, that he emanates multiple life-patterns which he allows to freely exist with his good will. They surround him in an almost-oval or mandorla or auric egg, unity with multiplicity. Why the green-red lemniscate over his head? Beyond the meaningfulness is the pure Beauty of this Image, a veritable Tarot Icon.

By the use of images, the wise among soothsayers expressed how divinity is seen-Plotinus
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Old 25-02-2005     Top   #8
letty's Avatar
Join Date: 17 Feb 2009
Location: US, Colorado
Posts: 90

I really adore this card, so I just wanted to hop in and give some observations.
I'm interested in the idea that the magician figure is taken from a Christ figure in the original illuminated manuscripts. When I think of Jesus, I think of the turning water to wine at the wedding, which seems like a magician kind of thing to do

I love the fact that this card shows the connection to the natural world that we need to have if we want to live "magical" lives that use all of our powers to their best benefit.

I always like to look at the possible "dark side' of a card (or at least the less warm and fuzzy side), and it can seem that this magician is gathering creatures to him, which can mean a kind of control over nature or the world, which could possibly be a misuse of power. What do you all think of this?
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Old 26-02-2009     Top   #9
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