Arcana In Balance: The Magician

The “Arcana in Balance” series began in the early days of the Modern Oracle Tarot blog. The idea was to look at each of the major arcana cards, and how they each teach us an important point of balance in life, like the balance of work and play, new beginnings and staying the course, as we saw with the Fool card last week. The original series was interrupted mid-way by the demands of dissertation, and bringing “Triquetra: The Dance of Worlds” and “#PeaceTarot” to e-publication. The series is back for real now. I’ll be re-posting the first cards from the archives, with a few tweeks and edits to bring them up to date. Then I plan to finishing the series once we’re caught up. All posts copyright Ronda Snow, all rights reserved.

This week: The Magician


Popular culture is a handy thing. A huge number of people have seen it – that’s the definition of popular, right? The cool thing about it is that it contains as much truth as anything else if you keep your eyes (and mind) open to it. If you watch the medium John Edward, you’ll see he uses TV, movie and music references all the time. So do I. Pop culture is fertile soil for the coincidences and synchronicity that is the very language of soul and spirit.

For the magician card, my favorite movie reference is the Disney’s “Halloweentown”. I love the line that “Magic is just wishing for something, then letting yourself have it”

If you want to get all intellectual about it, this alludes to the psychology of self-confidence and “self-sabotage”. But let’s stick with the pop theme, and let ourselves mentally fly on broom, like the witches of Halloweentown. Or Harry Potter. Or whatever bit of fiction that you like.

The Magician card is fun, powerful, and evocative. In my mind’s eye it brings forward images of Merlin, Dumbledor, Gandalf. Wisdom, humor and above all…magic.

What is magic? The ability to move things around without physical effort? The ability to make what we want appear out of thin air? If you could have magical powers like a legendary wizard, what would you do with it? What would the things you do with your magic say about you?

While we could talk all day about magic, the wizard archetype, and making life magical, let’s get back to the balance aspects of the card.

Think of labor-saving and thing-making stereotypes of magic we’ve always seen in books, movies and tv. Underneath that is simply desire and fulfillment. We want stuff. The fictional version of magic symbolizes instant gratification.  We desire certain things…some attainable, some more fantastic. Sometimes, though, those wants have have been symbolically fulfilled in a less instant, but more literal way. Man wants to fly, so in time we invent airplanes, balloons, hang gliders, helicopters and more.

So magic has to do with the balance of desire…the wish for something…and our ability to have it fulfilled.

The magician is often associated with the Alchemist…changing one thing into another that is more desired. There are consequences. We might get gold from lead, but the lead is lost in the process. We may find sudden wealth, but at what does it cost us in terms of contentment…and taxes? Again…balance is the key. You may desire love or a relationship with a person…but at what price? Is the cost of fulfillment make the desire worth it? What if a wish causes harm to another in the process of fulfilling it for you? If you knew the consequences, would you keep the same wish? Think of genies from literature. Genies are magic too…of a trickier sort, often with hard lessons in tow with the magic. “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” as the saying goes.

Magic, manifestation…the law of attraction. It’s all related. If we wish for something, we have a choice…

We can set our intention…but then put on the brakes and not allow ourselves to have our wish made real – which can be good or bad. If we keep stopping short of success, what does that teach you? By the same token the ability to abort can be a safety net and act of compassion if things are going wrong or headed toward harm.You can make wish, identify a need, set your intent – and then do nothing about it, except wish and intend and attract your heart out…and then get angry and resentful when it doesn’t happen.

Or you can make a wish, work for it, allow the universe to help you get it…and then be grateful for the magic that let your wish be made manifest.

Yes, we can allow ourselves to have our wishes. It is OK to allow our happiness. The counterbalance to allowing and attracting is doing the real world  work that is needed, plus having the compassion to not harm others in the rush of attainment.

Manifestation and missing out, self and others, attraction and repulsion: These are the dichotomies of the magician.

May you make a good wish…and let yourself have it. May your life be magic.