The Magus


In Egyptian Tarot, The Magician is called The Magus. He represents the first step in magic, in other words, the manifestation of what we want to create in our lives. He symbolizes the secret in the book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, and as such is one of the most powerful cards in the Egyptian deck. This image comes from the Brotherhood of Light deck.

The word magus is derived from an ancient Caldean word meaning of the mind. Other words with the same root are magic, imagination, and magi. Within this context, the Biblical story of the magi reminds us that the three wise men following a star, were astrologer-priests who were also magicians having learned their craft in eastern mystery schools.

The number of this arcane is One, representing the beginning, the first step, or the foundation. Also, the number One symbolizes wholeness, unification, or the archetypal man made in the image of the creator. The tail-biting snake symbol seen about his waist symbolizes primordial wholeness. This symbol and the lemniscate, or symbol of infinity, are often seen on this card in other decks. The Magus is a conduit to what was in the beginning, what is now, and what will be. The Old Testament opens with, “In the beginning there was the Word.” The Word is a loose translation of the original Greek, Logos, a complex word meaning reason, order, ratio, discourse, and first cause. In Gnosticism, the Logos was a Revealer of Wisdom and Knowledge, often depicted as Hermes Trismegistus. In the Egyptian tradition, the tarot is considered part of Corpus Hermiticum, which is based upon the teaching of Hermes Trismegistus, a Greek-Egyptian who is often equated with the Egyptian god, Thoth. The first archetypal man, created in the image of the creator can, like the creator, create or manifest; and the first cause of the act of creation is THOUGHT.

The author Gregg Braden teaches us in his book, The Divine Matrix, that today the science of quantum physics proves what occultists have known since antiquity. The universe appears to be made from a substance that is Consciousness and, as conscious beings, we have the power to manipulate that substance by merely focusing our attention upon it. If we want to manifest wealth, health, love, a new business or anything else in our lives, the first step is to FOCUS OUR ATTENTION UPON IT. Rhonda Byrne in The Secret says, “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.” The Magus stands with his right hand pointing toward the heavens, his scepter open to send and receive messages from the inner plane much like a transmission tower. His left hand is pointing toward earth in the act of manifesting his aspiration and power and dominating all acts of life by the Spirit. This stance represents the first law of Hermetic occultism, “As Above, So Below,” referencing not only our ability to affect change in our lives but also referencing Astrology, the mother of occultism, and that which Tarot is a reflection.

The altar that The Magus stands before represents a bridge between the spiritual and physical worlds. Upon the altar there is a cup, representing the element of water, a sword, representing the element of earth, and a coin, representing the element of air. (The Egyptian tradition of tarot assigns the element of earth to the sword rather than to the coins. His scepter represents the element of fire, the element representing authority, enthusiasm and inspiration. Pictured on his altar is an Ibis, a bird native to Egypt. The Ibis has two sets of eyelids. The inner set of eyelids opaquely veils the eyes of the bird allowing him to see while he sleeps. Like the Ibis, The Magus gains insight from his dreams, day or night, and remains constantly vigilant in his pursuit of messages and clues from the inner plane that appear to him in his daily life. A message may come from a billboard, the appearance of a special animal, a song, or a snippet of conversation in person or in the media. The bird may also represent a gray heron or a phoenix, representing regeneration, rebirth, or beginnings.

The Magus is ruled by Mercury, as noted in the upper right-hand corner of the card. Mercury represents the intellectual urges of the soul and rules the tongue, brain, nervous system, writing, talking, and traveling. Key words for Mercury are Perception or Thought. Key words for The Magus are: Will, Mental and Manual Dexterity, Beginning, Rebirth, Unity, First Cause, Creativity, Reason, Focus, Communication, Short Journeys, Presence of Mind, a Plan, Attention.

The admonition, or lesson, associated with this image is:

Remember, then, son of earth, that man should, like God, act without ceasing. To will nothing and do nothing is more fatal than to will and do ill. If the Magus should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, it announces that a firm will and faith in yourself, guided by reason and a love of justice will conduct you to the end that you wish to attain and will preserve you from the perils of the way. (The Sacred Tarot, C.C. Zain)

For books and classes about the Brotherhood of Light Tarot deck and how astrology, alchemy, Tarot and Kabbalah are integrated, browse to


About letstalktarot

Allyn McCray began reading Tarot in 1971 after discovering a deck in an occult shop in San Francisco, California. In 1999, the American Tarot Association recognized her as a Certified Tarot Reader. During her experience as an Internet reader between 2000 and 2002, Allyn’s readings were regularly featured on the websites, Psychicnut and Roadtalk. In 2002, Allyn joined The Church of Light, aka Light.Org, a non-profit international school of esoteric studies, where she is now a Hermetician, Certified Teacher, and Minister. Allyn also serves as the Communications Director of The Church of Light and is a Section Advisor in The Order of the Sphinx.
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One Response to The Magus

  1. Kay Packard says:

    Glad to see LetstalkTarot posts. Wonderful.

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