Numerical Value : 1
Esoteric Title : Magus of Power
Path 12 : Beth (House)
Kether – Binah
Planet : Mercury
Double Letter : Life – Death
Sepher Yetzirah : Intelligence of Transparency
The Magus inspires the transmission and exchange of new ideas and information, and potentiates our powers of communication. He has the ability to charm and persuade with words, resolving dualities and bridging separation. The Intelligence of Transparency suggests a revelation of inner truth that only honest communication can provide. It is a great unifying power teaching us that we are all One. Everyone we communicate with has some contribution to make to our (mutual) liberation. Staying open to new ideas and information is what keeps us vital and alive.
The staff of the Magus is planted firmly in the earth, underlining the vital importance of grounding ourselves in reality and cultivating our earth contacts before attempting to rise on the spiritual plane. When our channels are open the energy flows through us coming from above and below in a continuous life giving loop. This is the circuit of kundalini symbolised by the two snakes on the staff of the spine. “As above, so below”, the great mantra of Esotericism indicates that earthly forces are just as sacred as those of the spirit and that the godhood resides within each incarnated soul. Communicating directly with the godhood within is a prerequisite to any kind of creative work and establishing this contact through meditation and receptivity gifts us with wisdom and purpose.
The magic of communication creates connections between individuals, and interaction causes sparks of transformation to fly and catch fire, leading to a collective shift in consciousness and the evolution of the species. This is why the internet is such a powerful and revolutionary medium, allowing an unprecedented dissemination of esoteric knowledge as well as unlimited interpersonal connections. It seems to have accelerated the pace of change and transformation, both for better and for worse. The web is the natural element of the Magus archetype but its wise to remember to earth ourselves regularly by returning to nature and to the pleasures and demands of material reality. Without a solid connection to the earth the Magus cannot function as an effective channel for higher forces.
The Magus is adept at influencing and manipulating worldly affairs, and enjoys sprinkling the glittering dust of illusion and glamour to enchant and beguile the populace. In traditional interpretations he is often depicted as playing the conman to the dupe of the Fool. The Trickster figure in mythology represents the collective shadow, and is both a source of mayhem and chaos and of healing and enlightenment. We manifest the Trickster archetype in our own personal shadow, which is the source of our unconscious self sabotaging behaviour. Our inner Trickster often seems malicious and senselessly destructive, but when brought into conscious awareness it becomes the main source of our spiritual development and psychological healing. Its role is to stimulate the evolution of our consciousness. The bewildering and paradoxical nature of this idea reflects the innate contradictions within our own psyche. Every profound concept describes an energetic union of opposing forces.
The Magus is known as the Juggler, because he is so adept at keeping an infinite number of ideas and connections in the air at once. The ability to happily maintain contradictory ideas at the one time is the mark of a truly developed mind. At the base of the card is a five pointed star with the symbols of the four elements around it, plus the symbol for Aether at the top, the elusive fifth element. Aether is associated with the Major Arcana, while the four elements represent the suits of the Minors. The elements are the tools of the Magus, which he juggles to manifest his magic. The Hebrew letter of the card is Beth, which means house or dwelling place of spirit in the world of duality and illusion. The symbol of the house is a reminder of the earthly foundations that stabilise and centre our spiritual aspirations. The aim of existence is to make of ourselves a house fit for spirit to live in, a process of building our inner temple. The path of Beth leads from Kether to Binah and forms a roof over the Tree together with the path of the Fool (Aleph). The Word of Beth is a container for the elemental life breath of the Fool. As the path from ineffable Kether to the form building sphere of Binah it brings spirit directly into the material world, which is why the double letter is Life and Death. The house of Beth also symbolises the shelter and accommodation that mankind has found in co-operation and team efforts, for which communication is essential. Our skills with words and with writing have made us the dominant species on the planet. Recorded and transmitted knowledge has lead to the evolution of our uniquely self conscious species.
The card is attributed to Philosophic Mercury which in Alchemy is the dynamic transformational quality present in a substance. Mercury resolves the duality of Sulfur and Salt and so is associated with the equilibrating middle pillar of the Tree and with the white
sphere of Kether. It is associated with the deity Mercury or Hermes, known as the God of Communication and Exchange and the Lord of Illusion. Hermes symbolises balance and reciprocity and is a communicator between worlds, bringing the wisdom of the Gods to mankind and guiding us from this world into the next (a psychopomp). He is a later manifestation of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Mesopotamian god Ningizzhida, who was the original owner of the staff entwined with two snakes, and who was himself a Snake God. This staff is known as a Caduceus, and is a heralds staff as befitting the Messenger of the Gods. Its two intertwined snakes are traditionally dark and light, good and evil, wound into harmony around a central staff or in some legends copulating. The symbol of the twin spiralling snakes is also associated with the shape of our DNA in which the wisdom of all our ancestors is encoded. It is this intrinsic information that is revealed in altered states of consciousness.
The Caduceus also fits very well into the Tree of Life. If you consider the winged globe at the top of the staff as Kether, the shape and the intersections of the snakes and the staff correspond to the arrangement of the spheres of the Qabalah. The central pillar of the Tree is represented by the staff and the two snakes are the pillars of severity and mercy. The Caduceus is a symbol of a fully actuated individual who has realised and reconciled the divided and repressed elements of their personality, and found the Middle Way of harmony and balance. The snakes are the Yin and the Yang, the dark and the light, the angel and the animal which resides in us all. The androgynous Magus must accept and embrace all these contradictions in order to become a channel for divine power to manifest.
On a personal level meditating on the Magus teaches us to become aware of the power of our communications and to use them wisely. Our words can easily betray us, revealing our intentions in unintended ways. Words are destructive because once something has been named and defined it is diminished and contained. The most powerful and profound truths are always ineffable. It’s wise to make our communications mindful and to the point as they are magical acts with consequences. Concentration and clear focus are what gives our words and intentions the power to transform. The quality of our communication reflects the quality of thought behind it. Furthermore words must be spoken with genuine emotion in order to be effective and meaningful. It is a weakness to become disconnected from our emotions, and it diminishes the power and effectiveness of our communication, and our ability to honestly connect with others.
In my version of the card the winged globe of the Caduceus has become a flying fox with a flowering heart. The flying fox is a highly intelligent and social winged primate, the perfect symbol of the evolving human being. It is also my personal totem and magical companion and appears throughout the deck. The symbols of Yin and Yang and of Chaos and of the blossoming five petalled Rose of consciousness are lined along the length of the staff. These symbolise the diverse combination of mysteries that have informed my path of creation. The path of Beth is a receptive one, and leads to the sphere of Binah and so the hands of the Magus have eyes after the fashion of the Qat Inanna, the ancient symbol of the hand of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna. They signify that the Magus is acting from a place of conscious awareness, as do the myriad eyes of his peacock coat. He is the manifestation of the Peacock Angel, the mythical result of the combined will of the divine twins. The divine twins represent the two outer pillars of the Tree of Life, and the uprights of the doorway of transformation. The Magus is a card of resolving opposites and bridging worlds, the great force of unification.
© Sarah Wheatley 2017