The first card in the Tarot deck is the Magician, after the 0 of the Fool.
The Magician is a card of skills, intelligence, and mastery. When the Magician appears, it indicates the ability to manipulate resources to give a desired outcome. The Magician's strength is more externally focused, though there must be an internal steadiness to tap into the power he represents.
As you can see, in all of the cards (except for Isis) the Magician is surrounded by the symbols of the elements, or suits--the coin for Pentacles (Earth), the staff/baton for Wands (Fire), a sword or dagger for Swords (Air), and a cup for--you'll never guess--Cups (Water). The meaning of this is that the Magician, and the person he has come to speak to, currently has a wonderful understanding of the elements and what they symbolize.
Barbara G. Walker Magician
Earth is the element of physical health and strength, stability, comfort, and money (hence the Pentacle embossed coin). This is the element of luxury and security. The Magician can manifest these things. The Pentacle is important, as its points represent the four elements, with spirit at the top. I think that the Pentacle is a good symbol for Earth, as Earth is a base and harvest ground. The Earth is the mother from which all things come. The Magician also recognizes this, and, if he is a man, he is respects his feminine qualities--intuition and nurturing.
The Suit of Wands, represented here with a torch, in Barbara Walker's deck with a baton, and in Robin Wood's deck with a crystal topped staff, is aligned with the element of Fire. Fire is the element of energy and creativity. It has the potential to create and cleanse, but the also the potential to lose control and destroy. The Magician knows how to handle this strong, primal energy. Fire is a masculine element, and the phallic symbol of the wands is quite appropriate. It is the "spark" of inspiration. If you see the Magician, then your spark is going to ignite! As Earth is feminine, and the Magician appreciates feminine qualities, he or she also is comfortable with "masculinity"--the assertive motions and energy--and knows how to use them.
Robin Wood Magician
If you look closely at the Robin Wood Magician, you will see that on the table in front of him is a sword crossing a wand. Swords are associated with the element of Air, the realm of intellectualism, abstract thought, and ideas. The Sword is also a teacher of hard truths--lessons learned through tough times. It cuts to the heart of the matter. It penetrates below the surface (hee hee, phallic talk). Air is considered a "masculine" element as well, along with fire. Air can move anywhere, and "flights of fancy" can lead to great breakthroughs! The Magician is comfortable with abstract ideas. He or she is intellectual, and moves below the surface to sniff out truth. Also, the Magician is strong enough to appreciate tough times, and be grateful for the lessons that they teach. However, what should balance out intellectualism? Can anyone guess?
Isis, the Magician of the Kris Waldherr Goddess Deck
If you answered emotion to the above question, then you would be right! The Magician's Cup represents the element of Water. Water is a feminine element. This association has been around since antiquity, Poseidon notwithstanding. When someone dreams about water, it symbolizes the unconscious. The unconscious is a realm typically associated with the feminine, probably because the womb was/is considered a mysterious place. The ocean is a place that is deep and mysterious, about as mysterious as outer space, and about as mysterious as what we have lurking and roiling around all willy-nilly in our subconscious! (subconsciouses? subconsci?) Water is the element of the subconscious, dreams, emotions, and compassion. It is kind, and its creativity is more like a flow than a spark. However, Water has its dark side, too. It hides nasty beasties that can bite your ass off. It can, and will, flood and drown and wash away, both good and bad. But it's also very useful for washing away impurities. The Magician works with water, using it to cleanse and purify. The good Magician is also compassionate and empathetic, with him/herself as well as others. The Magician is also friends with the subconscious, and uses dreams as tools to further self-knowledge as well as knowledge about the world.
In the Barbara Walker and Robin Wood decks, you may notice the infinity symbol. The infinity symbol represents the absolutely bottomless reservoir of knowledge that is available to us, and the limitless capacity of human creativity.
You may be asking why Kris Waldherr chose Isis to represent the Magician in her deck. Well, that is because Isis was a Magician. Her skill as a Magician brought Osiris back from the dead. It enabled her to ensure that Egypt was peaceful and prosperous.
Besides Isis, people and animals that I associate with the Magician are anything or anyone that can transform and/or master the world around them. Alchemists, those scientists reputed to be able to turn common metals into gold, are Magicians. Thoth, the Egyptian god who invented hieroglyphics, was also a Magician--and if writing isn't magical, I don't know what is.
Jesus Christ, I think, is a wonderful example of a Magician. As 100% divine, as well as 100% human, he shows the perfect balance of these attributes, of masculine and feminine energies, and all the strengths of all the elements.
Walt Disney was a Magician, and so was Jim Henson.
Obviously, Merlin, Gandalf and Dumbledore are literal Magicians, but they also show mastery of aspects of the human condition--intellect and emotion, compassion and invention.
As for animals, butterflies symbolize transformation, like the alchemists, of something simple into something divine.
The Shadow side of the Magician, or the reversed, is someone having trouble mastering a skill, or someone who has mastered skills, but use these skills to cause pain and suffering. If your Magician turns up reversed, it may mean that you aren't using your skills to your full potential, or, you're wasting your skills on something not worth your time.
1) Which Magician card stands out to you? What detail, in particular, stands out? what does it mean to you?
2) What element--Earth, Fire, Air, or Water--do you feel most aligned with? How can you maintain that alliance?
3) What element do you feel misaligned with? How can you forge a better cooperation with the element?
4) What skills do you have, and love to use? Do you get ample opportunities to use these? If not, how can you make these opportunities?
5) What skills would you like to master?
6) Who or what do you think represents the Magician?
Please read and respond!