1. The Magician: Bending Lightning

The Magician as seen in five different decks: Rider-Waite-Smith, Sasuraibito, Star Spinner, This Might Hurt, and Modern Witch.

Have you ever seen the TV shows Avatar: The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra? The first thing I think about when I see the typical Magician card is lightning bending. In the Avatar series, many of the characters can ‘bend’ or manipulate one or more of the four classical elements, earth, water, air and fire. Lightning bending is an advanced form of firebending, and it looks very much like The Magician when lightning is redirected through the fingertips. Here’s what it looks like:

Mako from The Legend of Korra redirecting lightning.

If done correctly, it is a very powerful technique, but as you can imagine, if you make a mistake, it could be deadly. It takes a lot of self-discipline and confidence to even attempt to pull off lightning redirection.

The Magician tells us that we have all the tools we need to create what we want. Instead of getting more, achieving more, take time to work with what you’ve got. Make something real out of the possibilities in front of you. The Magician asks us to be resourceful- look at the table in front of him (RWS), he has an item resembling each classical element:

  • The wand- fire
  • The cup- water
  • The sword- air
  • The pentacle- earth

These are the four suits of the Minor Arcana, the 56 cards remaining after we complete the Fool’s Journey of the Major Arcana.

The Magician is also surrounded by flowers, representing creation and cultivation. Ask yourself, what in your life would you like to cultivate? Is there anything you are procrastinating about? If the lightning bender hesitates in using their power, they could be seriously hurt. Don’t let that energy stagnate in your body.

If The Magician doesn’t use that energy within him, he could become depressed or panicked. If you pull this card, be like The Magician and manifest what you want from life, in any way you can. If you look above the Magician’s head you see an infinity symbol. You may have to squint, but he is also wearing an Ouroboros as a belt. The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol originating in Egypt, and depicts a snake eating its own tail. Both of these symbols represent unlimited potential.


I know it is so much easier said than done, but take a moment to think about your own potential, what you have the power to do right now. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, or as impressive as bending lightning, but give yourself that agency to create positive change.

Let’s look a little deeper at the symbolism of this card. There is a phrase commonly associated with The Magician:

‘As above, so below’

This phrase comes from The Hermetica, a set of texts from the 2nd century. It means that what happens in one level of reality, happens in another. Think microcosm and macrocosm. If you zoom in enough, the microscopic world begins to resemble outer space. In the novel Lord of the Flies, a small group of schoolboys begin to form a society not too different from the warring world around them. Microcosm reflecting macrocosm.

How does this idea manifest in your own life? Have you ever noticed that when your surroundings are messy, it’s harder to clear your mind? Or how parliamentary debates sometimes devolve into squabbling that resembles family in-fighting? It can be good mindfulness practice to try to notice things like this. Everything can be put into perspective, and patterns often emerge. How could you use this to better understand yourself and the world?

Just as a fun extra, while I was writing this, I came across this piece of art of Rick from Rick and Morty as The Magician. He’s a great example of this archetype, as he is always creating something out of the world around him.

Source: https://spinetrick.tumblr.com/post/155079785765/the-magician-thanks-beta-19-for-giving-me-the

Let me know what you think of The Magician!

Published by Iona Grant

I am a writer who focuses on secular tarot, mindfulness and mental health. I read the cards for introspection, not fortune-telling. Tarot cards embody clear emotions and themes, and allow you to view a situation from new perspectives. I love that tarot exercises your creativity and imagination, and helps to prevent overthinking. I also do social media marketing for charities, and I am developing my skills in copywriting and content creation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: