The beginnings of the Tarot are probably hidden in the mists of time.
One school of thought say that Tarot cards probably originated in Italy in the 14th century since the earliest known explanation of their usage dates to 1391. The pack of cards, known as the Tarocco, is made up of 22 major enigmas, whose figures represent a synthesis of the mysteries of life; and 56 minor images incorporating 14 figures in four series (gold, clubs, swords and goblets). The 22 major enigmas correspond to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the number of hieroglyphs the ancient Jews used in divination.
Each major enigma has an image with a particular meaning, e.g. Enigma I is the Minstrel, which signifies The Being, the spirit and creation; and Enigma XV is the Devil, which signifies magic, eloquence, commerce and mystery. Enigmas I through XI comprise the solar way 3 active, conscious, reflective and autonomous; while enigmas XII through XXII denote the lunar way — passive, unconscious, intuitive and possessed.
The four series of the 56 minor images have the following significance: gold signifies intellectual activity; clubs, government; swords, military career; and goblets, the priesthood. Practitioners of Tarot believe that these enigmas, images and series represent the sum of the knowledge of all sciences, particularly astrology, and in the permutations in “dealing the cards” are capable of revealing the future and solving all problems. This brief overview does highlight that this practice is connected with the occult powers and seeks to reveal and control the future.
THE RIDER WAITE TAROT
These Tarot are easy and simple to use.
The Magician Tarot Card
When the opportunity to use your best talents arises, your performance will seem like magic to those around you. When you have a set of plans and enact them to perfection, quickly accomplishing your goal, people will be shocked. Your accomplishments will seem ordinary to you, as if they should have happened without question, but others will look at what you do like it is a new form of magic. All of these circumstances summon forth The Magician card from the Tarot deck. This is the card of making things happen, being in control, getting what you want because you understand how to earn it … and impressing everyone in the process of doing what comes natural to you.
Under a golden sky and surrounded by lush, flowery vegetation, a robed man stands before us, behind a waist-high wooden table. On the table there is a sword, a cup, a pentacle laying flat as a plate and a wooden walking stick, also known as a wand. These are the four suits of the Tarot and they appear here as they do on the numbered cards of the Tarot’s Minor Arcana. The man raises his right hand. He is holding a small white magic wand. Above his head floats a lemniscate (represented as ∞), the symbol for infinity.
The Magician is pictured here at the moment he is casting his spell. The magic wand in his hand is elevated as high above his head as possible and over his head the lemniscate underscores that the possibilities in all of this laying before him are infinite. The table represents bringing in our own constructs and belief systems into the natural world. We change the universe we live in with our perceptions. That each of the Tarot’s suits is represented indicates that The Magician has the power and control over these things. Cups represent emotions, wands indicate creativity, pentacles are money and issues of the material plane, while swords represent the cerebral sphere of human activity and the verbal expressions inspired within that area.
The Magician has domain over these areas of your life and is casting a spell to influence them. This is the card that indicates the ultimate level of control over your life and the events in it. This magician takes responsibility for who he is and what he can do; the objects representing the four Tarot suits are there on the table, he stands alone, nothing is hidden. The magic is in his supreme confidence over ruling the things in his domain that he knows he can control. The Magician is the Tarot’s card of being genuine and open, and transparent in any interpersonal dealings. This is the card of making it happen because you practice what you preach. The Magician is the complete package.