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The Magician, Key I: Captain Mysterious
© Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2008

The Magician Key 1, Morgan Greer Tarot

“The Fates guide the willing. The unwilling they drag."

“The obscure is to be explained by the more obscure, the unknown by the more unknown”
An Alchemist's Axiom

We have all be in awe of professional magicians we have seen perform live or on television. They perform illusions which seem to defy the very laws of nature. They pull rabbits out of a hat, make people disappear and reappear, cut people in half and put them back together again unscathed. They move objects or people from one place to another, they transform objects or people from one thing into another, they levitate themselves or others and they make solid objects blend into another solid object and they read minds. Their skill at sleight of hand, misdirection, props combined with hours of practice provide wonder and entertainment at children's parties, corporate events and television series. The one thing that a professional magician always maintains is that what he or she is doing, is an illusion.

"As a magician I promise to never reveal the secret of any illusion to a non-magician, without first swearing them into the Magician's Oath. I promise never to perform any illusion for any non-magician, without first practicing the effect until I can perform it well enough to maintain the illusion of magic." Magician's Oath

The Magician card, Key I, in the Tarot manifests many of the characteristics but without the ethics, aims or principles. In the Tarot, The Magician or Captain Mysterious as I have always preferred to call him, is a trickster, a juggler, a manipulator, a baffler, an obscurer, a manifestor, a conjurer, a shape-shifter, a super hero (in his own mind), an alchemist, a heartbreaker and he has a very strong will to power or, more accurately, a will to misuse power. As with any super hero, Captain Mysterious has an Alter Ego, The Other Guy, and he is a real prick. He takes, he keeps, he advances, he desires personal greatness and he will hold onto another and not allow them to move forward. He is concerned with the love of power not the power of love. He wants power and control, fame and fortune, thrill and glory. He has great intelligence, and while he may smile in your face, there is little substance behind that smile. He is full of charm and speaks in clever insincerities.

The Magician of the Tarot reminds me of Elmer Gantry's (the flim flam revivalist preacher from the movie of the same name), description of God with a lightning bolt in one hand and a bag of tricks in the other. You know you are with a Magician if he has the latest of everything. He loves gadgets and he loves his toys. Nothing but the best, the newest, the most unique, the fastest, the most expensive, the biggest and he will have it first. He loves machinery and equipment. He believes all women want him and all men want to be him. He could very well be right.

Come on home, girl he said with a smile
You don't have to love me yet
Lets' get high awhile
But try to understand
Try to understand
Try try try to understand
I'm a magic man.
“Magic Man” by Heart

The Magician contains within his Mind all the stages of consciousness and creation. He is both original and imaginative. Consciousness is within the word individual, which means whole or indivisible. He represents indivisible consciousness. The conscious is how we are perceiving the world around us and our role or place in it, but it is limited to this plane of existence. The unconscious is the source of all information. The sub-conscious is a storage facility for all of our unfulfilled or unexpressed desires and thoughts. Super-consciousness is the integration of the unconscious with the conscious in a state of full awareness. The process of integration needs to be a slow and gradual assimilation of the truths contained in the unconscious or it would be too overwhelming.

Contained inside of The Magician are a crude, unpolished, gutsy, authoritarian man and a gentle, well mannered, passive man. He is sulphur, the male element, the fire of the heart, the symbol of the spirit and the mind. He cannot actualize or enter into a state of super-conscious mind and explore the capacities of his soul until he connects with mercury, the female element, the knot of personality, represented in the High Priestess, Key II. It is only through connecting with her indwelling glory that he can he achieve the full state of super-consciousness and the opening of his heart. Salt, a neutral element also representing knowledge and wisdom as well as being useful for protection and grounding, is required for this alchemical process to be complete. He represents the manifestation and she is the spirit.

Don't know that I will
But until I can find me
A girl who'll stay
And won't play games behind me
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man
“Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond

Typical imagery associated with the Magician card enhance these meanings. Often there is a three legged table which represent the pillars of the objective world. On his table are a cup representing knowledge and wisdom; a sword representing his words, courage and bravery; a wand representing his will and a coin which provides him the means to actualize his plans and to take action. In the modern day world, Captain Mysterious would probably just as easily have a beer and a bong, a pair of scissors to cut up the big bud of pot also on the table, a remote control for the home stereo system and some cash. The infinity symbol, a sideways figure 8, floats about his head and a serpent devouring its' own tail is his belt. The Magician is conscious of time and the infinity symbol is his hourglass. The Magician wears a bright red cape which we could imagine him using like a matador to distract a bull. He could also use it like a stage Magician, swirling it about as misdirection while he or some other person or object mysteriously disappears. He raises his right hand towards heaven while his left hand points towards the earth. This stance represents the descent of grace, virtue and light drawn from the heavens being given to things of the earth. As above, so below.

Ayrton Senna da Silva, the last Formula 1 race car driver killed in a race on May 1, 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix, was nicknamed “The Magician”. He epitomized many qualities associated with the Magician card. He was an aggressive, controversial competitor with a ruthless will to win, sometimes using unfair tactics. He would rather get into an accident with a competitor then let them win or overtake him in the point standings. After a controversial collision in 1989 and then again in 1990 with Alain Prost, in which he was accused of deliberately colliding with the other driver and disqualified, he said, “If you get f...... everytime you try to do your job cleanly, within the system, what do you do? Stand back and say thank you? No way. You should fight for what you think is right.....I contributed to it but it was not my responsibility”.

Ayrton Senna

His character on the track was offset by a very generous and compassionate nature off the track. He was deeply religious and donated most of his money to a foundation named for him, dedicated to helping poor children in need. Concerned with the dangers of his sport, he also pushed for improved safety standards. In the practice runs for the San Marino Grand Prix, Roland Ratzenberger, an Austrian driver had been killed. After Senna's accident, in which the suspension from his car pierced his helmet causing a fatal wound, they found an Austrian flag which he had been planning to wave in honour of Ratzenberger when he won the race. The cause of the accident has never been determined. Upon his death, 3 days of mourning were declared in Brazil, his country of birth, and he was given a state funeral. One million people lined up to honour him.

Ayrton Senna 1994

If you have a Captain Mysterious in your life, or have had, then you know that this is a powerful, compelling, psychic and karmic connection. It can be profoundly soul fulfilling, or soul shattering. You will experience moments of perfect tranquility, mind shattering sex and you will think he is the “one”. At the moment you think you are safe and secure in his arms, and the relationship feels comfortable and familiar, The Other Guy will appear and he will cut you in half with the sword of his words and you will not be put back together unscathed. He will make you disappear, possibly in the very literal sense of the word. Unlike the stage Magician, the Magician of the Tarot manifests and creates but he doesn't restore. You will know what invisibility can really mean and you will ingore your own feelings in deference to his. You will try to avoid conflicting with him in order to have “at-one-ment” again. You will do what he wants, even if it is of no interest to you or goes against your own desires. You will learn to be silent as speaking up in protest will get you shoved aside. You will apologize to him, accepting blame that isn't yours, just to keep the peace. You will take on his responsibilities but he won't even notice or he will just take it for granted. You will do things for yourself and never ask for his help. You learn to pretend that everything is okay even if he is abusive to you physically, socially, financially, emotionally, sexually or verbally. He makes you create your own invisibility from your own fear of his rejection. He is Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights embodied in Cathy's painful lament, “You are more myself than I am.”

The air around The Magician, and the air that he breathes, is filled with magical properties. His kiss will leave you breathless or suffocated but it still creates a powerful soul connection, but don't expect him to acknowledge it.. Involvement with The Magician is not for the faint hearted. He can, and will, take you places that you do not want to go. It is a great risk, because you just might find, like the Venetian woman in Elizabeth Gilbert's book “Eat Pray Love”, that you will die of love in his shadow. If you wish to understand what drives him, you need to know what his aim is. The end justifies the means in his mind and he is all about Mind. He symbolizes the threshold of the unconscious. He is his own creation and everything he does is real. It will be hard to see the truth that is hidden within him and it is unlikely that he will reveal it to you intentionally. The Magician can't take away your choices or your ability to choose, but he can take away your ability to carry out that choice. You must remember that magic in any form is neither good nor evil, it is the intention of the Magician that makes all the difference.


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This page was updated 2008-02-24.