The Magician – Tarot-Key 1

David Lotterhand
The Magician ist the specific beginning of the Tarot, since Key 0 is said to be dancing everywhere throughout the deck. The mysterious Magician may seem rather shocking, because today we live in a scientific world that is not magical at all. Babies are produced scientifically; grain and all other natural support systems are produced scientifically and if you believe that, better think again. Let’s say that in your imagination you could suddenly be Life Itself. You would be greater than the greatest conceivable super master, because Life is the most powerful force we know anything about. It is The Force. Just look into the area of biology. Look at the incredible magic and mystery in an embryo. Biologically, things are done that would astound us if they were done by legerdemain, but because they are done invisibly, we watch and take them for granted. We are watching magic and we don’t realize it.

This primary Key illustrates the fundamental task we have to do in order to achieve the amazing success we are aiming for in this work. First of all, The Magician shows us how to contact the Life Force. The most important symbol in the first Key is the gesture of the upraised wand. This means that The Magician, which is your SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS, recognizes that all the powers he uses are derived from the basic Reality in the universe. He is saluting the superior power and plugging into it. By this gesture we are shown the technique of concentration and dedication accepted by Cabalists and Taroists and all those who are seriously involved in the Path of the West. If you can remember this gesture you will never fall into the trap of egotism. You could get into an ego-inflationary spiral if you thought, “These powers are really mine! I can feel them! I’m using them! Wow, I’ve got it made!” Such affirmations are fine, provided you come back to the original understanding that your power isn’t coming from your cornflakes. It’s coming directly from the universe. So please don’t make this enormous error in your calculations. It would put you into the sorcerer’s apprentice class and that’s the last thing the Cabala wants to happen to you.

Tarot deals primarily with liberation through mental methods. Key 1 corresponds astrologically to Mercury, the intellect, which energizes things within the mind. We can see that we all have beautiful bodies, so perhaps it’s our minds we really need to work on. This is where the Tarot is extremely useful to us. It provides practical information about ourselves that we can apply. That’s what we want to do – apply it. The Magician’s main magic consists of what he can do what you and I can do just by wanting to do it! This is symbolized by his red robe, which represents his desire-nature. The Being inside can take the robe off and walk around in the white undergarnment, but when he is doing magic he must wear his red robe. It activates his particular universe, represented by the implements on the table. Whereas most people hold a low view of Man (speaking generically), the Cabalists take a high view. They say the energies that come through Man literally affect the universe. In the Cabalistic definition Man is a mediator between the inner and outer aspects of life, exercising this power primarily through his desire-nature. Desire is the motivatrng force in the magic that we perform on ourselves. This is true of any human being, regardless of the person’s secondary sexual characterisitcs.
True magic is the magic of the Self. You and I know that we are extremely complicated. We are always mystified about ourselves. We can look outward and classify everything and say, “That’s a horse; that’s a cow; that’s the President; that’s the Pope.” We’re smart that way, but when it comes to little old us, we’re not so sure. It appears that whoever created us decided to make us the most baffling puzzle in the universe, which we are. This course is presented as an attempt to introduce you to some hidden parts of yourself, which when understood will ensure a much better life for you. The Cabalistic teaching is that Man is made in God’s image. As a microcosm, Man can know himself. This is extremely important because if he didn’t know himself he would be on the level of the animal kingdom. He is fortunate when somebody comes along and tells him a few things about himself that help to wake him up. Then the burden is on the lucky person to go ahead and finish the work of Self-knowledge. This is called the GREAT WORK. When the person gets the whole job done he is the master of his own universe, which is himself. This person is the master of what we call matter. He learns how to manipulate matter by practicing on himself. Once he learns how to handle matter in himself, he can manipulate all matter because matter is plastic, not fixed. Then he’s a real master.