If you haven’t seen our previous posts, i’d advise you to start at the world and travel through the Major Arcana backwards. When arriving here you will have a foundation that is strong enough to make sense of what the Magician is doing in this picture.
Its often said that the ‘tools’ on the table represent qualities of the Psyche. Stephan Hoeller says that the faculties of Sensation , Feeling, Thought, and Intuition are represented on the table, as do other authors as well. What most have overlooked is that the image of the Craftsman is none other than our highest Self. The Atman in use of the tools of the psyche in an attempt to put together the world and work magic on the environment, using the tools of the Soul. This is alluded to from the dualistic nature of the clothes worn by the Magi that both sides of the polarities are ‘worn’ by this worker. They are actually referred in esoteric literature as the ‘robe’ of the initiate. Essentially saying that the Highest Self clothed in the aura, uses the faculties of the soul , or psyche to bring order and meaning to its worldview or the cosmos of the microcosm.
Christine Payne Towler says the following about the Magus
In the Sophianic mysteries this is the scribe or aspirant to initiation, who is coming awake to his true nature and seeks a Path of Return. He could also be viewed as the Christos, male half of the Christ/Sophia pair, who are each sent to redeem the world at different stages of the cosmic drama
This shows how the tarot sees a magical being throughout the work of the “Path of Return”, or what has been mentioned in 1st century Hellenistic times as the Anodos. This card contains more of a spiritual reality than we can see at first hand. There are seven distinct, yet interrelated levels of interaction with the cosmos and the spirit. The problem with this is that we are typically not able to see the deeper psycho spiritual reality behind the illusion of reality. This leaves us in a space of what we like to call fantasy. The real imaginative quality is to see this world of forms , for what they are. That is shadows of a deeper , more real space of Archetypes that are presented to our sense world. This isn’t to say that the ‘world’ isn’t real.. it is , however it isn’t the only reality. In Mahayana Buddhism this is called Conventional Reality, but not Ultimate Reality.
We are but sojourners in a strange world when it comes to the faculties of the soul, our Thinking , Feeling and Will functions are not given full expression , without the initiation or expansion of consciousness that comes from beginning the path of return. Return not to a place of fantasy, but what is real, in essence our source. This is first begun as we attempt to finally see the items on the table for what they are. Our Psychic Sphere. The Atman or Anthropos , Adam Kadmon or whatever other term is given to that which is real, is not able to influence us but when connecting to the spiritual hierarchy with receptivity to what is presented. This is represented by the use of the Left Hand which is in Energy Science the receptive force of the two limbs, the other being the Manifestational.
In the ancient temple of Delphi, there was a statement saying Knothi Sauton or Know of Thyself , which all initiates would see before entering the temple of revelation. The oracles would present dark sayings to the minds of the initiates about different tasks that were to be taken on or performed , in order to fulfill destinies or Fated prophesy.
The sayings weren’t “dark” in the sense of not having light, but dark as the Dark Night of The Soul, being stripped from Materialistic sense and given true spiritual information or insight. This was the use of the Tarot for mostly all generations before ours. As we became what C.G. Jung said ” Fixated on the Thinking function” in the west, our Psyches became divided and were unable to receive anymore of the messages given to us, because of our Wills in conjunction with Thinking Functions. As we became more manifestational we were closed off to the realities of the ‘different stages’ of the cosmic drama. Loosing our spiritual eyesight , we were awoken to a realm of duality and what the daoists call the Ten Thousand Things. But as we gave over ourselves in pursuit of what we thought was our selves, we became identified with the Functions of the Soul, as opposed to the Spiritual Core that utilizes these functions.
This is part of the powerful message of the Magus and explores what some call the ‘Fall’. This isn’t to say we did anything wrong, but as we became more and more entranced by the reflection of our Self, we were more and more lost in the consequences of this Constriction. Which is at its most extreme, the arrogance of Lucifer or the complete embodiment of Ahriman. (For a better explanation of these terms see Rudolf Steiner’s lecture The Ahrimanic Deception October 27, 1919. ) To escape this fate we are on the path of return to our Spiritual Selves, which is ONE with the Solar Logos or Son. This term isn’t the term related to gender however, but of Scion or Child of the cosmos, and is why it has been also called The Word, or Logos.