Tarot Card Comparisons: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 1: The Magus & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-key 1: The Magician
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Tarot Card Comparisons: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 1: The Magus & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-key 1: The Magician

The Tarot of EliThose who practice the Higher Arts in the Gnosis of Hermetic Qaballah are called Magi (From the Persian word for the Three stars in the constellation of Orion's Belt). The Magi, Magician or individual Magus, "Stand for Mankind" as a full Tree of Life; that they are both Force and Form of all the Planes of Conscious Energy.  For those who think that reading a book will qualify you as a Magus, I am sorry to say, it is a union of Kether with the very molecules of your body where the "Above flows through the below" in a figure eight spiral which is called the lemnstrate and a many great trials and tribulations are required in order to awaken this "sleeping giant" (Python or Leviathan or Kundalini) that resides in your individual DNA. Oh by the way, this is the Great Work of "As above and so below".

As shown on the Tree of Life, the Soul had to build many "Houses" before it can ever achieve the manifestation of a Temple of Mercury, a body that is able to flow the "Above", subtle energy intelligence, through the objective self-conscious of "Below".
 Personally, it has taken my Soul, (a soul is a collective of spiral energy  I AM experiences), many "alive temple" times to accomplish this. It may help one to remember, that in Qabalah, "Above", is inward, while "Below" is outward.

The Magus is referred to the letter Beth, a Hebrew letter which means House or Temple, and is attributed to the planet Mercury. Thus, the depiction of winged feet on the Thoth-Magus illustration.

The ideas  attached to this card are very difficult to understand. What makes it more difficult, is that words are not completed action. Therefore this card is All About the Action of the Will-to-Be that began this Universe of Force and Form; the Universe, which in itself is a Beth! The Magus is the Semen, the manifestation in act of the idea of the Father. He is the male correlative of the High Priestess.

Mercury is preeminently the bearer of the Wand (Phallus) which represents Energy Sent Forth and/or communication. The Creative nature of Mercury is the Sun but the path leading from Kether (Crown) to Binah (Understanding) is ruled by Mercury as well. Thus, he is the Lingam that is the Silent Word of Creation.This is not Male as in Sex, it is Male as in "expression"; as in electricity. The ideas illustrated by this card are complex and so multifarious that many documents, meditations, and study are required to grasp this cards message, for the message of this communication can only be "known inwardly" and acted "outwardly".

Let me state this: Mercury is representative of action, in all its forms and phases. He is the fluid basis for all transmission of activity. He is the substance of the Dynamic Universe. Modern physics has given him language as that electric charge which is the first manifestation of the "ring of Ten indefinable ideas" (Tree of Life); he is thus continual creation. He is a duality; he is both wisdom and folly; he is the law of reason or of necessity and chance. Being that the "Magus within" is unexpected, he unsettles any established idea and therefore appears tricky. The Magus is the very idea of a Sorcerer, which comes from the Latin, Solitaris, which means "to cast lots" and some have interpret it to mean "from the Source"; both are appropriate.

From the Above the Magus /Magician may appear as the second emanation of the Crown (Kether) and thus can be interpreted as the "Adult" expression of the Fool who is "like the children"; the Magus being the Will of the Fool. The ideas are so subtle and tenuous, that any given description and/or hieroglyph represents a subtle insistence, however slight, upon some form of pantomorphous idea.

The symbols represented in the Magus card emphasize the creative and dual character of Beth.  As Crowley stated in Liber Magi vv, 7-10 : "With the Wand createth He, With the Cup preserveth He, With the Dagger destroyeth He, With the Coin redeemeth He."

Methinks, that enough is written here for long contemplation and I would suggest you read the Myth of the god Mercury/Hermes and his supposed exploits; it will help in the understanding of this very complex symbol.

To reiterate: THE MAGUS is the Qabalistic Path of Beth (house or temple), and it transmits  the idea of Self-Creation of the one from above-known as Kether (Crown). A spoken word is a sound that carries an idea, so the Magus is associated with the "First Vibration" and/or Logos.
 
The First Vibration encloses Spirit/Life, beginning the process of creation, thus encompassing all that is.
In the Golden Dawn papers, this idea was conveyed by relating the Mercury symbol (planetary sign) to all the Sephiroth, with the exception of Kether.
You may note that in the above illustration, the "Horns spring from Daath", often called the invisible Sephiroth but really, it is conjunction of Chokmah (Great Father and Binah (Great Mother), a face to face union (Tibetan Yab Yum),  that creates what is  called "the Divine Child". This is understandable, since Wisdom (Chokmah) and Understanding (Binah) conjoin in the birthing of Knowledge (Daath). 
Consequentially the showing of Mercury on the Caduceus, properly places the Four Worlds,(Atziluth, Briah, Yetsirah and Assiah ), that are transitions of the Wand of the Magus; Kether is the Winged Orb at the top.
Delving deeper into the Golden Dawn tests, the student will find that the Primum Mobile, Latin for "first motion", is acting through Philosophic Mercury (Magus) on Saturn-Binah, who is Will to Form; the "First Motion" commands/stimulates the formation of the "First Matter", i.e. Thought. As before stated, She is the Mother of Form and the Magus is the "Idea of Being" and/or Will. Their Union is "Will to Be".

The activity of the first motion acting on Saturn-Binah, is known as words or vibration and whoever can willfully direct the Vibration of the First Motion, (often refereed to as to "Pronounce the word-YHVH") Shall "command the Universal Force". This Mastery of the Universal motion, is called the "moves-moves" among certain Native American nations, and/or the "motion within the movement" of the Mysteries. Quantum physicists would call it the "Dark energy that pushes the Universe", while Qabalists call it the Magus which to a Hindu, would be the Risen Kundalini. This "First Motion" is felt in the Crown of the individual as a "vibration buzz" or hum, in the pineal gland, that instills the "first "I" sight". Many know this as the "third eye".

Dr.Paul Foster Case (creator of B.O.T.A.), in his Book of Tokens, stated that, "all created wills are but reflections" of the Will that is the Magus. This is an essential ideal of the Mysteries and acknowledges the fact that our Superior Nature (Divine I) acts through the indefinable Magus.
In the Crowley card, unlike the Golden Dawn or B.O.T.A. card, THE MAGUS  is not holding a Wand, the primary instrument of the MAGICIAN  cards; Rather, THE MAGUS is the Wand, He is the Phallus, without a human body, which Crowley understood. This Subjective Phallus, is not YET an object form. All Objects are formed by Binah, who is Will To Form. 

Victorian sensibilities and/or "flesh-o-phobia" have softened the ancient depictions of Hermes ( Greek-Mercury) as the Herms, that were upright stone slabs with a bust and a very large stone phallus curiously attached to the front of the column. This acknowledgment of "First Motion" is also shown in Lingam worship of the Hindus and or the Phallus- God Priapus of the Romans. Without the Transmitted Phallic-Will of the One, Understanding of an idea, cannot become a Form of Understanding/Womb. This is a complex idea, and requires deep meditations on THE MAGUS  card, and also a release of Victorian  sensibilities, as we are describing the First SEX Action in the Universal Duality of the Divine Creative. That Action, produced our the Womb of our Soul: the Higher Self called Daath- Knowledge, who is the Divine Child of the union of Will and Understanding; the Self Concept of I AM ME. Here, the I is the Will and the Am is the form of that Will and the Me is the manifestation of the Union called Knowledge and/or knowing of the difference between the "I" and the "AM". This concept should make your forehead itch!


The Magician of the B.O.T.A.  Tarot, represents the same qualities as the Thoth Card. Here mankind is represented as the director of the force by which he transforms his self- consciousness and reaches the stage known to Qabalists as initiation.
The geometric illustration of the number 1 is symbolized as a point, which means, concentration, attention, and a limiting field of activity. All of which refer to the activity that is absolutely indispensable to aspirants of "As above, so below": Aspirants who wish to know the True Self.

  1. The roses in the arbor represent desire. The Hermetic Qabalist knows that "desire is the motivation of evolution".
  2. The stance of the Magician, clearly he draws power from above, depicting the central point of Arcane doctrine. Hence, one is not able to use the subtle forces of Nature until one realizes that one does nothing of themselves, but simply act as a channel; a wand, through which Life-Force expresses itself. 
  3. The uplifted wand represents the Magician's ability to direct the natural forces with which he works.
  4. The horizontal 8 (lemnistrate) represents, strength, control, and is the mathematical sign of infinity.
  5. His left hand is pointed toward the ground in a gesture of concentration.
  6. The representation of ignorance is his black hair, the knowledge that limits ignorance is shown as a white band.
  7. Also the red roses represent action and desire.
  8. The white robe, symbolizes Wisdom and serpent belt represents the encirclement of Wisdom by eternity.
  9. The Table or Workbench of the Magician, represents the field of attention.
  10. Tabled are the implements of the Magician: Wand, Cup, Sword (or dagger) and Pentacle; representing, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth: Which are interpreted as; Will, Imagination, Action and physical embodiment.
  11. The garden is the subconscious mind, that is cultivated by acts of attention from the self-conscious mind. From this garden spring all the powers of the Universal Collective Unconscious.
  12. White lilies, because they are six petaled and white, which is the balanced color weight of all light, represent the abstract perception of Truth, as well as, the cosmic laws and principles by which the Universe is sustained.

All of which are also shown and explained in the Thoth Card. The Magus or Magician card show us the Universal Truth, that there is Only One Mind, and One Will, of which all of us Inherit. One must go beyond self-conscious, into the Great Depths of Conscious that belong are the Universal Collective Unconscious, simply by controlling and directing the invocation of "I AM ME"; an invocation we call the action of "living" whose direction is decided by the "Word",i.e "self identity".

When THE MAGUS is thrown during a reading, it implies:
  • Communication and timing; that all things are possible, with applied Will and understanding.
  • There is an implication of the magic of Universal Vital Force traveling through the human body making one in-tune with the most creative and powerful aspects of your- Greater Self; As above, so below.
  • Changing the structure of your living situation by focused action:  Will and focused consciousness.
  • An awareness of Power, and possession and communication  of the Powers (Focused will that fertilizes creativity in ones self and others) and Gifts of Spirit (Divine senses).
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!



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