The Magus

This post I will talk about the Magus of the Thoth deck – some decks come with three versions of this card, they were never intended to all be used but were there as consideration for the owner to either pick one or to just appreciate other versions that were created by Frieda Harris. In those times there were two extra card slots for printing which weren’t needed and so for some publications they decided to make the alternative versions available.

The Magus

I came to the Thoth initially through the Gerd Ziegler book whilst I was also training as a counsellor so the psychological approach of Zeigler, being a Jungian therapist, appealed to me. He had made the decision to include all the magi in the deck and simply make the two be the skewed meanings of the magus as a whole – the unexplored extremes of ourselves – our complete light side and our complete dark side. The central and commonly defined ‘correct’ magus as the integrated dark and light sides of ourselves – the magical flow of life we experience when we are true to ourselves and incorporate information from our dark and light sides in our decisions and mapping of our life paths.

I found the approach useful to point out when I was being unaware that my shadow had taken over my actions, or that I was purely looking for the good in things and becoming unbalanced in doing so despite my good intentions, and of course where each of these were appropriate actions, or influences to allow.

I mention it in this month’s Thoth tips as there is often a discussion in the Thoth community around the three magi and some purists to Crowley’s wishes feel one should not use all three. It is my belief that we can and should follow our own heart about their use whilst keeping our eyes open for where we may delude ourselves. As with all things we need to find the path that is right for us at the time.

I have on previous posts talked about the White and Black magi alone so here I will expand up on the transcendental Magus.

This Magus walks the line between that which could be seen as good and that which could be seen as bad – having full awareness of both he knows when it is for the highest good – or in line with his true will – to keep a secret, to lie even for the right reasons, and when it is necessary to be impeccably open, when he needs to communicate in a adapted way to present his ideas and when he can simply be himself. He uses his ability to read and empathise with others to enhance his communication and to be heard in the essential things, even if some of the things he could say he leaves out. He is an excellent salesman, as long as he believes in what he is selling, he doesn’t not worry if he can not explain all the points – just to explain why it is good in the terms the person will understand, is enough. He is our own expert communicator. He appears relating to writing, data, the transmission of it, so the internet, travel to many places and quick movement. This card is connected to mercury – both the flexible communicator and the swift mover. He brings messages from afar and is playful and can be like a trickster. In the transcendental Magus we see the sacred clown archetype. How we can ‘get away with’ a difficult message by using humour – the person is able to receive the meaning without casting out the messenger as they might otherwise.

He is a creator and uses the power of speech to create his dreams Рas we think things into being the speaking of our dreams brings forces together to make them happen Рwhether we are talking through the use of spoken ritual Рor simply the talking of our dream to travel the world with our friends to find someone has synchronistically offers to remove some or all the obstacles you felt were barring you from living out the plan. What would I do with my house Рoh I know someone who is looking for a 6 month let who loves plants so can care for your garden  too etc. Things that would not come to light had you kept quiet about your intentions.

The Magus aligns his intentions with his true Will and each other and thus creates easily, as all his energy is focused to a point. This concept can be seen very easily on this card image, there is a balance yet with flexibility; it is very well depicted as he stands almost dancing on his toes, able to use all that is around him to create.




Black Magus

Black Magus
In some version of the Thoth deck there are three images for the Magus. You can see them here The Magician, The Magus and The Magus. They were never intended to all be used at the same time in the deck. The publishers had the slots for two more cards when making up the deck and decided to include these two extra discarded versions of the Magus for interest. 

Gerd Ziegler in his book ‘Tarot: The mirror of your relationships’ Labels the three cards as three aspects of the Magus and suggests the possible use of them all. I personally have found it excellent to have the three included in my deck and find it really adds some power to the readings to have two cards that lean strongly to the positive or negative where the other cards are so much more balanced. 

The Magician is seen as the White magus and embodies all the qualities of the positive magus, communication for the good of all. The focus on the light exclusively, open and honest communication, no lying or manipulation just the truth as the person sees it. 

The Magus with the figure balancing on a tightrope type image is considered the Transcendental Magus and is the card Crowley intended to be used in the deck. This magus has the powers of dark and light at his disposal and actually is not thinking about whether something is right or wrong to do – it is like he has transcended duality and so can used things that on the face of it would be seen as manipulative but are ‘right’ for him to use as this is his pathway forward when viewed from the spiritual standpoint.

The Other magus with the dark figure behind is considered the Black Magus and this card represents going against the will of the whole. Fighting against ones path and basically is a ‘no not this way’ It can also come up in situations of abuse and manipulation, difficult relationships where there is a power difference that needs to be addressed. It can also point to someone who has found themselves so keen on a particular outcome they have begun to try an control people and events too much. Sometimes just realising you are trying to control things and releasing your control to a higher energy can release the difficulties in a situation instantaneously. So this card is powerful when it comes up and brings with it a lot of healing and also trust and faith in the higher processes that go on in our lives. The caduceaus in the front of the main character I feel indicates healing is possible from abusive situations and they can be released from having power over the person any longer. I feel it also represents situations where you are feeling controlled by someone from your past and are finding it hard to break free from that conditioning, whatever you try it seems so hard to actually control your own patterns – paradoxically the feeling of controlling others and situations that are out of their control, helps you feel you have control over life which basicially feels out of control either in the present or the past. 

As this awareness comes to us we are able to then address the situation and start to look to higher planes and trust that our highest path will be shown – that the way we think we have to go is actually full of the hard work of swimming against the current and is not a productive way for us at the time. We change our direction when we get this card and let go – allowing something else to come in its place, perhaps another has the answer we seek and we haven’t been listening, perhaps we need to allow our intuition to have more space. Perhaps we need to leave a relationship rather than stay to make it work. Perhaps we need to view things from a higher perspective. 

If you get this card in a reading and find it hard to understand its context you can always pick another in response to “what happens if I just stop what I am striving for to allow something to change the situation outside of myself… ” 

For those that only have the one card in the deck, then this card can embody these concepts both the dark and light depending on the position in the reading and also your intuitive understanding of its message at the time.