The Magician Tarot Card Meaning, Explained

There's real magic in the Magician card.

Last updated on Oct 05, 2022

the magician tarot card volkovslava / shutterstock

If there is ever a card that has the power to render us completely skeptical, it is the Magician tarot card, also referred to as Le Bateleur in Italian tradition.

How does magic, or a magical being, fit into our real life? What does the Magician card mean in Tarot?

When you read tarot cards, it's essential to pay attention to whether the card is reversed or upright, as well as the cards that are pulled alongside it. For the Magician tarot card, which is number 1 following the Fool, this card represents talents and tapping into one's full potential.


Magician Tarot Card Meaning

Upright meaning keywords: Power, desire, skill, logic, concentration, willpower, manifestation, psychic powers

Reversed meaning keywords: Greed, untrustworthiness, conniving, poor planning, manipulation, trickery

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In a nutshell, the Magician, when explored in a tarot reading, is symbolic of skill, talent, application of the will, manifestation, ability and sacrifice. This card is associated with knowledge and mystery when upright.

When upside down, the Magician is also known as a doctor, or relates to an issue of poor health. It's significant of loss, whether it is human loss or the loss of one's dignity, ability, or the total disgrace caused by a hopelessly wrong move.

The Magician is the second card in a traditional Tarot deck, but is numbered 1 following the Fool. The Fool is the most powerful card in the tarot deck because it's the only card with the ability to transform.

The Fool and the Magician are similar because they share strength in willpower, a love for action, and an encouraging spirit.


After the Magician, the next card in the Major Arcana is the High Priestess, which represents a connection to the spirit world and serves as a threshold separating our realm from the mystical realm.

Some say the Magician represents all elements, but its one true element is air. Air is all about communication, intellect, and messages — all of which the Magician signifies. Along with its air element, Mercury is the Magician's planet; Mercury is the planet of communication that represents clear thinking.

The Magician Tarot Card Description

As mentioned, the Magician is the second card in the Major Arcana. Originally a true magician, the male in this card is here to get you to focus and manifest your desires.

As a magician, this is a person who relies upon invisible energies. The solid things of life are mere tools for the Magician; he works with the cosmic forces and the elements of nature.


The Magician is a reminder of faith, religion and beliefs gone past; with one hand pointed upward and one pointed downward, his body language is obvious: "As it is above, so it is below."

Meaning, all things balance out in heaven and earth. All things affect each other; they act in a way that complements nature, rather than fight it.

the magician tarot cardPhoto: volkovslava/shutterstock


In the Rider-Waite deck, the Magician has his array of magical tools before him, and each tool represents a suit within the tarot deck. There is a chalice or cup, a sword, a pentacle, and a wand, which is literally a "magic wand" in this case.

These Minor Arcana suits represent the elements of nature — earth, water, air and fire — with respect, for the purpose of healing, teaching, manifesting. Above his head is the infinity symbol, there to remind us that we are all a part of the endless cosmic flow, and that it is all in our mind.

The Magician Upright Meaning

Whether you are using this card as your very own representative during a reading, or you get this card in its upright form during your reading, it is there for one supreme reason: get your act together — now.

This Major Arcana card is telling you that there is always hope, but so much of that hope and positive outlook depends on what you do to get there. It is a smack in the face that says, "You can do this!"


The Magician card is there to stimulate you into believing in yourself once again, and to use your own magic. And what is magic? Magic is making something from nothing. Magic is creation — creating something where before there was nothing.

And that it is truly up to you to make your life happen. It is up to you to be resourceful and intelligent. In other words, if you want something done, do it yourself.

Let's also keep in mind that the Magician is the healer of the deck. He is the doctor, the metaphysician. If you get this card during a reading, consider yourself on the mend. It is a great, powerful and positive card in any reading.

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The Magician Reversed Meaning

The Magician card reversed is an entirely different ball game.

If you get the Magician reversed in a reading, it is an alert: "Wake up! You are blowing this royally! Do not be a fool!" While you might not get that literal a description in your tarot book, the meaning is basically that.

This card is telling you that you are ruining something right before your eyes, and you are not even aware of it.

Stop and take a pause here. Did you get lazy? Did you forget something that once meant so much to you? Are you becoming a different person than the person you wanted to be? Are you starting to dislike yourself?

The Magician makes it obvious: You need a "magical" change and, as we have learned, "magic" is creating. So figure out what went wrong and then apply yourself.


Because that is the magic in the Magician — the knowledge that things don't go anywhere unless there is a force behind them to make them happen. In this case, the magic is you.

This card in reverse is also a heads-up on your mental health.

It is a way of letting you know you need to start paying attention to your own health, both mental and physical. It is a card that tells you to seek help if you need it, and that you are special, no matter what. And you should treat yourself as special.

The Magician Meaning in Love & Relationships

This is a good card to get, even though it seems a bit vague or non-related to love. In a love tarot reading, you will not get this card unless your relationship is either meant to go the distance, or it is already proven to be strong.


When this card comes up in a love reading, think of it as a sign that you have grown and that, from this moment forward, you can only accept respect and honesty in those you choose to share your life with.

Love and Relationships: Upright Magician Meaning

In a love reading, the Magician tarot card appears as a sign that your relationship may be moving into deep commitment territory, if you are already in a relationship. In another interpretation, an upright Magician signifies happiness and a stronger level of commitment.

For those who are single and get the upright Magician in a love reading, it means it is time to open your heart to love!

The Magician in a love reading is there to set the standards for you, and for you to keep those standards in mind for the future. This card tells you to suffer no fools, and to attract only the best as this is in your skill set.


The Magician has no room for game-players or those who intend to hurt others.

Love and Relationships: Reversed Magician Meaning

If you receive a reversed Magician in a love reading and are in a relationship, this card signifies that you may be lacking trust and honesty with your partner, especially when it comes to your true wants and needs.

It is best to be up front in your relationship, rather than try to manipulate them.

The Magician reversed for a single person is a message that you should stop feeling so jaded about finding love in your life. If you stay negative and give up hope, you will not attract anyone; instead, keep your head up and bring that same energy back to you.


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The Magician Meaning in Career

In a career reading, pulling the Magician relates to the success of your current or future career. It's an especially good card to get when searching for a new job or switching career fields, indicating that the path you are choosing is in your best interest.

If you don't like your job or are having doubts about being good at your current job, the Magician is a sign that you need to dig deep and allow your confidence to come through; you have the skills to succeed!


Career: Upright Magician Meaning

If you receive the upright Magician in a career reading, this means you have new opportunities in your path, but you must also decide quickly which one to pursue. Because the Magician represents manifesting for the highest good, this card means committing to the career you desire most.

Ambition is the driving force of the upright Magician, so rather than being hesitant about making business decisions, there's nothing wrong with jumping right in.

Career: Reversed Magician Meaning

A reversed Magician in a career reading is the nudge you need to make full use of your skills, living up to your full potential, and taking the chance on making big ideas come to fruition.

Stop ignoring the hidden talents you have and let go of your fears and self-doubt; they are holding you back. Instead, look deep inside and determine why you feel like you aren't good enough.


The Magician Meaning in Finance

In a finance reading, the Magician is a very good card to receive. This card is one that indicates pure determination and resolve, and having the resources and ability to get what you want.

When it comes to money, the Magician card means that while you have the talent and ability to make money, you must be cautious of your decisions as they pertain to spending.

Finance: Upright Magician Meaning

An upright Magician in a finance reading indicates that there are a plethora of opportunities for you that lay ahead, you just need to push yourself forward to get them.

Take stock of your abilities and talents, and put them to good use. It could mean the difference between prosperity and failure.


Finance: Reversed Magician Meaning

The reversed Magician means that you aren't using your skills to your benefit; instead, you're wasting them. Whether it's a lack of self-esteem or inner doubt, if you don't overcome these feelings, you won't be able to get out of your debts.

Work on boosting your confidence and be sure to remain mum about your financial issues with other people.

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Ruby Miranda interprets I Ching, Tarot, runes, astrology, and all types of cartomancy and numerology. She gives private readings and has worked as an intuitive reader for over 20 years.