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Tarot Tutorial - Part Two

The Magician & The High Priestess

by Bernie O'Connor

Exploring the Creative Power of the Magician and the Wisdom of the High Priestess, Two of the Most Important Cards of the Tarot Deck.

In this third installment of this series, you learn how to use specific Tarot cards to tune into your inner creative process.

What do you see in your mind’s eye when you hear the word “Magician”? How about “Wizard” or “Sorcerer”? Do you picture rabbits jumping out of hats? How about a magic wand being brandished about to cast a spell? Or instead, perhaps you see an all powerful practitioner of the ancient arts summoning forth the elements to do his or her bidding?

Maybe you see all of them? And maybe, as you go about your day, you feel like you have played the role of each one of them? Did you somehow meet that impossible deadline at work? Did you manage to use just the right words and gestures that succeeded in getting the kids to pile the Van when their young spirits were out of control? Maybe you were planning an event or working on a big project and all of a sudden everything fell into place like, well…magic?

All these examples could be your inner-magical creative process hard at work helping make your life’s path journey one of least resistance.

When it comes to the Tarot, the Magician is considered to be one of the most powerful and influential cards in the deck. Depending on the type of Tarot deck you use, the card with the numerical value of the number one, can have any of the above names mentioned in the first paragraph. Some decks place the Magician first card in the deck. Sometimes the Fool with the value of “0” may precede the Magician. It can also preclude the Major Arcana by appearing after the 21st card, The World.

Essentially the Magician is the most powerful card in the Tarot. In the deck I use, the Rider-Waite-Smith*, the figure is pictured in a bright yellow, sun drenched, and fertile garden. Before him stands a worktable, where all the base elements of life and symbols of the Minor Arcana suites have been placed. They are a cup for water meaning communication, a sword for air or thought, a Pentacle for earth to denote reality and finally a wand for fire and energy. These are the Magician’s, and in truth, the same tools we use to accomplish our everyday tasks.

The figure stands with his right hand raised holding a wand up to the heavens, his left hand is pointing down to the ground in a graphic portrayal of the Hermetic** Philosophy and incantation, “As above, so below!” effectively proclaiming God’s word be done, and uniting heaven and earth with this action. The Magician is the ultimate overachiever. He can take all the elements before him and through initiation, talent and guidance from above, accomplish anything.

The Magician is lighting-in-the-jar, the Shaman, the Alchemist.

Following the Magician in the number two spot in the Tarot deck is the High Priestess. Here the color scheme is contemplative and serene. It’s cool blue with touches of yellow. Images of the Moon abound. The Moon is the satellite that accompanies Earth on its journey through the astral plain. It is the astrological symbol of the personality and of the memories carried from one incarnation to another by the subconscious mind. On her chest is a cross, again a symbol of divine authority and of the 4 base elements coming together.

The High Priestess sits quietly between the pillars of light and darkness representing the pillars from the Temple of Solomon – The Temple of Wisdom. She guards all mysteries, and knows all knowledge, but it is wisdom that she abides by.

Behind her is a drapery and on it is a symbolic representation of the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life. She’s seated centered in front of the Tree holding the Universe together as the left side of the Tree condenses and the right hand side expands. Her calmness and majestic countenance unites the negative and positive forces of the universe and brings about balance.

Here is the complete expression of the duality of the Ying and Yang; the active and aggressive complementing the passive and nurturing. Wisdom and understanding brings all the elements of nature and the supernatural together in their proper place and performing their predestined purposes. In her hand is the scroll of law, the TORA which contain all the records of time. The High Priestess records all happenings and knows all things but keeps everything hidden.

The High Priestess is the archetypical symbol of mysteries. Here is the primal source for all great occult knowledge just waiting to be discovered and used by you.

How you can bring action and knowledge together.

This simple and short meditation exercise, utilizing these two cards will help clear your mind and help you creatively solve problems and questions you may have.

Go to your Tarot deck and place the Magician and High Priestess next to each other. There is no need to place them in the one-two position. Don’t think about it, their placement may indicate what you may need to do or consider first in dealing with whatever situation you are thinking of.

Say you placed the cards in a way in which the High Priestess was first and the Magician was the second card to the right of her. Now just relax and allow yourself to drift into a state of calmness. View the cards through half-closed eyes and begin a low-level meditation on them. Let go of your ego, let your inner self speak to you. Your inner self is your source of unconditional love, wisdom and healing. Let images and pictures form on the “movie screen” in your mind.

Listen to the sound track you are beginning to hear.

You need to place yourself “between the cards”, between thought and action so you may benefit from all the messages that are being conveyed to you. Think in terms of a “process of growth” and let you subconscious mind open up to theunexpected.

Being the Priestess is first, maybe you are being told that you need to learn more about the all the elements of the situation you are contemplating. Maybe there are aspects of it that are hidden from you that you should find out about them first before you go any further. Consider all the possible questions that may be posed by this query to the universe and let your memory work on the answers. They may be inside you, only now rising to the surface. You may also discover a different approach you hadn’t thought about before this meditation. Remember all internal thoughts can influence and change outside events.

True Magic is essentially change.

As you do that, begin to question the Magician. “What do I need to do to make the result I wish to come about happen?” Your thoughts will begin to mold into action as the Magician/Alchemist takes the tools from his table and combines them for you. Maybe you need a sword first to clear your thoughts and make a plan. Then perhaps you need a cup to indicate you need to communicate your plan. Finally to make your outcome real, like what a Pentacle represents, you will need to take action and seize a wand of fire.

The High Priestess guides your visualization and leads you to a safe place in your subconscious, a place that emanates positive thinking and white light. The Magician then focuses your raw mental energy and affirmations into material well being.

If you wish to continue this process, draw other card from the Tarot deck and place them to the left of the Magician. These additional cards will fill in the blanks so to speak as you continue to meditate on the posed question or situation you are exploring with the High Priestess and Magician.

The next time you have a problem, just use these two dynamic cards as a jumping off point to begin the process of solving it. All the creativity you need is within you; the Magician and High Priestess know this and want to help you discover this fact.

Look for next month’s Installment:

Learning Guided Visualization and Positive thinking

Though the Use of Tarot Cards


The Tarot – A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages

The Classic Guide by Paul Foster Case

ISBN 1-58542-491-9

On Becoming an Alchemist

A Guide for the Modern Magician

Catherine MacCoun

ISBN 978-1-59030-369-6

Your Unseen Power

Real Training in Western Magic

Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

ISBN 1-59179-478-1

The Power of Coincidence

How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know

David Richo. PhD

ISBN 978-1-59030-472-3

The Tarot Bible

Sarah Bartlett

ISBN 13: 978-1-4027-3838-8

Rev. Dave Clark

Tarot Master, Healer, Guru

Grand Kiva Ministries

Reading, PA.


*The Tarot deck I refer to in this article is the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (RWS)

To find out more about this popular deck visit: http://www.usgamesinc.com/pages.php?page=riderwaite.html



About the author:

Bernie O’Connor has been reading and teaching Tarot professionally for several years and in 2007, founded the Pennsylvania Tarot Association. www.patarotassociation.com

Along with the Tarot, he has studied paranormal phenomenon for over 35 years, authored the book: How to Investigate UFOs and was the editor of Official UFO Magazine. Bernie is self-employed as a Marketing / Creative Consultant and conducts online surveys, consumer research and creative projects through his firm: www.armchairresearch.com

Presently Bernie is the Producer and Host of

WDIY 88.1 FM’s new show: Lehigh Valley PAranormal™.

Reached him at: lehighvalleyparanormal@wdiy.org


Copyright © 2008 Bernie O’Connor

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