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     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

The Magician
from the Tarot of Marseilles

1. The Magician

The young man - who is the Magician - holds a rod and a ball with perfect ease, without clasping them or showing any other sign of tension, encumbrance, haste or effort. What he does with his hands is perfect spontaneity - it is easy to play and not work. He does not follow the movement of his hands; his gaze is elsewhere.

The first arcanum - the principle underlying all the other twenty-one Major Arcana of the Tarot - is that of the rapport of personal effort and of spiritual reality. It is the Magician who is called to reveal the practical method relating to all the other Arcana.

Learn at first concentration without effort;
Transform work into play;
make every yoke that you have accepted easy
and every burden that you carry light !

My yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew xi. 30)

  1. Learn at first concentration without effort.

    Schiller said that he, who wants to complete something of worth and of skill, quietly and unceasingly directs the greatest force upon the smallest point.

    Yoga is the suppression of the oscillation of the mental substance. (Yoga sutras 1.2 ).

    The Tightrope Walker
    The Tightrope Walker
    The Pythagorean School prescribed five years of silence to beginners or "hearers".

    The silentium practised by the Trappist monks is the application of the same law.

    Both Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila do not tire of repeating that concentration is necessary for spiritual prayer.

    Look at a tightrope walker. She has to eliminate all activity of the intellect and of the imagination in order to avoid a fall. The centre of consciousness is directed from the head to the chest.

    The hat that the Magician wears with its lemniscate, horizontal eight shape is not only the symbol of infinity, but also that of rhythm.

    Concentration without effort engenders the profound silence of desires, of preocccupations, of the imagination, of the memory and of discursive thought. The entire being becomes like the surface of calm water, reflecting the immense presence of the starry sky and its indescribable harmony. And the waters are so deep, they are so deep ! And the silence grows ever increasing . . . what silence ! Have you ever drunk silence ?

  2. Transform work into play.

    The changing of work into play is effected as a consequence of the presence of the "zone of perpetual silence".

    He who finds silence in the solitude of concentration is never alone. He never bears alone the weight he has to carry, the forces of heaven are there taking part from now on.

    In this way the truth stated by the third part of the formula:

  3. Make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light

    In other words if one wants to practise mysticism, gnosis or magic it is necessary to be the Magician , i.e. concentrated without effort, operating with ease as if one were playing, and acting with perfect calm. This then is the practical teaching of the first arcanum of the Tarot.

The Path of the Heart

The path begins with the heart. In a discreet way, using words that can easily be overlooked, the author indicates the stream to which he belongs. In the first Arcanum he writes of John, the beloved disciple, who listened to the beating of the Master's heart.

John was not, is not, and never will be the leader of the Church. Just as the heart is not called upon to replace the head, so is John not called upon to succeed Peter. The mission of John is to keep the light and soul of the Church alive until the Second Coming of the Lord.
                                                                                 from The Wandering Fool by Robert Powell

The Magician
from The Ottheinrich Bible 1530

In a letter of 1956 Tomberg refers to the spiritual exercises of the 22 Arcana; and he gives the example of Revelation, which consists of 22 chapters with corresponding images. This work of John is something that has never become cause for dogma or strife, because it is presented in such a way - in the form of images - that we are left completely free. We can look upon the 22 images of the 22 Major Arcana of Meditations on the Tarot in much the same way as we can the images presented by John in the 22 chapters of Revelation.

Revelations Chapter 1: "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man".

The First of the Seven Seals of Revelation

The first Arcanum is also the 'first Seal. In this encounter, Christ is experienced no longer as a human being, for, having passed through the Ascension, He is a cosmic being:

The Magician
Angers Tapestry

Whose hair is white as snow - white wool - a sign of cosmic wisdom.
From whose mouth proceeds a sharp two-edged sword - the sword of the word; for the good and against evil.
Whose face shines like the sun - these are the sun-like qualities of the heart that have risen into the head.
Whose eyes are like flames of fire - burning with the fire of divine love and thus able to see through the veil of appearances and cognize spirit in all matter.
Whose voice is like the sound of rushing water - this is the power of the Word that brought all things into existence.
Around whose breast is a golden girdle - the outer sign of what is addressed in the first Arcanum as the opening of the heart; this is the power of love burning to unite with the Divine: true mysticism.
Who is clothed in a long white robe - his body is purified and radiates out with the light of purity ("white").
Whose right hand holds seven stars -he has become master of the planetary forces that are also mentioned in the seventh Arcanum.
Whose feet are like burnished bronze refined as in a furnace - he walks on the earth with the power of divine will radiating through his feet, linking heaven and earth.

The Second Arcanum: The High Priestess

Introduction to the Tarot

The Seven Miracles of St. John's Gospel by Valentin Tomberg


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