In a secluded grove on the Mandrake Academy campus, a new student prepares
to dedicate herself to a year-long study of the magical craft. She carries
her supplies in a leather bag, and she’s accompanied by a loyal companion —
her magical familiar, a white rabbit. She's the picture of purity and
innocence, but she's perched on the edge of momentous change.
The Initiate, the first card in the Wizards Tarot
deck, represents all newcomers to the art of tarot and the world of
Like most young people, the Initiate is untested and
naive. She’s willing to trade her inexperience for wisdom — but she
doesn’t realize what her commitment will entail.
She wears a white hooded robe, a sign of her purity
She’s also barefoot, to remain grounded and connected
to the earth.
She stands near a bonfire, in a clearing in the woods.
The fire floats above the ground, which means the flames are a
manifestation of will and desire, and not simply a physical phenomenon.
Smoke rises in the air, which is the element
associated with the Initiate card.
The twelve stones and the pebble in the ring symbolize
the year and a day that initiates commit to a study of magic.
The Initiate’s bag glows with an otherworldly light, a
sign of the mysteries it contains.
Her bag is a sturdy traveler’s piece, crafted from
high-grade leather. So far, it doesn’t show many signs of wear.
The buckle and flap on the front of the bag look like
the glyph for Uranus, the planet that corresponds to the card.
The Initiate’s bag holds her Wizards Tarot deck, which
incorporates the four basic tools of magic: a wand, cup, sword, and
Behind her, the new crescent moon symbolizes new
beginnings. It’s waxing toward full, which means that the Initiate is
experiencing a time of growth.
The face in the moon is the face of the goddess — a
nurturing presence and a creative force.
Ten ripe apples hang from branches above the
Initiate’s head. They symbolize the ten spheres on the Kabalistic Tree
of Life. Apples also symbolize the forbidden fruit of knowledge and
exploration, as well as health and well-being.
Mandrake Academy is visible in the distance, which
suggests that a higher power is watching over her, and that help and
guidance are nearby.
The clouds behind the academy represent the veil
between the physical world and the spiritual realm.
Because the Initiate is the first card in the tarot
deck, it corresponds to the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph.
You can see the letter on the boulder, in the fire, and in the shape of
the rabbit’s body. Aleph means ox, an animal that represents strength
The Initiate’s loyal companion, a “fluffy bunny,” is a
tongue-in-check reference to a beginning witch. The animal might also
remind you of a stage magician’s rabbit. It could suggest a pooka, the
spirit animal in the classic drama Harvey, or the whimsical white rabbit
of Alice in Wonderland.
Generally speaking, rabbits symbolize fertility and
The Initiate card is your portal into the magical world
of Mandrake Academy. To enter the card, use basic visualization.
Start by studying the card carefully. As you gaze at
its image, picture it growing larger and larger, until it stands before you
like an open door. Take a deep breath, and then imagine yourself walking
into the card and onto the grounds of Mandrake Academy.
When you find yourself inside the card, take some time
to look around. You might meet the Initiate, or you might find that you’re
standing in her place. Don’t be afraid to explore and interact. Use all of
your senses, including sight, sound, smell, and touch. Spend as much time as
you like in the card, so you can experience the details firsthand.
When you’re ready to return to your everyday world,
walk out the way you went in. Shrink the card down to its original size, and
shuffle it back into the rest of the deck.
The Initiate's Magic and Mystery Spread
While you can use this spread with any three cards you
pull at random, it’s designed to work specifically with the first three
cards of the Wizards Tarot deck. Lay them face up, with the Initiate in the
center, the Magician on the left, and the High Priestess on the right.
The Initiate. This card depicts you at the present
moment. Use your intuition to zero in on one symbol that holds a special
meaning for you. Spend some time thinking about the symbol, and
determine why it’s personally significant. During the course of the next
week, you should also be on the lookout for real-life examples or
reminders of the symbol.
The Magician. One of the symbols on this card will
illustrate a gift, talent, or “magic trick” that you have already
mastered. Take some time to note and appreciate the skills that are
already at your disposal, as you embark on a new journey of magic and
The High Priestess. This step will stretch your
skills as an oracle. Gaze silently at the card until you can “hear” (or
sense) the High Priestess whisper a secret message in your ear. One of
the symbols on the card might illustrate that message — but not
necessarily. Just remember that when you read tarot cards, you are
channeling the High Priestess — and that you are giving shape to the
quiet voice of mystery.
Return to the Study Guide