Professor of Basic Magic
The first instructor you’ll meet at Mandrake Academy is the professor of
basic magic. He tends to throw a lot of energy at his audience, so until you
get a feel for his teaching techniques, you might want to take a seat in the
The Magician is a master of the physical world. He’s able to convert
energy to matter, and bend time and space in conformance with his will.
Before he casts any spell, he raises his magic wand like a lightning
rod, and uses it to channel cosmic energy into a magic circle. His
classroom is round, to accommodate those circles.
The compass points of his magic circle — north, south, east, and
west — are marked by the red roses of passion and the white lilies of
purity and innocence.
The position of the Magician’s arms — one up, and one down —
embodies the ancient maxim, “As above, so below.” That’s the belief that
life on earth reflects higher principles and ideals.
As he works, the Magician is encircled by four powerful magic tools:
a wand, cup, sword, and pentacle. They’re the same tools that appear in
the four suits of the tarot’s minor arcana.
The fact that the tools are floating in air suggests that the
Magician has complete control over his tools and his talents.
Two white candles help the Magician maintain his balance and focus.
They represent the dual nature of creation: action and reaction.
The figure-eight above the Magician’s head is a lemniscate, a symbol
The Magician’s pendant features an Ouroboros, a mythic serpent that
bites his own tail. The Ouroboros symbolizes eternity.
The signet ring on the Magician’s hand is red and glowing with
reserve power. He uses it to store some cosmic energy for future use;
that’s one reason his hands are quicker than your eyes.
The walls of the Magician’s classroom are engraved with sacred
symbols. On the left, you can see the Hebrew letter Beth, which means
house. A house can be a home. It can be a pie-shaped segment of a
circular zodiac chart. It can also be a clearly defined sacred space.
The Magician is often associated with the Roman god Mercury, who was
known in Greece as Hermes. Mercury was the messenger of the gods. He
wore winged boots and a winged helmet, and he was the god of speed,
communication, salesman, orators, tricksters, and thieves.
On the right, you can see the glyph for Mercury, the astrological
sign and planet associated with the Magician card.
You can also see the planet Mercury through the window. The planet
shares some of the same symbolism as its divine namesake — particularly
speed and communication. Mercury is the smallest, fastest-moving planet,
with an orbit of just 88 days. It’s commonly known as the morning and
evening star — one of the brightest lights in the sky at dawn and dusk,
and a harbinger of dreams.
Other glyphs for the twelve signs of the zodiac are carved into the
wall, too. The visible glyphs, from left to right, are Cancer, Leo,
Virgo (which is partially obscured by the Magician’s robe), Capricorn,
The bird on the Magician’s shoulder is no ordinary blackbird: it’s a
great-tailed grackle, and it serves as both a messenger and a familiar.
Great-tailed grackles make a variety of noises, which corresponds nicely
with the Magician’s role as a communicator.
Most of the tools you’ll need to practice magic at Mandrake Academy are
pictured in the Wizards Tarot deck of cards. Even so, you might want to
craft your own versions of some of them. Start with a magic wand. Research
the properties of trees, and find a branch from a tree that holds some
significance for you. Oaks, for example, are masculine, sturdy, and
assertive. Willows and birch trees are feminine, and they make excellent
conduits for psychic energy. Carve, paint, or embellish your magic wand
however you like.
Before you begin any magical work, including divination, create a sphere
of sacred space around you. Its purpose is twofold. First, a magic circle
will help you contain and concentrate your magic until it’s strong enough to
release to the outside world. Secondly, it will serve as a psychic shield,
to keep interruptions and distractions to a minimum.
To create a magic circle, use your magic wand to clear the air around
you, and then channel cosmic energy through the tip of your wand — just like
blowing a bubble. Keep the energy flowing until you’re surrounded by a
sphere of pure white light. When your magic work is done, you can poke the
bubble to disburse the energy, or retract it back into your wand.
The Magician's Above and Below Spread
Use this spread to explore the four areas of your life represented by the
minor arcana. The top row will depict your spiritual, emotional,
intellectual, and physical ideals. The bottom row will illustrate your
realities. The four aces in the middle row, which depict each element, will
remind you which area of life you’re examining.
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