I – The Magus / The Magician / Der Magier Tarot
symbols: higher will, self realization, vitality
path of beth from kether – binah
planets: sun/ mercury in aries
date: beginning of the new year
archetypes: Hermes, Thoth, Loki/Enki in his function as trickster
In short The Magus represents the step from dependence (passivity) to self-awareness (action). All the outside forces which try to shape us into their image or make us dependent and comfortable bury the inner or true will under layers of confusion and disorientation. To awake the Magus within oneself the net of layers must be ripped off to see clearly (even if it is just for a moment). Only then we can reshape our routines and cycles to a better outcome. In this context the phoenix would be a similar symbol.
At the bottom of the card you can find the square layers of matter/routine/structure. In the middle of this layers you can see an ape scull. Obviously the layers have to be dissolved an transcended to evolve within oneself. While the scull of the ape symbolizes the discarded shell, the meditating person in the middle represents this process of evolving. The ascending forces which are active in this archetype are symbolized twice – first in the chakras (of the meditating person) and second and more obviously in the rising serpents which are a direct reference to mercury and the kundalini.
Focus is the keyword of the magus. While „0 – The Fool“ can never be concrete, „The Magus“ concentrates his will through practical actions. One could say „The Fool“ is the archetype of the raw shape or initiation of an idea while the magus transcends this shape into a concrete form.
The Magus itself holds his arms in an „as above so below“ position while being the centre of the elements within a pentagram. He is the connector between any two realms/dimensions or ideas (= vertical balance). The symbol of Akasha/the egg is above his head and again represents the crown chakra. The winged disk and the lotus are both a mercurial symbol and a depiction of the victorious Horus/child or of the unfolding idea.
The pentagram not only means that this archetype has mastered the elements but also that he uses them in an active, inventive way so that they can manifest (the way from will to physical manifestation – together with the fool 0->1). While a mystic or a medium is driven by the forces, the magus would represent the active conductor. He balances his position on a very tiny point which not only is a symbol for concentration but also for his airy/mercurial nature. The rays below are another reference to dissolving structures in the upper part.