Tarot Symbolism: The Thoth Tarot – 3 Magi


BY JEAN HAMILTON-FFORD

In this post, I am exploring the symbolism of the 3 Magi. Did you know there were 3 Magi in the Thoth Tarot?

They are: I – The Magus, also known as The Magus of Power; V – The Hierophant, also known as The Magus of the Eternal; and IX – The Hermit, also known as The Magus of the Voice of Power.

Let’s look at the common definition of Magus. From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magus we find:

Definition of MAGUS

1a: a member of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians
1b: often capitalized: one of the traditionally three wise men from the East paying homage to the infant Jesus

2: magician, sorcerer

of Magician we find:

Definition of MAGICIAN

1: one skilled in magic; especially: sorcerer

2: one who performs tricks of illusion and sleight of hand

and, of sorcerer, we find:

Definition of SORCERER

a person who practices sorcery: wizard

and finally, of sorcery, we find:

Definition of SORCERY

1: the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits especially for divining: necromancy

2: magic 2a

So, we have come full circle and can find the common theme to be: one skilled in magic.

The three magi in the Thoth Tarot are all quite powerful. They are in control of their skill and they each demonstrate mastery in their own unique ways. Let’s look a little more closely at them.
I – The Magus (The Magus of Power): This  young androgynous figure is the only one identified openly as Magus. He is so into himself isn’t he… all glorious and golden! On the Tree of Life, he joins Kether – the Crown to Understanding – Binah. His planetary trump is Mercury and he displays Mercurial properties magnificently! He looks like Mercury with wings on his feet. He is yellow and gray, Mercury in Atzilut (Emanation) and Yetzirah (Formation). He juggles eight tools which he uses to bring about his will. These eight tools are: the disk, censer, Wand of Double Power, the stylus/pen, the scroll, the Winged Egg, the cup and the dagger. Four of these represent the elemental weapons of the Magus. They are the disk, censer, cup and dagger. The Winged Egg represents Spirit. The Wand of Double Power is the symbol of energy and its function is to unite opposites under one will. The stylus/pen and scroll are instruments of Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, wisdom and magick. His magick can be seen in the tools, the caduceus, the serpents, the infinity symbol, the blue dove, the winged sandals and the ape. Interpretation in a reading is around creative force of directed will, education, communication, change, messages, travel, commerce and business. You can find an image of the Magus here.
V – The Hierophant (The Magus of the Eternal): For a bearded old guy he really looks rather smug and know it all! He connects Chokmah – wisdom with mercy – Chesed. He wears the Crown of Osiris and radiates maturity and fatherly power. He rather bullish and this is Taurus in Atzilut (Emanation). His tools are the three-ringed wand symbolising the Thelemic (will) Aeons – Horus, Osiris and Isis. His magick can be seen in this card as the woman with the sword, the child Horus, the unification in the hexagram-pentagram symbol , the sandal strap, the oriel and Kerubim. Interpretation in a reading is around instruction, learning new things (like a child), intuitive understanding, esoteric knowledge, endurance, patience and physical labor. You can find an image of the Hierophant here.
IX – The Hermit (The Magus of the Voice of Power): He reminds me of a homeless figure being followed by his dog and, creepily, just a bit voyeuristic. Who knew? On the Tree of Life, he connects Chesed – mercy with beauty – Tipareth. He carries the Sun in his lamp and wears the white hair and beard of the Ancient of Days and the head of the ibis of Thoth/Mercury. His magick can be seen everywhere in this card from the Sun lamp to Cerberus to the Serpent Wand and finally, to the Orphic Egg. Interpretation in a reading is around illumination and isolation. You can find an image of the Hermit here.

I hope this has given you a beginning to understanding the symbolism of the 3 Magi in the Thoth Tarot. I have been studying using Lon Milo DuQuette’s book, Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, Michael Osiris Snuffin’s book, The Thoth Companion and various resources from the internet. I would encourage you to look into these texts as well as The Book of ThothThe Book of Law and the Liber 777, all attributed to Aleister Crowley, which can be found on the internet as free pdf downloads.

http://journeythroughtarot.com

Comments

  1. Those are not the 3 original Magi of the Thoth Tarot. 2 of them have been taken out of the deck. They were the bare dreamer and the trickster.

  2. How are the three magi a unity or complementary? Are there keynote words or phrases for each?

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