Tarot of Prague Café Club - I The Magician

Bean Feasa

The ToP magician is a wonderfully decorative figure. He wears a gold headdress so elaborate that it seems gold foliage is sprouting from his head - signifying his fertile and creative mind perhaps. In front of him is a small table - a games table, the book tells us. The table-top has sweeping curves to its edges, and evocative-looking faces carved between swirls on its legs. Do these faces hint that the Magician may wear many masks?

In traditional pose, he points a red and gold wand heavenwards and a gold flower springs from his left hand, which reaches down towards the earth. His skin is a healthy shade of gold - somehow I could imagine this guy lolling on a beach in some exclusive resort, carefully watching his fellow holidaymakers from behind mirror shades. His robes are a dramatic shade of scarlet and look very carefully arranged.

The ToP Magician encompasses both the trickster and the genuine elements of the archetype. His magnificent clothes, carefully-chosen tools and props and his slightly histrionic version of the pose suggest that he is well aware of the powers of illusion and sleight-of-hand. And yet the extraordinary, looming impression of the god Mercury in the crystalline backdrop seems to say that he really has the ability to evoke spirit and channel energy in truly wizard-like fashion.

The book mentions the Magician's associations with the alchemists of whom there were so many in Prague, but goes on to say that while they 'laboured for years' to reach their goal, the Magician does his thing 'effortlessly in a moment of energy and inspiration'. Funnily enough though when I was making my notes for this, before I read the piece in the book, I had the opposite impression - I thought his eyebrows looked drawn together in a frown of concentration, and that there was a certain degree of tension in his stance, making me think that perhaps he's under some stress to sustain the focus of his magic. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?


Hi everyone,

I have had a really good look at this card today. I love it! The red garb of this Magician smacks of passion, vitality and energy. He seems to me to be making a statement. I, me, myself. He channels higher energy to create in the material world.

The masks on the table legs remind us of his many faces. The table top appears to have games built into it. To win a game usually requires trickery, cunning, guile. Also when I look below the masks on the table legs, I see spirals, which made me think of DNA, the genetic material of most organisms. I dont know what the significance is in that but thought it worth a mention because I just keep seeing it now.

He stands poised, focused, intense, but all of that can change in a moment. When I look at the swirling, fantasy type background, I think of illusion. One sweep of his wand and 'it is done'. The background gives the impression of intense power and energy. The lemniscate on this card is not horizontal, as is usually shown but is upright, it looks more like a figure 8. Eights signify movement.

His headgear has sprouted life to show that he has the ability to cultivate, manifest, create.

J :)


Just to throw in a bit of personal stuff on this. When we initially did the cards as photographs of actual people (we threw away that approach after a few months and began again - ouch) The Magician was a friend of ours who in fact looks a little like the final figure we used (perhaps not very though!) He is charasmatic, very talented as an artist, but not the steadiest of people - and wants everything to happen immediately, with no effort. I think some of his aura still lingers in the card that we finally made.

On the other hand, the body we used for the final card (the head/mask is in fact taken from a different carving) is part of a bronze relief in memory of Jan Neruda, poet and short story writer and much loved in Prague. He is a less turbulent kind of artist - and his work does have a lovely sense of easiness.

So - just thought I'd throw that in as another set of associations. While we took very seriously the idea of showing this Magician as a trickster, we also very much wanted him primarily to be the mercurial artist.

Bean Feasa

Baba, thanks for the personal stuff, it really enlivens things, the card and the discussion. The lingering aura of your friend must be an explanation for why this Magician looks so alive, he really does seem about to step off the page and start doing tricks in my front room!

Jewel-ry that DNA observation is amazing - I'll always see those strands now when I look at this card. If we follow that line of thought the Magician could be God creating the world, Adam etc. which when you think of it has to be the greatest conjuring feat ever!


Bean Feasa,

I knew the DNA thing was making a point but couldn't make the link at the time. Well done!

J :)


The scene of the magician is really solemn and serious. The magician seems to have a lot of willpower. Every thing seems to flow, like in a tea ritual.


The DNA could also be the twined snakes of the caduceus of Mercury, repeated in the background. Mercury was the original owner of the caduceus although i think he gave it to Apollo eventually for healing. Interesting that this ancient medical symbol is so like a double helix.


Just revisiting some of these threads and thought I would mention that the four bases which make up DNA are conventionally called building blocks!

Fits with the concept, IMO


Queen of Disks

The Magician looks like he is trying very hard to tap into higher powers-and it looks like he got the attention of Hermes/Mercury, the god of communication. Hermes also invented writing, and was a bit of a trickster. This Magician looks very serious, so maybe some levity could help him out. The Magician's headgear is very interesting-my first thought was that it some how reminded me of antennae. Maybe he is trying to receive some cosmic frequencies!