the magician & the empress

cards one and three in the major arcana are the early action cards, encouraging us to envision what we desire, harness our personal magic, and begin creating with abandon, enjoying the raw potential and potent dreams that we carry. everything in these cards urges us to embrace our natural gifts, to recognize just how many kinds of magic we have access to, and to embrace a spirit of abundance and joy. and since both of them have been coming up for me a lot in personal readings, it seems like the right time to do a deeper dive on these cards, what they have in common, and the journey they speak to.

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the magician is usually represented with symbols of the four suits of the tarot, reminding us that we are made of these elements. we all carry heart, body, mind, and spirit, and while we don’t always all identify strongly with every suit, we all still have access to those gifts and skills, and are probably more adept at wielding them than we think. the magician pushes us to ask ourselves what we dream of, what we desire. what does our heart cry out for? what does our body crave? what does our mind keep returning to? and what speaks to our spirit on the deepest, more personal level? this card gives permission to explore, to feel confident in our abilities, to be willing to experiment in ways we perhaps wouldn’t have tried before the fool’s leap.

in the fool, we say yes to the universe - and in the magician, the universe says yes back to us.
-bakara wintner

while i tend to focus on the magician’s aspects of inspiration rather than action, this card absolutely tell us to get to work. it’s not all dreaming and envisioning what’s possible, but also being willing to take chances, to start combining things together, to seeing what happens when we stop putting limits on ourselves and instead invite the magic we carry to blend with the resources in our hands. above all, this is a card of manifestation, taking those first steps to bring our dreams into reality.

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the high priestess lingers after the magician, in that endless in-between, reminding us to listen to our deepest inner wisdom, not shy away from our shadows, and trust our intuition above all else — and then we’re in a full space of abundance, joy, and inspiration with the empress. powerful, divine, sensual, complete within, the empress asks us to accept ourselves, to celebrate our magic, to let it inspire us further to creation and power. she’s not afraid to let her emotions guide her, to put everything out into the world, and refuses to be held back by fear. where the magician utilizes resources, the empress is self-sustaining, infinitely generous, able to nurture and flow endlessly. she is creation without limits, without expectation, without shame. there’s an awakening in this card, the recognition of how deep personal magic flows, a celebration of the self and all it contains.

the empress encourages reverence for physicality, and a profound gratitude for all that life has to offer.
-carrie mallon

what i love about the empress card is that she’s so whole and complete within herself, finding nothing lacking. she may not actually be perfect, but the empress doesn’t hide her flaws or imperfections, instead embracing them for the unique perspective they provide, the insights and loyalties they inspire. the empress loves so fiercely, both herself and others, and pours all of that generosity and richness and abundance into everything she builds. where the magician is all cool calculation and awareness, the empress is fire and heat, welcoming others into her arms and pouring her passion into the world she creates.

both cards inspire manifestation. both cards urge us to create. both cards remind us of the magic we carry, the inspiration we hold, the potential we can shift into more. the magician starts us on this path to action, pushing us to keep embracing the risk and possibility within the fool, urging us to look at what we have and get to work. and the empress keeps tugging us forward on our journey, welcoming us into her embrace, helping us recognize the beauty and power and magic that have always been within us. in neither card do we see a need for perfection or polish — the emphasis here is instead on the act of creation itself, the willingness to take chances, the strength to put our dreams into the world and see what they look like.

the magician and the empress appear right at the beginning of the fool’s journey through the major arcana, and it’s impossible not to feel inspired when we draw them. we have a chance to be honest, to be generous, to share our visions of potential and possibility with the world we inhabit. this is a time to build something completely new, to pour ourselves into it, to relish every detail and spark of inspiration and then look at that first draft, that first effort, and decide where to go next.

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these cards don’t know fear. they give us a chance to play, to dream, to learn, and then they tell us that we are worthy. our magic is worthy. our vision is worthy. our ability to manifest is worthy. all we have to do is be willing to take that chance, to carry those dreams forward and see what they can become.

and after seeing these cards appear for weeks in readings, i’m eager to get started.

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what lessons have you learned from the magician and the empress? how do they make you feel when you draw them? what cards from the minor arcana remind you of these two archetypes?