The title refers to Man as the director of the force by which he transforms his consciousness and reaches the stage known to occultists as Initiation. The number 1, which is geometrically symbolized as a point, means concentration, attention, a limiting of the field of activity. This refers to the practice which is absolutely indispensable to all aspirants for Truth. Until you have learned how to concentrate you cannot perform the Great Work. Study this Key carefully and it will help you to learn to concentrate, for its symbolism was created to that end.
The roses of the arbor symbolize desire, and it has been wisely said that "desire is the motivation of evolution."
The central figure, by his posture, clearly indicates that he draws power from above. This is a central point of occult doctrine, because you cannot even begin to use the subtler forces of nature until you realize that you do nothing of yourself, but simply act as a channel through which the Life-Force expresses itself. His uplifted wand is a symbol of his ability to direct the natural forces with which he works; also of the Hermetic axiom, "That which is above is as that which is below." The horizontal 8 represents dominion, strength and control, and is also the mathematical sign of infinity. The Magician's left hand points to the ground in the gesture of concentration.
The black hair bound with a white band symbolizes the limitation of ignorance by knowledge. The red rose is action and desire. The white undergarment, symbolizing wisdom, is encircled with the serpent of eternity. The table is the field of attention, which is the workbench of the Magician. The implements are the Wand, Cup, Sword and Pentacle. They represent Fire, Water, Air and Earth; also Will, Imagination, Action and Physical Embodiment.
The garden is the subconscious mind which is cultivated by the acts of attention of the self-conscious mind. From this garden spring all of the powers of subconsciousness. Lilies, because they are white and six-petaled, represent the abstract perception of Truth, as well as the cosmic laws and principles by which the universe is sustained.
Highlights of Tarot (ISBN 0-938002-02-3)
Copyright 1931 by the School of Ageless Wisdom, Paul Case AA71739
Copyright 1959 Builders of the Adytum R235814
6th edition revised Copyright 1970 Builders of the Adytum A138325
13th edition revised Copyright 1989 Builders of the Adytum TX2801102
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