This gives me a chance to talk about the reversals themselves, for a moment (no doubt an idea for a full article later to come). There are several ways of interpreting reversals. Three points I would like to make clear at this time that I consider in my readings:
1) If reversals dominate a reading, then a lot of the processes and energies the cards describe are happening within the Seeker’s psyche. Outward change and results happen secondary to inner change and results on the Seeker’s part at this time.
2) I look at the context of the cards. If the reversals all come from the same suit of cards (Swords, Cups, etc.), I know that the Seeker is particularly struggling with the energy of that suit in everyday life. If several court cards appear reversed, then I know the Seeker has difficulties interacting with certain other people, or that other people are struggling with the Seeker. I also look at the cards appearing around a reversal. Reversed cards can mirror an upright card, or refer back to something in the Seeker’s past that is yet unresolved.
3) Reversals are not inherently “bad.” Reversals can sometimes negate or cancel out the card’s upright meaning, and sometimes can indicate negative energy in action, but this is not information to be afraid of (besides, “negative” isn’t equitable to “bad,” it’s simply an energetic charge, but that’s a topic for another article). In The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, Mary K. Greer explores the concept of reversals being like a prescription: they indicate the remedy needed for our current situation (“Rx,” an old abbreviation for “reversal,” even resembling a doctor’s script).
Now that we have that settled, I’ll move on to the Magician in his Reversed aspect.
The Magician Reversed has always felt to me like he’s been caught with his pants down. Someone has discovered that his magical routine is just a series of sleight-of-hand tricks – or is he just afraid of that being the case? With its planetary correspondence with Mercury, the Magician Reversed is the Tarot equivalent of a Mercury retrograde: plans are vulnerable and subject to change, perceptions can be faulty, and the Seeker tends to be caught up in cerebral processes rather than taking any action in the physical realm.
If the Magician upright is Self Awareness, then the Magician Reversed is Self-consciousness. If we are not communicating in ways that we intend, or we are fearful of being discovered as a “fraud,” new confidence in ourselves and our work is needed. Here, the reversed nature of the image comes to our aid: the infinity symbol over the Magus’ head becomes his foundation. It is by remembering that we are truly beings of Light, eternal and infinite in nature, and nothing is beyond our grasp if we strive for it with Love in our hearts. Those lofty words are easy to hear when we feel good and secure about ourselves, but when we let fear take over, we shut off the reality of that message. We forget our divine nature and allow ourselves to feel overpowered by the processes of Nature.
The solution to any problem is always acceptance of the present moment. In the special context of the Magician reversed, it becomes crucial to ask yourself, “What needs am I feeling that are not being met?” and “In what ways am I resisting the present moment?” Draw your attention to any plans that consume your time, any desires that cause you to think, “If I can only get this thing, accomplish this task, [own this home, get this job], then I will be truly happy.” That is what the Buddhists would call “wrong” thinking, because you can’t place happiness in the future and ever attain it. Happiness only happens in the present tense.
As ever, Brightest Blessings