ATU I The Magus


Atu I: The Magus

Letter: ב Beth (B)

Number: 2

Proximity: Sephira #1 (Kether) to Sephira #3 (Binah)

Ruling Pentagram:

Pent #12 “Transparent”: Air of (Kên) Keeping Still, Mountain (Above/Below),

Air of (K’an) The Abysmal, Water (Without/Within)

Berashith: “And Elohim saw that it was good”

Corner Hexagrams:

(Upper right)Fire: Hex #53: (Chien) Development (Gradual Progress)

(Lower left) Air: Hex #54: 歸妹 (Kuei Mei) The Marrying Maiden

(Upper left) Water: Hex #53: (Chien) Development (Gradual Progress)

(Lower right) Earth: Hex #54: 歸妹 (Kuei Mei) The Marrying Maiden

Keywords (Dignified): Adaptation, Attunement, Focused Intent, Lucidity, Distillation, Synthesis, Universalism, Empathic, Conceptual, Transformative, Masterful, Communicative, Responsible, Illuminating, Inspirational, Transmission, Messenger

Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Punitive, Puritanical, Stern, Impassionate, Aloof, Narcissistic, Rash, Unrealistic, Flighty, Obstinate.


Historical: The Magus carries all of the traditional emblems of magickal power on older decks. Usually a man, he carries the wand, the cup, the disk, the athame or sword. An element for spirit is also added, sometimes a lamp, sometimes a lemniscate. These are the symbols of the  elements later found in the small cards or elemental suites. A scroll is sometimes placed in his upraised hand symbolizing the written word and teachings. Sometimes bread is present. On occasion, a crown, especially of gold, graces his forehead.

Golden Dawn: Called The Magician, (The Magus of Power,) the Magician card corresponds to the planetary Mercury, and places between Sephira #1, (Kether) and Sephira #3, (Binah) in the Golden Dawn system. This card usually depicts a mature man, dressed in traditional western magickal garb, surrounded with the implements of his craft: the wand (fire), the sword (air), the cup (water), the disk (earth) as well as some symbol representative of spirit, or aether (usually the lemniscate, or infinity symbol). About his waist, he carries the Ouroboros serpent, as a belt, symbolic of the alchemical Great Work attained. In a few decks we see him portrayed as *the juggler*, but this portrayal has mostly vanished from popular decks of today. It generally alludes to his capacity to juggle Mind & Matter together, in perfect equilibrium, but derives from older playing decks associated to stage magic.

Thoth: The Book of Thoth focuses more on the alchemical association of Mercury and the ways in which this plays out in the inner workings of the Magus. Mercury is all about Energy as well as the idea of Focused Energy and therefore Will. Mercury is also a highly volatile, but transmutable element commonly associated to exceptional receptivity and adaptation to Change. It corresponds to the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet, called Beth, the meaning of which is House, thus alluding to the *house of god* or (more accurately) the Supernals within the Tree of Life taken together as one. It positions between Kether (Crown) and Binah (Understanding), leaning towards the Mother, where the Fool leans towards the Father.

Mutational Alchemy: The Magus path is one of only 6 Atu paths whose Reciprocal Inverse is itself, comprised of hexagrams 53 and 54 on both sides of the TwinTrees chronological arrangement.
     Only two other similar coordinates exist in the form of Sephiroth in the Tree of Life. Hexagrams 53 (Development) and 54 (Marrying Maiden) both address the principle of Marriage in the I Ching. While the I Ching confines itself to marriage within society, the larger conversation of the marriage of similars and opposites across all of Nature is taken up in the Magus.
     As with the old books, the Magus is the standard bearer for the assimilation and pragmatic application of esoteric principles of Unity leading to the Supreme Attainment of the marriage between Lesser and Higher Self in perfect balance with Universe, and Universal Nature. In the Magus we see a depiction of one who has not only achieved these aims for himself, but is tirelessly committed to making that same attainment possible for all Sentient Beings.
     The development and dissemination of one’s own magickal *Word* or *Law* is expressed here. People powerfully drawn to this card will tend to be seekers of truth, regardless whether this may manifest through art, or science, or some other material modality.
     The idea of physical and spiritual *Perfection* is embedded in the Magus, alongside the notion that, everyone is ultimately capable of rising above their stations, and achieving this exalted status.

The Scene: Khnum-Ra, called by the ancient Egyptians “Father of Fathers”, is the third aspect of Ra, his evening manifestation, or  his “BA”, – that part of a being that is entirely spiritual, and winged, in symbology.
     Although it may not be apparent why he was chosen by m1thr0s for this station, considering the baser depictions of the Magus in prior decks as the “carnival” Magician or Juggler, there is an explanation. One of the things not readily apparent about the Magus, him being overshadowed by the Emperor, and the various Kings, is that he is like Khnum, the Father of Fathers, in reality.
      All masculine aspects, The Hermit, The Devil, The Emperor, The Kings, and Princes, Sun, and Hanged Man are part of the Magus’s immense being. As controller of the Nile, life itself, to the ancient Egyptians, he controlled the flux and flow of life, and death. So it is without a doubt that the great magician father god, Ra, in his aspect as the source of eternal renewal of life makes for the most appropriate Magus.
     Witness his green skin, traditional in the iconography, the essence of the verdant life-giving growth, spawned by the Nile. With certainty, and confidence, he is asking his children to ascend ever upwards, towards Completion.
      The infinity symbol, or moebius, has been omitted, considering that it would be a redundant symbol of the fluid and giving waters of infinite life and creation that Khnum has absolute authority over.
    His consort, Satis, is equated to the Eye of Ra, like a few other important goddesses. It is through Satet and his daughter Anuket that the flood occurs each year, fertilizing the plain.
     The Magus represents the power and authority of God. As the life giving source of the waters of the Nile, Khnum as well exemplifies the source of the Magus’s divine powers.
     The two royal cobras, or Wadjet, represent the perfect synthesis of male and female energy at the disposal of Khnum as well as his divine potency. The celebration of Wadjet,  the sacred cobra goddess, was held at December 25th of every year, when the Sun was at its farthest point. This pairs with the function of Khnum as the third aspect of Ra, that of the setting sun. It is in the night that magick becomes most potent, and sundown is the gateway to mystery. Hermes or Mercury himself is called the “Companion of Blackest Night” by his brother, Apollo.
    This is a small mirror of the splendour of humanity, the possible Magus within all of us.