Becoming a Magician – Not As Easy as Going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
Ah, if life were only so easy!
If all that we had to do – in order to become a functioning, real, practicing Magician – were to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (from the Harry Potter novels), we’d have a relatively straightforward task. Perhaps not always easy. (Think of the various nasty elements that Harry, Hermione, and Ron face each year.) However, our course of study would be laid out for us. All we’d have to do would be to attend the required classes, practice hard, and – hooray! – we’d emerge at the end, wand in hand, as a fully-fledged Magician.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
And maybe, we’d think, a bit of luck might be involved. Or at least the right genetics.
But what if each of us had Magician-potential?
What if for each of us, becoming a Magician was a core part of our life’s work?
Those of you who have been following along will be familiar with the basic theme of this archetypal study: Our adult “life journey” follows a path laid out in the Kabbalah – really based on the Tree of Life. There is a simple, straightforward, and easy mapping of the various “stages” of our “life journey” into the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
(Sidenote: It may very well be that the Tarot system, including both Major and Minor Arcana, was invented to capture this Kabbalistic “life journey.” The first Tarot decks came into being during the height of the Inquisition, when the Jewish people were being persecuted; being driven from their homes, forced to convert to Christianity, and often tortured and killed. This went on for hundreds of years. The possibility of all Jewish esoteric knowledge being lost would have given the Kabbalistic thought-leaders huge motivation to capture their essential teachings for future generations in a sort of “Purloined Letter” manner – hiding them in plain sight, so to speak. More on that in a later blogpost.)
Our adult “life journey” really has three stages. While I address all three within the pages of Unveiling: The Inner Journey, most of the posts in this series have focused on building a deeper understanding of the first stage; that which author Rachel Pollack (in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom) calls The Worldly Sequence.
Prior to starting our adult “life journey,” we are each in the role of the Fool. This doesn’t mean that we are “foolish,” per se. It just means that we are innocent; unknowing. We’re like Bilbo Baggins, before he leaves the warm, safe, known realm of the Shire. Before he goes There and Back Again.
As a quick review, this first adult “life journey” takes us through six distinct steps, with a seventh providing a wrap-up or integration. In order, these are:
- Magician: Visionary and creative,
- High Priestess: Contemplative and intuitive,
- Empress: Nurturing and caring, all too often losing oneself as the focus becomes on meeting the needs of others,
- Emperor: Building and sustaining, from managing projects at work to running the home,
- Hierophant: Guru and guide; developing our Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda aspects,
- Love-Goddess: Renamed Hathor in Unveiling (after the Egyptian goddess of love, romance, and pleasure in all its forms), and
- Winged Victory: Sometimes called the Chariot, we “pull together” the opposing forces of each of these powerful archetypes, harnessing them as needed to our strong sense of will.
Again, if all that we had to do was to cultivate each of these archetypes, in a nice and neat linear order, life would be easy.
But it’s not.
Simply getting from our starting place as the innocent Fool into being a powerful and effective Magician is in itself a huge challenge. Most people don’t make it this far.
There’s a reason for this.
Going from Fool to Magician is not simply taking a step on a garden path. It’s not just enrolling for the first year of college. It is a profound, huge shift in the way-we-are in the world.
Furthermore, this Fool-to-Magician transformation is really several giant steps, all rolled into one.
We can credit Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D., author of The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By, with discerning and elucidating the fullness, richness, and overall complexity of this huge life-transition.
The next few posts will develop this Fool-to-Magician journey in more detail. In fact, the next several posts will concentrate on the Magician archetype itself: what it is, how we get there. How to spot and discern “magicianship” – in ourselves and others. (It helps us to acknowledge our own successes, especially when we can see them as part of the bigger picture.) After suitable attention to the Magician, I’ll return to the Emperor archetype. These two – Magician and Emperor – are a powerful duo. Leaders throughout government, military, industry, and non-profit sectors are largely composed of Emperor/Magician personalities; sometimes both archetypes rolled into one; often with partners or teams having strong Emperor and Magician representations.
However, as Dr. Pearson discovered, the Fool-to-Magician transition is not easy. It is a set of journeys within itself, and may be far more arduous and challenging than we would ever believe.
Thus, our first step – in developing ourselves as Magicians – is to study this Fool-to-Magician transition more completely. To “gird up our loins,” so to speak, for a potentially long and difficult journey.
We note that in Pearson’s diagram (shown above), there is a long distance between the Wanderer and the Magician. Going from one to the other doesn’t happen overnight.
However, we recall a line from a poem in The Hobbit: “Not all those who wander are lost.”
Even though we may have a long stage of “wandering,” in order to discover and fulfill our Magician potential, this is part of doing the magical work itself.
The essence of magic is transformation: Creating something, essentially, from nothing; from the raw, primordial substrate of consciousness. Over the next several posts, I’ll provide many examples: creating a cohesive work team where there had been only divisiveness and back-biting. Creating a major symphonic performance with a scanty budget and tired (but still enthusiastic) volunteer musicians. Envisioning and creating a new product, service, and/or marketing plan.
Most of the time, though, our biggest “magical” actions are done in transforming ourselves. We become more of a Magician as we are willing to relinquish the fierce grip of being a Martyr and/or a Warrior. We take an even bigger step as we are willing to step into the unknown, especially the unknown space of our inner selves, when we are willing to relinquish the safety and security of known roles. In this, we are going from Fool to Wanderer. And only then, can we take the most powerful step and go from Wanderer to Magician.