Card: El Mago
Numerical Value: 1
Astronomical Symbol: Mercury
Depiction: In the Tarot de la Santa Muerte, the card "El Mago" shows a young, authoritative magician, apparently in the middle of a magickal ritual. He is dressed in white and adorned with a bright red cloak, and is shown holding a cup in one hand, a club in the other, wearing a sword on his belt, and a gold pentacle coin around his neck -- the symbols of the four suits of the Tarot de la Santa Muerte. El Mago stands beside an altar table on which sit the image of a human skull and a cup of fire or some kind of bubbling brew. On the other side of El Mago is a small pillar, atop floats the elemental symbol for fire - an upright triangle. Watching over El Mago is the white cloaked Santa Muerte - la Nina Blanca - whose energy is protective and purifying. Behind her, on either side, float one white cloud and one black cloud, she appears to stand between El Mago and these clouds.
Symbolism: El Mago represents a person in command of his or her life. As he commands the four suits of the Tarot (cup in hand, club in hand, sword on hip, and pentacle coin around the neck), so does one command the four elements, representing control over external forces. The skull on the table beside El Mago represents the self, and here represents mastery over one's own thoughts, emotions, desires, etc. - or mastery of internal forces.
The cup atop the altar burns or bubbles and represents having as opposed to wanting. Not only is El Mago in control of internal and external forces, but he is able to reap the positive rewards of that control.
In her white cloak, she watches over El Mago, purifying and protecting him and his work, and she hears his petitions. The fire symbol of an upright triangle atop a pedestal is significant because the energy of fire represents creation, destruction, and transformation. It's presence in El Mago's ritual space, as if the energy was summoned by El Mago during a magickal ritual, shows that he is ready to successfully exercise his will - whether his will is to create, destroy, or transform.
The presence of both the black cloud and the white cloud symbolize that now is a time when one can successfully work both white magick and black magick with success. Now is a good time to work magick, cast spells, pursue goals, and make extra special offerings to the Santa Muerte. The white cloaked Santa Muerte watching over El Mago symbolizes her presence in rituals and her power over magickal work.
In a reading upright, El Mago represents intellectual knowledge, intelligence, and ability, as all great magicians are people of great knowledge, intelligence, and ability. A master of directing energy at will, El Mago represents one who can get what they want, and when this card appears upright in a reading, it marks a period of spells being fulfilled, petitions being answered, goals being achieved. The time is ripe to cast magick and pursue goals.
In reverse, El Mago stands for a swindler or inept person. A charlatan, fraud, or someone with bad knowledge. The complete opposite of a respectful, powerful magician. When this card appears in the reverse, it signifies a bad time to perform magick or even to pursue goals. Goals pursued end in failure. Magickal workings create negative results.
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