Traditionally, the Magus is one who can demonstrate hands-on magic -- as in healing, transformative rituals, alchemical transmutations, charging of talismans and the like. A modern Magus is any person who completes the circuit between heaven and Earth, one who seeks to bring forth the divine 'gold' within her or himself.
At the birth of Tarot, even a gifted healer who was not an ordained clergyman was considered to be in league with the Devil! For obvious reasons, the line between fooling the eye with sleight of hand, and charging the world with magical will was not clearly differentiated in the early Tarot cards.
Waite's image of the Magus as the solitary ritualist communing with the spirits of the elements -- with its formal arrangement of symbols and postures -- is a token of the freedom we have in modern times to declare our spiritual politics without fear of reprisal. The older cards were never so explicit about what the Magus was doing. It's best to keep your imagination open with this card. Visualize yourself manifesting something unique, guided by evolutionary forces that emerge spontaneously from within your soul.
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