The Magician is Major Arcana number one. Number One symbolizes unity, the beginning, the will, mastering, the leader, initiator, the one who is in charge, the achiever. Those attributions are quite masculine and solar and represent an active principle.
The Magician is the master of the four elements. He mastered them through the fifth element. The fifth element is called spirit, akasha, ether or other, but in essence, those names all refer to the same thing.
Similar to others Major Arcanas, The Magician also represents one of the archetypes. He is a human being who is supposed to be connected to the spirit world and supernatural. This is an archetype of the man who is able to create and change the material world according to his intention and will. He is an initiate, practitioner and adept. At the same time, he is also a student because he is always willing to learn something new. Knowledge is his power and he is very aware of that. He knows how much power there is in a proper information. And he is dealing with information of a different kind all the time. Every single action taken is some kind of code - an imprint of particular information in order to achieve the desired output.
No doubt, The Magician is dealing with magic. The magic is the practice of influencing the material world and physical reality according to one's willpower. It is possible with the help of information. The information influences the flow of energy which farther influences the physical world. The Magician is, therefore, the creator. He applies his intention and focuses to direct the information in a particular way, in order to achieve the desired effect. The focused intention is an information which energy can "read".
To ordinary men, The Magician is god-like, because he is a creator. But The Magician is not the God - the creator. He is still just a man but not the ordinary one.
Four elements are his allies. We can see the symbols of four elements in front of him on his table. They are his tools, but they also represent four different stages of his work. There is more to them than it's obvious. In ceremonial magic, the same four items are a must-have. They have symbolical and practical value. Actually, there is a whole list of items which are required in ceremonial and ritual magic and not all of them are shown in the image of The Magician in Waite-Smith tarot deck. One of them which are not shown is a lantern. But we can see the lantern on the image of The Hermit. The other ceremonial magic items that The Magician possesses, which are often overlooked, are his another wand, the one he holds in his hand, the white bandana on his forehead, the white robe, the red cloak and the belt. All of them are there for a purpose and it is not a coincidence why we can see them in the image and why they look like as they do. Many of those ceremonial items, except those which represent four elements, are related to some of the sephirot from the Tree of Life. As you could realize till now, the image of The Magician is quite mystical and esoteric.
Following symbols, which are not items but have symbolic meanings are the sign of infinity above his head (the same we can see at the image of Strenght), red roses and white lilies. Other cards with roses on the image are The Fool, Strength (again), Death. We can see lilies at Temperance and Ace of Pentacles. And the Two of Wands has an emblem with both roses and lilies crossed.
But you might be asking "What all of that has to do with the tarot reading? What is the purpose of mystical and esoteric if we are interested in divinatory meaning?" The truth is that you really do not need to know so much about ceremonial magic, esoteric meanings and codes, Kabbalah and Qabalah, to be able to read the tarot. Divinatory meanings often discern of esoteric meanings. And that is ok. What you need to know and what could be of help, is to learn how to apply and read symbology for the practical needs and purposes. At least, The Magician is practical too. He is interested in results. He seeks visible changes and outcomes. He does things with the purpose. I can't stress more the word 'purpose' when it's about The Magician!
Divinatory meaning of The Magician
In readings, The Magician may represent events, circumstances, influences, people or inner process and the querent. Similar to The High Priestess which is often significator if the querent is a woman, The Magician can be read as a significator when a querent is a man. The Magician represents intentional action, plan, vision, perspective, the power of the mind and free will. His mind is flexible and free of dogmas and prejudice, yet he is different than The Fool. The Magician is brave, convincing and authoritative, yet in a different way than The Emperor or The Hierophant for instance. He is also wise, intelligent and pragmatic but he is not The Hermit.
The Magician personality
As said above, The Magician is just a man, with all his flaws, with his own character, ego and personality, but he is not ordinary. The reasons why he is not the ordinary man are his strong self-awareness and sense of own influence and responsibility. Here I don't only mean day-to-day responsibility such going to work on time, doing your job diligently, come back home, taking care and providing for the family etc. This kind of responsibility has a very wide meaning. It is the responsibility for own thoughts, feelings, emotion, every action and reaction. It is also the responsibility in the terms of 'being able to respond to' - challenge, demands, the environment, the surroundings, the world. Being able to know when and how to take a step forward or even back. This might be an idealized description of The Magician personality, but in short, this is what this archetype is about. And Archetypes are idealized forms. The real personality made of bones, flesh and blood, will always have his own character, but The Magician personality type is able to channel his character, ego and personality through this archetype. And it may be fascinating. So, in the real world and real life with real people, we meet very different kinds and types of Magicians. Some of them are the Magicians in the sphere of their professional life, others in private sphere, depending on their personality traits.
The Magician as the other person
If The Magician indicates the other person in your the reading, it may refer to professional of any kind. The Magician is the master of his craft, so you are dealing with a very skilled person in his domain. Otherwise, it can be anyone who is eloquent, skilled with words, smart, dexterous, educated, charismatic and convincing. This person is a great multitasker but often you will find him focused on one thing at the time. You might receive good advice from this person. Even if that advice sounds kinda strange and extravagant at first, you will soon realize that it is actually quite reasonable. The Magician person is not bounded by dogma and tradition, on the other hand, he is also not the one obsessed with trends, though he knows them all well. He goes for what works, what is applicable and effective, and what he can use the best for his goal. This is quite a free minded person with very wide views. If you are looking for someone who is able to understand you intellectually, then it is The Magician person. What you can expect from him are advice and solution, but do not expect some outburst of compassion and emotional involvement or to do a job for you. If you need a service from the Magician or to do something for you, you will probably have to ask for it and of course to pay. The Magician does not do things for free unless he sees his own interest in doing them.
The Magician may also represent male seers, tarot readers, a practitioner of magic or energy work, astrologers or numerologists.
Other professions significant for The Magician person are call center operator, manager, advertiser, marketer, speaker, spokesman, influencer... The actors who have the great ability of transformation and diving into different roles might be represented by The Magician too. Craftsmen, if really extraordinary in their work, are magicians too, because they work with their hands and are dexterous. Think of skilled photoshop operator, photographer, web or graphic designer. They make magic behind the scene, while we just see the results.
But beware of false Magicians. They are pompous and charismatic on the outside but miss essential inner attributes. They are also great manipulators and seducers, similar to The Devil who among other things also represent the perverted image of The Magician. False Magician is the Jack of all trades but master of none. He is the one who promises a lot and does a little. Strong on words but weak with deeds. In its negative form The Magician is manipulative, double-tongued, self-interested, malicious etc.
How to know which type of The Magician you are dealing with? Simply, look at the cards around or draw one or three cards for clarification.
The Magician as an event
Anything from the telemarketer call to spellwork! The range is wide, so relay on surrounding cards, common sense and intuition. If you are going to visit astrologer or numerologist and The Magician comes up, it is a good omen. It means you will receive high-quality information. Events such as going to a show to watch the performance of any kind are The Magician events. Receiving an important phone call, e-mail, SMS, seeing an important notification are also the domain of The Magician.
Events which require you to be in a charge such handling something important, sharing important info, applying knowledge and acting from your will are represented by The Magician.
The Magician as circumstances
These are circumstances that have a great impact on you, the querent or the situation. Their influence is strong and very often hard to avoid. As The Magician does things for a reason, so the circumstances represented by The Magician are probably there for a reason. They will move you, made you to think out of the box, to look for different solutions, to inform yourself more, etc. They will lead you to give and do your best, as much as it is in your power. Remember that in this situation it is not everything under your control because The Magician represents circumstances or situation, not you. But this will push you off your limits.
The Magician as an influence or inner process
You are growing, developing and learning. This time you are learning how to apply what you have learned till now. You are becoming aware of your own influence and power. By the way, you are facing more responsibilities. As you are becoming aware that every your action has a certain reaction, that everything is connected, you are also getting a sense that you are more responsible on the subtle level. The Magician as an inner process may bring you more power over your thoughts, and overall the more power and control over yourself. Many things are getting clearer to you as you are gaining a wider perspective. The great thing what The Magician can bring you is to unlock some of your potentials and talents. Those potential and talents didn't miraculously emerge over the night! They were growing and developing inside of you. It could be something that you were working on or something that you were born with, it doesn't really matter. What matter is that you have new skills ready to be applied practically.
If The Magician represents you in the reading
The Magician representing you is great to have in the reading! It means that you are in charge. You are in control of the situation and most likely that you will control the outcome. What you think, feel and do is of the great importance. Of course, it doesn't hurt to use it wisely. Any information and energy you send out to the universe will manifest in one or another way in reality. The manifestation may vary from very subtle to very very obvious, the results could be immediate or take some time depending on their purpose and your focus. Yet, don't expect miracles to just happen. The Magician is pragmatic so you should be too. In this position, The Magician refers that you are capable of something, not that the things will work themselves out by the luck or coincidence.
The Magician as an advice for you
Pull yourself together and act. It is not the time for sitting with folded hands unless you are about to meditate in order to set your intention. Be reasonable and act with the purpose. Even if you feel full of energy it is not a time to spend it unwisely and unfocused. The focus is the key to success. This time it is on you to pull the strings. So pull them and create a ground for the desired effect. The advice of The Magician could also be to influence other people around you. Be aware that influencing may range from inspiring them to manipulating them. You should be clear with yourself what is that what you really want, act in that manner, and most of all to be aware that you are responsible for your choices and course of action.
Tarot and Astrology
The Magician co-relates with the planet Mercury. Mercury is the ruler of communication, information and intellect. Called the divine messenger clearly suggests that Mercury deals with the distribution of information. Mercury is also related to Astrology, Numerology and Tarot as well as with other divinatory systems. You have probably read thousand times till now, that The Moon is the planet of divination, predictions, psychic readings and techniques. This is true at some point. But at the same time, it is often overlooked that any specific kind of divination could be compared with some particular planet. Traditionally, Mercury is related to divination because it delivers a message. This is in my opinion very reasonable explanation. Any kind of divination which is based on specific system and is not simply psychic and intuitive reading or mediumship, is ruled by Mercury. In that way, Astrology, Numerology and Tarot, for instance, have Mercury as their ruling planet. In the example of Numerology, it is kinda obvious. But Tarot and Astrology are also systems. There are rules and philosophy behind them and they are not just and only intuitive divinatory systems. The Magician as the first card in the tarot deck, speaks in favor of this assumption.