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This essay interprets the meaning of one of the cards in aTarot deck, “The Magician,” in the context of process philosophy in the tradition of Alfred North Whitehead. It brings into the conversation the philosophical legacy of American semiotician Charles Sanders Peirce as well as French poststructuralist Gilles Deleuze. Some of their conceptualizations are explored herein for the purpose of explaining the symbolic function of the Magician in the world. From the perspective of the logic of explanation, the sign of the Magician is an index of nonmechanistic, mutualist or circular, causality that enables self-organization embedded in coordination dynamics. Its action is such as to establish an unorthodox connection crossing over the dualistic gap between mind and matter, science and magic, process and structure, the world without and the world within, subject and object, and human experience and the natural world, thereby overcoming what Whitehead called the paradox of the connectedness of things. The Magician represents a certain quality that acts as a catalytic agent capable of eliciting transmutations, that is, the emergence of novelty. I present a model for process∼structure that uses mathematics on the complex plane and the rules of projective geometry. The corollary is such that the presence of the Magician in the world enables a particular organization of thought that makes pre-cognition possible.

Keywords: Alfred North Whitehead; Charles Sanders Peirce; Gilles Deleuze; Hermetic philosophy; Tarot; action of signs; coordination dynamics; geometry on the complex plane; process metaphysics; projection; relational ontology; self-cause and self-reference; the included middle; unconscious

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Member of the Institute of Advanced Study for Humanity, The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Her mailing address is P.O. Box 312, Hampton, VIC 3188, Australia;, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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