At the very root of personal development lies the very first card of the first 7 Major Arcana (big secret) Tarot cards, representing the physical world. This card is called the Illusionist and reflects the Archetype of someone who tries to make us believe something other than what is really going on in the world.

The illusionist tells us to first of all see through the illusions of life before proceeding in whatever it is you are undertaking in your environment, getting the facts right, thus separating what works from what is merely an illusion.

Reflected on modern day society, the illusionist can be interpreted as follows:

Imagine a Western world without the Kardashians. Without television commercials advertising  beauty products promising to I. The Magicianmake someone young, vibrant and attractive, never a cloud in the air.
Imagine a world without the magazines that hold personality tests that wrap up who you are in a short piece of text?
Imagine a world without fashion designers instructing masses of people what to look like this season. Imagine to let go of the need to be in daily traffic jams.

Now bear with me for a moment please, take a step back and observe, even if it is only for a few moments. Observe how the illusionist does his tricks and makes us believe we’re seeing wonders, which are in fact tricks of the mind diverting us from what is really there.

Suppose the Kardashians, the commercials, the designers, the stuffed highways that are supposed to make us go really fast, would not be there.
Suppose you would not be part of the machine?
Suppose you would not have a mortgage to pay or rent or taxes or meet all sorts of obligations society has created.
Suppose  there was no fashion to live up to;
Suppose there was no peer pressure and it was entirely up to you who you really wanted to be,
then what would you choose to do with your life?

Since these are really big questions, with the potential to bring really big answers,  l’ll set sort of a test stage to experience them on.

  • Sit yourself down in  a comfortable position on a chair in a quiet environment. Sit upright, lengthen your spine. This opens the chest, in turn opening heart and lungs to the flow of breath.
  • In this position the body automatically starts taking nice deep rounds of breath; replenishing the body on inhalation, letting go of all sorts of expectations and tension, on exhalation
  • Bring your awareness to your straightened spine, while your rounds of breath have all the space they need to come and go.
  • Feel how the crown of your head is pointed towards the heavens and the root, the pelvic floor, is firmly resting on the seat you are sitting on, trusting gravity to keep you in place.

Now this is where it all starts.  This is you. This is what the number one card of the Tarot is teaching you.  From where you are now observe anything that enters your awareness,  varying from the text on a billboard to the choice of a lifetime.
Weigh it, measure it, see how important it is to you, ask yourself why you are attracted to it,  what it could give you,or take away from you, what it makes you feel like and then …seperate what is real from what are you made to believe, observing whether it works for you, or whether it is something somebody else wants from you, whether its an illusion or something that could really serve you.

Ingrid Schippers, 19-04-2016


This blog is recorded as weekly end-note of, the radio program for internationals on Den Haag FM; broadcasted (in season) on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 pm. All programs are archived at
‘The Illusionist, the root of personal development’ is filed in the podcast of April 19 2016