In search for The Magic Rainbow


Magic Entertainment During Pandemic Times

Trying to stay positive during these pandemic times requires quite a bit of effort. Misinformation, bias and negativity in the news are abundant, so I have consciously decided to turn off the television. Although, I do watch an hour or so here or there to catch up with local events.  And Netflix or Amazon Prime have been totally neglected for months now.

I do feel very saddened by the loss of work of many of those in the entertainment world. Times are uncertain for humanity. If the economy does not open up soon, we are in for very, very hard times.

So, what do I do when God throws lemons at me? I make lemonade!

Taking a Magic Class at The McBride Magic and Mystery School

From the beginning, I have not participated in the pandemic. I have decided to make this the most productive time of my life. Business has been slow, but I am grateful that it has been enough for the day to day expenses and overhead. As long as I can keep “plugging along” I will.

So, I took a “virtual class”. This was a three session class offered by the McBride Magic and Mystery School here in Las Vegas. Jeff McBride is one of the top magicians in the world, and for twenty-five years, he and his team have been teaching magic to hundreds of students around the world. With the pandemic times many of their courses have become virtual and more accessible.

The Class I took was taught by Dr. Larry Hass, who is the current Dean of the School, an accomplished magician and a brilliant philosophy professor.

Juan Tamariz Poster
Juan Tamariz poster as designed by the late Norm Nielsen

It was about a deep study into the teachings of magic master, Juan Tamariz. Can you believe it? A class about Juan, without Juan! Lol! 

The required reading for this course was three of the most important books that Juan Tamariz has written in the last thirty years.

  • The Five Points of Magic – Which is about how to clearly communicate with an audience through the instrument of your body and technique.
  • The Magic Way – Which explores magic as a deceptive art, and introduces us to Juan’s theory of false solutions.
  • The Magic Rainbow – Juan’s theoretical compilation of over fifty years of performing magic experience. This is the last book of his trilogy, which came out in the Spanish language in 2016 and in the English language in 2019 as translated by Rafael Benatar.

The class was exceptional. Larry guided us through all three books and their highlights. He even showed us the application of some of the theories within a few magical effects he taught us. Many of the attendees were quite versed with Tamariz’ work and were more advanced students, which was wonderful to see. The experience did not disappoint. This class, was my excuse to take a break, AND sit down and read Juan’s magnum opus: The Magic Rainbow.

Inside the book: The Magic Rainbow by Juan Tamariz

The Magic Rainbow by Juan Tamariz
The Magic Rainbow book by Juan Tamariz

Since most people are familiar with the first two books of the trilogy, this blog post is about my observations on The Magic Rainbow book.

Juan is a magic genius that lives, breathes and experiences magic twenty-four hours per day seven days per week. He has dedicated his entire life to this art.

In The Magic Rainbow, Juan considers magic as probably the most profound art form there is.

In his book, “The Magic Rainbow“, Juan writes:

“Magic utilizes an artistic approach with a highly complex technique of fingers, body, eyes, words, etc., which is kept concealed while beguiling the senses and the mind through the psychology of perception, attention and memory. It is based on dramatic structure – exposition, rising action, climax, resolution – but without resolution in the usual sense, but rather a resolution/solution such as: The magician has supernatural powers or conjure up those powers.”

After a first chapter of describing magic as art, he writes over six hundred pages on how magic is produced, and the theory of why it works, along with psychological methods that help the magician create a deep and lasting sense of wonder.

The book is profound…

Some of the highlights inside this book for me include:

  • The skillful manipulation of memory in the spectators. He explains how to reinforce parts of the routine that the magician needs the audience to remember, and how to obfuscate parts of the routine so that they do not get encoded in the audience’s mind, while establishing and enhancing memories of the effect that they saw to such a point that it produces a lasting impression. He calls this the “Comet Effect”. In other words, the memories of what the spectators saw transcend the performance.
  • He talks about structuring the routines, what good timing entails, and how to use pauses effectively.
  • He, like me, does not believe in the Robert Houdin concept of “the magician is an actor playing the part of a magician”. The performer is a magician, and his goal is to perform effects that will deceive and amaze people. The essence of magic is the effect or trick itself. It has to be good, the rest of the elements are added to it to enhance the magic, with the presentation being the least important component of good magic.
  • Structuring a magic show. He discusses in detail how he structures the show. Early on, the very first pieces of his show are used to introduce himself. By building up the show, he attempts to perform what he calls a “Bull Killing” effect during the first third of the performance. A Bull Killing trick is so impossible, that it forces the logical faculties of the audience to accept the rest of the magic in the show and enjoy the wonder.
  • The underlying symbology and myths that magic effects represent. This was probably the most eye-opening information for me that I have learned in a long time. Learning this, has completely changed the way I look at all my creative endeavors. This was the price of admission for me, as it gave me an “ah ha” moment.

You see, what makes a magic trick a “classic” is that it evokes the deepest most profound universal symbols in humanity.

  • Cut and restored rope (restoration, making something whole)
  • Egg Bag (the destruction and creation of life)
  • Ambitious Card (liberation, power, rising to Heaven)
  • Linking Rings (escape, liberation).

The appendices at the end of the book provide a listing of over one hundred magic effects and their corresponding archetypes and symbolisms.

As a practical example… Let’s take the Egg Bag, for instance. For the trick to truly work, it has to be done with an EGG and a bag. An egg on a subtle level, denotes life and creation. It has a very deep symbolism. A dark bag denotes death. An egg vanishing inside a bag has very deep symbolism on a subconscious level; the performer does a presentation of extinguishing life and restoring it again. People are not even aware of it, but the meaning is there. That trick performed with a ball and a colorful bag is completely different, as the objects no longer tap into people’s psyche subconsciously.

Once you can consciously create something that subconsciously taps into archetypes, mythology and universal symbols, you improve your chances of success with whatever you are creating, because this taps your audience to the core of their beings in a deeper level. All of humanity is the same in a deep, subconscious, down to the core way. Understanding this and applying it, raises what you make a step further into the realm of great art and true wonder, allowing you to achieve a full Magic Rainbow experience.

Shameless Plugs for the Juan Tamariz Items we sell. Lol!

I you are interested in obtaining “The Magic Rainbow” book, Nielsen Magic has it in stock. Buy “The Magic Rainbow” at

We still have a few AUTOGRAPHED Juan Tamariz posters left.

We also have a few AUTOGRAPHED Mirror Cards of Juan!

So far, online, the very best review of this book has been written by Jamy Ian Swiss. Check it out by clicking here.

-Lupe Nielsen
(August 2, 2020)