Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First Impression Review: Quareia Magician's Deck

pictures from  http://www.quareia.com/lxxxi-guide where you can see most of the cards.

In today's mail, I got a quareia magician deck, the new(ish) oracle deck from Josephine McCarthy, Stuart Littlejohn and Cassandra Beanland.  It's not a tarot deck, it's a set of 81 archetypes, spirits, and forces of the Other Worlds.  The cards are divided into four "types"; The Divine Realm, The Inner Realm, The Physical Realm, and The Realm of Death.  The cards are not evenly distributed; the Inner and Physical Realms are the overwhelming majority of the deck.   Ten of the cards are numbered (see below).  I'm not 100% sure why; they seem to correlate very roughly with the sefirot.  Right now, the categories and numbering don't seem to add anything, but I imagine I'll come to understand them once I work with the cards more.

In general, the cards represent the "people" and places one would see in a visit to the "Other Place" and I am expecting to use them to form sort of "mini journeys" for when I don't have time/trance enough for a full journey.  Even just looking at them, it's clear that each of them is also a gateway into the Other Place; I look forward to using them as portals for scrying.  I imagine they are bad for "fortune telling" about jobs or romance or what have you, but that's not what they're for.  These are MAGICIAN'S cards for communicating with the unseen world.  I'm eager to use them for that.  I'll update this review in a month or two, once I'm more familiar with them.

The art is beautiful, although a sort of uneven. Most of the cards are lush and detailed but (as always) there are some I like a lot more than others.  About a quarter of the cards seem to be done by a different artist (such as the Fellowship card above), whose work is still quite nice, but speaks less to my personal aesthetic than the others.

The colors are a little muddy and the edges are not as crisp as they could be; I assume this is the fault of the printer.  The cards are also not cut cleanly; there are "tags" on the edges that I imaigne will wer off over time.  The cards are not the same proportion as most tarot decks; they are quite wide.  I don't really like that, because they are hard to shuffle (for me, but my hands are VERY small).  They are high gloss and "slippery", they shuffle easily (except for the size issue).  All that being said, none of that really bothers me at all.  My only real issue with the cards is the title placards at the bottom:  The "ye olde fonte" and cheesy ripped parchment marquise is a little too "Lord of the Rings" for me.  But, that's easy enough to overlook, since the deck itself is so amazing.

The included booklet has about 200-500 word summary of each card as well as a description of the "main" layout intended for the deck.  The booklet is clear, concise, and explains really deep things in a very straightforward way, as is typical of Josephine McCarthy's writing.   There's TONS more info, including several spreads, available on the website, which I drooled over for some time before getting the deck.  They come in a regular slip box, which is fine, but I don't expect to wear very well.  I will probably get or make a box or bag for them.  Partly because they only ship from England, the deck is on the pricy side, $42 shipped to the US.   But, I'm quite happy with my purchase, and I look forward to working with them.

Here's a complete list of the cards:

The Divine Realm:
The Star Father (I)
The Creator of Time (II)
The Holder of Light (III)
The Archon & The Aion (this is one card)

The Inner World:
The Abyss
The Keeper of the Abyss
The Protector of Souls
The Weaver of Creation
Hidden Knowledge
The Light Bearer (IV)
The Imprisoner (V)
Pure Balance (VI)
The Inner Temple
The Inner Librarian
The Grindstone (VII)
The Unraveller (VIII)
The Inner Companion
Guardians of the Inner Desert
The Utterer
Keeper of Justice
Threshold Guardian (IX)
Wheel of Fortune
Fate Giver
Fate Holder
Fate Taker

The Physical Realm
Mother Earth
Place of Healing
Temple of the Ancestors
Magical Temple
Gate of the Past
Home and Hearth
Path of Hercules
Challenge of the Gods
Inner Sanctum
Spirit Guide
Goblin Queen
Faery King
Blood Ancestor
Limiter: Air/East
Staff of the Gods: Fire/South
Regenerator: Water/West
Foundation: Earth/North
Magical Attack
Giver of Gifts
Wise Teacher
Child Elder
The Occultist
The Leader
The Man of Nature
The Mystic
The Male Warrior
The Oracle
Priestess Magician
Female Warrior

The Realm of Death
The Bridge of Death


  1. Sara, I have read hundreds of deck summaries, and you've done an excellent job telling me what I need to know about these cards. Thank you. They look interesting to me but are not the sort of deck we work with for the company, and I'm sure you understand why. Agree about the cheese implicit in ripped up parchment a la photoshop, but hey! apparently it must sell from the overuse it gets!
    love and blessings, from Caroline