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This is a reading I did a couple of weeks ago, or thereabouts. I hadn’t used the Magician’s Deck in quite a while. I must admit that, when I first received it, aside from a handful of cards I felt the deck was very cold and sometimes uncomfortably alien. When you consider that its goals are to map out a level of reality behind the universe, maybe that makes sense. In other words, its angels go back to their roots of beings who keep the gears of reality turning, and they are not the anthropomorphic (arch-)angels we may be familiar with.

What struck me when I did this reading is how warm the card images appeared to me now. It’s almost like I had a different deck in my hands, and I was pleased to work with it again. Sadly, my cards are all curled along the vertical now; I’m not sure if that’s because of my storage pouch (which is oversize but still a snug fit) or because that’s the nature of the paper. But they are no less usable, and being in the throes of my new Greenwood romance at the time, I asked: What energies are flowing through the Greenwood Tarot?

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Another day, another deck; but perhaps not just any deck. This post is my test run of LXXXI (that’s 81 in Roman numerals), The Magician’s Deck. This 81-card oracle deck is geared towards the working magician (in what people might think of as a shamanic, service-oriented practice), particularly those doing the Quareia course. As such it fits nicely in the box with decks that are esoteric in nature, where “esoteric” is not synonymous with Golden Dawn or Qabalah. I was trying to think what decks to relate it to, and I could jokingly say that it’s the lovechild of the Dreampower Tarot and the Playing Card Oracles Alchemy Edition, with the Thoth as an estranged godparent.

81_first_reading_teaser

There is some truth to my jest, in that one of the artists is Stuart Littlejohn, who created the Dreampower Tarot back in the 90s. Credit must also go to the other artist, Cassandra Beanland, and the prime mover behind the deck, Josephine McCarthy — who is a tarot expert, even if you won’t see her at tarot forums or conferences.

The Deck

While designed to be a magician’s divination tool, I believe this deck is workable by anyone who feels drawn to it. The results will depend on how well the reader can translate concepts that may seem grand and abstract into everyday life. I think this is true of many decks, even the standard tarot. If you’ve ever interpreted the Magician as a business professional, the Chariot as a car or the Devil as sexual relations or organizational skills, then most likely you could make the jump to this deck.

The deck itself, as mentioned, has 81 cards. The sides look like they have a bit of saddle-stitching on them, with little bumps. Ms. McCarthy told me this is a side-effect of the printer creatively accommodating the printing of 81 cards, and in practice I find it unnoticeable. The cardstock is a bit slippery, at least in the deck’s brand new condition, but is pleasing to my hands and the deck has a nice heft. The artwork is, in my opinion, much more attractive in person than online. I had doubts about whether I’d find all of the art appealing in hand when I committed to the crowdfunding, but I found all of the illustrations quite attractive when I got the deck. Even the cards that had looked a little creepy to me online.

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