Another deck by Lo Scarabeo is this deck of what could be called "ascended masters" or what the artist considers the "Masters of Magic".
For those who are unfamiliar with any of this material, may I suggest that with this deck you start with the "not so" iddy biddy white book. For a change, the book is actually larger than the cards, and has a nicely illustrated card cover. Not just that, it also contains more than just the card meanings! The artist outlines the breakdown of the deck, what colors and symbols he chose, rules for using the cards and the usual concentration and layouts for the deck and individual card meanings.
But the most important bit of this book is the short biographies of each of the figures represented in this deck. I was fascinated by the bios, and then how the artist worked this into the meanings of the cards.
This is not a tarot deck by any means. The thirty-two cards are divided into elemental correspondences and then further into the four imperatives of magic: want, silence, knowledge and dare. The deck, does, however, translate into a personal journey of sorts, as one follows the elements in their representation of the "four states of being" associated with the elements and the imperatives of magic.
This makes them interesting from the standpoint that they become a tool for reading personal achievement in the realm of magic and personal growth. You are basically consulting the "experts" in the field and asking them to assess your progress as well as pointing out possible weak points and strengths via their associations and meanings.
This is a truly original process for the cards, and very well thought out and presented. The masters are indeed masters, all historical in nature, and all dead. There are no figures here that I had any doubt could be considered a "master". Even the inclusion of Edgar Cayce was not questionable, the most "modern" of all the "masters".
The colors here are brighter and more vibrant than most Lo Scrarabeo decks, which was a plus in my book. Each set of "suits" are clearly margined by a specific color, so you can easily identify the element or magical imperative you are dealing with. Each card has the name of the "master" on the bottom of the card. On the top middle of each card is the masters "influence". On the right hand top of the card is the "masters" symbol. There are two types of "masters" in each group. For example, in the "want" or earth/yellow group, there are hermetics (symbol: key) and healers (symbol: caduceus). You get the feel for what the particular master is master of.
This is an interesting collection of "masters" some which you may recognize, some you will not. Merlin, Nostradamus, St. Germain and Paracelsus are the more recognizable names.
The artwork is interesting. The style is realistic, each of the masters or inspirations is depicted as per the history given, there are symbols in the fields and the figure is outlined in black, making the figure stand out. The back of the card is a small, basic repeat pattern in blue, not overpowering but nice to look at. So are the cards. You can explore the symbols without too much reading into them.
The book recommends you read the cards per the spreads suggested because the meanings in the book are given as to the position the cards appear in the readings. Remember, these are not tarot cards, and will probably not adapt to a "celtic cross" version too well. There is a learning curve here, but the designs and the directions in the book are well defined and it is relatively easy to start working with the deck and use it successfully. While you may be referencing the book to start with, the cards themselves are very easy to read.
I enjoyed working with these cards. I found the glimpses of inner growth and personal achievement were interesting, and from the historical standpoint, they offer some interesting reading. I found myself looking some of these "masters" up on line, to see how accurate the bio was, and the author was on the money. He chose his figures well, and the deck works for it's intended use.
If you are interested in a deck that will help you access your personal growth in the magical practices, if you are interested in magical historical figures, or are looking for a deck that will work with your magical path, this deck is a nice change from the usual. For the collector of decks, this is an interesting and different deck. boudica