Quester: The Journey of the Brave by Patricia Beattie
Review by R. Cockman

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Ordered in a different way for "The Journey of the Brave," most cards are easily attributable to their traditional counterpart due to similar naming or obvious imagery, such as Grandfather Sun. There is also the addition of one extra card, The Warrior, bringing the total to 79 cards. The author explains that she applied Native American tradition to the tarot and the Tree of Life of the Qabala. "The paths, triads and card interpretations have been deliberately kept as simple as possible, as simplicity is the key to successful change." Despite this claim, I did not find this deck that easy to work with.

The artwork is soft, with good use of color on these slightly large 3 7/16" X 5 1/8" cards. Some of the images are very striking. The Sun Ritual is an image that is hard to forget as it shows a man suspended from metal or bone hooks through his chest. It sounds gruesome, but is merely arresting, since his feet are still on the ground and he is leaning back into the strain. I have never seen a card more vividly depict the idea of voluntary sacrifice, which I attribute to the Hanged Man. Along these same lines is what is traditionally the Death card. It is titled New Life and shows a horse under what seems to be a funeral bower. The spirits of horse and rider ascend toward a misty village in the sky. In effect, it handles all of the traditionally "dark" cards in a very natural and beautifully fitting way.

On the whole, the book is thorough and a good resource for the cards. The deck back does not lend itself well to reversals with its black background bearing a single feather. Instead, the author chooses to classify positive attributions and negative attributions, leaving the reader to determine the context. The author does include a good section on the totem cards (Minor Arcana) that explains the attributes of the four suits and how they are enhanced by the animals chosen. Then a wonderful explanation of the numerology of the pip cards follows. This really helped in my understanding of the energies of the tarot. Then the people and court cards are defined. The explanations are lengthy lists of keywords with extended descriptions of the people cards (courts and aces). There are stories included for the Major Arcana.

The Minor Arcana took some getting used to. The court cards are renamed patriarch, matriarch, warrior, and maiden. The suits are eagles (arrows or swords), bears (vessels or cups), buffaloes (shields or disks), and wolves (spears or wands). Another change is that the Ace for each of the suits is a card called the dancer. I kept wanting to make him one of the court cards, though I now understand that since the Ace is supposed to be the epitome of the elemental force, the dancer or the one who calls upon or invokes that would be representative. As the scenes of the minor arcana are animals and not people, like in the RWS, and don't represent traditional imagery, some of the scenes may be difficult to interpret, such as the Two of Buffaloes. On the other hand, the Five of Buffaloes freezing in the driving blizzard, the Seven and Nine of Wolves (licking his wounds), and the Five of Eagles are clear and easier to interpret.

My husband has this deck and while I have worked well with it, it is one of the few he has felt a connection to. He loves the Native American imagery and has received commentary on the artwork whenever he has used it. I would recommend this deck more as use for an oracle, even though it is easily adaptable to the tarot. The layouts in the book are well suited for this purpose. My husband notwithstanding, I would not recommend this deck to beginners. With or without resolving the reordering of the Major Arcana, I do not get the same feel of cohesive story and symbolism as I do with most Tarot decks. It seems to be that these cards are better representatives of a system within themselves than as applied to the Tarot.

You can read other reviews of this deck here and here.

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

Quester Tarot: The Journey of the Brave by Patricia Beattie
Illustrated by Mike Giddens
Publisher: Element Books
ISBN#: 1-86204-550-X

R. Cockman is a Hellenic Wiccan with a strong connection to Goddess spirituality. She has been working with Tarot for several years and is constantly looking for ways to further her knowledge of it. She includes sections on the Tarot in her Beginning Wicca classes and is now developing a course on the Tarot itself, specifically as a spiritual tool following the Journey of the Fool.  She has created two fan decks, from the television shows Xena and Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, and found these a wonderful way to increase her understanding of the cards.

Images 1999 Element Books
Review 2001 R. Cockman
Page 2001 Diane Wilkes











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