Quareia – what is she smoking?? Answering some questions around Quareia

By now people have begun working on the Quareia course and will find themselves coming up against all sorts of issues that can be deflating, can seem dumb, or a struggle or just plain stupid and confusing. I hope to address some of these in this blog, and do it in a way that is does not take away from the process of self training that is so essential for the beginning of a magical path, but does offer a helping hand none the less.Hitting the first obstacle

The first wall that will be hit is in the second module, ritual patterns. To many who have some background in magic, they will look at that module and think…WTF? What is she smoking?? To say it simplistic is an understatement. But there is method in the madness.

The Inner Temple by Cassandra beanland

The Inner Temple by Cassandra Beanland

I spent a long time looking at how different magical systems are taught and one thing became very clear very quickly. As modern people in a fast paced world, we are used to looking at long horizons that we aim for, and glittery ones at that. However, in doing so, we lose so much without even realising it.

When a toddler is at home, they are not shown the world, they are taught about how to navigate around the house. That house in essence is their whole world. They do not know about New York, or oil prices or the national park a few hundred miles away, they know the edges of the sofa, that touching a plug socket makes mum say ‘no’, and that the fridge is where heaven is. The sense of belonging, of grounded-ness and the roots of confidence in the toddler come from first knowing and then becoming the master of the sofa.


The Cottage by Cassandra Beanland

Yeah yeah, but we are all intelligent adults. Yes we are, but in magic, most missed the sofa in the training as they were rushed to get to the garden outside (which makes it more glamorous and therefore popular), and so the skills of navigation and balance gained by the toddler as she first learns to pull herself up, and then put one foot in front of the other is missing. And it is a critical step missing from magical training that exposes issues much later down the line of training.

I know when I first started magic I would have looked at some of this course and tossed it to one side in disgust. But looking back, I wish I had done this, I wish I had learned to navigate the sofa, thinking that the sofa was the centre of the universe: it would have given me a much stronger foundation to later stand on. And the key is to think that the sofa is the centre of all things, then it is the garden that is the centre of all things, then the local neighbourhood – if you stand at the sofa, and think that the real world is ‘out there’, you miss all of the skills you could have gotten if you had only focussed totally on the sofa.

And that is how Quareia works. You are put in a tiny simplistic kindergarten pattern, and told it is the centre of the universe. Those who have never touched magic before will not be fazed and will toddle through the modules. Those who already have knowledge of magic will look in total confusion and disappointment – people want to see the Alps and instead get a sofa.

The Pentagram ritual in the course is a good example of this. To say it is simplistic is an understatement. And yet, hidden in that is something that will come full circle. First you learn something everyone should already know. Then in another module it flips its power and you work with it at a different level and think…’ah… now we are on track….’ Then it flips again in another module and the magician thinks… oh…..my… Then finally it flips once more and you have come full circle – then the magician looks at the very simplistic toddler level ritual and sees within it the seed of something very powerful indeed.

For clarification – reading ahead in the course is fine


The Path of Hercules by Cassandra Beanland

For those who already know magic, reading ahead will sometimes shed light on where something is going and why it is there, and there is no harm in reading forward in the course, but it is important to actually ‘do’ the work in sequence (the practical work) as from an inner point of view they each are interlinked magical building blocks set out to create a foundation strong enough to take a tower block. One single insignificant brick can sometimes be a keystone: and that is why Quareia takes such toddler steps, as they are often steps we missed either in life or in our magical training. I know I missed a lot of the very basics that I truly wish I had learned.


The flip side of reading ahead is to be within the absolute. Everyone learns in different ways but one thing that is a common denominator in all human learning is absolutes. When we learn to count up to five as toddlers, the world of five is the absolute. We KNOW that things only go up to five and there is no comprehension beyond five. Then we learn to count to ten and we begin the process of learning number bonds (3+ 2 = 5, but 2+2+1 also = 5). The world starts to get more interesting, but the world is still only a pattern of 10.

When we are teens we KNOW that we know better than the adults. And so the pattern continues throughout life. And there is a good mechanism behind this.agora When you know something as an absolute, it has boundaries, rules, and a system of understanding we can operate and grow within. That allows us to comprehend what is before us and not be left in a haze of confusion. But then one day that absolute is shaken and we begin to question, and that opens up a new vista for learning a new absolute.

I have constructed Quareia in a way that works with that natural progression of absolutes. So you have a lesson that says, ‘this is how it works, this is what it is’ as an absolute. But then later in a different module that absolute is shaken and a different layer is exposed which reveals a new vista. Someone new to magic will slowly grow and expand through those absolutes but for those who have knowledge of magic it will be initially frustrating as you KNOW there is something different (and yes there is). And herein is where I had to make firm decisions: do I write for total beginners or do I write for those who already have backgrounds in magic. That was a tough one as you cannot in truth do both.

I decided to go right back to the very first step, to the toddler pulling themselves up to the edge of the sofa. That way, no one gets left behind, but also, for those who are magicians who are deciding to go back to basics, it places the magician in a quandary of trust. Do you trust that I know what I am doing? Does my advanced magic stand up to the test? If so, then trust that the path is actually taking you somewhere for good reason. I know that is hard as it seems to throw so much to the wind, but believe me, there is method in the madness and it will challenge the orthodoxy every step of the way.

The ChessBoard by Cassandra Beanland

The ChessBoard by Cassandra Beanland

You see, you are not learning a system, you are learning how to operate all systems and to know how those systems are constructed, why they are constructed that way, what their weak spots and what their strengths are. How many people watch tv, can operate the remote, tune it, put in a DVD and yet know how it actually works? Could you build one for yourself? To do that, you need to know the depths of electronics and computing and that in turn starts with learning about basic circuit boards.

The Penny Dropping

A good example of this mechanism of absolutes and learning circuit boards is the Quareia editor, a well read well educated magician who has dipped his toe in various systems. He is getting the lessons ahead of the public and is getting to see where it is going.

The emails that go back and forth between us, if reduced to a few words would go something like this: ‘ ????, ……oh,…… ah ok,…….. ohhhhhhhh, wow’……. and ‘ oh, oh, I know what that is, it is in that ancient text, oh, so that is what that is’ – and so forth.

light Slowly but surely you will all (hopefully!) have your moments of ‘ whaaat?, huh?, oh, ah ok, ….. ohhhhhhhh…..

That way of learning really roots the understanding within you, rather than just filling you will rote learning, intellectual understanding and the parroting of rituals without really knowing what they do and why.

Why you are left alone at the beginning

We live in cultures these days where when we have a problem, or something breaks, there is an expert on hand to fix it, advise, guide, problem solve, etc. While this certainly makes for an easier time in this crazy fast paced world, what it has done is subtly disable the ability within ourselves to problem solve, to work out how something needs fixing, how to improvise, etc.

Kids no longer take apart TVs or car engines to see how they work (one of my favourite pastimes as a kid), adults rarely have to fix their own washing machine, etc, you get the idea. But that act of standing before something that confounds you, and knowing that there is nothing and no one around you who can take responsibility and fix it for you, is a major aspect of the first step into magic.

Copyright - Travis H. Lane Photography

Copyright – Travis H. Lane Photography

Why? because it throws you back on your own resources but even deeper than that, it takes you to the ladder of ‘it all begins and ends with you’ – this is a deep and powerful dynamic that runs through all the ancient magical religions. Approaching magic this way, even though it is very hard at the beginning, takes you out of the hierarchy and control dance that humans love so much, and puts you squarely in the drivers seat.

It is also a filter for the course. The student is not left dangling through the whole course, and bit by bit, help in the background, along with discussions, connections with others and guidance creeps into the course and increases as the student progresses. But to get to that stage, the student must first be able to stand up alone, trust that what they are doing is worth it however bizarre a lesson may seem, and be able to forge their way through. Those that don’t want to or cannot, fall by the wayside: that is the natural filter. Those that get through are fitter, more self reliant and therefore able to handle the massive leap into what comes next. However through this blog, at least I can stand and point the way forward without interfering in the process.

QUAREIA_header long


About Josephine McCarthy

This entry was posted in Magical Training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Quareia – what is she smoking?? Answering some questions around Quareia

  1. Thank you. Hope I will be one of those who passes the natural selection.


  2. gary says:

    cheers- great to see you had time to post a blog-msg (I hope you’ve “had the time” things going well and all). I’m not sure how strong my foundations were, but with a 20+yr background in magic (or magick 🙂 both- I’ve seen impact-shifts in each lesson… so I was a bit surprised reading this msg, as it seems you were given the impression it wasn’t (?) But at the same time, I’m glad as there are a couple keys in the above itself.

    -At times I have felt a bit confused not on each lesson, but how they fit together (not amalgamating, but doing one before/after another- how it fits)… so that part I can relate a sense of question (that just being the overwhelm-Cognitive Dissonance affect of Newness.. and Contrast. -I’d guess many may think the “pentagram” and “hexa-” are different than what those names might refer to elsewhere…… but I think that is to the good.

    So I'd say it not-quite being 1/3rd the way through the "first/beginning" section- it makes sense it wouldn't "seem" advanced... and yet I've felt the power every time I even read-skim-studied through the lesson, the first time.   A couple lessons upon first reading I had to stop during and recover my focus (even salt-scrub the 'spiderweb' feeling    - let alone intentionally-working it in space.     -Anyway, not sure if the above will make sense the way I intended to write it, but to any reading this, many implications of structure has been layered in the lessons I've seen/worked- which is revamping my magical understanding-being.    (The only weird thing is when I read writings by this author I then find my 'old understandings' dont make sense right away- as the context is so 'invasive' :)  so finding a middle-ground, adjusting the context of different experiences in a new energetic sense, keeps arising this sense of fumlbing at times (the foundation and blueprint idea I guess)    ..  I must admit I was expecting/anticipating experiencing that myself, so it wasn't as much a surprise.

    Best wishes to the author 🙂 and to the other readers, seekers of the Quareia -cheers


  3. thanks Gary,
    yes, if you have done magic for that long, you will see what is going on behind the scenes in each lesson. Everyone has their stumbling block, and for some, coming across the pent/hex done and approached in a different way really threw them for a loop.

    you said, “At times I have felt a bit confused not on each lesson, but how they fit together (not amalgamating, but doing one before/after another- how it fits)… so that part I can relate a sense of question” –
    as you go along you will start to see the dovetailing and how they interlock, but it is not obvious… it is less about intellectual sequence and more about inner power blocks being built one at a time, deeper inner shifts that come when fragments are put together in the right order.
    Anyhow, must get back to writing!!!
    Have fun adventures, Josephine x


    • gary says:

      ‘fun adventures’ -yeah (percolating and “translation-integ” going-on.. my stumbling-block is stuck-ness 🙂 Just wanted to honor back some appreciation from one-at least [funny how my ESP-RSS… I hadn’t checked your blog in a bit, and got this feeling pull it up, and saw this post recently posted.. and just now got that “ping” I figure more ‘useful’ bonus-abilities than getting a mental-psychic sense of electronic-msgs “out there” :>

      [more about inner power blocks being built one at a time, deeper inner shifts that come when fragments are put together in the right order.] I just wanted to mention that Taoist energy practices (best heard-of as TaiChi Int’l components, but likewise in “meditation” ie working-with the deeper MindStuff)… how to become aware of not what the Thoughts Do, but what Does the Thoughts… like the shapes of Waves being undercurrents we name as thoughts… but how to Change the structure of the “water” as well as the “winds” that drive the Wave… and then Deeper-Larger to change the Essence that is awareness (inside also without- thus it isn’t “I am” in the western sense)… above many words- but how to work with that Clay, mold and shape it, and be aware of what is being changed and what those changes do… (vs only seeing the surface-outside)

      As you say- back to writing- even the germinating seed that started and sustains this idea/current ripples & echoes in Other’s Dreams. Luck to you, J -G


  4. Orsolya says:

    Learning is a constant try and error and start again loop. The most important thing ist: do not give up even if seems to be very hard. For me personally, daily meditation is a big issue. Other lessons just flow by very fast and I can move on. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, the key is to keep on working. One for sure: My life has gotten more stable and balanced since having started the course – so a big thank you again, Josephine – I sincerely hope I’ll make it.


Comments are closed.