As the year comes to a close, I thought it would be a good time to give everyone an overview of what we have been up to quietly in the background at Quareia throughout the last year .
The amount of students who are studying the Quareia course has risen significantly in the last two years and with that increase, it made me realise that it is time to structure how we do things a little better, and to ensure that checks and balances are in place to ensure that Quareia does not turn into some sort of ‘guru cult’ or money spinning venture. The purpose of Quareia is to educate magicians to the highest possible standard, and inform people in general about the subject of magic, nothing more, and nothing less.
This year I hosted two apprentice residentials in the UK. We do these on a cost only basis, which means we share out the venue rental/running and food costs between us – no one gets paid, and no one makes money out of it.
At the student residentials, time is taken to get feedback from people, and to discuss what difficulties arise for some students, and also how students interact with each other both on line and in person. It became clear that the time has come to ensure there is proper oversight into what Quareia does, how it is done, how the donations are used, and what protections are in place to ensure students are protected from predatory members, volunteers, and other students.
Out of one of the residentials, the Student Advisory Council was born. This council is a group of students who each represent a section of student society that would potentially be disadvantaged by race, gender, income and so forth. The council meets once a year, discusses how they think Quareia is handing equality and accessibility issues, and they advise Quareia on any changes that are needed. We have representatives for disability, LGBT communities, low income, foreign students, and different cultures and religions.
Their job is to monitor how students navigate their way through the long and difficult course, and to ensure that the course does not inadvertently lock someone out because they are disadvantaged in some way. If a student is capable of doing the course and they are willing to work hard, then race, disability, gender, culture etc should not exclude them from magical study. The Student Council meets with the school director and board of trustees once a year, and they present their assessment of how we are doing in terms of accessibility and student support.
We also set up a board of trustees who oversee all education, financial, and administrative issues. Our board of trustees has a minimum of one student, and a minimum of one adept, and the rest of the trustees are people who bring to the table knowledge on legal, administrative, and educational/academic matters.
More information on the Student Council and Board of Trustees can be found here https://www.quareia.com/about-q-foundation
We have also worked closely with legal advisors to form policies to ensure that student and volunteer safety, financial oversight/accountability, and data protection issues were properly organised. We have been appalled at reports in the media recently about various religious and spiritual groups where students and members have been abused or taken advantage of. This was a major incentive to us at Quareia to ensure that nothing like that could happen with Quareia.
We formed The Quareia Foundation which is currently awaiting status as a UK educational organisation, and we run on a democratic ‘checks and balances’ system to ensure as much as possible that Quareia grows with and for the people, and not for any guru, or as a cult or money-making business. No one at Quareia, not even the founder gets paid, everyone who works for Quareia is a volunteer: we do it because we believe in developing a better path for magic into the future.
It was an interesting challenge to ensure that The Quareia Foundation had the necessary structure to safeguard and support students, while also ensuring it does not become some administrative nightmare, or some rigid organisation with heavy hierarchies that essentially kills the spirit first envisioned when forming Quareia. Instead we created a simple structure that ensures oversight in a democratic manner while maintaining the innovative spirit that brought about the creation of Quareia in the first place.
The student and volunteer safety policy can be viewed here https://www.quareia.com/student-and-volunteer-safety-policy
So what have I been up to for the last year besides trying to keep out of trouble?
I spent the spring and summer guiding students, mentoring, and also forming (with help) the legal entity of The Quareia Foundation. It was quite a change in gear for me to learn how to do all of the ‘officialdom’, and doing it in a way that will survive and continue to grow as an organisation into the long-term future.
Currently I am finishing up preparing some public domain classical and mythological texts that are relevant/recommended study for the course work, and once they are properly formatted by our Quareia editor, they will be on the Quareia website free texts page. We will be expanding the free texts page in the new year, and they will host classical texts, plus the magical history project.
The magical history project is a series of essays that look at specific aspects of magic, and looks at their origins, developments and evolution over hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. It will give magical students and adepts alike a much better understanding of why certain things are as they are in magic, where they come from, why they were used and what they have now become.
Each extended essay will be posted up on the free text page for download as they are finished, and we hope to have the first one posted in late winter.
We intend over time to grow a strong and informative free download library that will be of use to not only Quareia students but to all magical practitioners around the world.
In 2019 we hope to host an apprentice gathering, but for now we have to wait to see what will happen with the current political upheaval in the UK, as it may potentially impact any residential that we do. Once we are certain we can go ahead, we will inform people through the Quareia forum.
The Quareia forum is an online forum for students that is not connected to social media and is open to all Quareia students. Details of the forum can be found here
Next year will also be a planning year for the Quareia Foundation to begin hosting yearly magical conferences in England. Our plan is to present various different voices from the esoteric and Pagan world to give an overview on current magical thinking, practice and study from a variety of systems. We also plan to have where possible, a quiet tuned sacred magical space (non-denominational) for attendees to withdraw to and sit quietly should they wish to.
Lastly, thank you for reading through all of this!
Thanks again for your support and encouragement of all that we do at Quareia, it means a lot to me personally, and all of us at Quareia wish you a wonderful winter solstice, a peaceful new year and a productive year ahead in 2019.
Josephine McCarthy - December 2018