Review – The High Deck

The High Deck - A New Universe of Symbols

The High Deck

A New Universe of Symbols

Authors – Arthur Amberstone & Wald Amberstone

Artists – Robert M. Place

Publisher – Schiffer Pulbishing Ltd.

ISBN: 978-0-7643-4228-8

    “The High Deck has lived quietly with me and my own circle of friends for more than forty years.  The time has come for it to emerge into the light of the wide world it explains so deeply and so well. ~Wald Amberstone

The High Deck was conceived by Arthur Amberstone, Wald’s father, who also wrote the manuscript, designed the cards, and invented the games to be played with it.  The deck was completed shortly before Arthur’s death in 1973.  Since that time, it has entertained the Amberstone’s friends and family, and now after more than 40 yrs. it’s available to everyone.


  • 38 cards total with measure 4.5″ x 3.5″  32 are “people” cards, 4 house cards, and 2 color cards.
  • There are 4 Houses (suits).  2 Black Houses, Arrow & Pyramid. 2 Red Houses, Flower & Sun.  Each house is made up of 8 people.  Father, Knight, Lover, Priest , Child, Vassal, Sinner, Maid.  Each has a different role and ranking.
  • 128 page companion book which shows a black and white scan and description of the role for each card when in play.
  • Instructions for three games that can be played. Folly; High Deck Solitaire; Paris
  • Book and deck set are packaged in a signature Schiffer hinged box which is quite suitable for storage or transport.

The High Deck HousesThe Houses, as mentioned above, are divided into two colors, red and black.  Amberstone explains:  Red is a movement away from the origin along the path of defining light.  Black is a movement back to the origin and the encompassing dark.  Red is associated with the light-the visible and the certain, the near and concrete.  Black is associated with the dark-the hidden and questionable, the remote and insubstantial.  These associations can be summed up as the tendency of Red to Affirm the world of appearances and the tendency of Black to deny that world.

The HIgh Deck Faces

Examples of the “Face” card or Majors, from l-r:  The Father in the House of the Pyramid assumes responsibility for the misdeeds of all. The Knight in the House of the Sun makes of everyone a profitable servant. The Lover in the House of the Arrow transforms the ordinary into a special occasion. And the Priest in the House of the Flower connects all things with secret paths.

The Persons enter into each other’s Houses, behaving differently in each House.

High Deck Minor Archetype Examples of the Minors:  The Vassal in the House of the Pyramid accepts unjust punishment.  The Sinner in the House of the Sun tests the vulnerability of others.  The Child in the House of the Flower loses his purse only to find another.  The Maid in the House of the Arrow instructs the servants.

The High Deck is not a divination tool, but is a deck designed for play and it can also be used as a mirror showing you your own strengths and weaknesses.

As a Mirror:

  • You can behold your own image in the High Deck.
    The High Deck Card Backs
  • You are both Red and Black, although more one than the other.
  • You live in every House, although you are not equally at home in each.
  • You are every Person, although not identifying with all.
  • You are every Character, although in strength or in weakness.
  • You can perceive yourself in everything on every level, although divided in everything on your level.

With so many variations and levels of play, the possibilities for fun are endless.  As Wald said recently in an interview on Attune Magazine Radio, (paraphrased) the main purpose of the deck is for play, “The deck is a very integrated symbolic system. It’s highly symbolic, very psychological, and very playful.  The deck was meant to be played with from the onset, it’s a playing card deck.”  PlayPlayPlay  If you missed the live show, you can listen in archives by using the Blog Talk Radio link below.  Listen in as Wald discusses The High Deck in depth with Mary Nale.

Tired of playing the same old card games?  Ready for something totally new and and different?  Check out this New and Unique – Not Your Gramma’s Deck Of Cards – deck today.  Available now from Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. or your favorite retailer.

BTW – Wald invites anyone with questions to contact him at

Until next time, Happy Tarot’ing!


Listen to internet radio with Attune Magazine Radio on Blog Talk Radio


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