Following Your Path is about using tarot cards and meditation in order to communicate with your psyche. I was particularly excited about this book because that’s the method that I use for my own meditations and writings. This book is a treasure trove of mythological symbolism and fairy tales. I enjoyed much of it. But, I felt as if Alexandra guides the reader almost too well.
She breaks down the cards into their various pieces and encourages reflection on each piece of the Tarot artwork in a sort of automatic writing process (write down the first thing that comes to mind when you look at “blank”). I felt like she was depriving the reader of the richer experience of pathwalking into the cards themselves. If I were to write a manual, perhaps someday, I would leave the meditations themselves as completely open ended with plenty of blank pages for writing. So, more like: “Here is the card. Walk through it as if it is a doorway. What do you see?” It may be difficult to believe, but the mind fills the space with “something”. The endless writing prompts for the small details really aren’t needed. But, I could see this book being very useful for true beginners who are unsure of the way or don’t yet trust or know their own inner worlds.
Another small criticism, Alexandra has the reader starting their journey into the major Trumps (the minor cards aren’t even presented) and she starts her study with the Fool rather than the Universe. But, I suppose it doesn’t really matter the order in which you explore the cards. The fact that you’re doing it at all is what is important.
I loved this explanation of the psyche in the introduction by Jean Houston: “The psyche is not unlike an archaeological dig in which different civilizations, stories, and interpretations may be revealed at each level. Unlike the field archaeologist, however, we have living access to the cultures and knowings of the various strata within ourselves and therefore can learn on site how to tap our hidden dimensions for the benefit of our existential lives. It is also possible, with the help of those primordial patterns of meaning and relationship known as archetypes, to build sustaining bridges to, and networks among, these strata, thereby encouraging an ongoing communication and exchange of content- a kind of commerce of the psyche.” introduction, pg vii
There are quotations scattered throughout the text that I found very enlightening, such as: “Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.” -Joseph Campbell, pg 17 Makes you want to start meditating right now!
This book is extremely positive and affirming. I liked that in addition to the meditation prompts, Alexandra provides further exercises and questions to help heal and creatively examine the mind. She says: “It is only when we learn to evaluate ourselves in terms of our own inner values that we can exist in a positive emotional state, aware of the continual opportunities for growth and for feelings of satisfaction.” pg 138
She also provides hope for those who may be going through the darkness of depression or despair:“Often when we find ourselves in a state of stupor, hopelessness, pain, loneliness, depression, and even madness, we may be on the verge of great vision and inspiration. Our condition of desperation is often only a stopping place on the road to greater self-development. By looking inward, we can find a way past destruction, to salvation and to a new life.” pg 244 So, if you’re going through hell, keep going.
If you enjoyed this book, you may want to look at The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life by Jessa Crispin. If you want examples of tarot card pathwalks, take a look at my creative writing: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/…
Happy meditating and thanks for reading!