Tarot Journeys by Yasmine Galenorn Review by Michele Jackson
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This book/CD set contains guided meditations for the Major Arcana. The majority of the book consists of the meditations. However, there are a few chapters of introductory material and some follow-up material in the form of an afterward, glossary, appendices and index.
The Preface of the book provides some background about the author - how she came to work with tarot cards, and how she went from reading for friends to become a professional reader. The Introduction describes her experiences while writing the book. Like most people who work with the tarot, she found that she had difficulty with certain cards. She was able to work through the difficulties and believes that the meditative process enhanced her understandings of the cards and her skills as a reader. The first chapter: Using Tarot Journeys discusses how to use the book. She recommends that you tape the meditations and play them back as you follow along. The book can be used by one person or by a group. It is recommended that you read the entire meditation before listening to it again, this seems to be recommended so that you can make a better tape recording of the meditation. The reader is warned that the mediations are a type of self-hypnosis and that one should take the same precautions after meditating that one would take after a hypnosis session. The author sees the Major Arcana as being divided into four parts:
- Coming of Wisdom Fool Hierophant
- Growth of Will Chariot Wheel
- Surrender to Fate Justice Tower
- Metamorphosis Star World
She also associates the Major Arcana with the Pagan Wheel of the Year. A diagram is provided to illustrate her assignments.
The next chapter, titled The Tarot, provides some background information on the cards. A spotty history is given that mentions the ancient Egyptians and the Hungarian gypsies. Galenorn concludes by saying that no one has concrete evidence to prove their case. Frankly, the book would have been better without this section. The cards are described, with a paragraph devoted to the Fools Journey. The remainder of this chapter is devoted to describing guided meditation techniques. Some practice exercises in visualization are provided. The author also recommends that you do a magical cleansing before beginning trance work. The next chapter Grounding the Self -- provides grounding exercises and recommended flowers, oils, incense, crystals and candles to assist you in grounding and centering. Suggested exercises to practice grounding are also provided.
The next chapters are devoted to the individual cards. Each card chapter is divided into the following sections:
The Card describes the most common imagery found on the card. The book is not written for any specific deck.
Guidelines for use provides suggestions as to what would be an appropriate time for performing the meditation. For example, the author recommends we meditate on the Fool when we are beginning a new phase of our lives. Corresponding flowers, incense, oils, crystals and candles are also listed here.
Meditation this section makes up the bulk of the book and contains the transcripts for the meditations. These are guided meditations that walk you through a scenario describing the scenery, your actions, and interactions. They tell you when to pause and suggest how long you should do so. Some pauses can last up to two minutes. The meditations are Pagan-oriented. During the meditations, you will encounter Priestesses, guardians, guides, Gods and Goddesses. The Devil is discussed as the Horned God. The author does mention Christianity and Judaism, but I think Pagans will be more comfortable with the meditations than those practicing Judaism or Christianity.
Suggested exercises provides questions to ask yourself and suggested activities to perform. The activities can range from creating art to creating rituals. Some of the activities are simple, like taking a scented bath. Others are more comprehensive, like reading self-help books or taking classes. Although the author doesnt mention it, I think having a journal devoted to this set would be useful and enlightening. Some of the meditations ask questions, so it would be good to have a place to record the answers when you are done. Additionally, some of the exercises call for you to write, and many require you to answer questions about your desires, hopes and fears. Recording these observations would enable you to gauge your progress.
The CD has a woman reading the meditations for the first two cards. They are well done. The narrator has a nice voice and pauses are given at the appropriate places and for reasonable amounts of time. Having the CD is helpful in that it provides an example of how a meditation should sound, which will help when you make tapes of the other meditations for yourself.
The Afterward gives information on writing your own meditations. The author describes the process she used in writing her meditations and lists some of the books she found useful. Ultimately, you will have to devise your own process, but I think you will find her description useful in getting started.
Reading the mediations does not have much impact. You have to hear them. This will require an investment of time in recording them properly. Alternately, they could be used in group work with one person reading while others meditate. I recommend this book for those who would like to try guided tarot meditations, but do not feel comfortable writing and recording their own.
- Tarot Journeys
- Author: Yasmine Galenorn
- Publisher: Llewellyn
- ISBN: 1-56718-264-X
If you would like to purchase this book, click here.