Way of the Current: Tarot Reflections
Way of the Current: Tarot Reflections is an exploration of the 78 cards of the Dodal Tarot de Marseille from 1701. The 186-page book is illustrated with each tarot card, and offers fresh perspectives and insights to the reader.
By Stewart S. Warren
Book - 186 pages - Published by Mercury HeartLink
Review by Mythic Silence
Warren’s work is well edited and dynamic. He utilizes full size black and white illustrations from the Marseille deck, and each card image is displayed on its own page. The book does not have numbered pages or an index, but the simplicity of its layout helps to mitigate this issue.
Warren’s book provides concise, yet potent reflections on the Tarot. After a brief introduction, the rest of the book is dedicated to his reflections on each card. These entries are not explanations of the cards’ traditional meanings or an analysis of symbolism. Instead, Warren supplies heartfelt musings that are based on a scholarly background of Tarot correspondences and systems, such as Pythagorean Number Theory and the Tree of Life. This book exudes a vibrant enthusiasm for self-exploration and spiritual growth. The writing style is poetic and almost lyrical at times. It is accessible, yet artistic. Take, for example, the entry for the Three of Swords:
“What is this universal sorrow? Expelled from heaven or birthed into the world, we experience constriction of the womb, gravity, time, all the lessons of Saturnian limitation. From this perception of dejection has come helplessness and grief. This storm has ultimately come from within – a memory of the beginning of time. Recommitted to work in the world, I challenge this distrustful outlook, cast off old spells. This adjustment is the destruction of the obsolete rising from my sacred flaming heart.”
Warren often incorporates traditional keywords, such as “sorrow” in the example above, in his reflections. Planetary and Kabbalistic associations are also included in many of the entries, but there is no rigid structure for which systematic correspondences appear in the musings for each card. Warren’s personal insights and additional ideas make the passages lively and unique. The personal touch does not diminish this book’s utility to a wider audience, however. Since his contemplations are tempered with the aforementioned systematic references, a reader with an understanding of major Tarot systems is able to follow his train of thought. This book is very much like a kite – flowing, drifting, and exploring, but still connected to solid ground. The entries also describe the progression through the suits, though this is not done in a forced or overtly academic way.
These reflections are parsimonious - they fit inside a text box that is the same size as the corresponding illustration. I think that less is more for the type of writing that Warren is doing, as too much text would dilute the impact of his words. To say a lot with few words is a true challenge, and I applaud the author for this accomplishment. That being said, if you are looking for a book that provides a lengthy discussion on each card, that is not what you will find here. This book does not take long to read from cover to cover; the time that you invest is in reflection. Warren intends for these passages to be a springboard for your own meditative work.
I do think it would have been beneficial if Warren had expanded a bit more on some of the concepts that he mentions in the introduction, even though it wasn’t the primary aim of his book. He mentions a variety of topics, such as the cube of space and the structure of the Tree of Life, then encourages the reader to embark upon his or her own research. Just the addition of a recommended reading list would have been helpful.
This book is aimed at those who have a basic understanding of traditional Tarot meanings and systems. It is not meant to be a beginner’s text or a guide to the symbolism in the Marseille deck. A newcomer to Tarot may enjoy this book as a companion or follow up to other introductory books, but it is not a stand-alone introduction to the Tarot.
Warren takes a spiritual approach that encourages exploration of the Self and the Universe. Those who meditate on the Tarot for these reasons may find a great trove of prompts and insights in his card entries.
I’ve never encountered a book on Tarot quite like this! It is filled with personal, almost journal-like, musings on the cards, and the poetic delivery is unique. I found the change of pace to be refreshing, and I think it will be enjoyed by those who are interested in using the Tarot and its established systems for spiritual work.
Target Audience: (N/A)
Overall Score: 4 out of 5