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The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  819 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s insights into the Tarot as a spiritual path

• Works with the original Marseille Tarot to reveal the roots of Western wisdom

• Provides the key to the symbolic language of the Tarot’s “nomadic cathedral”

• Transforms a simple divination tool into a vehicle for self-realization and healing

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s profound study of the Tarot, w
Paperback, 552 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by Destiny Books (first published November 1st 2004)
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Mar 13, 2017 added it
The true study of the Arcanum begins with the consistent order of the entire Tarot; every detail, tiny as it may be, begins from the links that connect all seventy-eight cards. To understand these myriad symbols, one needs to have seen the final symbol they all form together: a mandala.

My interest in the Tarot is not this intense. I find the symbolism interesting, and even more so the visual qualities. I had thought, given Jadorowsky's interest in the visual that there would be something worthwh
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: would-read-again
It's hard not to approach a book about the tarot without some strong measure of skepticism. I do not believe in divination and honestly I read this book because I loved "The Holy Mountain" and "El Topo" and I wanted to learn more about the underlying symbolism of the Major Arcana.

So, to say this book surprised me is a bit of an understatement. Not only does Jodorowsky do a lot to demystify the tarot (admitting its origins as a poker like game in the late Middle Ages to Renaissance) but he at onc
Tara Greene
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book came highly recommended from a friend of mine who is an amazing artist and reads tarot herself. I am a professional Tarot reader but had never studied The MarseillesTarot one of the oldest editions specifically which Jodorowsky works with in this book.
I had loved his films El Topo and the Magic Mountain years ago, as he is fascinated with archetypes and that is what the Tarot is. The fountain of archetypal knowledge and symbolism it is virtually the Unconscious itself.
These are very mu
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is definitely not an every day reading. This is definitely not a reading for everybody. This is a book that needs attention, an open mind and a desire to accept that nothing is static and that everything changes and it can be changed. The reader of such a book needs to have two preconditions: he/she should have an interest of some sort in the art of Tarot and he/she should have a more poignant spiritual/philosophical side than a normal person.
The last paragraph of the book is mind blowing
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is my newest reference guide to life. I will be consulting it frequently for many years to come. Not only will you get advice on how to understand to read the language of the Tarot, in addition you receive the wisdom of Jodorowsky and his profound journeys through life. He understands humanity and has discovered how to bring healing into the art of Tarot instead of mere divination. Become a mirror, as I have always been inclined towards, and find the means to heal the wounds of life.
Dec 28, 2009 marked it as to-read
it's crazy that this man could be both one of the greatest filmmakers ever and also one of the world's top experts on the tarot. jodorowsky links the tarot and psychoanalysis in fascinating ways.
Gabriel Clarke
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Finished at the second attempt. At worst, it's pompous and didactic, a sort of hellishly complicated self-help book by Tarot's own Paolo Coelho. At its best , it's challenging, bracingly different and wholly refreshing. This is not a book for beginners but forms a genuine and much-needed alternative to the generic Rider-Waite-Coleman-Smith default. There have been other attempts to reset Tarot away from the Golden Dawn-based system but this one is *serious*. Highly recommended.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I was 8 years old, my mother bought a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine that came with a free Tarot deck. She gave it to me to play with - together with its detachable guide - and I've been ever since a studier of it.

I've read many books on the Tarot - from straight forward divinations, to books on the meaning of the cards when upside down - but this one truly stands out as different from all the rest. First of all, it's written by the filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, known for the films "El Top
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The way of the Tarot is a rather unorthodox approach to interpretation of Tarot cards. The card stock is the author´s own deck the Jodorowsky/Camoin Tarot de Marseille. The book covers; overall deck structure with a mainly numerological approach, description and interpretation of each of the cards in the minor and major arcana, an analysis of the synergy between tarot cards two by two and finally reading the Tarots using 1-10 card spreads. Jodorowsky goes in depth with this topic, which is evide ...more
Giga Beriashvili
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The most fascinating book on the Tarot of Marsielle that I have ever read. I sat down and read this book in two days! A lot of information to be read once and again and again. The writing is poetic, insightful, detailed and enjoyable to read. I would recommend this to any beginner who is interested in Tarot or advanced practitioner of the art. Jodorowsky is really brilliant.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In typical Jodo fashion this book goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. I do NOT recommend it as a first book for someone new to Tarot. It is a good book, and it is good for learning the TdM Deck, but if you are brand new to Tarot then Rachel Pollock's "78 Degrees of Wisdom" is a better choice to get going.
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tarot-astro
I haven't yet properly read through this book, but I've been using it as a reference for a while now, so I wanted to start writing an initial review.
Let me start off by saying that this is a fantastic book. No book is ever going to come close to covering all of things there are to say about tarot, but it can provide you with a good basis of the symbols and archetypes that tarot is based on and it does a great job of it. You can both read through the entire book (which I've just started doing) o
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A dense and frenetic commentary on the Tarot by the Creep but inimitable Alejandaro Jodorowsky.

Jodo has a few interesting comments, namely;

1.) The Tarot should be treated as an entire entity, not a tapestry or disparate threads that come to a whole.

2.) There's plenty of interesting symmetry within the Tarot, and it can be examined in a variety of lenses such as Christianity; The Trinity+Mary, Four Gospels, The Kabbalah, The Four Noble Truths, the Four Caste Systems of India, The Four Elements, T
Yin Yin
Alejandro uses his Freudian way of analysis rolling out a new tarot world. I know a lot of tarot readers and enthusiasts have strong opinion against him. But hey, it's the occultic world that we are exploring. Anyone claims to be the expert in any aspect of Occult is already out of the game. Being different doesn't mean that it doesn't work. Each good tarot reader has his or her unique way to connect with the ether or the other side of the world.

My preferred way of reading Marseille or tarot in
Michael Jay
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A strong first pass -- lots to think about

This is not a book to run through, front to back. The process was to use it as a way to understand art better, to aim the eye on a way to see emblemata better, and then go to the museum and look at art pieces to see how those emblemata were included. As I walked into the book, I gained an appreciation of how these symbols weave their way into the culture, into sacred architecture, into sayings, into wisdom teachings. "Every motion is dual, made up of a w
Concetto Oniro Quest
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beware : this is not a new age tarot book, its way more serious.

This is book represents a solid full initiation to the world of tarots, symbols and archetypes intertwined with some jungian psychology reminiscence.
To read with a little bit of caution because the author tends to be slight too serious for my tastes, rarely edging into esoteric feeling which I am not a fan of.
Despite the prior premise, the book offer a well made explanation of this wonderful medium of self dialogue that the tarot
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good read. I don't think I really believe in magic, clairvoyance, etc., but I do believe in the psyche. I've been exploring tarot reading for psychological insight, and the author gives an exposition that does not push any specific spiritual dogma other than being open minded, and remember that tarot does not predict the future.

I should note that it follows the Marseille Tarot, particularly Camoin, I think.
Oliver Ho
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A big, strange book—it’s pretty much exactly what you might expect from Jodorowsky writing about his life’s work with tarot. Most of it is material I will re-read and try to absorb. Some of it gets too far out there for me, but it’s done well enough that I’m fine with it.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: occult
Describes different aspects of tarot much like you'd expect.
I know nothing of tarot so it's hard to rate but Jodorowsky seems to have both knowledge of and love for the Tarot (although I generally like Jodorowsky so I am both biased and ignorant here).
Catherine Eberhardt
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most comprehensive book to date on tarot. Never ending reference. Could be slightly more non-binary in regards to sexuality, slightly dated, but overall the interpretations are incredibly thoughtful and powerful. Very important work here.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I could not finish this. I love Jodorowsky's stories but his "interpretation" of the tarot is a sprawling frenetic mess. I really truly and sincerely wanted to love it. Maybe I will return to it in the future, but it will be gathering dust for years I fear.
Cal Godot
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If thought Crowley's book on the Tarot was wacky, you must read Jodo's take. Among the dozens of books I have read on the subject, this one rises immediately to the top five. Particularly for practical usage.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
mapping the trajectory of the soul.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pretty crazy (have you seen The Holy Mountain?) but otherwise a pretty practical crash course on Tarot reading.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tarot
This man is insane. In a good way.

I have to admit I started to skim once I got to the conclusion. This is the first tarot book I've read where I've concluded that I wasn't ready to digest all that it contained.

While the author gets some details about tarot history wrong, and meanders into idiosyncratic asides, the quality of the writing and the passion of his beliefs more than make up for the negatives.

I will be coming back to this when I have learned more about the Tarot de Marseilles from more
Sara Gray
May 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. I really liked this history of the Tarot and Jodorowsky's explication of each of the Arcana's themes and interpretations. It helped me appreciate the nuances of Tarot reading and how much of an imaginative and psychological exercise it can be. That said, Tarot-reading is also for folks who like to nerd out on numerology, color theory, and a bunch of other complicated mind tricks that I'm not interested in at all. I was glad to learn more, but I won't be putting it into pr ...more
Jolene Simon
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Never believed in divination, but i think a quantum field Minsk everything, and pur subconscious (working With archetypes) CAN be reached using thèse old archétypes that Tarot cards are. As Jodorowsky says basicaly, it's giving you a picture of Your vêry own thoughts and probabilities. I've Been reading several books about Tarots, they are always a projection of the ego of the author... Not this One. This is the book.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-shelf
Just started reading this book. Like Jodorowsky's other book, Psychomagic, there are some pretty astounding tales being told about his life and experiences. it also proves to be entertaining as well as informative - and those are just my initial insights having just started to read the book yesterday...
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tarot card reading Jodorowsky style.

It's spanish so must be able to read and understand spanish but it's a really cool book if you are into that kind of thing.
Jose Daniel
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me how to see and listen to a graphic lenguaje, that is the tarot.
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Also credited as Alexandro Jodorowsky

Better known for his surreal films El Topo and The Holy Mountain filmed in the early 1970s, Alejandro Jodorowsky is also an accomplished writer of graphic novels and a psychotherapist. He developed Psychomagic, a combination of psychotherapy and shamanic magic. His fans have included John Lennon and Marilyn Manson.

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