“For forty years,” writes Neil Gaiman, “Rachel Pollack has been one of the finest writers and thinkers about Tarot, and A Walk through the Forest of Souls feels like a distillation of everything she has been trying to get us to see. A must for people who want the Tarot in their lives or just for people like me who want it in our stories.”
The author of beloved Tarot classic Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom presents a magical journey that illuminates Tarot’s many hidden meanings, leading readers on an exploration of their own spiritual and personal path. In over 350 illustrations, selected by the author, Pollack presents samples of Tarot cards ranging from the 15th-century Sforza to contemporary decks. Taking advantage of the Tarot’s most distinctive feature—its artistry—this book creates a breathtaking overview as we walk with Pollack through the landscape of Tarot. In words and images we’re shown how to explore unknown territory—in ourselves and in the world outside us, and in the sacred mysteries and riddles of existence.
Using symbols and myths to illuminate the hidden mysteries and spiritual truths of the Tarot, Rachel Pollack explores the connections and relationships between Tarot and such wide-ranging subjects as mythology, mythography, folklore, Kabbalah, divination, quantum physics, time travel, and more.A Walk through the Forest of Souls is a dazzling journey through the mysteries of Tarot—suitable for Tarot masters, but accessible to newcomers, too.
This book was previously published in 2002 under the title Forest of Souls: A Walk through the Tarot. This new edition has been extensively revised and updated by the author.
About the Author
Rachel Pollack (1945-2023) was the leading light and foremost influence on modern Tarot. Her bestselling book, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, first published in 1980 and never out of print, is widely described as the “Bible of Tarot.” She was also a great influence upon the science fiction, fantasy, and comics communities, as well as being a trailblazer within the transgender community. A master of many genres, Pollack is renowned for her run of issues #64-87 of Doom Patrol (Vertigo Comics), where she created the first transgender superhero. A prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction, her other books include A Walk through the Forest of Souls, Unquenchable Fire, Godmother Night, and The Fissure King. She was the creator of The Shining Tribe Tarot and wrote the books for numerous other decks, including The Vertigo Tarot and Salvador Dali's Tarot. Pollack taught at the famed Omega Institute for over thirty years.
“This is one of my favourite books on Tarot. Rachel Pollack leads us into the deep truth of the mythic forest where Kabbalah and Tarot hold the patterns still. When we stand before these living powers, our soul’s questions find profound answers for life’s rich mysteries.” —Caitlín Matthews, author of Untold Tarot and The Celtic Book of the Dead
“Only Rachel Pollack could have written this. Her wit and wisdom, heart and soul, and above all, her vast knowledge are all in this extraordinary book. Here are thoughts about the origins of Tarot, the best ways to read the cards—and how not to, and some immensely exciting readings concerning huge subjects far and away from the personal issues we tend to bring to the cards. No one with even the smallest interest in Tarot should be without it.” —John Matthews, cocreator of The Wildwood Tarot and author of The Cathar Tarot
“Rachel Pollack’s scholarship is both deep and broad. Yet more impressive is her original thought, as well as her fearlessness in following the breadcrumbs through the winding woods of our souls. A Walk through the Forest of Souls is the most interesting and transformative Tarot book I’ve ever read.” —Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, creator of Dark Goddess Tarot, Greek Goddess Tarot, and Tarot of the Crone
“Perhaps Rachel Pollack’s best work yet, A Walk through the Forest of Souls will be heralded as a landmark moment in the philosophical explorations of the Tarot. This book inspires your personal journey to answer life’s biggest and hardest questions. Each chapter’s thought-explorations will expand your mind. Integrating Kabbalist thought, myth, and folklore, A Walk through the Forest of Souls is meditation, nourishment, and written for the reader who is ready to receive truths about human existence. A must-read for both the inquisitive newcomer and the seasoned practitioner.” —Benebell Wen, author of Holistic Tarot
“A Walk through the Forest of Souls: A Tarot Journey to Spiritual Awakening is a love letter to all who feel drawn to the mystery of tarot. Pollack’s mastery of her craft is evident in the way she seamlessly weaves together art, history, religion, science, psychology, and magic to create a tapestry that prompts readers to question their assumptions about themselves, tarot, the nature of God, and time itself. Pollack’s guidance and curiosity-prompting questions make this book a must-read for anyone looking to deepen their understanding and appreciation of tarot. Whether you’re a seasoned tarot reader or just getting started, this book is sure to provide a rich and rewarding tarot awakening.” —Jenna Matlin, author of Will You Give Me a Reading?
“A Walk through the Forest of Souls: A Tarot Journey to Spiritual Awakening will pull you in from the start, turn you around, challenge your assumptions, and have you looking at the cards with new eyes. It’s one of those books you’ll want to read again and again because each time you do, you’ll walk away with another Tarot epiphany. A must-have for every serious Tarot reader.” —Theresa Reed, author of Tarot: No Questions Asked—Mastering the Art of Intuitive Reading
“This is a must-have book for any serious (and seriously playful) student of tarot. While there are lots of great books that teach tarot card meanings—and Rachel Pollack has written some of the best of them—Pollack’s A Walk through the Forest of Souls: A Tarot Journey to Spiritual Awakening will take you deep into the meaning of tarot itself. And while the book draws on the wisdom of many spiritual traditions, it is Pollack’s ability to make seemingly complex Kabbalistic concepts simple and relatable that will enable the reader to connect with the deepest wisdom of their soul, the tarot, and the universe itself.” —Mark Horn, author of Tarot and the Gates of Light: A Kabbalistic Path to Liberation
Rachel Pollack’s A Walk through the Forest of Souls will be essential reading for anyone interested in the spiritual dimensions of Tarot. Pollack brings to the subject her extraordinary depth of knowledge and a lifetime of experience, not only of Tarot, but also of magic and the occult, mythologies, archaeology, spiritualities and religions and their histories. . . . This is a book that will stand alongside Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom as a Tarot classic.” —Levannah Morgan,author of A Sea Witch’s Companion and A Witch’s Mirror
“Although I am a Tarot author myself, I find that I don’t read most Tarot books. Rachel Pollack’s A Walk through the Forest of Souls is an exception. Her approach to the Tarot is refreshing and unique. She merges mythology and philosophy with Tarot imagery in a way that is empowering.” —Robert M. Place,creator of The Alchemical Tarot and author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination
“In A Walk through the Forest of Souls, readers experience Rachel Pollack’s skillful interweaving of diverse wisdom, established teachings, and her application of Tarot. This highly readable book is brilliant in its perspective and aims to enable any student of Tarot to deepen their relationship with the cards and find themselves on the Tarot journey.” —Gina G. Thies, creator of Tarot of the Moors and author of Tarot Coupling; Resources and Resolutions for Relationship Readings
“A Walk through the Forest of Souls may be Rachel Pollack’s best book yet—full of fascinating insights and valuable knowledge, presented with clarity, humor, and stunning new directions to guide us through our journey. Every aspect of this book yields rich treasure. Rachel is generous and engaging; sharing the discoveries of her lifetime of study and practice in this ‘forest’ is a priceless, gorgeous gift to Tarot enthusiasts from eager beginners to well-seasoned travelers.” —Thalassa, founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium (SF BATS)
“A Walk through the Forest of Souls is a master work by one of the great thinkers of our time. I’ve taught Tarot with Rachel Pollack for over thirty years and deeply admire the wisdom and knowledge she brings to the cards. Of all her books, I love this one the most.” —Mary K. Greer,author of Archetypal Tarot and Tarot for Your Self
“The beauty of A Walk through the Forest of Souls is that it addresses the possibility of asking the impossible questions. No one can trump Rachel Pollack when she demonstrates just how we can have an infinite conversation with the cards. In her hands, the cards move from the intangible symbol to the concrete manifestation of a solution that is always anchored in astonishment. We go, ‘aha’, and that’s where the magic is.” —Camelia Elias, PhD,director of studies at Aradia Academy and editor-in-chief at EyeCorner Press
“A Walk through the Forest of Souls by Rachel Pollack takes us, as Tarot readers, whether new or decades experienced, well past the boundaries of what we think the Tarot is and provides us with keys in the form of poems, tales, and myths that unlock the doorways to the universal mysteries held within each one of us and captured in the images of the seventy-eight cards. Rachel hands us our own painter’s palate and invites us to draw deep from within, create our own colors, and paint the story of the universe anew each time we shuffle and draw the cards. This is a book of discovery. Be open to the unexpected when you cross the threshold and turn to page one.” —Rhonda Alin,founder of the Northern New Jersey Tarot Meetup
“Rachel Pollack’s A Walk through the Forest of Souls: A Tarot Journey to Spiritual Awakening is a must-read for tarot enthusiasts of all levels. Pollack’s expertise in Tarot has made her an authority on the subject for decades, and this book clearly showcases why. A comprehensive guide, Pollack’s beautiful book contains unparalleled wisdom and observations of the potency of the Tarot in our spiritual lives, utilizing the cards as tools of mysticism to gain access to profound insight and reflection into the deeper secrets of the soul, life, and the universe.” —Mat Auryn,author of Psychic Witch and Mastering Magick
“For forty years, Rachel Pollack has been one of the finest writers and thinkers about Tarot, and A Walk through the Forest of Souls feels like a distillation of everything she has been trying to get us to see. A must for people who want the Tarot in their lives or just for people like me who want it in our stories.” —Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods, Sandman, and numerous other works