Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Fool's Journey - Kristina Jackson

When I first picked up this book, I was kind of excited about it.  The title, after all, refers to the first card of the Major Arcana of a Tarot deck.  The Fool, which is usually numbered Key 0, is depicted (in Rider-Waite-style decks, anyway) as a youth who's starting off on a long journey.  He is happily striding forth, a pack slung over his shoulder and a small dog bounding by his side. And his next step will take him right off the edge of a cliff.

The Major Arcana are sometimes used as foci for guided meditation.  You can also use them in sequence, in a series of meditation sessions -- a process known as "The Fool's Journey."  So I knew I was stepping into Pagan territory.

The plot can be viewed as a Fool's Journey of sorts.  The main character is Moira, a woman determined to get out of the secretarial pool by any means necessary, including what might be termed consensual sex, but only just.  Several months into this new and better job, Moira looks out her office window and witnesses her boss beating up another former secretary -- and this one, she learns, is pregnant with the boss's child.  The beating is so severe that the woman dies.  At the same time, Moira's boss offers her a seat on the firm's board of directors, but only if she submits to more of the same violation.

While sorting out her feelings about all this, she stumbles across a psychic fair, where she has a Tarot card reading done.  It's spookily accurate, of course, and before you know it, she is following the cards' advice.  She dumps her horrible corporate job, moves to a haunted cottage in Wales, and learns how to use magic.

While I applaud many of the novel's messages -- for one thing, nobody should ever stand for the sort of treatment Moira's boss dishes out -- it all just seemed too easy.  Once Moira gets to Wales, nothing serious ever complicates her life again.  Does the hot guy next door like her? Of course he does!  But will her be okay with her being a witch?  No problem!  Need a new home? Here's the perfect place, and with Pagan neighbors, to boot!

Neither psychic journeys nor real life are ever that easy.  More tension in the plot, and a setback or two for Moira -- maybe even the edge of a Welsh cliff -- would have made this book a lot more interesting.

One more note:  The cover shows Kristina Jackson as the author, and that's how Amazon has the book listed, but the title page gives the author's name as "Kay Darling."

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