The ten Ox Herding pictures come from China around 1100 AD. They are numbered and believed to be sequential. They are part of the Buddhist/Taoist tradition. Little more is certain.
In the light of Lao Tzu’s condemnation of literary truth it is impossible for them to be set of instructions. In the light of Hui-neng’s denial of the existence of mind it is equaly ill-advised to view them as the record of a psychological journey. All that can be said with certainty is that any attempt at self-improvement is roundly condemned by the most astounding intellects of the Zen tradition. Possibly this is a good moment to give up Zen.
But, if you are determined to persist and have abandoned any notion of spiritual gain or loss then being familiarity with these ten images may provide you with innocent pleasure.