If you’ve studied tarot or read any tarot books at all, you’ve probably been introduced to the idea of keeping a tarot journal. If you haven’t taken this advice before, here are a few reminders or introductions as to why this is quite possibly one of your most important learning and continued learning tools in working with the tarot.
Actually, I have two, no make that three, tarot journals. They serve different purposes.
1) My first tarot journal is a notebook where I record my own personal readings that I do for myself. This book is absolutely invaluable for me, as it serves as the basis of my “concrete” or real-world knowledge of the tarot. By that, I mean that as I record every reading I do, as well as my initial impressions and interpretations of it, I am creating a record and archive that I can actively refer back to. That’s where the real learning takes place. When my life moves forward, and certain things occur, or certain energy patterns take shape, I’m often prompted subtly in the back of my mind to a prior reading. When I see something happening in my life I often think back to a reading and have some image spark my memory. You can go back to your readings and confirm how the tarot was showing you direction or energies that were coming into your life, and how your reactions or working with those energies have played out in “real life.” This is also great for a beginner, because this will start to build your confidence in reading the cards, and help to reinforce the idea that it isn’t YOU who has to DO something specific for the tarot to work, but rather it is your willingness to pose questions and remain open to the answers, that will be the teacher.
2) My second tarot journal is a notebook that I use for my clients’ readings. Maybe this is a bit old-fashioned, but I still like to write down a client’s question and the spread I’m using on a sheet of paper before I perform the reading. For me, this physical representation on paper prior to performing the reading is a way to get very clear about what we’re consulting the tarot about, and also cements in my mind what we will be interpreting once the cards are put into place. At the same time, having a sheet for every reading I do also provides me with a space to jot notes or quick impressions. Many of my readings are done via email, so this is a way that I can physically connect with the reading before typing it up online and sending it via email to the client. And, as above, it can serve as an archive for your interpretations and thoughts, which can always be useful moving forward, especially if you want to refer back to a particular reading or spread, without going back to the full interpretation that you may have sent to the client online.
3) My third tarot journal is the one I’m specifically focusing on in this post, and while I don’t think it is any more or less important than the other journals I keep, I do feel that it has a very special place in a tarot reader’s library.
This journal is a free-form collection of thoughts, pictures, impressions, experiences, and basically a sort of random tarot scrapbook. My journal is a collection of loose-leaf printer pages that I’ve hole-punched to put into a binder where I keep them. I like this format because it allows me to grow and expand the journal infinitely, as well as rearrange the order of the pages if I want to.
Basically the only rule is that each card is represented in the journal; that you have a space to record thoughts, ideas, impressions, pictures, and basically anything that you feel applies to a particular card.
You don’t necessarily have to create a space for each card all at once. The way I built mine up was by adding a page for each card once I had something to say or to add about that particular card. Perhaps it was a reading that struck you with a new way to interpret that card, so you add the page.
For example, this past week The Hierophant card was particularly significant for me in a variety of ways and in a few different readings. So I started to notice that it was speaking to me and trying to teach me something. Those are times when you can add pages and build your journal. For example, just today I was reading an article in Time magazine about the pope’s resignation, and when I saw the full-page image of the pope’s back contrasting sharply against a black background, it was screaming “hierophant” and I had to cut it out and put it in my journal.
Tarot journaling not only builds up a living archive of your own personalized journey with the tarot, but just by keeping a journal specifically for your tarot practice, you’re deepening your relationship with the tarot, and building up energy around your knowledge of the tarot, while also cultivating your intuition. Seeing concrete results of how your intuition “panned out” is gratifying and helps you trust your intuition more and more. You can turn to your journals in moments when you feel stuck in terms of interpretation and also just to get creative inspiration. I really have found tarot journaling to be an essential part of my journey as a tarot reader.
Do you keep a tarot journal or journals? If so, how do you use them? How have they been helpful for you? Share in the comments section!