Anyone who has ever studied with me or read my books knows that I believe all tarot students should keep a tarot journal. I have some students who show me their journals with pride; journals that detail their class notes, tarot spreads, random tarot musings and dated readings they have performed.
The students who keep fastidious journals often become the best readers. It doesn't matter if the journal is a composition book, a three-ring binder, a fancy leather-bound journal or a computer file. What matters is that the tarot student is diligent about using the journal and recording their tarot journey.
Many students ask why they should keep a tarot journal. With Google available on every phone, laptop and tablet, why should they keep a book full of tarot information? Everything they could want to know is already available on the World Wide Web, right?
Yes, there is a great deal of valuable tarot information available on-line. But studying that information does not replace keeping a tarot journal. When the student records the information he or she finds most interesting and spends time reflecting and musing on that information the student is no longer a parrot of teachers and authors. It is at that point that a student begins developing his or her own style and his or her own relationship with the cards.
The tarot journal is an invaluable and irreplaceable resource to the tarot student. It becomes the tarot students' most helpful tarot book.
What exactly should you do with your tarot journal? Here are some ideas.
- Keep Lists of Keywords
Keywords, you say? Aren't keywords passé in tarot study? Doesn't keyword memorization impede intuition, where the true psychic stuff happens? In a word, no.
If you keep a list of all the keywords you discover for each card (and each reversed card) you will memorize them easily. You won't use all of the keywords for you immediate go-to in a reading, but you will be surprised how often an obscure keyword can give you some startlingly specific information. And, as far as memorization impeding intuition - actually, the exact opposite is true. When you know your cards cold you have absolutely no anxiety in a reading, and so the intuition more easily takes over. Anxiety is an enemy of intuition, memorization is not.
- Keep Notes from Classes and Research
When you record the information that really resonates you will create concise documentation of what matters to you about tarot. You will remember the lessons you take and the research you do more easily if you write it in your journal.
- Record Your Personal Tarot Musings
How do you feel about a particular card? How would you compare and contrast the same card from multiple decks? How would you compare and contrast two different cards? What is your favorite card? How would you illustrate a particular card?
All of these are great topics to write about in your tarot journal. The more you write about how you feel about the cards, the more personally you will connect with the cards.
- Draw a COTD (Card of the Day)
Pull one card every day and record it in your tarot journal. Write about it when you receive it; what it means to you, how you interpret it and what you think it portends for your day. Return to your journal later to record how the card manifested during the day. If you do this two things will happen. First, you will develop a better understanding of each card as you write about it. Second, you will get a sense of how the cards work predictively for you because you will be and recording what actually happened during the day and how that was reflected in the card you pulled.
- Record your Readings
Keep a record of the readings you do for yourself and the readings you do for others. This will help you to learn to use tarot spreads. You will become adept at self-reading and understanding how the cards speak directly to you. If you have people you read for multiple times it will help to see what cards came up in the past and how you interpreted those cards at the time. By comparing readings over a period of time you can really see growth and progress in your client. At the same time, you will see how you are growing as a reader.
By keeping a record of the different ways a single card can come up for different people you will discover the many ways one card can speak and the many possible interpretations for each card.
There are very few rights and wrongs when it comes to your tarot journal. The more faithful and creative you are with your journal the easier it will be to learn tarot, to develop a personal relationship with the cards and to become a great reader.
The importance of being a tarot writer as well as a tarot reader can't be underestimated. When you write about the cards you truly learn the cards. More importantly, you develop a true personal relationship with the cards.
The benefits of keeping a tarot journal are not just intellectual. The act of writing is also literally quite magickal. As you write in your journal you are creating the intention, and the reality, of becoming a wise tarot master.