What is a Tarot Journal?
Tarot Journals are an organized place to learn tarot, record, and journal your journey as you develop a relationship with your tarot deck. Keeping a tarot journal is a wonderfully rewarding and reflective tool to have in your life when times are tough mentally and emotionally. The tarot cards also teach us lessons on how to get through these hard moments in our lives.
A Tarot Journal is a special journal custom designed for you, by you! The best part about journaling is how customizable the practice is. If something isn’t working, no worries! There is an endless amount of blank pages just a page turn away for you to start again.
Tarot Journals are also a really great way to celebrate our lives and the milestones that we have achieved. Tarot cards tend to jog our minds and remind us to think back on those happy moments and to not forget about them. This is our chance to recall those memories and celebrate them if we didn’t get a chance to when they originally happened.
Table Of Contents:
Why You Should Start a Tarot Journal
We all have something that nags at us that we want answers to. A tarot journal will help you tap into your subconscious and get some much needed answers. They can give us a new perspective on how we might approach the situation in our life.
Like close friends, tarot cards at times can be a disruptive and frustrating force in our lives that challenge us to think about things that we just don’t want to. Tarot cards can also be just like a close friend that encourages us to challenge our views to find peace and perspective.
Sometimes we don’t like to think about the struggles that we’re going through and the things that are making us angry, and frustrated. We just try to ignore them and completely step away from it.
Tarot journaling is a really great tool to reveal feelings, emotions, and memories that we pushed to the backburner to bring more light to them.
How To Create Your Own Tarot Journal
It’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed when starting a daily tarot journal. There are countless examples out there of tarot journal templates, tarot journal ideas, prompts, layouts, tarot journal symbols, and even digital tarot journals. But there is a way forward.
This is one of my favorite daily practices in my bullet journal. Ever the artist and seeker, I like to take this practice further and indulge my creative side by recreating the tarot card in my journal. You can see what my bullet journal looks like here at the end of the month once I’ve filled in the cards for the day and wrote down any meanings.
As a medicinal plant herbalist and forager (I must have been a botanist in another life) I love sketching, drawing, and painting botanical flowers in my bullet journal which you can see above.
An art based tarot journal is a wonderful way to get a deeper more intimate view of your tarot cards because you are physically recreating the tarot card in your journal. Don’t worry if your lines are wobbly, or if your characters look wonky. This practice is just for you, no one else.
As you continue with your daily tarot journal practice your artistry and skills will strengthen as you learn the archetypes and symbolism each card embodies.
Recreating tarot cards in your daily tarot journal is a gateway that leads you far beyond conscious thought that goes deep into your psyche where your Shadow Self resides.
Tarot Tools For Journaling
Starting a tarot journal is extremely easy. All you need is a pen or pencil, any kind of notebook, and a tarot deck. That’s it. I encourage you to go further and make daily tarot journal entries a mindful practice by intentionally selecting your supplies. You’ll need:
???? Notebook for Tarot Journaling
A notebook or journal that you love looking at and that you love holding in your hands, AND more importantly is aesthetically pleasing to you (not someone else). You can even use an old notebook that you have lying around waiting for some love.
????️ Something To Write With
A pen or pencil. Here are some of my favorite journaling supplies.
???? Tarot Deck
This month I’m using The Wild Unknown Spirit Animal Deck
I use a lot of different tarot decks.You can find my favorite tarot decks and oracle decks here. I highly recommend using a physical tarot deck instead of a tarot app. There is something special about the snap of the cards and tactile qualities of feeling a tarot deck in your hands as you shuffle. Read why the Physical Tactile Qualities of Tarot Cards are important here.
???? Tarot Guidebook
Guidebooks are also extremely important for beginner tarot practitioners. I also have The Wild Unknown Guidebook that goes with the tarot deck I just mentioned. See more on guide books below.
You might have heard that you’re not supposed to buy your own deck, well let me dispel that rumor here and now. I promise you won’t be cursed if you buy your own tarot deck. I go into detail on buying a tarot deck on purpose with intention, what you need to think about when choosing a tarot deck, and How To Find a Tarot Deck That Speaks to You.
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How To Build A Habit Of Daily Tarot Draws
I find starting each day with a bit of creativity and reflection improves my mindfulness and builds my resilience in the face of the day’s stress. Building the habit of daily tarot draws can be a bit hard at first, but is extremely rewarding. I’m sure that you will find with the first shuffle that you can’t wait to draw the next day’s card to reveal the messages that it carries for you.
Like any new habit, especially a daily one, you’ll probably miss a day. Let me tell you right now, it’s ok. Don’t give up. Commit to journaling tomorrow. But there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of picking up the new habit:
1) Do it first thing in the morning.
If you do it first thing, nothing can get in the way, making it more likely you’ll get it done.
2) Prepare your journaling area the night before.
There’s nothing worse than getting ready to start a task and finding everything is in the way. This seems to happen to me when I want to cook, the entire kitchen is a mess and I end up ordering out. You can short-circuit this by preparing your journaling area and tool the night before. I like to keep my supplies in a little basket next to my chair or right on the table so I see it first thing in the morning.
3) Keep your journaling short…at first.
A new habit takes time and it’s easier to get started when we feel the task is easy to get done. A quick 5-10min sketch of your tarot draw is easy. Start there and add the journaling reflection in week 2 or 3 as you get more comfortable with the habit.
How To Get Back On Track When You Miss A Day In Your Journal
You might be wondering “What should I do if I missed a day in my tarot journal?” There are months that I have missed multiple days in my tarot journal. In the past I used to feel really guilty about missing a daily draw. So much so that I felt like I should just give up. But you can’t.
You can’t give up.
Remember you started this tarot practice for you and no one else. We all need to practice showing up for ourselves and the dreams, goals and intentions we’ve set for ourselves, even if it’s as simple as drawing one tarot card every day.
When I miss a day in my tarot journal, I used to leave the box blank where the card would have been recreated in my journal. But seeing all of those empty boxes made me feel sad, and like a failure on the really hard mental health days.
Now if I miss a day in my tarot journal, I recreate the back of the tarot card the next time I’m in my journal. This has transformed my relationship with my tarot journal. These missed days now look like unknown messages that await me in the future. It’s so much more uplifting to look at a missed day in my tarot journal and see a tarot card back and wonder what messages it holds for me, instead of feeling guilt for missing a day and not having a “perfect bullet journal.”
You might be wondering “bullet journal?” My tarot journal is part of my monthly bullet journal set up! If you want tarot bullet journal spread ideas check out my instagram @owlsandindigo here.
Tarot & Psychology
Practicing Tarot all boils down to supporting you as you build new neural pathways that help get you out of your usual thought patterns and look at your life through a different lens. You will learn to discover different areas of your life that might not be top of mind or at the forefront of your conscious thoughts. Practicing Tarot Card Reading forces us to do some deep intention shadow work as we journal by sparking the internal dialogue with our inner most true self, spirit, inner child, and soul.
Tarot As a Daily Writing Prompt
One of the things that I love about buying a tarot deck is the idea of a new card pulled during a daily draw that I haven’t seen before. Honestly, I have to keep myself from buying a new deck every quarter. The daily tarot draw is the simplest tarot practice and tarot card reading that you can perform. Drawing a single card each day is a beloved practice by many many tarot card readers.
You can do this one of two ways: A Morning Tarot Spread or An End Of Day Tarot Spread.
Every morning draw a tarot card to help guide your intention for the day. Or every evening draw a tarot card to help you reflect on the day.
Both are really great learning practices. However, the daily evening tarot draw is a bit more mysteriously & deliciously indulgent because the themes we reflect on can influence our dreams and help our subconscious process the day, similar to a bedtime tarot practice and a tarot spreads for sleep.
How To Read Tarot Cards
Everyone has their own process for reading tarot cards and you will develop your own as you get to know your deck and get a feel for the cards in your hands. Below you will find how I read tarot cards, you will need a tarot deck that resonates with you, a notebook, and pen or pencil.
1. Choose A Morning Tarot Spread & End Of Day Tarot Spread.
2. Shuffle The Deck 3 Times, Or Whatever Feels Good.
3. Cut The Deck & Draw A Card.
4. Look At The Card Itself & Ponder Its Meaning.
Before you look at the card’s meaning in the guidebook or in the little pamphlet that comes with your deck, take time to look at the card itself. Now it’s time to get into the card reading and ask ourselves some questions. Look at the card imagery.
Are there any images, colors, or symbols within the artwork of the cards that jumps out at you?
What initial feelings, reactions, and emotions come up when you look at this card?
What do you think is the symbolic meaning behind this card?
What does this card mean to you?
How To Wrangle An Elusive Tarot Card Reading
If you don’t have any answers, that’s ok. Take a little bit more time to look at the card and really get deep into the imagery and just enjoy the beauty of the card itself. Note any symbols or meanings that pop up at you while you’re looking into this card a little deeper. You can also try writing in your tarot journal:
- Detailed description of the landscape, characters, symbols
- What you think the characters in the card might be saying to each other
- Major or Minor Arcana
- Tarot suit
- Related element (earth, water, fire, air, spirit)
- A keyword cloud
- The person this card reminds you of
- A memory that this card reminds you of
5. Open Your Journal To A Fresh Page
Sketch out a rough box the size of your tarot card and write down any of your initial feelings, thoughts, reactions, and symbolic meaning to the card. You can reference the four questions above while journaling.
6. Consult The Tarot Guide Book & Journal About It
Now it’s time to grab the guide book that comes with the tarot deck. You can use a bigger guidebook with in depth explanations of the tarot card meanings that you can purchase at any book store. You can also find tarot guide books for beginners, free tarot guide books online, tarot reader apps, and tarot guide book apps. A lot of tarot decks now have official guide books that go along with them. There may also be a mini guide book in with your tarot deck box.
Tarot Deck Guide Books
Your tarot deck may be tinnie tiny like the guide book that comes with the classic Rider Waite Tarot Deck, that is the same size as the deck. This guidebook fits right into the tarot deck box.
There are also decks that are not only tarot decks, but playing cards as well. The Gypsy Witch Playing Card Deck comes with the meanings of the cards printed right on the card itself.
I think that The Gypsy Witch Playing Card Deck is a really cool way to get to know the tarot and the different meanings of the tarot cards. It’s really fun to play a card game with them and learn the meanings as the cards come up. It’s also fun to do a daily tarot draw with this deck as well because the imagery is a little bit more familiar because of the playing card nature.
Your guidebook may be a physical book “book.” The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook has more in depth descriptions of the cards that go with this tarot deck. These cards harken back to the traditional meanings of tarot cards, major and minor arcana, and suits. They also go a little bit more in depth for the type of imagery that is used in this modern tarot deck.
Tarot & Self-Reflection
Check out the meaning of the card you drew. Write down any initial thoughts, reactions, feelings, and what the card means to you and how it applies to your life right now. If there are any questions that pop up while you are reading this description, write those down too.
Now take some time to reflect on your initial impression of the card combined with what is going on with your life right now, and the meaning of the card according to the guide book.
7. Recreate The Tarot Card In Your Journal
While you recreate the tarot card in your journal with pens, pencils, paint, watercolor, sketch out the card, and enjoy the process of getting a little bit closer to the card you drew today.
After you have recreated the tarot card in your journal you can stop there.
Choose to go further and answer any questions that came up in the guidebook or while you were reflecting. This is a good time to write down any specific things in your life that you are going through that are similar to the themes you are seeing in this tarot card.
A Record For Future Generations
You can keep your tarot journal private or pass it down in your family. These records are a beautiful family heirloom that give younger generations a peek into their family’s past. Writing down your tarot readings in a tarot journal in this way creates a tangible source of reference material for your life, the lessons you have learned, should learn, and can still learn.
Each tarot card is filled with nuance that you will come to understand as your daily tarot journal practice develops. This record also shows you how the archetypes of the cards manifest themselves in the real world. Each tarot deck carries with it the story of the shared human experience, universal truths, and archetypes that we can all relate to no matter what season we are in or where we are in life.
Tarot cards are a very interesting way to reveal the subconscious feelings that we are having that we didn’t know we had. Tarot cards can also help us relate to everyday situations, discover unexpected meanings, develop a keen eye for recurring patterns in our lives, and reflect on what is happening in our lives and how we should move forward.
The Tarot is a meditative tool that helps us to stop stumbling through life, and guides us through introspection to reflect on our current station in life, navigate the jumble of our minds, see where we are today in the present, and steer us back to what feeds our soul.
I also read recently that the tarot is a barometer to show you where you’re at in life and the potential you possess. The tarot is a simple beautiful tool to put our conscious minds in touch with our subconscious, to uncover answers we’re seeking, that are already buried deep within our hearts and minds. Tarot cards act as a best friend who gently nudges you to say “hey you might want to think about this. Stop ignoring it, and give it some thought because you’re important too.”