I don’t always write in a traditional diary, but I do always write down my tarot readings. You’ll see from other posts on this blog that I record my weekly, daily, and special occasion spreads. While this blog will serve as a tarot journal, I keep it in other forms and have for a long time. Over the years, I’ve developed a set of best practices that I want to share.
1. Record which deck you are using. Some decks are just juicier at certain times of year, and you’ll notice that you have more exclamation points in a journal if you use, say The Halloween Tarot at the end of October than in June.
2. Alternatively, you can plan in advance to use a deck at a specific time and make a note in your diary as a reminder. I love to use the Gaian Tarot in the summer, and have for Summer Solstice readings for a few years. I love saving special things for a special time of year – there are certain albums I only listen to in the quiet of the days after the winter holidays, and particular dishes I only eat in summer when the tomatoes are perfect. It’s the same with me and decks.
3. You will also want to record the spread you are using. You can note it as PPF for past, Present, Future or you can draw the locations. Just record it, because you probably won’t remember a year from now. If it’s a spread someone else designed, note it too so you know where you found it if you want to repeat it. I am a bonus-card person, too, and often draw a 7th card in a 6 card spread. I like to record where the bonus card happened. Where did I draw it? What card was it near? You never know what is important in hindsight.
4. Which brings me to the best advice I never got: go back and record what really happened. Of course you are going to record the spread, and perhaps some initial impressions, but you’ll never get better at this if you don’t double check your work. Did you assume that that Queen of Swords meant your mother-in-law would be unpleasant at dinner, but it turned out that the key woman of the day was the snarky librarian? Well, that might help you expand your definition of the Queen of Swords. It’s worth noting.
5. Another way to double-check your readings is to repeat spreads. I love a weekly 7 cards, but I do two big 12-card readings a year. On my birthday I draw 12 cards in a horoscope spread. On the anniversary of a terrible day (which is almost exactly 6 months later, so it’s my un-birthday) I do another 12-card spread. Every single time I see some of the same cards in the same ‘house’ or month. Often, I also see cards that are in almost exactly the same position, just off by a month or so. These are usually the trumps, the big stuff, and it’s fascinating to see how choices I’ve made have changed things. One year in particular I knew the Tower was in the cards, and then I knew it was coming faster than expected. It helped. And, when it finally showed up it in my life it was different than expected, which helped me expand my impression of the card.
6. If you want to get really obsessive about it, try a year-end tally. This is one of my favorite uses for a journal. At the end of the year, take a moment to tally up all the cards you drew and use that as your ‘reading’ for the year’s end. First this helps you to see that, yes, you really do keep drawing that darn 5 of Coins but also to see that the reading for the year has the 5 of Coins and The Star most often. Isn’t that a nicer message than just thinking that the year was all about that 5 of Coins? Often, the cards you draw most often are the perfect summation of the year.
7. When you have a year’s worth of readings in your journal, you can also go back and look at timing. Did you draw a lot of 6s in January, only to find that 6 months later you were drawing lots of 10s or 1s? That helps you to see that paying attention to numbers might help you draw conclusions about timing.
As you can tell, I’m interested in the data. I know that tarot reading is highly intuitive and almost ephemeral in nature, but I also think that it’s interesting to quantify things. It proves that there is something there, something real about this, to even my most skeptical side.
Oh, and do I have any thoughts about which journal to use? Yes. I recommend a We’Moon planner. I’ve kept lots, but for the past four or five years I’ve bought a We’Moon day planner and used many colors of Sharpies to fill out my readings, double-checks, etc… It has a space for each day, blank pages in the back for longer spreads, all the astrological info you could want and (best part ever!) they pick a tarot card for the theme each year, so a lot of the pictures inside are about that Trump. In 2015 the theme was Wild Card and it’s absolutely challenged my assumptions about The Devil card. What more can you ask for? Get journaling!