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Keeping a tarot journal allows you to put into words your innermost thoughts without fear of criticism. A journal is your personal property and can be kept confidential, much like a diary. Many beautiful blank books are available, but you need not spend a lot of money on your journal. A three-ring notebook is adequate, and you can add entries on loose-leaf paper. Perhaps you’ll want to decorate the outside of your notebook. Creativity unlocks intuition—make the journal a unique expression of you. The benefit of keeping a tarot journal comes from the process of writing your thoughts, feelings, insights, and observances. You can be sad, silly, angry, profane, or anything else you to be without fear of reprisal. The journal becomes the chronicle of your life story. Whether you share it with anyone is up to you. As your reread entries, you will find the journal to be a record of growth, wisdom, healing—and magic. If you notice some of the cards repeating themselves in your seasonal layouts, there is a message calling for your attention. A theme in your life, represented by repetitive cards, needs examination. Sometimes the cards’ messages are not immediately clear. By keeping a tarot journal, you can review confusing readings next week, next month, or next year. You may be surprised at how much sense the cards make at a later date. Honor all information you receive, regardless of whether you grasp it today. Adopt an attitude of respectful regard and do not dismiss cards you like or don’t understand. The message is in the cards—if you stay with the cards. Over time, with patience and practice, the puzzle pieces will fall into place. Journal entries can be jotted down at odd moments, but you may want to establish a regular time for writing about your tarot experiences through the seasons. Once the value of journal keeping has been established, you will find it becomes a trusted friend—a valuable ritual during which you record your feelings, trauma, pain, joy, triumphs, and insights. Record and date every seasonal tarot layout and keep it in your journal. With each reading, you are one step further in your journey towards wisdom. Keeping a record over time allows you to monitor your inner development and observe the miracle of the Wheel of the Year—and your ability to change with it. Three Journal-Keeping Tips 1. Pick a journal that you love but that you’re not afraid to write in (if it’s too fancy, you might worry about “making mistakes.”). 2. Always date your entries. 3. Review your readings every few months to note how events unfolded. Start a Tarot Dictionary in your journal
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A good way to start your tarot dictionary is to write the card name, key words, and then your impression of the card. (Later on in this booklet there are question suggestions for you to answer about each card). You can always come back and add to each page and see the meanings change and evolve with time. You could even jot down thoughts that other readers may have on certain cards that you find interesting. The main point of this journal is not for constant reference, but with most people after writing something it becomes easier to remember and causes the mind to think more on the matter. Years from now, when you pull this journal out to take a look, you may be surprised to find that a card evolved to a point that you first thought is nowhere near you current thought of its meaning. How to Use Your Journal There are so many ways use to a journal in conjunction with tarot cards that you could write a book about it. Someone did, actually. If you enjoy journaling and want more ideas, do check out Corrine Kenner’s Tarot Journaling. Record Your Readings If you do nothing else with your journal, keep a record of your readings. Note the date, the spread, the deck used, and the question. Write out the interpretation, observations that stood out as particularly important, and things about the reading that confused you. If you have the means and the desire, take a photo of your reading and include it. Every once in a while, go back and review your readings. Use a different color pen and write observations about the reading, your accuracy, how you would interpret it now in hindsight, and what you’ve learned or realized since then, making sure to include the date of your notes. This is a wonderful way to learn and remember lessons about not only the cards but about your life. Card A Day Pulling a card a day is a very popular practice among beginners and long-time students of tarot. For the beginner, it is a great way to slowly become familiar with the cards. Either pick the cards in order or randomly. Each day note the card selected, write out the core meaning, and include your thoughts and observations about additional meanings or messages in the card. In addition to using the Card A Day for learning the cards, you can randomly draw a card each morning as a mini-reading for the day. You can ask a specific question each time or just let the card provide good advice for the day. In the evening, record how the mini-reading played out in your day. When randomly pulling a card a day, it is interesting to watch for patterns or themes, such as the same card over and over, cards of the same suit, many court cards, etc.
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Free writing Using the tarot in free writing can work in two ways. First, you can select a card that you want to write about. As with the Card A Day technique, you can go through the cards in order or you can pick one at random. Or you can pick a card that has been on your mind or has been coming up in readings a lot, one that you have trouble understanding or that bothers you, or one that inspires you. After you pick your card, set a timer. If you are new to free writing, start with three minutes. Start the timer, then start writing. Don’t think about grammar or spelling. Just look at the card and write whatever comes into your mind. If nothing comes to mind, start by writing that, or try describing the card in detail. After your free writing session, read what you have written, noticing anything that adds to your understanding of the card or peaks your interest. Another way to use free writing with your tarot cards is when you have a question or situation that is troubling you. Think about the situation and pull a card, as if you were going to do a reading. Instead of doing a regular reading, look at the card image while thinking about your question. Ask the character or characters in the card what their advice would be and just start writing. This technique usually provides two benefits: learning some interesting advice about a problem and gaining some insight about a card. This technique is particularly entertaining if you use Court cards. Ask several of the Court cards for advice on the same situation and see what varied responses you’ll get. Learning the Tarot Cards One by One There are a number of aspects you can write upon when looking at the cards. Here are just a few:
Your first impression of the card – how you feel when you see it, which images stand out to you. A detailed description of the characters, symbols, and landscape. Perhaps there are a number of aspects of the card that you missed in your first glance. How do these change your view of the card? Specific details of the card such as corresponding astrological sign, Major or Minor Arcana, suit, numerological significance, and related element. A collection of interpretations and keywords from books and websites with tarot card meanings. An experience or a person you know who reminds you of the card you are studying.
To get started, study the specific Tarot card for a few minutes, then consider:
What ‘story’ is being told? What is happening in the card?
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Is there a person in the card? What does their expression tell you? What dire on are they facing? What are they doing? What symbols are used in the card, and what do these symbols mean? What colors are used in the card, and what do these colors signify? What are the astrological associations with the card (if astrology is your area of expertise)?
Learning the tarot cards is easier than you might think. Don't be intimidated! Here are some helpful questions that can help you in this process.
What are the colors? What do these mean to you? What symbolism sticks out to you? What do these mean to you? What does the landscape reveal? Is there any vegetation? What does this mean to you? What is the “feel” of this card? Are there any animals? If this card had words, what would it say to you? If you could imagine yourself in the picture, where would you be going? What would you be doing? What would you be feeling?
What are the general themes of the Suit / Arcana? What keywords would you associate with the Suit / Arcana? What are the positive and negative aspects? What are the common symbols, images, colors, figures, etc. in the Suit / Arcana? What is the significance in a reading? What else comes to mind?
The Cards from Different Perspectives Career, Work and Finances:
What does the card mean if you are searching for work? What does it tell you about your current work situation? What career paths may be associated with the card? What does the card tell you about your financial situation?
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Imagine you ‘are’ the card. What does it feel like to be this card? Write a 1-2 paragraph ‘bio’ of the card, or even write a letter to the character in the card What would it be like to meet this person/card? What are the positive and negative qualities?
Relationships and Love:
What does the card mean if you are searching for love? In a relationship? Trying to fix a relationship? What does the card tell you about other types of relationships in your life (e.g. friends, family, colleagues, etc.)
What is the deeper spiritual message or lesson of the card? What does this card tell you about your own spiritual journey?
Wellbeing and Health:
What does the card tell you about your general health and well-being? What might be some specific health issues associated with the card? (Remember, though, that you are most likely not a health professional, so always ensure that you do not give specific health advice, unless qualified)
Reversed Cards Reversed cards can be interpreted in many different ways and this is what makes their usage in a reading even more interesting. It moves the reading into a multidimensional space where there is light and shade, simplicities and complexities, highs and lows. It allows you, as the reader, to offer your client a balanced perspective that is targeted towards their specific situation, which will in turn help them to make the right decisions about their path forward. To get started ... The key components to consider for when interpreting a reversed cards are: Traditional reversed Tarot card meanings from your Little White Book (LWB)
The opposite of the upright card An increase or decrease in the energy of the card
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A need to return to the lesson of the previous card Blocked or repressed energy Delays Unconscious awareness “No” as an answer to your question
Draw upon these various perspectives to form your own personal reversed Tarot card meanings.
Tarot Exercise: Your Tarot Initials Shuffle your deck, asking for cards that will describe you. Then, starting with the top of the deck, count cards until you get to your first initial (mine was K, so it was the 11th card). Remove that card. Then continue counting further into the deck until you get to your middle initial (if you have one), removing that card. Then do the same for the initial of your last name, removing that card. Turn over the cards, and they will share facets of yourself. Are they cards that you expected? Or do they surprise you? If you turn over a card that makes you think, “That is SO not me”, think again. Dig a little deeper. What can you find within yourself that houses the essence of this card? You should be able to find something. ...Still can't find anything? Grasping at straws? Then look for something, anything, anywhere in the card, that rings true for you. Maybe there's a frog in the background, and you love frogs. Note: My initials conveniently fall in alphabetical order, and I don't have a middle name. Should your middle or last name appear in the alphabet earlier than your first name, still do your first name first. Then start again, with the next card in the deck, back at A until you get to your next initial. For example, if your name is Mandy Dandy, you would count from the top until you got to M (the 13th card), then continue with the next card, back at A, until you got to D (the 4th card down). -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Many tarot enthusiasts begin by studying the cards, reading all they can about them. Learning about all the fascinating nuances and correspondences creates a firm foundation for understanding the cards. However, once in the midst of an actual reading, you realize that all that theory is only the beginning. After learning about the core identity of the card, you then have to learn how to interpret it in the context of the reading. Here are some tips to practice reading a card in context: 1. Location, location, location!
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The positional meaning shapes the interpretation of the card. Select a card from your deck (either randomly or pick one that you are particularly interested in working with). Select your favorite spread. Interpret your card in each position. 2. More questions To further explore how the position or the question asked shapes the card meaning, pull a card and read it as the answer for the following questions:
what is my greatest strength? what is my biggest weakness? what is my current challenge? what will help me? what do I love? what do I fear? what do I need to release?
3. The Question The question asked will also affect how a card is interpreted. Try this experiment. Select a card. Interpret it as if it fell in the “advice” position for a reading about the following questions:
Will I get a job soon? Will I find love? How can I find my highest spiritual path? How can I improve my relationship with my boss? What can I do about my marriage…something seems off?
4. The querent (a.k.a 'the questioner' or 'the asker') How does the querent affect the interpretation of the card? Find out. Select a card. Read it as falling in the advice position in a reading about “how can I find love/romance?” Imagine you are reading for the following people and see if you’d interpret the card differently for each of them:
yourself your best friend your sibling someone you dislike a 23 year old woman just starting a challenging but promising new career a 48 year old man, recently divorced with 3 children with shared custody, things are not smooth between him and his ex a 68 year old woman, widowed 3 years after a 25 year happy marriage a 25 year old woman, widowed less than one year after marrying a 32 year old man who just lost his job, hasn’t been in a relationship in 5 years
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Birth Card Reflection 1. Explore the imagery of the card. What detail stands out when you first look at the card? What is happening in the card? Is there a story there? Consider what might have happened five minutes earlier and what might happen five minutes later. What is the mood of the card? Consider the setting, the weather, and the expression on the faces of the figure(s) in the card. 2. When I look at this card I feel… 3. These words and phrases come to mind when I look at this card: 4. This card reminds me of this significant childhood experience: 5. This card reminds me of this significant experience from my adolescence: 6. This card reminds me of this significant experience in recent years: 7. This card reminds me of this person who has shaped my life: 8. This card challenges me to… 9. This card represents my potential to… 10. This card warns me against… 11. I hate this birth card because… 12. I love this birth card because… 13. I wish was my birth card instead of this one because… 14. Choose another card in the deck (perhaps your year card) to interview your birth card about what it sees as your strengths and weaknesses. Write a dialogue between them. 15. Imagine that you are teaching a class on something that you enjoy doing and that your birth card is your student. Write the scene that unfolds. 16. Imagine that your birth card is willing to barter the secret to its virtue for the secret to one of your own. Write the dialogue between you. 17. Do a three card reading for your birth card. 18. Calculate the birth card for a significant person in your life. Imagine each of your birth cards in conversation about the two of you. If you have the same birth card, you might use cards from different decks. Write a dialogue between them. 19. Find your birth card in several different decks. Which do you like best? Which do you like least? Scene Writing with Your Tarot Cards First, and this is the old one, pick a favorite room growing up and describe it. Don’t overdo, just use salient details to get a feel of time and place. For the next three, you need a set (or several sets) of Tarot cards and the Worst Case Scenario cards.
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Pull a card from the Tarot to represent your heroine, and then describe her. It doesn’t matter if there’s a male on the card — use your imagination. Or hell, cheat and draw again until you find a female, though don’t be too picky. I’m not big on rules. Pull a card from the Tarot to describe a hero. Same thing goes if you end up with a seemingly female card. go with more than physical descriptions of these two — we need background and emotion. Write a mini scene. Put the two together in that room. And then draw a Worst Case Scenario card. Write a scene using the three cards and the remembered room. Sample Journaling Prompts Journaling prompts are designed to get your pen moving on the page — simply by giving you a quick and easy "fill-in-the-blank" statement. Some tarot journaling prompts will work with any card: you can draw a card at random, or choose any card you want to study. Other prompts are inspired by specific cards that you'll need to pull from your deck. Tarot journaling prompts are quick, easy, and fun ... and they usually lead to some surprising revelations. Here are some sample journaling prompts for you to try: Today, at random, I drew the __________. Yet it seems like a card I could have chosen on purpose, because __________. If I could spend the day with any character, from any card, I would choose __________. That's because __________. Here are the top ten things I like about the [name of card]: I hate the __________ card, because __________. Some tarot prompts encourage you to adopt the mindset of a single card, and "become" the figure in the image. For example: I am the Hanged Man. I've been hanging here for a long time. Why do I continue to hang like this, day after day? I think it's because __________. I am the King of Wands. You can tell I'm the King, because I'm wearing __________, a symbol of __________. I am the Archangel Raphael, the winged spirit of the Lovers card. My message is simple: __________. The Daily Tarot Spread 1. Myself – this is how I am on this day, how I’m feeling, my mindset, my energy or not. 2. Theme – this is the theme for the day, be it good or bad, I will get an idea here.
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3. Challenges – this can represent people or situations, but either way it’s a warning. 4. Responses – this is my likely response to the challenge suggested before. 5. Advice – this is advice directly from the Universal Source relating to the day. 6. Thought – and a final Thought for the Day, which will either confirm the reading, or ask me to expand my thinking. If your Response is negative or unproductive, the Advice card will show you the correct response, or how to adjust your situation with an action or different way to see any issues raised. You can change Response to say “this is my suggested response”, if you prefer to prepare before acting. Some tarot journal ideas include (but not exclusively): • Set aside at least six to ten pages per card -- lots of room for notes, clippings, sketches, emails, etc. • A section for 'interpretations'. As you read more, talk with more people, participate in lists and workshops, etc., you will get even more meanings. Jot 'em down! • A 'philosophy' section. The more you work with the cards, the cleaner and clearer your basic ideas about life and the workings of the universe will become. Record these! You and the tarot will become your best teachers. • Write down *everything* about any readings you do -- date, time, place, deck used, spread, card(s) chosen, personal associations, memories, important symbols, textbook meanings, and so forth. • Create poetry, especially haiku (3 lines - first 5 syllables, second 7 syllables, third 5 syllables) to encapsulate the essence of your tarot sessions, meditations, and discoveries. • Draw a mandala of your daily/weekly/monthly card Make a decent-sized circle on your page, then divide it into quadrants. Choose the four most important symbols/characters/colors/ whatever from your card. Draw one in each quadrant. It's a neat pictorial summary of your reading. I sometimes use these four quadrants as the basis for my haiku. • Use the right hand page for tarot information and the left hand page to record actual events in your life. Gradual study of this will reveal patterns that will enrich your interpretations and make them more 'accurate' (a term I'm leery of, btw) or helpful. • Collect images that you feel relate to each card's concepts. Paste them on a page. Make a collage. Could be the start of your own deck! • Write affirmations based on qualities you LIKE about a card. Use your affirmation for a minimum of three weeks. Write it and speak it every day. • Create rituals based on card concepts or imagery. • Compose a piece of music based on the cards' concepts OR use some form of numerological tarot system to work out which notes go where.
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• Write stories or fairy tales based on your readings or meditations. Relate these tales to your life. • Have a 'history' section to jot down notes about any interesting bits of tarot/divination history. • Write down deck and book wish lists. How to Approach a Card Mental -- How it relates to your thoughts and concepts Spirit -- How it relates to your drive, enthusiasm, will power Emotional -- How it relates to your emotions and feelings. Physical -- How it relates to your material/financial well being, or to your health. Soulful -- How it relates to your soul and its journey or to your spiritual quest. Business -- How it relates to your work or career. Relationship -- How it relates to your relationship(s). Problematic -- The most problematic aspect of this card. Beneficial -- The most beneficial aspect of this card. In any case, write about what this card means to you and how it is relevant to you life, either in general or specific to what is going on right now. Then in the evening you can consider what this card says about your day. How does it reflect upon or comment on you did today? Were you able to actualize one of its positive messages? Or were you able to heed his warnings? In retrospect, considering this card do you see something that happened today in a new perspective? This process will do the following: 1. It will help you come up with one or two keywords or phrases for each card. Keywords or phrases are a helpful tool because they help students when they do a reading because they can jumpstart your intuition. 2. It will give you additional insights into the cards and a greater depth of understanding of them. 3. It will give you practice using your intuition to find messages in the cards as they apply to specific situations, which is what you do during a reading. And as you do this, feel free to use whatever we talk about here, and you can ask questions that this process brings up for you. By the way, speaking of journals, if you are already doing readings, you will find it helpful to keep a journal of them too -- at least of readings you do for yourself. For each reading, note the following:
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* The Date * The Question for the reading * The layout you used * The cards dealt for each position * Your interpretation for each card * A summary of the meaning of the reading Then you can look back at them a few months or a year later. (Every New Years day I review all the readings I did for myself that year.) This way you can see what you missed when you originally did the reading, and what 20/20 hindsight can tell you about the reading, which you can use to improve your abilities with future readings. Card Combinations Looking at card combinations enables you to see the interactions between different cards in a way that may strengthen a specific meaning, add some ‘light and shade’ to a meaning, or give it a whole different meaning altogether. To get started, consider the general meaning of the card you are studying. Then, ask yourself: What other cards reinforce the card’s meaning? What other cards oppose the card’s meaning? What other cards give this card a completely different meaning? Alternatively, you may like to randomly select cards from your deck to match with the card in question, and then brainstorm how the two cards combine. Let’s say you’re working with the Six of Wands, and you randomly select the Page of Swords – what do these two cards mean together? Then, randomly select another card and start building your card combinations in this way. Use these methods for both upright and reversed Tarot card combinations.