Scarlet Ravenswood from Arcane Alchemy and I have teamed up to talk about keeping a tarot journal. Earlier this week I chatted with Scarlet and her co-host Dan on their podcast Cosmic Keys. Be sure to check it out. =)
She and I also teamed up to put together two free downloads for you. The Tarot Study Journal is, in short, where you keep card meanings and your research. The Tarot Readings Diary is where you log readings you’ve been doing for yourself or for others.
I will be creating these two journal versions for those with the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck (I’ve got the e-mail addresses for all purchasers) so stay on the look-out for that! I’ll be sending the downloads to your e-mail inbox in the next few weeks.
Scarlet and Benebell’s
PDF download, 516 interior pages
Psst… If you’re working with the SKT deck, then hold out for a version of these two journals that include sections keyed for the SKT. I’m going to be contacting you all via the SKT Newsletter with a ton of downloads, DOCX and PDF.
If you’re just starting out, a tarot study journal consolidates everything you’re learning about the cards. The free Tarot Study Journal download is subdivided into four sections: Tarot Key Reference Tables, a Cyclopedia of Card Meanings where you’ll write in notes from all the sources you’re reading from, a section for compiling your own repertoire of tarot reading spreads, and a section for the focused study of the four elements.
This Tarot Study Journal is keyed to the Tarot de Marseilles, Rider-Waite-Smith, and the Crowley-Harris Thoth. In the front pages of the journal template, you’ll find loads of reference and correspondence tables for you to work from.
Even just flipping through the pages and skimming them briefly every now and then will help reinforce memory retention of all three systems.
There is a six-page spread for every one of the seventy-eight cards to log your research notes. The completed journal will become your favorite and your go-to tarot reference book. The first page for each entry, which you see above, illustrated with the Two of Wands from the Twos section, has a quick profile listing, with general themes and keywords for that card, your astrological correspondences for it, Kabbalistic correspondences, I Ching (the Thoth deck and Crowley, for example, talks a lot about tarot and I Ching correspondences; you’ll also find a lot on this intersection from the Haindl Tarot, Rachel Pollack, Lon Milo Duquette, and of course, Yours Truly), etc.
Then there’s a page spread where you will see specific card meanings for the three major tarot traditions people work with (TdM, RWS, and Thoth), plus space for you to write in notes on other decks you work predominantly with.
The page spread after that covers key symbolism found in each card, per the different deck styles. So, for example, with the RWS Two of Wands, you might list out the Rose and Lily Cross, the bay or harbor pictured in the background to the left, the globe that the figure is holding, the stone precipice, the house, or the mountains along the horizon. Include color symbolism as well.
Then the final back page closing out each card entry has a space along the top half for your miscellaneous notes and a space along the bottom half to write out researched information on the historical evolution of that card image, from the historical Visconti, Conver, etc. Marseilles decks, even the Sola Busca, the RWS, the intentional changes Crowley made to the Thoth after the RWS, to how modern decks today tend to depict that particular card.
I like to use those adhesive tabs to mark the different sections of my journal, so just by scanning the labeled tabs, I’ll be able to turn easily to the Aces, or Fives, or Knights, or my portfolio of tarot spreads, etc.
Then there’s a section for you to collect your favorite tarot spreads. Draw out a diagram for the spread and label the card positions, and jot down any notes as needed so you can refer back to this portfolio for a collection of all the spreads you’ve found effective.
Finally, because of how rooted in elementals the tarot deck structure is, at least in terms of how we interpret the cards in readings, there’s a section to write out all your correspondences for the four elements.
Next we’ve got the Tarot Readings Diary. If you’re using a print-on-demand site like Lulu to print physical copies of these journals, I would recommend getting them with the spiral coil bound option, so they can lay flat on a table top. The paperback versions are more economical, however, and are probably easier to tote around in your knapsack. (I find the spiral coil can get caught on stuff when in my handbag.)
Scarlet and Benebell’s
PDF download, 398 interior pages
The Tarot Readings Diary is for you to log tarot readings you’ve done for yourself, readings for others where keeping notes on such readings will help you improve your proficiency, and a section that’s a continuing study of the tarot where you log notes you take from tarot courses, master classes, or simply from watching Tarot YouTube videos such as the tarot educational content Scarlet and I create.
The first section we included features blank note pages inspired by the Cornell Method of taking notes (though there are minor variations here). Write your notes along the lined section, but include headings, key points, important quotes, or even thumbnail sketches along the left blank column. Include a title or heading at the top of every page so you always know what you’re looking at when you refer back to your log of notes later in time.
Here’s where you log the tarot readings you’ve done for yourself. Each reading will occupy a four-page spread. On the first page, make sure you record the date of the reading, the deck you used, and write down any notes about the question presented, or just write “general reading” or “open reading.” Before you even start the reading, take a moment to sit with the emotion you attach to the question or to that moment right before you start the tarot reading. Write it down.
Then draw out a quick diagram or take notes on the reading spread you’re using. If you’re not using a specific spread, just draw out rectangles to indicate the layout of cards you drew and label them so you’ll remember the cards drawn.
At the bottom of that first page, note your quick first impression of the cards layout. The next page is where you journal and write out your reading interpretation.
Journaling and note-taking continues onto the next back page. At the close, record the main emotion you feel after you’ve completed the tarot reading and the journaling. Then, after critical events have taken place in your life, return to this tarot reading, log the initial date of the reading plus the date you’re writing out these post-reading notes. Then give yourself feedback.
The next section features two-page spreads to document significant readings you have done for others, whether you’re a professional tarot reader or you just read for friends and family on occasion. Here, it helps to try to get the seeker or querent’s feedback and document that feedback here.
The Tarot Readings Diary closes with some blank lined note pages for you.
Scarlet designed front and back covers for your Tarot Study Journal and Tarot Readings Diary, which you can download and use via the above zip file folder. Please also feel free to design your own covers for these personal log books! The covers are formatted at 6″ x 9″ trade paperback. You can then upload and order physical copies of these journals, with the above covers we provide or a special design of your own creation, via Lulu.com.