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Journaling with Tarot CardsJournaling with Tarot Cards

I started a Tarot journaling routine at the start of this year. If you feel overwhelmed or need to get in touch with your intuition, journaling is an excellent way to process your thoughts and feelings. Although you can do it any time that works for your schedule, morning is my favorite time. It sets me up for a centered day and it is a time I can do it consistently. Tarot journaling is organic to my interests and personality. It prompts me to think about things differently than I would if I was just sitting down to journal. 

Tarot Cards

Tarot and the card meanings have always excited me; there is something magical and mystical about them. Most people think they tell the future or that reading tarot can bring good or bad news. Although this is common practice today in readings, they were initially used as playing cards. The ritual dates back to before the 15th century. Traditionally, there are 78 cards in the deck: 22 Major Arcana Cards and 56 Minor Arcana Cards. To simplify, think of Major Arcana as the big boss, dealing with significant energy and circumstances. The Minor Arcana Cards are citizens dealing with subtle energies and everyday things. There are four suits similar to playing cards: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.

Finding the Right Tarot Deck

When looking for a Tarot Deck, you have many to choose from. The most traditional deck is called The Rider Tarot Deck. This has the original archetypes that the Tarot is built from. Other more contemporary decks take some artistic liberties, but they are all based on these archetypes. Most decks are full of beautiful imagery and are true works of art. I have several Tarot Decks, but I received The Light Seer’s Tarot Deck for my birthday, and it is my current favorite. It is full of vivid symbols that speak to my heart. When you find the right Tarot Deck, you should cleanse the cards with sage or Palo Santo and keep them in a special bag (seperate from the box they came in) for safekeeping. 

How to Use Tarot Cards?

People study for years to learn Tarot and tell the future or guide people. You may have a vision in your mind of the stereotypical crystal ball and red velvet curtain at the tarot card parlor. There are several books to learn how to read The Tarot; some of my favorites are The Big Book of Tarot and Tarot Plain and Simple. Most card decks come with short Tarot books to help guide you through the card meanings and Tarot spreads. You don’t have to feel like you know all the cards to start using them. The way you learn is to use them. Over time, you will learn the meaning of the suits and different cards. Once you feel comfortable, you can even start using them with close friends and family that understand you are new to reading the Tarot. It can be a fun way to engage with people and start conversations.

What is Tarot Journaling? 

Journaling is another way you can use the cards daily or weekly. It is a great way to learn the cards, but a way for your unconscious and conscious mind to get more connected. You can read the descriptions of the card and see it as a way to guide what you are already living or feeling. The cards don’t dictate your future; they just help you see it from a different perspective. You don’t need a specific journal, but just like the Tarot Deck, you should pick something you feel connected to. I use the Moleskine Classic or  LEUCHTTURM1917 notebook, I love the color choices. I feel the same way about the pen I use; although anything can work, I really enjoy writing with a great pen. My favorite is le Pen

How to Create a Tarot Journal

Here is an example of a typical morning journaling session for me. It is a great way to free-write first thing in the morning and develop creative ideas to start off the day. I tend not to journal at night unless I am trying to reflect on something that happened during the day or something is really weighing on my mind. 

First, I open my journal and write the date and jot down any initial thoughts or topics weighing on my mind. Then, I light some Palo Santo; I use the Luna Sundara Palo Santo Smudging Sticks. I sit with my eyes closed and try to clear my mind. The time varies but usually 5-10 minutes of quiet thinking or meditation does the trick. 

Second, I shuffle my Tarot cards while focusing on a subject or something that has been on my mind.If there isn’t anything special I am focused on that day, I just clear my head. 

Third, I start piling one card at a time until I feel the need to stop on one. Sometimes one will pop out on its own, so I pick it.

Fourth, I turn the card over and look at it. The imagery on my cards is so vivid and striking I usually get an emotion or thought immediately. Before I even look up the description or meaning in the book, I start writing what the card or image makes me think or feel.

Next, I read the description of the cards in the book that comes with my set of Tarot Cards. I let it sink in, then I journal more about what I have read. 

Last, I come up with an image or sentence that can carry me through the rest of my day.

Important Things to Remember

Most importantly, I don’t let the cards dictate or forecast anything that will happen to me. There can be cards that appear dark or seem to bring bad energy. However, they aren’t definite or final. Even The Death card doesn’t have to mean death; it could mean the end of something old and the start of something new. I use the cards as tools to shift the way I think about my own life and circumstances. It is like having a wise friend remind you of different ways to look at things. A new perspective. The best thing about Tarot Journaling every day is that if you don’t get a card you like, you can pick another the next day. In the words of Scarlett Ohara, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

This post was updated on February 11, 2020.

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Carrie Mayer Boston Pilates Instructor smiling

Carrie is a Massachusetts-based Pilates and Wellness professional who believes in training smart and enjoying all that life has to offer.