Why using a tarot journal is the best way to develop your tarot reading skills.
By Eleanor Tremeer & Darren Shill
You’ve learned the cards, you’ve done a few readings, you follow a bunch of tarot accounts on Instagram. Tarot’s becoming your party trick — everyone wants you to read the cards for them. But where do you take your practice from here?
Journaling really is the best way for you to develop your skills, as a beginner or an experienced reader.
It may seem daunting at first — when you’ve got so much to do in a day, trying to keep a journal just seems exhausting. But let me put it this way: how many photos of tarot spreads do you have on your phone? You take a picture so you can look back later, but more often than not, it ends up being one-and-done — and by the next time you do a reading, you’ve forgotten which cards came up last time.
Ok, maybe I’m just using the second-person pronoun to talk about myself. Because I wasn’t convinced either. But as soon as I sat down and actually started to record my spreads, suddenly I was drawing connections between readings that I hadn’t seen before. Cards repeated, suits started to tell a story between spreads, and I gained a greater understanding of what the tarot was trying to tell me.
The more work you put into the tarot, the more you’ll get out of it. And to be honest, you’ve probably put in more work than you realise already. Posting your spreads on social media, sharing readings with pals online — this is a form of journaling too. But with so much content out there, it’s easy for things to get lost and forgotten. Keeping a written journal can help you keep track of your tarot experiences in a way that is solely your own.
How To Journal
So where do you start? The journal itself is important, and you should work with whatever you feel comfortable with, whether it’s your magical grimoire, a purpose-built tarot journal, or a beaten-up notebook that you carry around everywhere.
Next, you’ll want to record everything you’ve learned and experienced so far. Think of it as a way to touch base with yourself: how did you perceive tarot when you began? What chimed with you then, and what did you find most difficult? How did that change over time? If you’re just starting out, this is your chance to note down everything. Did a friend give you insight on a card’s meaning? Is there one card in particular that’s calling to you? Keep a note of it all, and you won’t regret it!
Remember that this is all for you. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect! The journal is a tool for self-reflection, a meditation that is as important as reading the cards themselves. And if your reflections aren’t coming easy, be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to get into the swing of things. You could start by just writing card meanings to memorise them, then expand from there.
What Should You Record?
The tarot journal is a space for everything. Some people like to go deep, really delving into their perceptions and the metaphysical meanings of the cards. All your thoughts and feelings about the tarot have a place here.
But others are far more practical. Personally, I fall into this camp. My route into tarot journaling was very pragmatic: I wanted to record the readings I had done so that I could look back later. And as soon as I did, I started seeing a much bigger picture — patterns appeared between readings that I couldn’t have noticed unless I had kept a record of them. Aspects of my life, and my friends’ lives, manifested as the suits reappeared across readings. Cards that seemed obtuse at the time became obvious once the situation had played out and I could look back, seeing what the cards were predicting all along.
So: readings. Record your readings.
Also, have you chosen a signifier yet? Write down which card represents yourself, and how your relationship changes to that card over time. Have you gone from Page to Knight? Did you change suits? Or does a Major Arcana card work as a personal avatar? When choosing a signifier, you’re not just thinking of your personality, but your point in a journey. Writing all this down will help you keep track of your path as you walk it.
How about spreads? Spreads are great; you can find so many online, in books, even in the little guides that come with certain decks. Record the ones that you come back to again and again, or write down your results when you test out a new spread. Examining spread mechanics doesn’t just give you an insight into your readings, it also gives you the experience you need to create your own spreads. And once you create them, guess what? Write them down in your journal. You won’t want to forget.
Of course, it’s also nice to use your journal as a method of keeping up with your tarot-reading friends, or to write down any lessons you’ve learned from tarot videos, talks, or books.
So, to summarise, use your journal to record:
- Card meanings
- Tarot community contacts
But of course, you can always go deeper…
Journaling As Self-Reflection
We don’t just read the cards to discover the future, but to discover ourselves — and journaling can really help with this journey of self-reflection. However, it’s difficult to know where to start, so here are some methods that we found helpful.
Try to write first thing in the morning. What did you dream about? What waking impressions do you have of the world? This will help you bypass the ego and catch your conscious mind off guard. It doesn’t matter how weird or surreal these thoughts are: sometimes those are the best kind! You can be as poetic as you like. Approach the world with a child’s eye. What seems new and fresh? How would you see things if you had been just transported to this world with no context?
And remember, as much as you dive within yourself, it’s helpful to keep your contact with the wider community. Your insights are valuable; so are others’. So share! In a way, social media has provided us with a natural evolution of journaling, as we record our thoughts and share them with others.
Divination isn’t just about telling the future: it’s about gaining a deeper understanding of life itself. The tarot provides us with a window through time, into possible futures, alternate paths, and pasts we’ve forgotten. Through it all, the self remains at the centre of everything. Who you are, who you were, and everything you could become is reflected in your readings. Journaling will allow you to discover this great tapestry, even if you couldn’t see it at the time.
Do you keep a tarot journal? We’d love to hear how this practice works for you! Let us know in the comments or talk to us on Instagram!
Read How to Keep a Tarot Journal: Part 2!
We can help you start your tarot journal!
Modern Witch Tarot Journal is far more than a guidebook, with sections on…
- CARD MEANINGS: build your own personal reference guide and log your reflections on each card
- TAROT READINGS: record your readings and interpretations, with space both for shorter and more complex readings – track your personal growth!
- TAROT SPREADS: collect your favourite spreads and learn how to create your own
- TAROT DECKS: keep track of your tarot deck inventory, wish list and deck interviews
- BOOKS AND ONLINE RESOURCES: record all your favourite tarot books, blogs, Insta-witches and more
- TAROT CIRCLE: a directory to of the people in your tarot circle, professional readers, meetings and events – an organised coven is a happy coven!
Lavishly illustrated with all new full-page colour artwork by Lisa Sterle, Modern Witch Tarot Journal has a faux-leather cover with the Modern Witch logo embossed on the back.
Use it with Modern Witch Tarot, or any of your favourite tarot decks!
Buy Modern Witch Tarot Journal