How to develop an intuitive tarot reading style through journaling
If you’ve read How to Keep a Tarot Journal (Part 1), by this point, you should be interacting with your journal as a matter of course. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get self-reflective. After all, tarot isn’t just in the cards: divination calls for another level of spiritual perception, one which can take years to develop. This is the tricky part, but we’ve developed some exercises that will help you tap into your metacognitive abilities.
Going deeper into the cards
Tarot cards aren’t just pretty pictures. Every deck has been developed deliberately by the artist — every object is a symbol, every colour has a meaning, and every scene is part of a wider narrative. Even details like facial expressions or body language are important.
By studying the cards, your readings will become more intuitive. Yes, you can learn each card’s meaning by rote, but thinking of the cards as a sum of symbols will help you instinctively understand what each one means when they pop up in a reading — and you’ll be better able to apply these meanings to different situations.
Each card has a ton of nuance. So much so, in fact, that when you do readings it can be difficult to work out how the tarot is answering your query. Unpacking the card’s composition, and learning those details, can really help you gain an innate clarity.
For example, let’s say you’re asking about a new relationship. Up pops The Fool. Oh great, you think, a sign of a new adventure! Innocence and leaping out into the new! I should pursue this. And yet, what about the cliff? The Fool can be a warning. Is there anything in this new relationship that could pose a danger to you: what is the cliff in this situation?
Also, the Fool’s eyes are directed skyward, not in front of them. Is there anything about this situation that you’re missing? Could you be swept up in the romance of a daydream, unable to see what’s right in front of you? Who is the dog — your faithful companion — in this situation? And how does this particular deck represent The Fool?
Anything and everything means something. So really dive into the card, and you’ll get an instinctive feel for what they mean, and how different aspects of the card can apply to your query.
Immersive Card Meditation
That’s not to say that you have to study the symbolism of every card in every deck to gain this understanding. Sometimes, just immersing yourself in the card and engaging with your imagination is all you need to conduct an intuitive reading. And here’s where the journaling comes in.
Try this practical exercise to really dive into a card. And remember — record your experiences in your journal so you can look back on them later!
- Grab a deck, a pen, and your journal
- Pick a card, either by shuffling or choosing one deliberately
- Examine the details – people, objects, positions, expressions, colours
- Close your eyes and recreate these details in your mind
- Look at the card again – what did you miss when you had your eyes closed?
- Close your eyes again – look at the frame of the card, step through like it’s a doorway, into the card. Is it cool or warm? Dark or light? Move around the central image and see what you encounter
- Take three deep breaths
- Did any key phrases or images come to mind while you were exploring the card?
- Look for things out in the world that visually capture the feel of the card for you
After all, tarot comes from life, and it reflects life back to you. If any of your day-to-day experiences remind you of a certain card, note that down. Is there anyone in your life that reminds you of the Emperor, for example? Having dived into one card, is there any situation that reminds you of the scene you immersed yourself in?
One Card, Many Decks
If you’re anything like us, you’ve got at least three decks to hand — and probably more. This is fantastic! Working with different decks can really develop your understanding, and it’ll allow you to use different decks for different queries.
But you can always go deeper. Use this exercise to explore one card across your favourite decks.
- Shuffle or choose a card
- Look at the colours – are there any similarities between the decks? What has the artist changed? What do you think that means?
- Look at the symbols – do any repeat? What immediately jumps out at you?
- Study the scene – how are the characters posed? Do you sense a theme across the decks?
- Take three deep breaths
- Start making notes using your fresh impressions. Which version of the card chimed most with you? Why? Do you think the differences change the meaning of the card?
To take this to the next level, recreate the card’s essence using your own creativity. You could write a poem or story based on the card, or even redraw the card in your own style. This is when your journal can become a scrapbook, a beautifully creative illustration of your journey through the tarot.
Tarot isn’t a straight line. Your skill as a tarot reader comes from your study of the cards, but also your immersion within them. The more you think about tarot, the more you’ll notice the world around you, and the tarot will reveal itself to you in a deeper way. By interacting with the tarot through journaling, you’ll get to the point where you won’t have to rely upon guides or booklets: you’ll be able to draw a card and instinctively understand what it means.
We’d love to hear what you think about these meditations and exercises! Tell us in the comments, or find us on Instagram!
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!