Blog, Journaling

Crafting a Tarot Journal

My first attempt at a altered tarot journal.

I own over a dozen different decks and a bazillion books on various tarot subjects. I have even started making my own tarot deck. My bookshelves are bursting at the seams with tarot and tarot-related items that it’s easy for me to quickly overwhelm myself with tarot-formation. And there’s NO WAY I’m carrying all my books and decks with me whenever I want to study or give a reading. I’d never be able to leave my home. I needed something more compact. I decided to create my own book.So I grabbed a large 9 by 11 journal bought on the cheep from Borders, and started counting the pages. The thickest journal, I believe it’s 2 inches, can hold a lot of information on the tarot. I worked on the inside of my journal, getting what I wanted in each section down on the pages before I went back to spiffy up the cover and alter some of the pages with my art. This way I didn’t have to worry about getting the cover all bumped up or immediately breaking the spine.

Before I started writing anything down, I came up with ideas for the types of information I wanted to include. There’s a lot of different ways you can set your tarot journal up. You could devote a section on each of the following:

  • tarot card meanings
  • spreads and layouts
  • rituals and spells
  • games (yes, games)
  • a record of all your personal readings
image of a spread page (horseshoe spread?) from the inside of my old tarot journal. Photo was taken around 2003.

My tarot journal ended up with a total of 4 sections: card meanings, card spreads, rituals and games. I decided that it’d be best to record all my personal readings in a separate book. This book is a simple lunar calendar that has just enough space for the cards and a quick summary.

The section on tarot card meanings is by far the biggest. I devoted a whole page (front and back) to each card and what it means and the symbols that are associated with it. I began by writing down each card’s correspondences (which you can get from the worksheets in this book), and use the rest of the page to jot down notes on meanings or impressions I get from meditating or comparing the same card from each of my decks. I also attached an image from my favorite deck on each page that illustrates the meaning of the card best. You can also use this section to write down each card you are designing for your own personal Tarot Art deck.

My layout and spreads section contains most of all the layouts I’ve collected from books, websites and those I created myself. I then recorded the name of each spread, it’s purpose, a hand sketched diagram of where each card goes and a full name and description of each card’s position and meaning inside the layout. You’d be surprised at the amount of layouts you can fine. There are spreads to use for daily readings all the way down to using the tarot to help with writer’s block or divining advice for your own wedding.

The third section includes holiday and lunar rituals that I can use my tarot cards with. Working with the tarot is a big part of my spirituality and i try and use a deck in most of my majickal workings and celebrations. Like the spreads and layout section, I write down the name of the ritual, it’s purpose, draw a diagram and write down the meanings of the card positions. I also tuck in a few ideas for altar decorations and candle correspondences. If your spirituality disagrees with mine, you may decide that this section isn’t important to you.

I’ve devoted the last section in my journal exclusively to tarot games. You’d be surprised at how versatile a tarot deck can be. Most of the games in this section I found the rules for online; however, there is a whole book, called Tarot Games, you can buy from amazon that has suggestions for tarot games that can be played by children of all ages. I included the rules for Tarot-opoly, Rummy and Poker among some others. I’ve even found an Role Playing Game that uses the tarot instead of a set of dice.
However, you may decide that you don’t want to break up your Tarot Journal the same way that I have. Which is fine. Maybe you decide you want to include the meanings of the cards and the results of each reading you do. You could divide the book in two and use half of it for ideas on meanings and the other half on your personal readings. Write down the day, time, name of the tarot deck you are using and the spread you chose to divine with. Then you can write down your thoughts, impressions or weave stories or images off of the advice the cards have given you.

You do not have to use all words to fill your journal pages. You can create fun and fancy images and layouts, turning your book into an art journal or altered book on tarot. Hang cards inside your book, decorate the cover with cards or stamped images. You can create a book tie for your journal by taking PVA glue and pasting two strings of fabric into the inside covers of your book and then covering that with decorative pages.

Whatever you decide to do with your tarot journal, make it fun and reflective of your personality. This is a book you’ll want to use over and over again for reference or pass it down to a loved one as a heirloom.