Creative Ways to Use a Tarot Journal

By Arnell Ando

A tarot journal can be a catalyst for creating a personal vision of the cards, as well as for chronicling your inner and outer journey.  Aside from the practical use of collecting card interpretations from various sources or keeping a chronological record of your readings and their patterns and themes, your tarot journal is also a way to express the creative themes in your life.  Here are some tips:


Keep a dream journal along with your tarot journal, comparing synchronicities.  Stay alert to archetypes, and numbers also found in the tarot.  Pull cards that represent the key elements in your dream and record the card’s meaning and how it relates to the dream symbol or image.  One example: The Chariot might best fit a dream about driving through perilous streets.


Do a reading before going to a movie and afterward compare your notes with the actual plot.  You’ll get instant gratification in seeing how accurately you predict, and you’ll discover alternative interpretations of the cards from the perspective of the movie.


Choose specific cards that outline the theme of a movie you’ve already seen, using a spread that explores the sequence of the storyline and depicts why the characters needed to experience the outcome or message of the film.  “Vision quest” movies like Forrest Gump and Shawshank Redemption seem to work best for this.


Pick a daily card, journal a question spoken in the voice of this card, and answer it.  For example, the Star might ask, “What are you optimistic about?  What is the one dream you will never part from?”


Write an affirmation for your daily card to repeat throughout the day.  One for the Strength card could be: “Treating myself gently makes me stronger.”  Pace the card in a picture frame at your workplace as a reminder to repeat this affirmation to yourself whenever you see it.


Create a tarot key.  For the Major Arcana, write ancient and modern manifestations of each card, selecting movies or stories that best express its quality, along with your interpretations.  The Fool’s attributes might include court jester, clown, or trickster coyote, and relevant movies might be Wizard of Oz, The Little Tramp, or The Truman Show.  The interpretation could begin with adventure, fortune, misfortune, or a leap of faith.  Add as many examples as you can to enrich your understanding of each card.


Record associations and symbolic images for the four suits.  The Cups, for example, are ruled by the Moon, and are associated with water, relationships, love, haling, dreams, and fantasy.  They are emotion-based, and their orientation to time is focused on the past.  Images include chalices, shells, containers and all sea creatures.


Create a numerology key.  For example, “two” equals polarity, duality, and relationships.


Personalize the court cards by noting a brief impression of the personality of the card, as well as people in your life or celebrities that demonstrate the personal attributes of the card.  Add photos or cutouts from magazines.


Collect ads and images that convey the meaning of the cards and add them to your journal.


Make your own tarot deck while journaling about what each card means to you. Collage is an excellent method.  Your tarot journal will really come in handy now.  Study it while meditating on your personal vision of the card.  When you finish a card, color copy one for your journal and laminate the other for a reading deck.  This has been the most gratifying and powerful project I’ve done with tarot.  In fact, my book and deck set, Transformational Tarot, evolved from my tarot journal!