Tarot Journal Revisited

A few weeks ago, my list of reasonings for having a tarot journal posted.  While my reasoning for such a thing is still desired, I have attempted 3 different mediums to accomplish the task: A paper notebook, a binder, and digital.  My first attempts was a binder, and you can read about how it worked out below.

  1. Familiarity with cards
  2. Creating stronger systems for relating with the cards and connecting with my intuition
  3. Creating a stronger foundation for using my intuition
  4. Increasing the likelihood that I might read for others one day

Okay, but how?

Some people use notebooks, others, binders, and some are even are all digital.

I have tried all of these methods in the last 2 months that I have had my tarot cards and I have mixed feelings about all of them.

And while I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned about all three methods, that would become a VERY VERY long post.  So, I’ll start with the Binder Method.  The easiest to update and evolve with as you progress

The Binder Method

Okay, so first I feel that I should say a few things about myself to explain my rationalization about these various systems.  I taught in the higher education world for 6 years.  One thing I learned when teaching multiple classes at a school was to use a single binder to keep that entire class organized.  I had 4 inch binder per class.  Each binder held the lecture notes, the quizzes/tests, handouts, extra resources like magazine articles or diagrams, etc.  We all used binders, and we all loved them, even though they were a little excessive in size.

While they are nice for storage and portability, binders are coffins for my creative ideas.  I hardly ever updated my binders; instead, I would update my digital copies, but never print out the new versions for the binder (my inner Lorax just wouldn’t let me do it).  So my physical binders were usually out of date – if any one had ever stopped to check.  For a while, I avoided using binders outside of work; they were the places that creative ideas died, for me anyway.

But I wanted a place to keep all my research on tarot AND be updatable as I read and practiced more.  I am a natural journaler who loves composition books, but updating those is a challenge and usually leads to confusion rather than learning.   Also, as I was delving into the world of Tarot the idea of a journal was pretty common when it comes to beginning studies.  Some people stress notebooks, but there were numerous binder versions out there.  So I felt that I should give it a try and see how it worked and if it lived or died.

How I Set Up My Binder (in the Beginning):

Through all the research, I decided to use the following setup, which I think came from Biddy Tarot (I am 90% sure on this).   The following sections were suggested; and I initially used them:

  1. Card Meanings
  2. Personal Tarot Readings
  3. Tarot Reading Techniques
  4. Tarot Resources
  5. Tarot Spreads
  6. Personal Reflection

I really liked this system of organization.  I thought I would like that there were so many specific areas to fill with notes, etc.  I also loved how the message of feel free to change it however you want was dripping off every paragraph.  So I tried this method for June, and it was okay.  I printed out some of the handouts I’d found online, I hand wrote a few things, and I tried journaling on looseleaf.

I quickly became indifferent to this set up, and by the end of the month, I wasn’t enjoying the numerous section.  They were too many, and I felt like I was splitting hairs with deciding placement for some things.  Some handout may fit into the Spread AND the Resource page, so which one is it?  I also do NOT enjoy journaling on loose leaf.  My inner voice is much more academic on loose leaf – I hold back because I worry that if the paper fell out due to tears or faulty binder rings, then someone else might read it and I would not enjoy finding that out.  So I moved those to an actual notebook – which I know, anyone could read, but it works better for me.

I have combined Personal readings with reflection since at this time I am only reading for myself.  I have also combined the techniques and resources.

What I love is that I can print out or take notes on tarot topics from books, blogs, etc and store them all together in one place.  AND you can update your feelings about a certain card because a binder if a living thing when it comes to housing research.

The sections that do the least for me are the Personal Readings and Reflection.  A binder isn’t a good platform for me with these.  I love reflection – but not in a binder.

What my Binder Looks Like Now:

  1.  Card Meanings – This includes meanings that I glean from numerous sources, as well as color theories, numerology, astrology, and archetypical symbols (like what castles can mean, etc).   For each card, I have handwritten notes about their meanings, and update them with others as I keep learning, and even my own meanings that I’ve gleaned through practicing.
  2. Techniques, Resources, and Spreads – For me this makes more sense to have all in one place.  I use different colors of ink or paper to keep it separate.  This is where a lot of my research now is heading.  Lists of what 3 card spreads can be used for, new spreads I discover through social media and notes on if I like them or what I would like to change about them.  Lists of books I want to read on various subjects related to tarot or divination in general.
  3. Notes – This is where I place things that I am working on, goals, and things I want to learn more about when I have the time.  Again, colors are used to keep things organized.  Lists of books to read, decks I want to own, personal challenges that I am trying to work out in terms of tarot learning.

I removed the journal section, I like to journal in notebooks.  So I moved to a notebook that I can keep in my binder if I want, or take with me.  I do try to journal or, at the very least, make short notes about a reading at least once a week.  I only note daily cards if I feel a deep connection with them, and even then, I usually only jot it down in my planner.

Take Aways

PROS:

  • Great for actively updating and fine tuning your research.
  • Can organize it any way you like and include what you like (astrology or candle magick correspondences with your tarot cards, go wild!)
  • Can use any colors or materials you like to make the pages, and even the binder itself, something personal and treasured.
  • It is a great storage site for your research.
  • Can purchase accessories to hold pens, tape, stickers, etc.
  • Can journal in a spiral notebook and store it in the binder

 

CONS:

  • Binder rings can wear out and become either uneven or gapped, which can make turing or storing pages almost impossible.
  • Binders can be expensive for what they are.
  • Fancy binder materials can be expensive as well, but sometimes are worth the investment – like page protectors
  • Holes can rip and tear over time, but you can put your notes in page protectors.
  • If you have your pages in page protectors, can be cumbersome to annotate pages.  You have to remove them from the page protector and then make sure to return them when done.
  • Page protectors make your binder thicker than it really is

 

Next time, I’ll talk about the pros and cons of a composition book and a digital book of shadows.

 

Did I miss anything?  Do you have a tarot journal?  What kind?  Do you love it? Why?  Would love to know! 🙂

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Visible Self Care – Trying to Set Examples for the Kiddos

My goals for this moon cycle was self-improvement. With the New Moon, I focused on creating internal self-care habits that can be seen by others, but only work for me.  Things like journaling and meditation.  It’s nice when the kids see that I am trying to make time for myself, but I can’t really include them into these activities with me.  Sure, I can try and have the 2 year old sit still and meditate…  (I laughed as I typed that sentence) or have the 5 year old color with me while I work on my journal and maybe not ask me how to draw an X or Y or Z.

And that led to my external list.  The goal is to take time for myself, but these are also things that the kids could do too with little explanation or coaxing.  While I will NOT let them light incense for a few years, we can sit at the table and enjoy the smell or look at the smoke together.  I can make them lemon and honey tea to sip along with me while I sip my coffee and we can try to be mindful about how it feels to drink our beverages.

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Somedays I feel like the dormouse, but I act the part of the March Hare

And even though the point of self-care is to focus more on yourself, these simple activities actually cause the kids to slow down for a few  minutes with me and we both benefit.  They don’t join me every time, and occasionally I do wait until they are doing something else entirely (mommy needs space some days).

However, the fact that they can see me taking a break is important to me.  I don’t remember seeing much of this in my own family.  I am sure my parents had their methods of taking a break, but most of it was at the end of the day.  My mom would always go to bed early and read or watch TV, and my dad was a computer geek who would be working on his computer for fun.  Beyond that, I don’t remember much.  Day time was always for being active and busy, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I need breaks of silence and aloneness to function my best.  (yay for being an introvert!)

For my parents, the active days and relaxing nights worked for them.  But for me, after I left home, I thought I was doing something wrong.  I would seek out lunch breaks at work alone or with a book.  I would come home and not want to talk or even see my husband because I had to be around people in a very small clinic all day long and I was very done.  And even now, staying home with the kids, I thought I was a terrible mother because I still make my 5 year old take naps (okay, rests) in her room, so that I can have time to just sit and be still.

I didn’t “know” I could take a break or a minute when I became an adult, especially a mother.  Not during the day, anyway, I would rush rush rush to get everything done – chores, meals, handwriting and letters for the soon to be  kindergartener, errands, lesson planning/grading (I taught part time at the local technical college), laundry.  I had to do ALL the things before the sun went down.  I would read at night, but sometimes I’d still be thinking or worrying about my day or work the next day, or the kids (once they came into our lives).

The burnout was intense, but I didn’t realize it until I stopped my teaching job last month.  I have extra time without grading and lesson planning.  And when I tried to enjoy it, I felt wracked with guilt.  I can’t sit and work on a novel that I tried to start for last NaNoWriMo.  I can’t take a nap.  I can’t actually (and finally) open and start playing Stardew Valley (only been putting that off for about two years).

This moon cycle was my first step to making sure that I take care of myself in order to take care of those around me.

I’ve read about self-care for years.  I even talked about it in my English 101 classes (hypocrite!).  I studied it, but never acted on it (what I do about everything I’m interested in)  I even started trying to make small things happen daily.  Things that were just for me, but then something would throw off my rhythm and I would spiral downward.  But, if I can have small things, non-routine things, that I can even do with the kids, then this habit should grow and help all of us.

These simple things are something I can pull from when I need to clear my head and only have a few minutes.  They also can work when the kids want to be with me (which some days is ALL day long).  And things they can pick up and use for themselves.  My daughter occasionally takes short breaks in her room where she just lies on the bed and looks out her window for a few minutes.  She usually comes back a lot more relaxed.

Eventually, I plan on teaching them about journaling.  That is my real outlet when I’m over-stressed or can’t shut my brain off.

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But for now, I am trying to incorporate something daily that they could join me in if they want to.  Something that is not a routine either, so that I can be more flexible – something I really need to work at right now.

I am trying to make an effort to take a break in front of them.  And tell them that I am taking a break.  It will be a challenge – I will have to fight off the mom guilt for ignoring them for 5 minutes (maybe).  Something we can both benefit from.

 

Full Moon

The full moon is out tonight.  No more hiding or hoarding things you don’t need.  It’s all exposed under the light of the full moon.  This is a time to think about transformation until the next full moon. 28 days to work through the things that are holding you up or holding you back.

Also the time to recharge your crystals, your tarot cards, and anything else you want or need including yourself.  Anything to help with the heavy energy that is present.  Don’t know if you feel it to, but my anxiety has been flaring up for the past week for no reason.  I’ve been very chill up until this week.

Not sure about you, but I could use a reboot both emotionally and mentally.  Even just a short break from your thoughts can help.  Helps me when the overwhelm or anxiety begins to strike.  These can help make a margin of space between you and your emotions.  And while it may be a small margin, sometimes that’s all you need to find your footing again or shed light on the path.


Few easy ways to make time for yourself:

  • Mindfully enjoy your beverage of choice.  Feel how it moves around your mouth.  What if feels like on your teeth, tongue, cheeks, and throat.  Sounds silly, but when you take a sip think about that liquid instead of your day or whatever.  It’s like a timeout, the clock may still be running, but you have a second to stop thinking about real and “important” things.
  • Force yourself to look out the window for at least 2 minutes.  Think about what you see and try to make up a story around it.  Are the birds you see gossiping about what the squirrel did or the latest episode of X they watched through a window?  Again, it’s dumb and silly, but it gives you a pause when the thoughts come too fast.
  • Smell something that gives you comfort.  I love lavender and clean laundry.  Any chance I can work these smells into my day I am happier for it.  As tedious as laundry gets, I try to enjoy the smell and feel of warm, clean laundry.
  • Pull a tarot card.  Just one and think about the picture.  You can do a few things here with this one.  1. Tell yourself a story about the figure in the card.  The story can be in the lines of what they mean or you can go crazy.  Have the couple in the Devil card trying to sell you a used car. Or maybe a story of how the man in the ten of wands got into that situation.  Get as deep or as funny as you need. Feel free to do a spread of your choice if you have the time and energy.
  • Burn some incense or candle or spray some air freshener.  Clear your head with a new smell.  It’s amazing how much a little sandalwood smoke can completely turn my day around.
  • Take a few deep belly breaths.  Feel the air move through you even if it’s just plain room air.  Try the alternating nasal breathing exercises where you block one nostril at a time per breath.  Try breathing through your mouth or nose if you don’t normally breathe that way.  Fill your belly with air and rock a drum solo.  Take breaths sitting then standing and try to notice the difference.

Sure, this list is small and maybe a little silly.  Don’t brush off silliness.  Adulthood is boring and over-stressful.  I envy my kids – they can amuse themselves for hours with the simplest things like a piece of string, and all I can see is how useless the string is or try to list ways I can use it to make life better (but still serious).

Since the moon is full, maybe it’s time to delve into that which is causing you angst.  Maybe you’re not ready yet.  But when you feel overwhelmed, remember to take a few seconds to be mindful or silly.  Try to let the overwhelm go and shift your focus onto things more deserving of your time: you, your family and friends, your pets.

Happy Full Moon.

Creating my Tarot Journal

I’ve been playing with my tarot cards since Mother’s Day and am really enjoying them.  However, I feel like I’ve only stuck my toe into the vast sea that is Tarot.  I’ve been delving into the surface with the help of Pinterest, but a common suggestion that I have been stumbling upon is to create a Tarot Journal.

Oooo!  A journal! This should be right up my ally, right?  I’ve been putting it off for weeks now.  With the encouragement of the the New Moon this month to strengthen my spiritual practices, I finally dove in and began working on this project.

I am also FINALLY using this handmade notebook that I’ve been carrying around with me for over a decade (maybe even over two).  I always felt it was too pretty to use for regular journaling, but for this it just feels right.

I’ve completed the Major Arcana so far.  It was interesting.  I had read the book 78 Degrees of Wisdom a few months ago, and boy was that a LOT of info.  And I’ve been listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast for a few weeks now.  Biddy Tarot is all about use your intuition to read the cards, while 78 Degrees was VERY VERY VERY detail oriented and specific.  However, with these two resources and my own self, I’ve been putting together something that I really like so far.

I start every page off with the story that I see in the card.  Here is the character, the focal point, the feelings that I get from the card in general.  If a symbol stands out then I note it, I ask questions in the stories too (like the people in the tower – did they jump voluntarily or were they thrown out?).  I could pull up 78 Degrees again, and note every symbol and detail and meaning of them all, but it’s okay to leave that for later discovery.  So I have my little story.  Then i have the number and any helpful insight about the number or astrology that is tied in with this card (planets or numbers).  Then I use the Biddy Tarot website for meaning because she has the most concise descriptions that I’ve found so far, and I like her podcast, so I like her blog.  In her descriptions she will go into symbols and whatnot, but I only note my overall strongest impressions.  What I want to know right now.  Again, later discovery will allow for delving.  I also note reversals.  It’s simple, there is a lot of white space on the page for later annotations.  So far I love it.

My process has been to look into the card and find the story.  Write that down and anything else that I know or notice.  Make a bullet style list of meanings and info.  Then move on to the next card.  I’ve been getting a lot more familiar with the Majors.  I don’t see a lot of them in my own readings.

I am starting the Minors today, and I am not sure how I want to do it.  Honestly, I was thinking about doing it by numbers rather than suits.  All the aces with their specific meanings, followed by the 2s instead of an entire suit followed by another entire suit.  I feel like there is power in the numbering as well as the suits, so looking at all of the 4s together could help me better understand them as a whole (and I’ll refer back to the Major 4s as well) and applying the nature of their suits.  We’ll see.  This part is making me the most nervous because I am not sure exactly how it will turn out or if I will be happy with this method.

 

But I am super excited about it.