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.
- Familiarity with cards
- Creating stronger systems for relating with the cards and connecting with my intuition
- Creating a stronger foundation for using my intuition
- 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 So my physical binders were usually out of date – if any one had ever stopped to check.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:
- Card Meanings
- Personal Tarot Readings
- Tarot Reading Techniques
- Tarot Resources
- Tarot Spreads
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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! 🙂