The best thing you can do for your continuing Tarot studies is to keep a Tarot Journal. The most practical option is to get yourself a large three-ring binder, some notebook paper, and some section dividers. Using a binder will allow you to move around and remove notes, as well as make it easier to include print-outs. Later, if you like, you can add your more important and permanent notes to a nicer looking hardbound book. Do what is best for you, so that you will use this book often.
I suggest you include the following categories in your journal:
- Card Meanings: This section is for your collected notes on card meanings. You may wish to keep separate notes on different decks, especially if their symbolism is divergent. For example, I have a many notes on general RWS-based decks, but I have separate notes for the Goddess Tarot since the Major Arcana is so different. (It features goddess from a wide variety of pantheons.)
- Correspondences: Here you could keep notes on things like astrological correspondences, colour meanings, numerology, or anything else that may be helpful when studying Tarot.
- Spreads: Your collection of spreads, along with notes on how to do a reading, choosing a significator, etc.
- Readings: Record all your readings, whether they are done for yourself or others. These notes can be helpful in determining patterns in the cards you draw for specific issues, and for tracing how a card meaning develops during your studies.
- Exercises: Some Tarot books offer exercises to help you get acquainted with you deck. This section is a great place to keep them, in case you decided you want to look over them again one day. Believe me, you will!
- Misc.: A catch-all section for notes that don’t fit anywhere else. This is also a good place to keep your Tarot wish list, pictures of decks, ideas, etc.
My Tarot Journal has all these sections for Tarot, as well as similar sections for my oracle decks. I prefer to keep these two topics separated because oracle decks, in general, work very differently than Tarot decks. And I think it would be confusing to keep notes on two different systems together.
Regardless of how you choose to set up your Tarot Journal, I would like to offer two pieces of advice:
- Date everything, especially your readings! This will help put your notes in context when you are looking over them again later.
- Record the source for all your notes taken out of books and off the Internet. This is very important in case you want to consult the source again or direct someone else to it. It is doubly important if you want to publish your notes or quote from them. Without properly citing a source you may be plagiarizing or infringing on someone’s copyright. You may not think this is serious, but it can lead to legal action. So, err on the side of caution and record all your sources.
In addition to my large Tarot Journal, I have two smaller books. One is a small take-along book of card meanings, handy for when I draw a blank as it contains more personalized meanings then those in found in most LWBs. The second book contains many different spreads, which I let my Querents look through if they are having problems coming up with a question. (And it also helps me if I am having a hard time remembering just exactly how a particular spread works.) I prefer these smaller books for travel because they are much easier to transport then my large Tarot Journal binder. As for recording readings on the go, I usually scribble them down and write them out in my journal when I get home.