Tarot Top 5: Journaling with the Tarot

I've kept a journal since first grade and I haven't stopped since. What started out as a My Melody diary with a lock and key, turned into spiral notebooks, hardbound books from Barnes & Noble to my preferred journal these days—the hardbound Moleskines with lined paper. My diary-keeping and sporadic art journaling is relegated to my Midori Traveler's Notebook, which I have on my person 24/7.

But! I digress. (I could talk about paper all day). An incredibly strong part of my tarot practice is weekly journaling, followed up with new moon and full moon readings. If you've been going through my blog for a while now, you'll notice how I always insert prompts and readings that go with the lunar cycle. 

Journaling is a wonderful way to check in on yourself and to purge anything you've been holding in without censorship. It's a great way to see how the cards you pull reflect your innermost thoughts and your personal experiences. I find that my intuition and my awareness are both heightened because I make it a point to journal consistently.

These decks, I find, are great companions for you and your journal for different reasons.

1. The Wooden Tarot (by Skullgarden). I had gone back and forth on this deck for months, and was lucky enough to be gifted it last Christmas by a good friend. The Wooden Tarot is mysterious and thought-provoking. Its lovingly sardonic animal images can make even the most attuned tarot reader question definitions and meanings, most of which we take for granted. Because this deck doesn't come with a book, you're really challenged to look inwards and find your own way through the cards. The Wooden Tarot is perfect for stream of consciousness journalling—when you feel as though you have nothing to write about and want a way into your subconscious, its evocative images are a great gateway.

2. The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit (by Kim Krans, The Wild Unknown). Much to many people's surprise, I'm not a huge animal person… and that's partly why I feel this deck brings out a lot of rich insight from me. The deck itself comes with a succinct guide, giving each animal a few key words that are great for tipping you off as far as deriving insight goes. I think it's super interesting, how each animal carries a certain personality that can help us open doors to our own selves. Isn't that what journalling is about? The companion guidebook to this deck is priceless because it allows you to investigate whether or not you have these animal spirits balanced or imbalanced in your life, along with tips on how to keep everything aligned.

3. Paulina Tarot (by Paulina Cassidy, US Games). I bought this deck on my first trip to Portland, over at Powell's. This deck is a tricky one for me and encourages journalling because there's just SO MUCH going on in the imagery. You can look at the same card everyday for a month and spot different things every day, that's how visually potent Paulina Cassidy's images are. This is a perfect deck to start a tarot journal with because it has so much to offer. Admittedly, the task of going through this collection of images card by card is daunting to me, which is why I haven't attempted it. Maybe this year :)

4. The Moon Deck (by Aarona Ganesan, Andrea Keh, Ashley Bruni). Every card on this oracle deck presents a mantra and a suggested ritual to go with it. Mantras are great for journaling because they're affirmations that you can focus on in order to pull insight and meaning from your past, present or future. A lot of times, we turn to our journals when we're going through difficult times. When we're going through the ringer, sometimes all we want is some straight up GOOD VIBES to think about. In this respect, the Moon Deck really delivers.

5. The Circo Tarot (by Marisa dela Peña, Tightrope Press). If my personality could be bottled up in a deck, this would probably it. I find that the Circo Tarot's colorful, quirky and whimsical images hold the exact energy I do when I open my journal to a fresh page—yes, I write to release bad juju, have some unnecessary weight lifted off my shoulders, and to rant and vent without judgement (sometimes, even that is tough)… but a lot of times, I turn to journaling to amp up my optimism. I do it to discover solutions and to allow my positivity to peak. The Circo Tarot's kaleidoscope of colors, its modern interpretations of the Rider Waite Smith, and its inherent hopefulness has the kind of vibe I want to have within every time I wrap up a journal entry and close my book.