Tarot Journaling: Using the Celtic Cross to Unveil Your Hidden Story Paperback – Jan 8 2006
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About the Author
Corrine Kenner specializes in bringing metaphysical subjects down to earth. Her work on the tarot is widely published, and her classes and workshops are perennial favorites among students in the Midwest. Corrine is a certified tarot master, and she holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from California State University, Long Beach.
Corrine is the author of Tall Dark Stranger, a handbook on using tarot cards for romance, and Tarot Journaling, a guide to the art of keeping a tarot diary. She was also the creator of Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar. She is a contributor to the 2005, 2006, and 2007 editions of the Llewellyn Tarot Reader. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Kenner edited Llewellyn's popular Astrological Calendar, Daily Planetary Guide, and Sun Sign Book. She is also the author of Crystals for Beginners.
Corrine has lived in Brazil, Los Angeles, and the Twin Cities of Minnesota. She now lives in the Midwest with her husband Dan and her daughters Katherine, Emily, and Julia.
You can find her website at www.corrinekenner.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
What Covers You
Turn up the top or first card of the pack; cover the Significator with it, and say: This covers him. This card gives the influence which is affecting the person or matter of inquiry generally, the atmosphere of it in which the other currents work.
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (1910)
When Arthur Edward Waite first conceptualized his tarot deck, he hired a young artist named Pamela Colman Smith to illustrate each card. She was a fellow member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, a mystical group that truly believed in the importance of atmosphere: they met in a space designed to look like an ancient Egyptian pyramid, and dressed in elaborate costumes with robes and headpieces.
Pamela Colman Smith had a theater background, so she fit right in. Earlier, she had designed sets, costumes, and programs for England's Royal Lyceum Theatre when it toured the United States-and she brought her flair for the dramatic to the tarot cards she painted. In fact, when you look through the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, you might notice that many of the cards look like costumed actors posing on a stage.
Your own backdrop and surroundings can play a crucial role in your journaling practice. If you want to get the most out of each performance, you might want to think about setting the stage and ushering in a little atmosphere.
Location, Location, Location
Where should you write in your tarot journal? You might like to work in a quiet room-especially if you plan to combine a full-fledged tarot reading with your writing, and privacy is an issue. In that case, a bedroom, a den, or a quiet corner in the yard is perfect. You might prefer to work where there is a buzz or hum of activity-where you can see the archetypes of the tarot come alive in the guise of busy strangers going about their business, and you can overhear stimulating snippets of conversation. Cafés, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, and hotel lobbies are all good places to journal.
Honestly, you can write in your tarot journal anywhere you like, as long as you can immerse yourself fully in the tarot cards and in the pages of your journal-an area many tarot readers refer to as “sacred space.”
Many tarot readers routinely clear a sacred space for their tarot readings. The process is simple: they clear away clutter and distractions, light candles, and visualize pure white light filling their reading area.
Some tarot readers go a step further and establish a dedicated reading area. Many tarot readers like to enhance that sacred space with symbolic representations of the four suits and their corresponding elements, such as candles for fire, chalices for water, soothing background music for air, and crystals for earth.
In a similar fashion, tarot journaling should incorporate the four realms of your experience: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical. Tarot journaling should also be a holistic experience that integrates all of your senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
The imagery and colors of the cards, of course, will please your sense of sight. Beautiful background music will uplift your spirit. Scented oils, candles, or incense will stimulate your sense of smell. A glass of water, coffee, tea, or wine will appeal to your sense of taste. And the weight of your journal in your hands or on your lap will put you in physical contact with your sense of touch.
Because the work you do in your tarot journal originates in your mind, however, you have one option that isn't open to you when you conduct a tarot reading. When you write in your tarot journal, you can work with sacred space that's based more in your inner world than in your outer reality. You might think of it as “imaginary” sacred space-except for the fact that it will seem more real to you every time you visit.
You might choose a scene from a tarot card as the basis for your sacred space. You might envision yourself in the Nine of Pentacles garden, for example, or the seaside balcony in the Two of Wands. You can either select a card at random or choose the card you most want to use.
Your sacred space also can be an idealized space that you picture in your mind's eye: the den, library, tea parlor, or landscape of your dreams. You might even find a photo in a magazine and use that as inspiration.
Imaginary sacred space is ideal for journaling, because it can travel with you. Imaginary sacred space is always ready for you to close your eyes and step inside-and cleanup is quick and easy. In addition, fantasy sacred space has the added benefit of preparing you to someday discover or create your ideal sacred space in the real world.
Ritual and Routine
Tarot reading rituals help smooth the way for tarot readings, by eliminating decisions about where you should sit, how you should shuffle, or how you should open a reading. Likewise, a few well-designed journaling rituals will help you get the preliminaries out of the way, calm you, and free you to start the creative process of writing.
Here are some techniques you can try as part of your journaling routine.
Light a candle. Gaze into the flame for a few minutes before you begin writing.
Enjoy your favorite drink. Feel yourself relax with every sip, and imagine it filling you with energy.
Try four-part breathing. Inhale, and hold your breath for five seconds. Then exhale, and again hold your breath for five seconds. As you breathe, imagine yourself becoming more relaxed and, simultaneously, more rejuvenated. Let the fresh air permeate every cell of your being. Inhale to recharge. Exhale to dispel tension and negativity.
Progressive relaxation. Consciously relax every part of your body, from head to toe.
Ground yourself. Put both feet on the floor. Imagine that you are a tree, with roots reaching far underground and branches reaching toward the heavens.
You might want to begin each entry the same way, so you don't waste any time composing your first few words.
Greet your audience. “Dear Diary” is cliché, but it works. You might also address each entry directly to the audience you have in mind. You might be writing your journal for your current self or your future self. You might imagine yourself writing to your children, your grandchildren, your students, your therapist, or your support group. You might be talking to your partner-past, present, or future. You might be writing to a friend-either someone you know now, someone you used to know, or someone you hope to meet.
Date the page. Include the time of day and your location.
Mood lighting. Write about your mood and the reason for your attitude. Recap the events of your day so far.
Draw a card. Choose a card from your tarot deck, and write its title on the page.
Shortcuts and Abbreviations
In tarot journaling, you might find yourself writing many of the same phrases, words, and titles over and over again. You can take shortcuts, like the abbreviations and shorthand that follow. If you choose to develop your own tarot timesavers, create a key and keep it with your journal.
Major Arcana Abbreviations
You can refer to Major Arcana cards by their Arabic numbers or Roman numerals, both of which are usually printed on the cards, and both of which are fairly standard and consistent from deck to deck. The only exception is Strength and Justice-cards 8 and 11. In some decks, depending on the artist's preference, Strength is 8 and Justice is 11. In other decks, that's reversed. In your journal, you might need to note which deck you're using.
2IIThe High Priestess
8VIIIStrength (sometimes Justice)
10XThe Wheel of Fortune
11XIJustice (sometimes Strength)
12XIIThe Hanged Man
Minor Arcana Abbreviations
You can use abbreviations for cards in the four suits of the Minor Arcana: typically W for wands, C for cups, S for swords, and P for pentacles. If your wands are called rods, use an R. If your wands are called staffs, distinguish them from swords by writing “St” and “Sw.” If pentacles happen to be called coins in your deck, use a “cents” symbol (¢) instead of the letter C. You get the idea.
When you abbreviate the names of court cards, be sure to distinguish between Knights and Kings by using the abbreviations Kn for Knights and K for Kings.
If you prefer, you can also devise glyphs or symbolic illustrations to designate specific cards. You might note your wands as straight lines (|) or exclamation marks (!), cups as circles (o), swords as arrows (), and pentacles as stars or asterisks (*). You could even rely on playing-card symbols, and denote wands as clubs (®), cups as hearts (™), swords as spades (´), and pentacles as diamonds (©).
Many tarot readers note reversed cards with the n symbol-a shortcut borrowed from astrologers, who use it to refer to retrograde planets. (Those are planets that appear, from Earth's vantage point, to be moving backward.)
Astrological glyphs can be useful additions to a tarot journal. Astrological references are built in to most tarot cards. The glyphs are not difficult to memorize, especially once you realize that they actually look like the symbol they represent.
glyphsign. (representation.) card.
aAries, the ram. (A ram's horns.) The Emperor.
bTaurus, the bull. (A bull's head.) The Hierophant.
cGemini, the twins. (Twins, side by side.) The Lovers.
dCancer, the crab. (A crab's claws.) The Chariot.
eLeo, the lion. (A lion's mane.) Strength.
fVirgo, the virgin. (MV, the Virgin Mary's initials.) The Hermit.
gLibra, the scales. (Balanced scales.) Justice.
hScorpio, the scorpion. (A scorpion's stinger.) Death.
iSagittarius, the archer. (An arrow.) Temperance.
jCapricorn, the goat. (A mountain goat.) The Devil.
kAquarius, the water-bearer. (Waves of water or air.) The Star.
lPisces, the fish. (Two fish, kissing.) The Moon.
[The Sun, luminary of light and illumination. (The center of the universe.) The Sun.
@The Moon, luminary of reflection and receptivity. (A crescent moon.) The High Priestess.
OMercury, planet of speed and communication. (A magician in a horned headpiece.) The Magician.
TVenus, planet of love and beauty. (A woman's hand mirror.) The Empress.
NMars, planet of energy and force. (Directed energy, an arrow.) The Tower.
MJupiter, planet of luck and expansion. (The fourth planet from the Sun, the number four.) The Wheel of Fortune.
RSaturn, planet of boundaries, tradition, and limitations. (A traditional church with a steeple and cross.) The World.
SUranus, planet of rebellion and independence. (A man doing a handstand.) The Fool.
PNeptune, planet of glamour and illusion. (The sea god's trident.) The Hanged Man.
QPluto, planet of unavoidable change and regeneration. (A P and an L, the first two letters of “Pluto.”) Judgement.
You can save time during a journaling session by using a checklist to record pertinent facts about your tarot readings. The following list of possible checklist entries is extensive; don't try to incorporate all of it. Just pick and choose from the items on this list that truly interest you.
Some of the items you might want to include in your reading records include:
•Astrological data (Sun sign, Moon phase, planetary
retrogrades, void-of-course Moon data)
•The reader's name, if you are getting a reading from a
•The querent or questioner's name, if you are reading
the card for another person
•The question or concern
•The name of the deck
•The name of the spread
•The cards in each position of the spread
•Clarification or wild cards
•Number of Major Arcana cards
•Number of Minor Arcana cards
•Keywords and phrases
•Numerical significance and interpretation
•Interesting pairs and combinations
•Predominant suits and elements
•Missing suits and elements
•Themes (elemental, numerical, astrological, or kabbalistic)
•Additional questions developed during the course of the
Fill in the Blanks
If you truly want to keep a quick and easy tarot journal, you might want to develop standard “fill in the blank” pages to document most of your readings. You can use any page design software to create forms like the ones in appendix V, print as many copies as you need, and keep them in a three-ring binder. You can also find downloadable versions of each page online at www.tarotjournaling.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Let me stress first, as the author does, you need not know anything about either Tarot or journaling to benefit from this book. Kenner offers clear, concise, uncomplicated Tarot basics, including how to choose a deck if you do not have one. Suggestions for choosing one's physical journal (spiral, looseleaf, electronic, etc.) and the styles of journaling are also included. On the other hand, I have kept various journals (dreams, Tarot, daily, etc.) for many, many years and I found a great deal of value in her book.
Kenner's outlining of the many benefits of journaling is not only accurate based on my own experiences and the shared experiences of many friends over the years, but is backed up by reference to research. She addresses the various inner hitches you may come across in journaling, always emphasizing that we respect ourselves as we would another person. The ethics of journaling are covered, including the issue of whether to read Tarot cards about someone else without their knowledge.
The author suggests that a journal can be the foundation for in-depth work with the Tarot, offering exercises and ideas for deepening your relationship to each of the cards. A great many of her ideas are gold mines for creative writers, even those not specifically suggested for such a use. And her suggestions for Tarot journaling from the time frames of past and future could be not only a great deal of fun, but offer healing, enlightening insights and fresh perspectives.
The chapter on family and friends is rich and intense. (As with all of the author's suggestions throughout, one can pick and choose what one wishes to work with, or not.) In another chapter, Kenner carefully addresses the issues of "fortune telling," and intuition vs. psychic talent. She stresses that the cards are not "psychic," that only the reader may be - though you need not be to work with the Tarot. She nicely defines the various psychic abilities some folk may have. And Kenner ends the book with very good suggestions on how to best approach developing your psychic abilities which, as she states earlier, the cards can help you do.
Many Tarot readers, including myself, find that they have lost interest in the well-known, several card Celtic Cross layout for Tarot cards. Progressing through the Celtic Cross, Kenner uses a position meaning of the layout as a springboard for each of the chapters. By the end of her book, I found the Celtic Cross layout had been revivified for me.
The appendices are very helpful and uncomplicated, including Tarot card reading templates for journal records, and brief definitions for each of the 78 cards in a standard deck.
In my early years with the Tarot I read every new (and old) Tarot book I could afford or get my hands on. But in recent years, too many new books seemed to be re-hashing previous ones and I stopped (for the most part) doing more than reading online reviews. When I recently came across an ad for "Tarot Journaling" I was immediately excited by the fresh subject and I have not been disappointed. I believe "Tarot Journaling" is the single best book about Tarot, journaling, self-healing and inner worlds exploration that I have read in many years. It is also, by far, the most accessible and "user friendly" for readers of all levels of interest and experience.
With it rich symbolism, familiar archetypes, and arresting images, the tarot is a perfect tool for brainstorming, problem solving, and inspiration. In her book Tarot Journaling, author Corrine Kenner explores various journaling techniques for getting the most out of your "wicked pack of cards".
Using the famed Celtic Cross spread as a template, Kenner explains how journaling with the Tarot can help you spot roadblocks, uncover attitudes, generate insights, tune in to your higher self, and create the future you want.
Your Self: Kenner discusses the various types of journals that you can create using the tarot and the three P's of selecting the best journal for your purposes: portability, price, and permanence.
What Covers You: The section covers the backdrop and surroundings of the journaling process-including sacred space and ritual-as well as several helpful charts of abbreviations to use in journaling. For example, Kenner provides abbreviations for the Majors and Minors, as well as a chart of astrological glyphs and a checklist for recording pertinent facts during your journaling session.
What Crosses You: This helpful section deals with confronting the inner critic, procrastination, overcoming writer's block, and reviving a tired journal.
What Crowns You: Kenner addresses privacy issues when journaling, as well as personal ethics.
What Grounds You: This is my favorite chapters in Tarot Journaling. Kenner provides excellent exercises designed for getting to know yourself-and the cards-on a more intimate level. For example, you can play matchmaker with the cards, setting up "dates" between characters from different cards. Or, try your hand at age progression or regression. What was the Empress like when she was a little girl? What kind of person will the baby in the Sun card grow up to be?
What Lies Behind You: This section delves into exploring the past, including re-working painful memories with the help of the Tarot. As Kenner says, "While the process of rewriting history might not change reality, it will change your attitude."
Your Self: Who do you think you are? Kenner shows you how to probe your psyche with the use of the Tarot.
Your House: It's said that you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. This section encourages journalers to re-connect with family through writing prompts and karmic exploration.
Your Hopes and Fears: Wish lists, success stories, unreasonable fears and worst-case scenarios are intriguing (if not scary) places to explore for a rich journaling session.
What Will Come: Kenner discusses psychic powers and development. This is the only section that I found disappointing. The author insinuates that many Tarot readers that call themselves "intuitives" rather than "psychics" because of embarrassment. She says, "When we call our gifts intuitive, we diminish them. We make them smaller. We claim them as our own creations, and we trace their origin back to our innermost selves, rather than accepting our psychic talent as a gift from a power greater than ourselves."
Well, for some intuitives like me, we believe that we are One with All That Is. God-or some mystical bestower of psychic gifts-isn't "out there", but "in here". In my opinion, humans have been making THEMSELVES "smaller" by projecting all that is good, benevolent, and powerful "out there" rather than realizing the divinity inside.
Another small sticking point is that Kenner declares that clairvoyance isn't always visual, but is most often "expressed as a sudden flash of insight or understanding that springs suddenly into one's consciousness." Actually, clairvoyance is French for "clear seeing" and does, indeed, have to do with the visual realm. "Sudden flashes of insight and understanding" is known as Claircognizance, or "clear knowing".
The Appendices provide information like Tarot keywords and Minor Arcana correspondences. Unfortunately, someone didn't catch a mistake on the color correspondences. The attributions should be Wands=Red, Cups=Blue, Swords=Yellow, and Pentacles=Green. Appendix II gets 3 out of 4 wrong, attributing Yellow to Wands, Red to Cups, and Blue to Swords.
Despite these errors, Tarot Journaling is an excellent book for both experienced readers and those who know nothing about Tarot. Kenner is an able guide, helping journalers navigate the deep waters of the psyche while retaining a sense of play and joyful exploration.
Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book: Picture the Past, Experience the Cards, Understand the Present (coming Fall 2008 from Hampton Roads Publishing)
If you are new to Tarot this book will help you become more familiar with the Celtic Cross, help you learn the cards a bit better and help you establish a pattern for a rewarding way of life.
If you are a more experienced Tarot lover, this book will give you a new, fresh perspective on journaling and will also kick start your thought process toward journaling using the Celtic Cross.
Buy this book, find a gorgeous journal (Corrine also helps you determine what journal is best for YOU) and have fun!