What Are Tarot and Oracle Decks?

Tarot and Oracle decks are tools that allow us to tap into our psychic energy. They’re a tool for unlocking the subconscious mind, and I use them on a daily basis. Tarot and Oracle allow me to bring my thoughts and feelings into conscious awareness by identifying with the symbols and meanings in the cards. Meanings can be based off artwork, archetype, depiction, and/or intuition. Using Oracle and Tarot for journaling is an incredibly powerful exercise in strengthening your gifts and connection with your deck.

What’s the difference?

Tarot has a major and minor arcana. The Major Arcana are the Archetypes of the deck. Although there are many types of tarot decks, the general meanings stay the same regardless of the deck. The Minor Aracana is divided up into four suits, similar to a deck of playing cards. The most “standard” suits are Pentacles, Wands, Cups, and Swords. Each suit has a “2” up through “king.” Some decks represent an ace as well. Each suit also has a specific meaning. Some tarot decks have different names for the suits, but the four different core meanings are fairly consistent and parallel.

I also want to mention that there are so many different types of Tarot and Oracle decks. Go to a search engine and search “interest” + oracle or tarot deck.”

Let’s Debunk some Tarot and Oracle Myths

Before we adventure into how to use these cards for journaling, allow me to debunk a few Tarot and Oracle myths. There are some Card Readers out there that will tell you in order to read tarot successfully you need to be able to memorize your entire deck and offer readings without touching a guidebook. I think this is bananas.

You don’t have to have all your cards memorized to read for yourself or others.

Allow me to repeat that: Memorization is NOT required! As you learn your decks you will naturally begin to memorize them. Many people get hung up on this, especially reading for other people. I’m a firm believer that a little reference point never hurt anyone when they’re learning, and you don’t start out a “Master Card Reader.”

Tarot and oracle cards in reverse aren’t required

In some decks, mainly traditional Tarot, people read their cards upside down, or in reverse, in addition to upright. I don’t suggest reading reverse with a new deck. Reading only upright allows you to put more energy into the decks in the beginning. When I read only upright, after each draw I re-orient all of my cards before beginning the next spread or draw. This means I have to physically touch all my cards more than if I were to use reversals. I believe we create energetic bonds with our tools, and this allows you to create a solid foundation. Reading in Reverse can also be difficult for beginners because they are trying to slowly learn so many different cards. Adding reversals doubles the number of meanings there are to memorize for a deck. I use reversals on a case by case basis.

Tarot cards aren’t superior to Oracle cards

I like using both Tarot and Oracle cards. Some people prefer one or the other. Here’s how I see them as different. Tarot is the same across the board with the Major and Minor Arcana. There are also 72 cards. I use Tarot when I want a very specific question to a specific answer or a step by step process on how to do something. Oracle cards are more open to interpretation, and I prefer to use them as a guide. I like using Oracle cards when I’m asking the question, “what do I need to hear today?” or other general questions. I also think of Tarot in terms of my every day life and Oracle as my spirituality, but every single person is different.

Here are some of the countless ways you can use Tarot:

shadow work
personal development
reading for friends
reading for clients
yes/no questions
predicting the future
spiritual guidance
ritual work
business advice
promotional content calendar
business planning
personal life planning
spiritual development
connect with a higher power
exercise your intuition

Oracle and Tarot for Journaling

I love using Tarot as daily mindfulness activity. Many people call this a “Daily Draw,” but you can pull a card weekly or monthly and journal about it instead if every day sounds too overwhelming. With each pull, I use my journal to do what I call “Free Writing Association.” Free Writing Association is essentially looking at an image, phrase, or list of words and writing down whatever comes to mind. It might be emotions, appearance, thoughts, pictures, anything.

Here’s an example

At the beginning of the year, I did a large Year in Review Tarot Spread for 2018. I did both short and long free writes for each month. For January I pulled the Hierophant. Here’s the long version of I wrote about it at the beginning of the year,

“One of the things The Hierophant symbolizes in Religion. While I prefer to subscribe to spirituality rather than religion, something has been continuously coming up for me.

I follow a loosely termed Pagan path. I’m polytheistic and incorporate Hinduism, Quantum Physics, and Egyptian spirituality in my practice. In the Pagan path, the seasons symbolize changes in our lives. The Winter for Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere tends to embody Crone Energy.

Winter is a time for relaxation, rest, recuperation, rejuvenation. It is a time of looking inward, expanding self, and leaning into personal development. In the plant and animal world, species go into hibernation, they slow their growth and give themselves the space to honor the slow transition into Spring.

Honoring The Seasons

Honoring the Seasons has been a new practice to me, but it aligns perfectly with my previous understanding of my personal ‘phases.’ I have PTSD and the Winter has always been incredibly difficult for me. Most of my trauma happened in the winter, and in the cold. The lack of sunlight, warmth, and being outside amplifies the trauma and I tend to shut off from the world around me.

I knew this Winter was going to be hard because I’m processing things in therapy I’ve never processed before. Anniversaries come and go, and the cold never helps. In the past, I would shut off and buckle down to just get through the Winters. This year, I’m making an active effort to honor the transformation.

I have been pouring myself into self-care. I dye my hair, do my nails, make time for yoga, and meditate. Therapy once a week and I journal. I work through personal development workbooks. The Winter is becoming a time for me to go inward and call on Crone Wisdom to move through these emotions to make room for me to bloom.

The Hierophant is constantly reminding me to take it slow and easy with my work, and allow myself to rest, relax, and allow the Crone Energy in.”

Once I journaled and realized what I was working through, the ability to release came much faster. This is why I use Tarot and Oracle cards for Journaling.

Oracle and Tarot Challenge

Take all your decks and interview each one. Cleanse it, shuffle, and ask, “what is this deck here to help me with?” Journal on each card and keep the notebook handy as a reference point, and which deck is best suited for specific energies or purposes. You’ll have an easy time determining which card can better serve you for each reading.

Here’s an example

I interviewed my Dreams of Gaia Tarot deck by Ravynne Phelan. The Major Arcana is different from traditional Tarot, but the suits are named by elements and there is a parallel between them and traditional Tarot suits. When I asked this deck “What is your purpose in my life,” I drew a Major Arcana card: XXIV (24) Faith. Here’s what I wrote about Faith using free association writing,

“Faith. Serenity. Mood. When I have faith I am more secure, stable, and grounded. Faith in myself. Confidence. I have an immense amount of power and I’m worthy of having it simply because I exist.

I used to have no faith in myself or the world around me. This deck’s purpose is to instill that confidence and invoke the energy of safety and stability. This is a deck for when I need grounding truth and guidance.

Faith is also divine connection. This deck will allow me to tap into my intuition and connect with the Devine. Through this deck I will also to communicate with my spirit guide, Mother Gaia. Faith. Believe. I am enough. I am deserving. It is my birthright.”

Sometimes during free writing association, I’ll end up writing messages I needed to hear at that point in my life. This is why Tarot and Oracle decks are an incredible companion to journaling.”

10 Prompts to get you started on using Tarot for journaling:

What does this card mean to me?
How does this card make me feel?
Is there any particular symbol or character I’m drawn towards in this card?
What is this card telling me?
Why did I pull this card?
How can the ideas behind this card improve my life?
Do I have any resistance towards this card?
What does the main character of the card look like?
Does this card resonate with me?
What does this card want me to know?


Using these new journaling skills in conjunction with a Tarot or Oracle deck will help you deepen the understanding of yourself, the world around you, and the relationship with your decks. Tarot and Oracle are amazing tools, and there are so many different types of decks available. I believe everyone can benefit from Tarot and Oracle, whether they’re a beginner witch or well-versed in their path!

Want to see a bitching .pdf I made for Tarot and Journaling? Click the picture below!

tarot for journaling

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