I’ve had a couple Tarot journals over the years, some where notebooks others binders. Now I keep mine on Evernote. I wrote earlier (see here) about keeping a digital journal, now I want to share how I keep mine organized. A strength of keeping a journal digitally is the ability to very easily keep it organized and have it for reference. I prefer a simple method of organization, part of the reason why I use Evernote.
The three functions that I find absolutely essential in Evernote are the fact that each note has a time and date stamp on it, can be organized by title, and can be tagged. The time/date stamp are an essential part of journaling, you want to be able to know when you wrote something and be able to see how things change over time. For titles, if I’m recording a reading I put the question there; for notes, the subject; and for blog posts, the title. It’s an easy to quickly see what the note is about and be able to visually link everything together. I’m a huge fan of tags. It lets me cross reference notes. I can tag a note as a reading or blog post or both. The cross-referencing system can be as simple or complex as you want. I err on the side of simplicity, so each note only gets one tag (maybe, two). I can sort all of my notes by their tag so I can quickly see every reading or blog post. Another way you can use tags, aside from umbrella categories, is to tag each reading with the deck you use.
The next part of organizing a note is the content and structure of the note itself. For reference notes or blog posts, I just start typing. There isn’t a complex system for organizing paragraph content. With blog posts, I put a note at the top with a checkbox to tell me that it was posted and when. For readings, I break things up a little bit more. Here’s the basic structure:
Cards: I write down each card that came up in the position that it came up (since I use a basic nine card spread, 3×3 I write the cards in order). You can also add a quick keyword next to each card; if you are using a spread, write down the meaning of the position and then the card.
Impressions: This is where I put all of my initial impressions from the reading. I just start typing, somewhat stream of consciousness, everything that comes to mind as I look at the cards.
Updates: If I go back to a reading later and think of something, I jot it down after my initial impressions. I don’t always have an update, but occasionally I do.
Picture: A great feature of Evernote is the ability to embed a picture in a note. I take a quick picture of the spread on my phone and after I have finished typing up the reading embed the picture at the end. This lets me reference back to the reading without having to sort through my deck to see the cards again. (This is great, if I’m borrowing a deck from a friend or if I don’t have the deck with me when I take a second look).
However you decide to organize your notes, simplicity is king. The more complex a system the harder it will be to maintain. Any organization system needs to keep the core features that you need to know what was going on and can find it when you need it. Using date/time stamps and tags gives you a lot of flexibility, while content relevant titles lets you know what was going on.