I started to think about my journals thanks to Penny (a/k/a Penguin Girl), who linked to this wonderful article about journals.
I started keeping a journal around 1970. Since then, I've moved several times, married, divorced, remarried, changed professions three times, and completed a graduate degree.
Sometimes I think that my old journals are the only things in my life that have remained unchanged. That can be comforting. No matter how scattered my life or my thoughts, I'll never lose those memories, or at least the memories as I experienced and wrote about them at the time. It can be amusing or enlightening, as the pages reveal misconceptions, decisions, and my ever-changing handwriting (in ever-constant purple ink). It also can be frightening, a Pandora's box that could open and let out suppressed and excruciating memories.
My old journals include tarot readings that I used to do, mostly for myself. I never was a believer in supernatural powers of any kind, and I certainly never thought that the cards or my readings were predictive. They did focus my attention on certain desires, needs, aspirations, and faults that I needed to attend to, and they allowed me to slow down in a quiet ritual of my own devise.
I have, recently, become interested in tarot again, for many reasons - for example, one of the characters in my novel discovered tarot notations in an old diary. (Do you sense a pattern here?) I've always loved myth, legend, fairy tale, archetype, anything that illuminates the common consciousness (Jung's collective unconscious) and our common journey.
Having those journals in my closet is a mixed blessing - but a blessing, none the less, as Varda Branfman's article proves.