25 November 2007

my journals, my journey

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.

13 comments:

Hungryfroggy said...

Hi! I am herpnknit on Ravelry. I am a fellow Long Islander and decided to check out your blog; your writing is very enjoyable. Looking forward to becoming a regular visitor. Thanks for sharing.

sohonyc said...

Wise words on Tarot readings. Most people don't realize that Tarot is ultimately just a framework for deeply introspective, self-therapy.

(Not that I have anything against people who see it in a more spiritual light).

FYI -- there's a good quality set of online cards at http://www.ifate.com/tarot_index.html if you're still reading.

amy said...

I have stacks and stacks of journals. I don't have them all; I jettisoned one or two along the way--but I have most of them. Some of it is just torturous to re-read, but if I ever want to remember how it feels to be a lovesick melodramatic college sophomore, well, I can go right to the source. I once made my husband to promise to burn them all once I've died, not to let ANYONE see them, and especially not my children. I think I still feel that way, but maybe I'll change my mind...

Donna Lee said...

I have started and stopped journals many times. I have never been very faithful to them. I own a tarot deck and pull them out once in a while. I used to do readings for myself more often. I have noticed that I pull them out when things are uncertain in my life and they help me put things in perspective. I am not a believer in divination but I do enjoy a good reading.

Bridget said...

If nothing else, I think just seeing how your handwriting has changed is interesting. I can remember my age/experiences/traumas just by the different ways I wrote things ...

Em said...

You're so disciplined to be able to keep journals that constantly. At best, I write in mine when I am deeply distressed, so I prefer not to read them (they give me such a lopsided view of my past).

This will sound a bit silly, but the part of the Tarot cards I've always liked best is the story that each one tells. And there are so many beautiful decks!

Jennifer said...

I have a hard time keeping a journal. I guess my blog is a journal of sorts. I have kept up a reading journal for the past 7 years, but it's the only form of journaling I've ever been able to commit to. I think your commitment to setting down your thoughts is admirable!

KnitNana said...

I kept journals for years. Then stopped when "himself" vanished from my life the second time. When he returned, I started them again. And stopped the last time he left.
I have them all. I read them. Would I would truly LEARN from them.

Ideally, I'd start one now, and if I ever heard from him again, I'd write triumphantly that I'd finally learned my lesson.

(I started out in green ink, and moved to purple over the years, then to black. I recently bought purple pens again...hmm...)

And it's time for another try at the Tarot of the Cat People...what will December bring? (no, I don't think the cards really know, but it's interesting to see what turns up)
You DO know how to make me think, you know?

We do like so many of the same things...
(((((hugs)))))

BettyBoop53 said...

My journals show my growth over the years. I was so green and so stupid. I definitely plan to destroy some of my journals saving a few out for my children of the more eventful years of their growing up. I wasn't into Tarot but I did favor I Ching. Probably because I couldn't find a Tarot deck.

teabird said...

I think everyone's journals depict themselves as green and stupid, at least in some aspect (in my case, many many aspects!) - that's part of what makes them worthwhile, though.

Carrie K said...

I think I'd cringe horribly if I could reread my journals now - which is probably as it should be. Alas, they're all up in smoke when I caught my first husband reading them.....(and that was a fun bonfire). Never could keep one after that.

Penny said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed them and thank you for such a beautiful post reminding me of the beauty within.

I have a few of my older ones and it is quite interesting to see what has stayed the same (and be able to prove that a decision I made was started about two years before most people think it was) and what has changed.

:)

I have swapped ink colours but what fun to have it purple. Good choice!

pixie girl said...

I keep journals around me all of the time, but it would be a lie to say I wrote in them everyday;). I so cringe at my younger, soppy thoughts that I try now to keep some perspective. And I record important baseball scores and games and medical happenings, etc in my life for a reference.

I have a Tarot deck, but I need more guidance on using it. Where does all of the time go??
:)