Sunday, February 19, 2012

King's Journey Tarot Deck

The purpose of this blog is so that I can document my journey through the King's Journey Tarot deck.

This deck was designed by Chanel Bayless and drawn by James Battersby.  I came across this deck a while back through my brother who is a big time tarot enthusiast.  I purchased the deck and found in the beginning that I was having trouble using it.  It has a passing resemblance to the Waite-Smith tarot but many of the images (e.g. Lovers, Chariot, Justice) are very different from any deck I've ever seen.

I am a creature of habit and I like a "familiar and comfortable" deck where I don't have to work very hard to understand the cards.  I've always liked to combine using the image and the book meaning of the card - usually leaning more toward the book learning part as I am a bit of an intellectual.  I have to drop the words and allow my soul and spirit to come out in order to take in the images and allow them to shape the interpretation of the card.

Throughout the deck I'll be mentioning "Chanel's Deck" for brevity but I understand that James was a huge influence in the symbolism of the cards and the playfulness that is ever-present in this astounding Tarot Deck.

So Chanel's deck challenged me on that level.  Take the Chariot card.

Now, if you were to look at the Waite Smith chariot you will see a man in armor in a chariot drawn by two odd Egyptian-looking animals.  The chariot is actually not moving as the animals are sitting.

When you look at KJ (I'll use KJ as an abbreviation for King's Journey from now on), you see a man in blue robes standing at a crossroads, on the left is an ominous looking cave and on the right is a monster hiding behind a tree.

Now, my "safe and comfortable" tarot reading mind just didn't know what the heck to make of this!  I fumbled around and finally saw the crossroads as a sort of an interpretation of the two animals that are pointed away from each other - as well as one being black and one being white.

I don't want to get deeper into the interpretation right now.  I'll do that when I get to the card.

So here's what I'm doing.

I'm going to go on the King's Journey myself.  I am going to blog on each card in order and what the card means to me as far as interpretation and how it applies to my life.  This should be a fun and cathartic way to experience the deck and learn it as well.  I would love to know what's going to happen but I'm just going to have to see what happens.

I'm setting a 6 month goal to complete this mission.  This is an expanded 94 card deck with a fifth suit as well as two completion cards.  The order I'm approaching this is:

Major Arcana
Spirit (exclusive to this deck)
Final two cards

Alright, the introduction is done so on with the show.....


  1. Hi Alec,

    I'm so looking forward to following your blog. Thank you for leaving a comment on mine ;)

    Christiane x

  2. Hey have you thought of doing your journey on the actual Kings Journey (Fools Journey) that is built right into the deck (its also based heavily from the actual Celtic Cross shape & design itself, very profound)...and well the whole underlying theme of this Tarot? I think that would bring this Tarot to life and the story that literally runs through the whole deck would be so much easy to see. Just a suggestion as you mentioned you wanted to do this journey to get to know this certain deck...and as this is far cry from a RWS system clone it seemed the best way to go about it. Do you own the companion book? That's where she details the exact sequence of his journey through the deck...I mean which cards tell the story from start to finish in the correct order the cards come up for the story to enfold..the story isn't set up to be just straight Fool to Spirit suit etc. Its kinda complicated and something I don't think you'd see without the companion book. And she puts the minors in this order for reason....Pent Coins, Swords, Wands, Cups...if you have the book nevermind all this, you know how in-depth it all is anyways!

    Sorry if I made no sense at times there or rambled! ; ) Just excited...

  3. Good comment. My original intention was to do this purely from the images on the deck, relying as little as possible on any given or traditional meanings. However I did dust off my King's Journey book and reread the opening section. As a result of this I'm going to reorder the minor arcana in terms of following her ideas, which are very, very good. I read through the front sections and there's a lot of good stuff there. Especially the part on Tarot Reading. I'm going to continue in the vein of how I've been working the deck thus far, however I'm realizing that I'm sure subtle changes will emerge and who knows where this journey could lead me?

    I'm also considering doing a concentration meditation on whichever card I'm working on as well. Ah - what a fun trip this has been thus far.

    thanks to everyone!