Study resources for the Hallowquest


I thought it might be helpful to have a separate thread for listing books and other material that we've found helpful as we journeyed on the Hallowquest.

In this first post I'm putting details of the Hallowquest material written by Cailtlin and John Matthews.


The deck is called The Arthurian Tarot and is illustrated by Miranda Gray. At the time of writing (2015) it comes in various packages.

The early deck is about 1990, and was packaged in deep brick red, either slip case or clam shell, along with the red covered slim paperback called The Arthurian Tarot, a Hallowquest handbook. The cards had black arch-shaped borders.

In 2002 the deck was published again, by Element, in a boxed set with the same material in the accompanying book, and a blank paged journal. Cards were the same size and colour, but slightly thicker cardstock, so the deck is thicker when in a stack.

A few years later again - 2006 possibly - the deck was reprinted by Connections in a smaller green outer box. The cards had lost their black borders, and the small accompanying book (purple covered) was slightly reworked, and included a question you might consider each card as asking you.

All theses are still available on the second hand market such as Ebay.

Any of these versions could be used to follow the Hallowquest - the year long journey through all the cards BUT you needed an additional workbook to do so.


The first workbook was called The Arthurian Tarot Course - A Quest for All Seasons by Caitlin Matthews - and was published in 1993. (yellowy/green cover)

There was already a book called Hallowquest - Tarot Magic and the Arthurian Mysteries by Caitlin & John Matthews 1990 - but this did not contain the course material. It's got some great stuff in it, and nothing strictly speaking overlaps, but it was different. (blue cover)

Now it gets complicated...

In 1997 another blue covered book was produced. It had the same card picture on the front as the 1990 Magic and Mysteries book. This was entitled Hallowquest, the Arthurian Tarot Course by Caitlin & John Matthews, and this one contained ALL the material from the Course book, and the Magic and Mysteries book.

The thing about the new book though, was because it incorporated all the material together, the lesson numbers gradually get out of step with the first book! I've only just realised this myself, and so if you're trying to follow the lessons here on AT you'll find I'm using the number notation from the first workbook!


In late 2014 the Matthews' put another version into print themselves.
It's got the green box cover of the 2006 set, bur the cards have got their black borders back. And for the first time the course material is incorporated into the book that comes with the deck. Caitlin has written that the course material is "tightened up" but I don't have a copy yet to compare, so whether it still meshes with the lessons here I've no idea yet :(

That's a quick overview of their own material on the deck as far as I know it. They have written much more that feeds into this area, and I'll list a few of those that I've used in another post. Do feel free to write about anything you've used that was helpful and informative for you, there's bound to be lots of stuff we've looked at between us.



Classic texts

I was going to try and compile a list here, but instead I'll direct you to a super online work by
Jimmy Joe aka Blademaster - who has put together a great site about various myths, including the Arthur works.


There are of course a huge number of books, fiction and non-fiction, that discus, explain or expand on the Arthurian myths. Films too. But if you're working through the course, and especially if you get stuck on something, I would say just read all sorts of things and allow inspiration to come.
Recently for example I've been reading works by Dion Fortune.

["Esoteric Orders and their Work" and "The Training and Work of an Initiate" Dion Fortune]

Now I'm not a huge fan of her work, neither do I agree with it all, but even in disagreeing I have been brought to think about what I believe and how I describe it, and this has thrown a fresh light on my major sticking point - the heavy Christian emphasis on the Grail quest.

Now I am able to see the idea of the Grail as a chalice which contains the Divine, expressed as light, which can reside within me and empower my spiritual work - however different that might be from the magic schools Dion was writing about.

So don't give up, and don't think that only work directly relating to the Arthur story cycles will help you :)



For some more academic discussion - in 2016 I'm reading

"The Cambridge Companion to the Arthurian Legends" edited by Elizabeth Archibald and Ad Putter.
ISBN for the paperback 978-0-521-6778-2

Scholarly, but there weren't too many words I had to look up in a dictionary, and it gave me a better overview of the breadth of work than anything else I've read so far.


Thank you!!

Oh my thank you for this thread...

I have spent ages trying to work out the different printing and books that go with this deck...! I even went to the official hallowequest site but no contact details.

Anyway all is clear and I am over the moon with gratitude!!

Now I need to try and find a version of the Legend deck with way better print quality than mine... wish Llewelyn would release that agaain... borderless too!!



The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend - Gareth Knight

Subtitled "The Magical and Mysterious Power Sources Within the Mysteries of Britain"

Gareth Knight is discussing the Arthurian world from the viewpoint of Western Mystery magical tradition - you'll find much reference to Tree of Life, inner planes, and monotheism here. I find his writing style quite hard to wade through, that may be simply my own shortcomings though and shouldn't prevent you from reading the book.

It may not be particularly helpful if you're trying to find a pagan way of relating to the four suit emblems in the Mathews' tarot; even in his discussion of pre-Christian beliefs he suggests that God allowed the Celts (and others) to understand the attributes of the Cauldron in the way that they did because they were not yet sufficiently advanced to see it for what it really is! Hmm. Over a thousand years of Christian overlay is hard to shake off.

However, as with Dion Fortune's writings, it helps me to hone in on how I want to understand the subject, by highlighting the areas where I disagree with the more commonly held ideas. So I'm adding it here and hope this helps someone.