ON HALLOWED GROUND

One of the most extensive tarot programs ever written would have to be The Hallowquest: The Arthurian Tarot Course written by Caitlin and John Mathews. Written in four parts this study although designed to run through the course of the seasons has so much depth I have repeated many of the seasons more than once.

Part 1. The Arthurian Tarot
The Arthurian Tarot
@Caitlin & John Mathews

  • Doorways in time and space.
  • The Arthurian World
  • The Hallows in Celto-Arthurian Tradition.  
Part 2.: Preparing for the Quest.
  • Lessons 1-5
Part 3: The Quest for the Hallows

Spring:    The Quest for Sword Lesson 6-17
Summer: The Quest for Spear. Lessons 18-30
Autumn: The Quest for the Grail. Lessons 31-43
Winter:   The Quest for the Stone. Lessons 44-56

Part 4: The Way of the Hallows.
Lessons 57-63.

In this work there are gems of reading lay outs, 
Gems of self questioning and self searching
Pearls of Arthurian wisdom.
The student is totally engulfed in the land of Arthur and his court  along with many of the archetypes that go with it and the lessons they represent. 

Then Ceridwen began to boil the cauldron, which from the beginning of its boiling might not cease to boil for a year and a day, until three blessed drops were obtained of the grace of inspiration.              Hanes Taliesin

 You can see from the lessons that the minor arcana has altered the Wands to Spears, the Cups to Grails and the pentacles to Stones.

The chapter of the Arthurian World is a study in itself of the history of the Arthurian legends from the Celtic mythos and the Medieval mythos. From these myths come the naming of the 22 Great Powers or as we Tarot readers know them the Major Arcana.
The Arthurian Tarot
@Caitlin & John Mathews
The deck created to accompany this study is The Arthurian Tarot illustrated by Miranda Gray. It is a unique deck and one which I am sure, if not already, will become a collectors deck. 

The landscapes depicted in these cards are clues to the inner terrain of the mind, heart and soul. All the numbered cards of the minor arcana are illustrated as landscapes. As the student here, when you pull one of these cards you feel like you are moving into the depicted landscape. This is a clever concept. Instead of viewing a being in the landscape, you are inserted in the landscape. I became aware of this when working this deck I pulled Sword Three and saw that bridge.
I was merrily moving through the cards of Lesson 7 which include the Maiden of Swords: Sword 2 and Sword 3. I was enjoying the readings of the previous two cards and then I thought how will I get across this bridge? The student feels like they are travelling throughout varying countryside.
The Arthurian Tarot
@Caitlin and John Mathews
People appear in the court of the four suits as the Maiden, Knight, Queen and King. These are characters we meet along the way.
 The journey in Spring is the Quest for the Sword so our environments are warm, floral and watery.  Summer Spears are green, lush and stormy. Autumn is the Grail Cups and takes us through forests with stony caverns and castles by the sea and Winter of the Stones is icy, snow melts and chilled. This is such a full time program, if you don't work on this daily, the season is over and you haven't completed the lessons.
In each lesson there is the speaking of the card,
The Sword Maiden Speaks: I sew the scabbard the Sword:that the blade of justice may be guarded by integrity of service. I weave a belt of mercy from the hair of my head, that the bearer of the Sword may be girdled with humility and compassion. p125 Hallowquest.

 Which then presents the questions you are investigating throughout the lesson.

Are you after your body, the vehicle of your soul?
What are you giving up to walk this path? etc.The questioning is extensive.

Then a section involving a Task follows. It is a ritual or visualisation to be done at a certain time of day. Maybe concluding with a  prayer or affirmation.

 Lastly the Meditation. The meditation leads the student through a journey involving the three cards of the lesson. Usually the first stage is to meet the court person and then move to the learning of card 2 and card 3.

So to cross the Sword Three Bridge the contemplation is to bring to mind what is problematic and when you cross the bridge cast it down into the abyss. I had an enormous urge to run across this bridge.

The lessons are set out in a three card lesson of one court card and two minors followed by a lesson of the Major Arcana.  The break down of the lesson involving the Major card is of The card speaks, then a meditation and often a fantastic tarot spread using the entire deck.
This work is so innovative and unpredictable and enlightening.
ARTHUR SPEAKS: 
I AM THE ABIDING FATHER OF THE LAND WHO KEEPS WATCH IN EVERY SEASON.I DRAW UPON THE RESOURCES OF MY KINGDOM AND WELD THEM INTO ONE. I PRESERVE THE LAWS BY MY LOVING STRENGTH THAT ALL MAY WALK ABROAD IN MY KINGDOM WITHOUT LET OR HINDRANCE. KEEP WELL MY WAYS! p193 Hallowquest.

I couldn't have reviewed this deck without a word from Arthur whose legends have been by loved by so many. Of course he is the fourth card of the Major Arcana and sounds like an Emperor.

The spread to work with Arthur is called the Maze of Sovereignty. 

Such an interesting spread idea. At each of the turnings within the Maze we are met by a court card or another major that we have met throughout the summer and asked a question to bring our Sovereignty into order.  This reading layout lends it self to movement placing the next card and its question at each turning point. Like nearly all of the exercises in the Hallowquest this is not a spread to do quickly. These spreads aren't designed to answer quick questions  but require deep thought into what you are creating in your life and how and why?
Maze of Sovereignty@
p 195 Hallowquest.



OF INTEREST:

I promise I will write many blogs on the Hallowquest. I find it a profound piece of Tarot study.

There is another deck based on the Arthurain legend called Legend: The Arthurian Tarot. Whilst I think its an older publication 1997, it is more readily available than The Arthurian Tarot. It is by Anna- Marie Ferguson.

Caitlin Mathews has put out herself a new version of The Complete Arthurian Tarot which is a 25th anniversary collector's edition.

There are two Hallowquest books:
Hallowquest Tarot Magic and the Arthurian Mysteries by Caitlin and John Mathews is still readily available on Amazon

Hallowquest: The Arthurian Tarot Course which is what I have been using in this blog is not so easy to find.

All matters Hallowquest see http://www.hallowquest.org.uk/links
















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