Arthurian Magic by John & Caitlin Matthews

Arthurian Magic by John & Caitlin Matthews

The magickal heritage of the British Isles has long predicted the return of its indigenous gods and goddesses – slumbering deities that have overshadowed the mystical isles for many centuries. In particular these legends foretell of the return of one its most powerful and charismatic leaders, the mighty warrior and Sleeping Lord, King Arthur.

Back in the 1980, during a spiritual retreat held at a college based in the Southwest of England, Pagan teachers and renown esoteric teachers John and Caitlin Matthews; along with the highly respected writer on the Western Mystery Tradition Gareth Knight, performed a closing group magickal working that resulted in the appearance of Arthur.

Knight describes what happened next.

“With the King came Queen Guinevere, Lancelot, Gawain, Tristan, and all the knights and ladies. Larger than life, they took up their positions about the Round Table. In the Centre rose a column of incense smoke with astral rainbow colours manifesting the powers of the Grail, the Cauldron, Merlin and Nimue.”

It seems that Avalon and its inhabitants had reemerged and in so doing begun the long road back to the complete restoration of the ancient Grail mysteries to their rightful position as one of the inspiring and romantic esoteric traditions.

Ancient Magick

Several decades after the event the Matthews have published their research into the esoteric tradition that surrounds King Arthur and the Grail Mythos.

In their book Arthurian Magic they offer a comprehensive and practical guide to the wisdom of Camelot by presenting a system of magickal working that is focused around the classic stories of Arthur and his legendary seat of power.

This volumous work – one that is nearly 650 pages long, has been sectioned off into three primary parts.

1 – Visions: The Knowledge Papers

This includes a history of the Grail teachings, the importance of Arthur and Merlin specifically within it, the projection of the legends upon the cosmos (with Arthur historically being linked to the star Arcturus), ancient Grail texts, the Temple of the Grail, Mysteries of Avalon, and the role of the mysterious sword Excalibur.

2 – A Year in Camelot

The second part of Arthurian Magic is dedicated to practical working within the Arthurian/Grail Tradition – one more commonly referred to as the Arthuriad. This work is based around the initial creation of a personal temple and altar, specific meditations and rituals, seasonal celebrations, the invocation of quest companions; such as Blaine, Prester John, and Sophia.

This section also features the inclusion of Tarot correspondences, the telling of the Grail legends and their relationships within Kabbalistic Tree of Life framework

3 – The Library

The third and final section is a glossary of names, places, types of oils used in Arthurian Magick, heraldic symbols, songs and blessings, invocations/farewells, key readings, seasons and festivals.

Arthurian Magic concludes with notes, further reading, and related resources.


Whilst Arthurian Magic is a calling back some several hundred years to the period of Arthur’s rule, the book heavily references that later and highly significant period during the early to mid part of the 20th century when the Grail Romances became popular within the Mystery Schools of the Golden Dawn and the esoteric work of such important occultists as Dion Fortune, A. E. Waite, and Arthur Machen.

The Matthews have credited these influential sources as invaluable in providing the groundwork upon which their own work draws sustenance; but that said, this book does not regurgitate the work that these early pioneers performed in restoring and documenting this vitally important part of the Western Mystery Tradition.

Arthurian Magic encapsulates the Matthews many years of exploration into the indigenous spiritual tradition of the British Isles as formed around the mythological, cosmological, and symbolic stories of Arthur and his Court of Camelot. It is a highly-polished, well-structured and thoroughly transformative journey of mystery and magic – one that stimulates the senses whilst evoking powerful archetypal forces. The result is a highly potent and deeply-revealing manual of occult instruction and initiation of a spiritual heritage every bit as important in contemporary spiritualism as those of the Greeks and Ancient Egyptians.

It is not often that a publication carries such an esoteric weight and energised aura. In fact other than the ancient medieval occult tomes of the past there have been few that are quite so notable for demonstrating these qualities. One is perhaps inclined to think of titles such as Magick by Aleister Crowley and The Golden Dawn System by Israel Regardie as notable examples. Arthurian Magic is easily up there in terms of importance as a book of occult instruction.

Readers, historians and occultists will, I am sure, recognise Arthurian Magic as a seminal and classic piece of contemporary occult instruction and revelation. The King has most definitely risen!