This deck, as it's title shows, is based entirely on the Arthurian myths and legends of the British Isles, and is subtitled, 'A Hallowquest Handbook'. It is not essential to know all about Arthur in order to use this deck, but it would definitely be an advantage to have some knowledge. Alternatively, the deck could easily be used as a way of studying the Arthurian mysteries.
The Major Arcana in this deck is called 'The Greater Powers' and the only cards which have retained the original titles are 'the Star', 'the Moon' and 'the Sun'. Some examples of the rest are - 'The Seeker' (The Fool), 'The Washer at the Ford' (Death), 'The Green Knight' (The Devil), and 'The Flowering of Logres' (The World). The images are very evocative and lend themselves well to meditation and/or pathworkings (guided visualisations), especially as the images are viewed through an archway. The Matthews' approach to each card is to give a description, then some background information, followed by the archetypal meaning and the divinatory meaning, all of which makes fascinating reading.
The 'Lesser Powers' (Minor Arcana) are 'Sword', 'Spear' (Wands), 'Grail' (Cups), and 'Stone' (Pentacles), whilst the four Court cards are 'Maiden', 'Knight', 'Queen' and 'King'. Each suit has a corresponding element and season. The depictions don't always pack the same kind of punch as the 'Greater Powers', but nevertheless are interesting and well-executed. As with the 'Greater Powers', each card is explained in terms of description, background information, archetypal meaning and divinatory meaning.
The Matthews' give further information about numerical attributions, and interestingly, how to read time-scales with the Tarot, this latter in extraordinary detail. Each week of the year is ascribed to a particular 'Lesser Power' card, in accordance with the suit/season. The book covers several spreads, most of which are named after various aspects of Arthurian lore, accompanied by some very useful sample readings.
This is an attractive deck and I am particularly fascinated by the Matthews' take on time-scales as the Tarot doesn't necessarily lend itself well to accuracy with time.
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