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John and Caitlin Matthews
John and Caitlin Matthews

John Matthews (born 1948) and Caitlín Matthews (born 1952) are English writers. Together, they have written over 150 books, translated into more than thirty languages, including Tarot packs, a card-based storytelling system, screenplays, songs and other works.

Beginning to work together in London in the 1970s,[1] they wrote and published The Western Way in 1985. This followed the lead of Christine Hartley's The Western Mysteries Tradition (1968)[2] by identifying and promoting a European mystical tradition to offset the then-current domination of Eastern mysticisms from India and China.[3] The book included meditations to enable readers to make contact with their inner worlds.[4] Historian Ronald Hutton considers this an influential work.[5] They also edited The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom (2000), devised the Storyworld series (2009ff) and, most recently, created The Steampunk Tarot: Gods of the Machine (2012).

They studied with two of the leading esotericists of the time, Gareth Knight and Dolorous Ashcroft-Nowicki,[6] and from 1988 to 1992 they served as joint-presiders of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.[7] Since 1989 they have run the Fellowship of Isis Lyceum, Domus Sophiae Terrae et Sancte Gradalis in Oxford, and are both members of the Archpriesthood Union as custodians of the legacy of the Fellowship of Isis.[8]

They are active on the New Age workshop circuit, teaching their versions of the Celtic mysteries, Neo-shamanism, the Goddess and King Arthur.[9] They were jointly listed 86th in the Watkins list of the 100 most spiritually influential living people worldwide for 2011.[10] They live in Oxford, UK.

John Matthews

John Matthews
John Matthews

John Matthews (born 1948) has been involved in study of the mysteries of Britain including the Arthurian Legends and the Grail Myth, for almost fifty years.[11] He has published over ninety books on myth, the Arthurian Legends and Grail studies, including The Grail: Quest for the Eternal (1981), and most recently The Camelot Oracle (2012, with Will Worthington). He has also published short stories, a volume of poetry, and several children's books, most notably Pirates (2006) which was on the New York Times best-seller list for twenty-two weeks.[12] His book Arthur of Albion (2009) won a gold Moonbeams award.[13]

He has taught throughout Europe and the United States[14] and has acted as advisor for a number of media projects including the Jerry Bruckheimer film "King Arthur" (2004).[15] He has appeared on the History Channel and Discovery Channel programmes on Arthur and the Holy Grail, and shared a BAFTA award for his work on the educational DVD made to accompany "King Arthur".[16] He has acted as a guest editor and member of the editorial board for the international journal Arthuriana.[17]

Caitlín Matthews

Caitlín Matthews
Caitlín Matthews

Caitlín Matthews (born 1952) was born in Portsmouth, England, of British and Irish parents, and from an early age was aware of a spiritual dimension to life.[18] She was initiated into the Fellowship of Isis in 1977 and was subsequently ordained as priestess in 1988.[19] She continues as arch-priestess in the Archpriesthood Union, as one of the custodians of the Fellowship of Isis.[20]

Following the publication of The Western Way she has written over sixty books including several works on the divine feminine, and the worlds of early Welsh and Irish literature.[21] Her work reflects both the older academic sources and the newer Celtic mystical ones, but leaves out, according to Hutton, "the scholarly publications of the 1980s, many of which have radically altered existing views of the sources for our knowledge of the ancient Celts."[22]

Matthews has led workshops in Britain and elsewhere, including the Temenos Academy, London; Regent's Park College, Oxford; the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and at Studium Generale of the Arnhem Institute for the Arts in Netherlands.[23]


Ronald Hutton, commenting on Caitlín Matthews' works, states that she "falls below the standards required of a professional historian. She makes no attempt to distinguish between the relative value of sources, so those from the seventh century and from the seventeenth are put together with no sense of context." He also states that she conditions her work to the needs of her audience and that she has incorrectly suggested parallels between Celtic lore and Native American religion.[24]


Caitlín & John Matthews

John Matthews

Caitlín Matthews


  1. ^ Hutton, Ronald (2003). Witches, Druids and King Arthur. Hambledon Continuum. p. 244.
  2. ^ Matthews, Caitlín and John. The Western Way: Practical Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition.
  3. ^ Hutton 2003, pages 245–46.
  4. ^ Harvey, Graham (1997). Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism. Hurst. p. 115.
  5. ^ Hutton 2003, page 246.
  6. ^ Knight pp, Gareth (2011). I Called it Magic. Skylight Press. pp. 36–38, 47–49, 135–40.
  7. ^ "OBOD Past Presidents".
  8. ^ "Portal of Isis". Archived from the original on 24 April 2012.
  9. ^ Hutton 2003, page 246.
  10. ^ "100 most spiritually influential living people" (PDF). The Watkins Review. Watkins Books (26): 3–7. 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  11. ^ Philip Carr-Gomm; Richard Heygate (2009). The Book of English Magic. John Murray. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-4447-3454-6.
  12. ^ Matthews, John (2006). Pirates. Carlton/Harper Collins.
  13. ^ "Moonbeam Award".
  14. ^ Carr-Gomm and Heygate 2009, page 150.
  15. ^ "The Digital Fix".
  16. ^ "BAFTA".
  17. ^ "Arthuriana Journale".
  18. ^ Hutton 2003, page 244.
  19. ^ "Portal of Isis". Archived from the original on 24 April 2012.
  20. ^ Harvey 1997, page 115.
  21. ^ Hutton 2003, page 143.
  22. ^ Hutton 1991, pages 143–44.
  23. ^ Fons, Elders (2001). Mythological Europe Revisited: Humanism and the Third Millennium III ed. Brussels: VUB University Press.
  24. ^ Hutton, Ronald (1991). The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy. Blackwell. pp. 143–44. ISBN 978-0-631-17288-8.