The Round Table

King Arthur's round table in Winchester
King Arthur’s round table in Winchester

The Round Table of the Arthurian legends is another kind of magic circle, focusing on the sort of leadership that results in the experience of Camelot—that is, an ideal, just society. In this case, the table is round to signify a band of relative equals where everyone gets heard. Key characters and symbols in the story represent the directions of a traditional medicine wheel, as occurs in cultures all over the world.

  • In the east is Merlin, who is not only a great Magician but also a great Sage (as a scientist). His symbol of a crystal ball tells us that he had the vision for Camelot. His element is air, associated with the power of the mind.
  • In the south is King Arthur, a great Warrior who becomes King, and who is invulnerable because he carries Excalibur, the magic sword of staying true to his mission and ruling with wisdom and justice. His element is fire, representing his active, energetic nature.
  • In the west is Queen Guinevere, who is associated with the Round Table itself, which was part of her dowry, and embodies many of the qualities of a Caregiver. She presided over the Court of Women, which made the final decisions on issues related to relationships. Her element is water, for developing healthy emotions and connections.
  • In the north is where the Grail Temple is found, which is a microcosm of the universe. The element of earth is a symbol for structures where new realities take form. The Temple was created by Percival’s grandfather, Titurel, who was a master architect and builder. Percival is the knight who healed the ailing Fisher King, and by doing so restored a wasteland kingdom to fecundity.
  • At the center is Dindraine, the Grail Maiden, who is a living version of her symbol, the Holy Grail that embodies both the soul and the union of masculine and feminine qualities. She is at the center because she connects with spirit in the sky and soul in the earth, like the vertical pole often found at the center of a medicine wheel. Her element is ether.

This magic circle is a representation of alchemical leadership, which emerges from the center as inspiration and then shifts down into a clear vision, a committed sense of mission, and the calling together of a collaborative team with healthy and egalitarian relationships, facilitative structures, and the capacity to continually heal what is broken and bring back into balance what has become disjointed and chaotic.

This magic circle can help you to clarify and realize your dreams by answering, over time, these questions:

  1. What is it I’m yearning for that is missing in my life?
  2. What would life be like if this empty space were filled?
  3. What would this new reality look, feel, and be like?
  4. Is this something I am willing to work hard to attain and maintain?
  5. How committed am I?
  6. Who might share this dream with me and what might they contribute?
  7. How can I attract such allies and help them become a team?
  8. What resources do I need to create the structures required to make this dream real?
  9. How can I take the first step to realizing this dream? Then the second? Then another?
  10. How do I need to change for my desire to be realized?

Together, the answers to these questions can become a plan of action. As you begin to act in the service of this vision, the magic circle becomes a spiral. It is helpful here to recognize that the process requires continually circling to connect with the aforementioned inner elements on which ongoing growth and expansion depend.