A Short History on the Grail Legend (continued)

Nothing written in this article is meant to be said as perfect fact, except for the two historical accounts in the first two paragraphs. Otherwise, everything here is written in a symbolic fashion. Blood lineages are only made to be spoken of in a legendary and literary context, and not to be spoken of as statements relating to Christian (or against) doctrine. I would never speak of anything of this nature in a fact basis without evidence, which I don’t have, nor could I acquire since these statements are only playing on whimsical literary motifs…What is pertinently true is that the Grail is a spiritual substance that is the allegorical makeup of what modernists today call a “Spiritual Experience”.

84420294d02bd1e8ae560a16fe42181f

In 1940 Nazi general Himmler went to Barcelona, and then on to Montserrat to seek the Holy Grail. The 13th century Arthurian Romance titled Parzival, a German remake of the pseudo-Welsh/ French Perceval romance, claimed the grail to be at a location of that name. Another supposed location of the grail was at Montsegur castle, about 50km southeast of Toulouse.

Two historical occurrences relate to these sites that are relevant. At Montserrat, there is the presence of the Modanna statue, which was legendarily too heavy to remove from the site of the monastery where it was found in 888AD. When Shepards first came to the land, they found this majestic statue in a cave full of light. Since then, it has been an awe-inspiring sight for millions. Later on, St. Ignatius Loyola traveled to this place and recorded having a miraculous ‘spiritual experience’ therein. After receiving a cannonball in the leg at a siege during the French and Spanish wars, Ignatius decided to give up the military life and live the life of a pilgrim. After his ‘spiritual experience’ at Montserrat, where he staid all night in vigil before the Madonna, he went on to develop the famous ‘Ignatian Spiritual Exercises‘, which became a critical text to helping others have similar ‘spiritual experiences’.  Ignatius’s life later founded the important Jesuit catholic order, which went on to establish important universities all over the world.

As for the sight of  Montsegur Castle a very different history played out. It is well documented as being the last Cathar stronghold during the Albigensian Crusade. The Papal order rooted out the heretics in Southern France who were known as the Cathars. They were primarily funded and led by the Count of Toulouse, who disregarded the church and allied with Peter of Aragon. Peter wasn’t necessarily a heretic but he was eager to weaken French control of the Occitan region. The count and Peter were defeated at Muret by Simon De Montfort, a papal elected knight who led the crusade, in a decisive battle where only a few men were lost on the crusader side while the entire heretic force was wiped out. It was said that Saints were present at the battle to help the Crusaders. It is also said by medieval chroniclers and eye-witnesses of the battle that Peter lost because he slept the night before with one of his mistresses, and could hardly stand up during mass on the morning of the battle (given that to sleep with a mistress was a carnal sin). This sin was a bad omen for Peter, who was killed at the battle. Montsegur was eventually taken, during the mid 13th century, by the Crusaders. Three hundred Cathar’s were burned at the stake at the site of the castle. It was found in chronicles by the French that a mass burial of treasure was located near the castle, which was supposedly the Cathar fund, but no one could find it. It was heavily searched for during the time of the Spanish Inquisition to no avail.

What connects all of these events in history is the well-known legend of the grail, which was allegedly written by Walter Map, who was, as noted in his prologue, a knight who later turned hermit somewhere in Wales.  Most of us have discerned the real writer of the extensive Arthurian volumes was a French monastic or member of the clergy during the 13th century (it was probably several different clergy members of the Cistercian Order. The Cistercian’s, led by Bernard De Clairvaux, were the big reformers of the church and were the real powerhouse behind the practice of chastity for Catholic clergy. Now, the trilogy was written at roughly the same time as the Albigensian Crusade. What is the grail legend about? The chalice, filled with Christ’s blood, is brought from Jerusalem to Britain forty years after the crucifixion by Joseph De Arimathea. It is essentially a mock series of events of the Jews leaving their homeland for some far off promised land. Joseph’s lineage protects the grail in the land of Britain, hiding it away in a magical castle. Centuries later (about seven generations) Lancelot, who is said to be a direct descendant of King David (from the bible), comes to that same castle and fathers Galahad on one of King Peles’s (known as the fisher king- i.e. fisher’s of men) daughters. This daughter is a descendant of Joseph De Arimathea. So the bloodlines of the grail protector and King David are bound together in the child that is known as Galahad. Galahad goes on to ‘win’ the grail by completing a series of mysterious quests. One of these quests includes the winning of a tournament, but this is only vaguely mentioned in the story. Galahad defeats allegorical monsters and strange demons to restore the land back to its fertile, happy, and original self. It is clear the land is a “wasteland” before Galahad completes the quests and restores it back to prosperity. This is more or less a parallel of what happens in Egypt when the people are heavily warned by God for their sins. Galahad later takes the grail back to Sarras (or Jerusalem, the Holy Land) where he is greeted by a spirit who is none other than Joseph De Arimathea. Having completed his quest, Galahad gives up the ghost and died a pure virgin. The grail disappeared into Heavensupposedlyly never to return to earth.

Here is the catch: the real substance of the quest isn’t material at all, but rather spiritual. These allegorical monsters are spiritual victories; this is repeatedly mentioned by the fact Lancelot, who is the best earthly knight, continuously fails to complete any quests because of the sin of adultery. Though he has more prowess than any knight, he can’t do a thing in regards to the grail. Most of the quest he spends in tears, wearing a hairshirt, repenting for his sins with Guenivere. Now, this ‘wasteland’ returning to a land of fertility is analogous to the individual having a ‘spiritual experience’. The land and the inner person are juxtaposed. The man with a spiritual disease and the land without any growth are both barren (spiritually and physically). In a most complete sense, disease (of the mind or in the land) relate to destitute living and infertility. Thus, the Cathar’s hidden treasure that was never found was not material gold at all, rather it was their attempt to formulate the substance of what one calls a ‘spiritual experience’. If the Cathar’s had succeeded, there wouldn’t be Catholics going to church (maybe in some places), but Cathar perfecti’s would be walking around instead. Toulouse would be Rome, not Rome. The grail is essentially the theoretical object that is not an object at all but an essence. It travels through space and time embodying who it pleases, or, more apparently, who is worthy of receiving its grace. The analogy between the Holy Spirit and the Grail is very apparent. So what is the grail, and does it exist today? The grail is a spiritual algorithm that heals the inner nature of a human being to make them whole, restoring life where there is disease and providing spiritual solutions to those who are ‘blackened by sin’. In turn, a group of people healed by the grail then can heal the land, mending it by true love, fellowship, and peace. That is why the grail was never found when sought at the Cathar castle, since their spiritual algorithm failed in the end, as proven by the heresy that was ousted by Simon de Montfort. Their attempt to form such an organization, however, proves that the Holy Grail exists.

Enough about the Cathar’s, but how does this link to the monastery site of Montserrat? I will tell you exactly that. The grail was, according to legend, dispersed in the Holy Land and Joseph made it clear in a speech that it would not return to earth. However, when Ignatius, centuries later, went to the monastery and prayed before the Madonna he was given a critical ‘spiritual experience’ that enlightened him to write the notable ‘Spiritual Exercises‘. Thus, it is at this very site that the grail was rediscovered centuries later by a pilgrim. To clarify, the grail is not a material substance at all, but it is the illuminative essence that enters into the body to create a ‘spiritual experience’. It is an enlightening power that gives the receiver profound knowledge of his own soul and the mysteries of the world. The grail is essentially what a modernist calls ‘true enlightenment’. Ignatius had this power and spoke of it in great detail in his works. The Jesuits still have the power of the grail in their possession today, and anyone can acquire a taste of it by going and studying at one of their fine universities or reading the works of Ignatius of Loyola.

The meaning and location of the grail today has been deliberated over. When the Nazi’s went to Montserrat they couldn’t find it. Why? Because they weren’t looking in the right place. They thought it was a possession to covet, a material treasure. They didn’t know that the grail is a spiritual substance. When a murderer or a thief receives the body of Christ in the form of the Eucharist, he does not experience the glory of Christ within him, since he is in a state of sin. Ignatius had a vision that is talked about in his autobiography. In his vision, the Virgin Mary gifted him with perfect chastity for all his life. He is, in that instant, no longer possessed, though sometimes tempted, to these types of things. This is another miraculous power of the grail. Perceval, Galahad and Bors are the only three to accomplish the ‘Grail Quest’. They are said to have this ability because of the spiritual tests which they pass. The passing criteria are clearly laid out: They must remain chaste and overcome temptations of the flesh. I won’t go into the details of each of their quests since it would be over-laborious for my article, but you can find my writing on them in one of my books or you can read the Arthurian Vulgate, Volume 6, The Quest for the Holy Grail (Norris J. Lacy). Galahad and Perceval are the only ones who had the power of perfect virginity (Note that Perceval is related to the Fisher King and of Joseph De Arimathea’s bloodline). Only one other person we know of for certain had this power, and that was the Virgin Mary herself, who is the idol Ignatius adorned when at Montserrat. So what is the grail? Hitler was right about one thing, the power of the grail did have the capability to make him invincible. Yet he didn’t have the ability to see it’s mysteries because he did not have the depth to see hidden spiritual things.

The grail is a spiritual experience, and it most often manifests itself as perfect chastity, love, and charity. Ignatius had it, and so did Galahad. The Virgin Mary has it still. The Holy Spirit is likely a vehicle for its power. The grail secrets are most formidably hidden within that monastery by way of the transmittable power of the Madonna, but more relevantly are hidden within the Catholic orders and institutes that teach the virtue of chastity. Objects or relics have been known to carry transmutable spiritual power, just as one says a certain gem may carry energy. More than anything, this power has been, much like water from a spring is packaged off to distant lands, shipped off as a ready-made product for digestion in Jesuit institutes founded under Ignatius’s name.

Now for some more legend and empty theory. Some say that Joseph De Arimathea had more than just a gold chalice with him when he left Jerusalem. What was stored in the chalice is very particularly stated: according to the text this is the blood of Christ. The blood itself is carried in the chalice and used to do miracles along the way. Blood from Pelle’s line, as shown in the Arthurian Vulgate, has the power (because of that lines practice of pure virginity) to heal lepers and sick. Perceval’s sister (a perfect virgin) is sacrificed to heal a licentious leper princess. She is healed, but the next day God destroyed her castle and killed all the people within it as punishment for killing ‘one of his devoted children’.

The grail is known for other stunts and miracles too. Just like in the New Testament where Jesus performed a miracle, this grail feeds a group of 5,000 with only a few morsels of bread in their possession. It also occurs that a single fish feeds a similar number of hungry followers. Symbolically, this blood in the chalice, and the blood of a ‘perfect virgin’, may stand for the bloodline of Christ, and subsequently, the Virgin Mary. If that is the case, then Galahad engenders two very important lineages: That of King David and Jesus Christ. In this context, Galahad is far more than just an Arthurian knight; he is the embodiment of the old testament and the new. He is perfection: perfect love, wisdom, charity, chastity and spiritual enlightenment (since he embodies the bloodlines of King David, a man of wisdom and kingship, and Christ, a man of spiritual piety, he thus embodies the ‘living word’ of Christians everywhere). He also, in a more apparent sense, embodied the essence of the Templar ideal, which was a warrior monk who fought the crusades while also practicing a strict Catholic spiritual order.

In this case, we also see that the substance of a ‘Spiritual Experience’ is deeply embedded in the symbolic blood lineages of these two important characters. What this really means to us is that the ‘spiritual experience’ is found in understanding both the old and new testaments. The grail is thus within scripture, just as it is in the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit, Ignatius of Loyola’s teachings and the very Catholic Church Herself.

But lately, the grail has been found in another place. In the 1930’s, alcoholics were dropping like flies all over America. Drinking had become a disease. Bill Wilson developed a program called Alcoholics Anonymous which has over twenty million participants today. The twelve steps of recovery were cofounded also by Dartmouth’s Dr. Bob of St. Johnsbury and have helped many overcome their addictions. Religious members have written in approval of these steps as a means to gain a ‘spiritual experience’. Cistercian Monk and avid spiritual writer Thomas Merton made some instrumental remarks in regards to the foundational spiritual principles of AA in his Varieties of Spiritual Experience. A Spiritual experience is nearly defined as a profound psychological change which overhauls one’s behavior, character, and inner state; many refer to this as a kind of “God Consciousness”. Obviously, there are different kinds and depths of experiences. One may refer to an experience as a “visitation”, an “intercession”, an “opportunity”, or more drastically as a complete “psychic shift”. Since people still have ‘Spiritual Experiences’ today, it doesn’t seem like the grail is gone at all, but rather it continually reveals itself in various forms. Whatever you believe, it is clear that Galahad won the grail by true humility and chastity; things practiced only in remote circles today. If you want to search for the grail yourself, I suggest you try out one of these roads to seek your own personal enlightenment; you might find yourself on a journey unlike any other in your life before!

Personally, I was struck with the disease of alcoholism/ drug addiction at a young age. I later joined AA and found a ‘spiritual experience’ within that program through the power of the 12 steps. I was hungry for more since I had learned that God was able to heal anyone from a disease if they were willing enough. Later on in life I found my faith again through Catholicism and attended a Jesuit university (Santa Clara University). This education helped me to search for a more true, whole and enlightened self. My quest for the grail has been about finding faith, fighting temptations, and seeking virtue through a ‘Spiritual Experience’. Today, I find that the 12 steps are still a vital solution to recovery from any addiction, in addition to following the precepts of the Catholic faith, which, without question, is the one true way to salvation. My own Spiritual Experiences have come from receiving the holy sacraments, practicing the 12 steps, prayer, fasting and study. All of these various practices have produced certain psychic shifts which I would call Spiritual Experiences.