THE GRAIL

   If all its various aspects are summarized, whether as a wonderful stone, as a vessel or as a relic, the Grail is found to possess the following characteristics.  It dispenses material food according to taste and imparts spiritual solace.  It preserves youth and generally maintains life.  In one instance it heals knights wounded in battle.  It radiates light and a sweet fragrance, it rejoices the heart, and whoever sees it can commit no sin that day.  It discriminates between good and evil.  To the unbaptized it remains invisible.  It makes known the will of God by means of writing which appears upon it.  Only he who is destined by heaven and whose name is written thereon can find the Grail.  Nor does it allow its defender to have any loves other than the one the Grail prescribes for him.  TGL 155

The Grail’s many wonderful attributes, which qualify it as a “treasure hard to attain,” and its analogy to the alchemical stone, which in Wolfram actually goes as far as identification, justify its being taken as a symbol of the Self.  Inasmuch as it is in many versions a relic of Christ’s blood, it is clear that this symbol of the Self has a connection with the Christ-image.  TGL 156

   The Grail, therefore has the characteristics of those hidden treasures of which it is said that from time to time they “blossom,” and that when they do the moment has then arrived when they can be brought to the surface.  Should this fail to occur they will disappear again.    At the same time (this) summons also indicates that the psychic values in the depths of the unconscious are constellated whenever the dominant ideal in consciousness, the King, no longer possesses enough life to ensure the union of opposites.  TGL 195

The feminine symbol of the Grail, and its meaning, point to a compensation originating in the unconscious, by means of which the feminine and the soul of nature may once again achieve recognition.  TGL 205

(picture on 221 TMTT accompanying next …)  GRAIL

   This is a monument from the Roman period, probably dating between the first century B.C. and the first A.D.  This figure has the antlers of a deer – the same god that we’ve just seen.  In his lap is a cornucopia, and from it pours, inexhaustibly, the food.  This is the Grail, the vessel of inexhaustible vitality.  The Grail is that fountain in the center of the universe from which the energies of eternity pour into the world of time.  It’s in each of our hearts, that same energy.  TMTT 222

The withdrawal of the Grail probably signifies something similar, namely a symbol that confers the highest value on the individual; as such, it has no place in the community of the Church but lives on in concealment, i.e. in the unconscious, where the individual can find it.  It was no mere chance that the way of life of the forest hermits, in which a search for the individual religious experience was expressed, was revived at the time of the Crusades.  What this meant was a realization of monasticism on the subjective level, or an integration of the same, which would have signified an individual inner resolution of a collective tendency and aloneness with one’s own inner life and the experiences resulting therefrom. But the withdrawal of the Grail symbol into heaven (which recalls the catching up into heaven of the saviour born to the woman crowned with the twelve stars, in Revelation) indicates that the integration of this symbol and all that it signifies could not be achieved in the consciousness of medieval man.  TGL 300

   Wolfram’s Grail is a stone; it is not a cup.  In the Grail romance of Chretien de Troyes, a slightly earlier one than Wolfram’s, the Grail is a kind of bowl.  Interpreting the Grail as the chalice of the Last Supper is a deviant tradition that stems from a slightly later Cistercian monastic version of the Grail story.  And in that tradition, too, the lance in the castle is equated with the lance that pierced Christ’s side.  This story of the Grail of the Last Supper and the lance of the Crucifixion having been brought to England by Joseph of Arimethea, in whose tomb Christ was buried, is a monastic legend, and the hero of the Grail of the monastic tradition is another hero entirely, named, Galahad.  RG 50

Here’s this great procession of maidens, bearing candles and clothed in elaborately symbolic colors.  They present the king with various tokens, of which the last is the Grail itself, the Joy of Paradise.  The Grail is carried in on cloth-of-gold by a radiant Grail Queen, clothed in Arabian silk, and her name is Repanse de Schoye (French, Reponse de Joie: “Joyous Answer”).  A hundred tables are carried in to be set before all the couches.  “And ihave been told,” states Wolfram, “and I pass it on to you, that whatever one reached one’s hand to take, it was found there before the Grail.”  RG 50

Now we come to the (baptism of Feirefiz).  What they do – and this is a very interesting moment – is to tip the baptismal font in the direction of the Grail, and it fills up with water streaming from the Grail.  Now, the name of the Grail is also a name that is given to the philosopher’s stone, lapis elixis; anyone who knows Jung’s writings on alchemy will recognize this immediately.  The water from that stone is the elixir of the philosopher’s transmuting power, so this is no ordinary baptism.  And this is a very interesting point: the forms of the orthodox traditions are carried out with water of a totally esoteric tradition. 

   There then appears on the Grail an inscription: ANY TEMPLAR APPOINTED BY GOD’S HAND TO BE MASTER OVER A FOREIGN FOLK MUST FORBID THE ASKING OF HIS NAME OR RACE AND HELP THEM TO THEIR RIGHTS. 

The date of this writing, c. 1210 A.D., was about five years earlier than that of England’s Magna Carta.  That document was to be forced from the Norman King John by his barons claiming their own rights, whereas this statement in Wolfram’s Castle of the Grail is a free declaration of the right of others.  It is a document entailing a covenant of service, a document of compassion, sprung from the same spiritual ground as the requisite question of the Grail ceremonial.  There’s nothing like this in the history of political thinking up to this date.  This is the first statement, I think anywhere, in the traditions of international law, of the notion of bringing people together, and of maintaining their political rights, through colonial rule, you might say.  It is an expression of the Western concept of a united world, which underlies this bringing of these two visions together.    RG 80

The mythological theme of the inexhaustible vessel is associated in Celtic mythology with the hidden presence of the Earthly Paradise.  The Grail is a vessel of this kind, and behind it is the earlier inexhaustible cauldron of the Irish sea-god Manannan.  RG 162

The Grail Stone was brought down by what Wolfram calls the netural angels, those who in the battle between good and evil, at the time of Satan’s fall, took neither side – the Middle Way, again.