What Is Your Holy Grail?
I remember a long time ago, when I was still in college, I had what C.G. Jung would have called a “big” dream–it’s the kind of dream you have that is so imbued with symbolism and metaphor that you cannot ignore it, and the memory of it often will stay with you in some form for life.
In such dreams, the symbolism can come in terms of something archetypal. For me, as I was studying Medieval and Renaissance history, literature, mythology, and symbolism, I was immersed in the idea of the Grail (Graal, Sangral, etc.), and the different stories and metaphors surrounding it.
For some it was a wholly mystical Christian tradition, for some it was more ancient and Celtic (the cauldron, or the horn of plenty, among other associations), while others associated it with the Carhars (Gnostic Christians who were subjects of the Inquisition in a time known as the Albigensian Crusade).
Some, like the authors of Holy Bood, Holy Grail, rather famously suggested it was the womb of Mary Magdalene, carrying the bloodline of Jesus and a line that went back to King David; this was the interpretation for them of sangral--or “sang real” – holy blood). Dan Brown would take up this gauntlet in the most famous of his books, The Davinci Code.
More traditional others saw it as the cup of Christ, used at the Last Supper, in which Joseph of Arimathea also collected some of Christ’s blood while on the cross, later taking it to Britain, where legend has it remaining to this day (unless you believe the Templars have it hidden for protection, according to lore of the Knights Templar, and even some Masons to the present.)
For me, at the time through to today, I most associate it with the stone in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s epic, Parzival, which counter to the soul of any worthy Grail tradition, was later associated with Adolf Hitler’s love of Wagner’s opera based on the Medieval epic, which to me was an abomination.
(As a poignant note: If you know anything about von Eschenbach’s work, you know he had a vastly different reaction to the Crusades than did the Church.)
Parzival‘s take was that the Grail was a stone–the jewel of Lucifer’s crown, that in the war between heaven and hell, was brought to Earth by the neutral angels–the midpoint between heaven and hell–where it was guarded by an ancestral line of kings as a reminder to humanity of the true nature of the Divine. Every year it was consecrated in the Grail Castle by a turtle dove as the Holy Spirit. Only those most worthy could see it. And the woman who carried the Grail in any procession was the chosen Grail Maiden, Repanse de Schoye.
(Represented, also importantly, were notions of both Masculine and Feminine, and there needed to be an inherent balance in the proceedings before the Grail could be offered to anyone proving worthy.)
In getting back to the dream I had then (which is personal, so I won’t describe all of it here), I was in the Grail Castle, and I was presented with a glass armoire filled, interestingly, with the “grails” of every imaginable tradition. The cup was there, as was the stone, but so was the Golden Fleece of Greek Myth, sacred relics from indigenous traditions, and the holiest objects from every possible faith. In the dream, I was asked to choose my Grail from every one among all of the choices.
The message here is not which Grail I chose; what is most important from the dream: We each, as a soul, have our own Grail. It doesn’t have to be associated with any specific faith or tradition; it is uniquely attuned to us, we reflect and project its resonance. This represents the deepest truth and grace within each of us that we each carry forward, every day. It is sometimes hidden, or masked by our human experiences, issues, pain, or reactions. But it is always there within, shining like a beacon, consecrated every day in our belief in something broader than ourselves that we carry forward in service to others.
For it is not just meant to be ours alone; as we shine outward, it reminds others of that which they hold within themselves–a powerful, incandescent, Divine light that is inextinguishable.
When it shines within us, and others see it, they can only be reminded of their own. And the Quest–whatever that might mean to any of us–is simply to allow it to shine brightly, doing whatever is necessary to clear anything within or without that impedes its light, taking right action based upon its resonance.
If we have certain symbols or metaphors that resonate, it is because they mean something to us for a reason. They remind us of this Divine Light and the quest to always make sure we do whatever is necessary to allow it to shine brightly. This is not just for ourselves, but again, also for others. Where microcosm and macrocosm meet is the soul; it is that center point of inner and outer reality. When we flow from this center, this light, we act as we were always meant to in this world.
To me, this is the message of the Grail. I think of it every time I work with the cards, and the main or advice card for a client is the Ace of Cups. For in the symbolism is the chalice, above which is the turtle dove, representing the Divine.
For those who believe their Grail to be a cup, we are that cup, seeking to always remember we are filled with Spirit as Light. We are consecrated as Divine instruments, acting in this world.
Some see the Ace of Cups as an indication of love, but if so, it is Divine love; it is that with which we need to start first–recognizing the Divine within ourselves and then consecrating it with Divine love for another. For we and the other, in the meeting point between microcosm and macrocosm, are one. And to know this means we know the message of the Grail.
For those whose life is the metaphor and symbolism of the Grail, as it has been for me since I can remember, there are always nuances we learn that allow us to dive even deeper into Divine mysteries. Our own individual lenses of perception allow us to see what is meant for us to see, and aways for our greater enlightenment. There is never an end. Like the infinity symbol, we are consistently going through cycles, revolutions, illuminations, and epiphanies. This is indeed why we are alive.
Every day I thank the Grail Dream, as I have come to call it, for setting me upon my path in a way that I could best understand it. And it has led me here to say: please know, each of you has your own–if this is meant to resonate for you.
May you always find that true center within, and remember who you are.
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