The mythology behind the Grail says that it was brought to England by Joseph of Arimathea. The earliest believed site for it is Glastonbury, confirming the location’s spiritual heart.
The word, grail, comes from the French ‘graal’, and as Medieval Christendom got under way, Grail Romances appeared.
The most famous writer of the romance was Chretien de Troyes, who wrote adventures involving quests for the Grail. As well as being adventurous, the quests were spiritual and moral, and through them, the chivalric code emerged, giving rules of chastity, courage and loyalty to Medieval society.
If we look closely at the legendary King Arthur, certain factors become clear. He was a boy who rose to kingship through the magic of Merlin and his sword, Excalibur. The world was a Wasteland and he, and his Knights of the Round Table, made it pure once more. Those Knights attempted the quest for the Grail, but only the most pure could succeed. Eventually, Arthur died to save us, and he lies in Avalon waiting for when he may again be needed.
In this myth, there are many similarities to an earlier mythology of the wounded Fisher King, but also to Christ. Although Arthur is a warrior, he is Christ-like in the insinuations of his life. The Grail seems to be a repeating iconic situation, through which man gains knowledge and becomes spiritual, as if reborn. Indeed, if we go deeper into the concept, we can see why the Catholic Church has always been suspicious of the Grail – and not because of the knowledge of Christ’s survival.
The Grail is a cup associated with wine and rebirth of spirituality. Earlier, similar, myths are known, such as Bacchus, who’s cup of wine led to orgies and spiritual rebirth. Indeed, the story exists in most pagan myths. Its most common pagan representation is the cauldron, said to be used by the witch.
This outs the reality of the Grail. It can be a vessel in terms of ceremony, but the true reality of the Grail is a representation of knowledge causing rebirth. It is symbolic of the most important spiritual reality, and reaches across all religions. It is a fundamental truth of an iconic moment of life-change. And the success of the Da Vinci Code tells us that, even in a supposed secular society, this basic religious impulse still fascinates.
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