Becoming the best in a craft, emulating the best practicioners in all fields throughout history. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated. It would be an immense help to clear up the mystery— to name this feeling of power, to examine its roots, to define the kind of intelligence that leads to it, and to understand how it can be manufactured and maintained.
Let us call this sensation mastery— the feeling that we have a greater command of reality, other people, and ourselves. Although it might be something we experience for only a short while, for others— Masters of their field— it becomes their way of life, their way of seeing the world.
And at the root of this power is a simple process that leads to mastery— one that is accessible to all of us. His structure is very similar to the Dreyfus model. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you toward activities and subjects that fit your natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity that was deep and primal.
In the intervening years, the force tends to fade in and out as you listen more to parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear away at you. This can be the source of your unhappiness— your lack of connection to who you are and what makes you unique. The first move toward mastery is always inward— learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force.
Knowing it with clarity, you will find your way to the proper career path and everything else will fall into place. It is never too late to start this process. He had decided that he would make his portion of the scene come to life in his own way. In the foreground in front of the angel he painted a flowerbed, but instead of the usual generalized renderings of plants, Leonardo depicted the flower specimens that he had studied in such detail as a child, with a kind of scientific rigor no one had seen before.
To help capture this mood, Leonardo had spent time in the local church observing those in fervent prayer, the expression of one young man serving as the model for the angel. And finally, he determined that he would be the first artist to create realistic angelic wings. For this purpose, he went to the marketplace and purchased several birds. He spent hours sketching their wings, how exactly they merged into their bodies.
As usual, Leonardo could not stop there. After his work was completed he became obsessed with birds, and the idea brewed in his mind that perhaps a human could really fly, if Leonardo could figure out the science behind avian flight. Now, several hours every week, he read and studied everything he could about birds. This was how his mind naturally worked— one idea flowed into another.
This is the goal of discovering your calling, to see what you can completely lose yourself in, become completely obsessed with. So how do we do that? The first step then is always inward. You search the past for signs of that inner voice or force. You clear away the other voices that might confuse you— parents and peers. You look for an underlying pattern, a core to your character that you must understand as deeply as possible. The choice of this path— or redirection of it— is critical.
To help in this stage you will need to enlarge your concept of work itself. Too often we make a separation in our lives— there is work and there is life outside work, where we find real pleasure and fulfillment. Even if we derive some satisfaction from our careers we still tend to compartmentalize our lives in this way.
This is a depressing attitude, because in the end we spend a substantial part of our waking life at work. If we experience this time as something to get through on the way to real pleasure, then our hours at work represent a tragic waste of the short time we have to live. Instead you want to see your work as something more inspiring, as part of your vocation… Your work then is something connected deeply to who you are, not a separate compartment in your life.
You develop then a sense of your vocation. You begin by choosing a field or position that roughly corresponds to your inclinations. This initial position offers you room to maneuver and important skills to learn. Once on this path you discover certain side routes that attract you, while other aspects of this field leave you cold.
You adjust and perhaps move to a related field, continuing to learn more about yourself, but always expanding off your skill base. Like Leonardo, you take what you do for others and make it your own. Every time you change careers or acquire new skills, you reenter this phase of life. The dangers are many. If you are not careful, you will succumb to insecurities, become embroiled in emotional issues and conflicts that will dominate your thoughts; you will develop fears and learning disabilities that you will carry with you throughout your life.
Before it is too late you must learn the lessons and follow the path established by the greatest Masters, past and present— a kind of Ideal Apprenticeship that transcends all fields. In the process you will master the necessary skills, discipline your mind, and transform yourself into an independent thinker, prepared for the creative challenges on the way to mastery.
You do not choose apprenticeships that seem easy and comfortable. These thoughts will dominate your mind and close it off from the reality around you. You start by observing who is doing well in the field and trying to learn rules and strategies through your observation of them. You must avoid at all cost the idea that you can manage learning several skills at a time.
You need to develop your powers of concentration, and understand that trying to multitask will be the death of the process. Yet rather than avoiding this inevitable tedium, you must accept and embrace it. The pain and boredom we experience in the initial stage of learning a skill toughens our minds, much like physical exercise.
Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life, which makes them constantly search for distractions and short-circuits the learning process. In such a case, the neural pathways dedicated to this skill never get established; what you learn is too tenuous to remain rooted in the brain.
It is better to dedicate two or three hours of intense focus to a skill than to spend eight hours of diffused concentration on it. You want to be as immediately present to what you are doing as possible. As you gain more skill and understanding, you must move into the active mode where you take the skill and apply it yourself. You have to break out of just following the rules, and start creating new works on your own. Value learning over money : Einstein working at the patent office to give himself time to work on his thought experiments. Learn to get by on little money and give yourself the time to learn as much as possible.
Whenever you feel like you are settling into some circle, force yourself to shake things up and look for new challenges. Trust the process: It takes time. We avoid our weaknesses, and that prevents us from learning. Apprentice yourself in failure: When a machine malfunctions, it shows you where you need to improve it.
Treat your own failures the same way, as opportunities for improvement. Advance through trial and error: Try out different paths and adopt new skills, avoid following a fixed career path, especially spend your 20s moving around and exploring different paths, learning everything you can along the way. The wide-ranging apprenticeship of your twenties will yield the opposite— expanding possibilities as you get older.
The right mentors know where to focus your attention and how to challenge you. Their knowledge and experience become yours. They provide immediate and realistic feedback on your work, so you can improve more rapidly. Through an intense person-to-person interaction, you absorb a way of thinking that contains great power and can be adapted to your individual spirit.
Once you have internalized their knowledge, you must move on and never remain in their shadow. Your goal is always to surpass your mentors in mastery and brilliance. We must admit that there are people out there who know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent or privilege, but rather of time and experience.
In such a case, an alternate strategy is to find several mentors in your immediate environment, each one filling strategic gaps in your knowledge and experience. Media lacks sisterhood stories. There is very little praising each other and elevating each other. The Goddess is still fragmented. How do we rise above collective shaming? Goddess bless all women in this struggle. Drop into ecstatic stillness in the sonic vibrations of voice, crystal bowls, drums, rattles, guided visualization and original music with shamanic practitioner and professional singer Jennifer Grais. Participants will need a soft mat to lie down on the floor, eye cover, and pillow.
Do you have the body of a Goddess? We Goddesses come in so many different sizes, shapes and colors, and we are all simply divine. Come have some fun in a creative and expressive workshop where you can sculpt yourself as the Goddess that you are. Constance Tippett, the world famous Goddess sculptress, will be there to help you form your own personal vision of beauty using air-dry clay. Relax, breath and enjoy the creative process with friends in this beautiful, festive atmosphere, and go home with a Goddesses!
We all have the ability to heal ourselves. Our workshop creates Mother Earth rooted traditions in our family and community. As professors and. We respond, particularly, to a pedagogical framework entrenched in systems. It is in that. Grab your seat for the U. A new spirit stirs the consciousness of our times. Women are reclaiming the vulva as an icon of primal creative energy. Unbounded by time or space, this sacred image can be found in uncountable representations from Paleolithic caves to Sheela na gigs to pink pussy hats. Words like vulva, vagina, and now pussy are part of the zeitgeist of our culture—with all their potency to sanctify not demonize the female body and subvert patriarchal toxicity.
It feels as if from the deepest parts of ourselves, the Great Mother herself is offering up these gifts to us so that all life may be preserved. One of the fundamental crises of our culture is a lack of connection to images that originate from this most transformative layer of our psyches. Media conglomerates feed us spectacles of illusion. Such cosmological images legitimize political systems. The worldwide expansion of patriarchy over the millennia has nothing to do with a superiority of culture in ideas or artistic expression or spiritual content or human relations but rather in a superiority of physical force.
We look beyond the outworn images of the patriarchy and its unsustainable destructiveness. When the whole world is imagined as the offspring of the womb of the Great Mother, everything is in relationship, not made for exploitation. A Great Creatrix replaces a dour War God. The powers of the vulva are part of our true, natural heritage as illuminated by the Return of the Goddess. For an historical foundation of this necessary resurgence, one need only look for the startling image of a female displaying her sex. She can be seen on almost every continent of the planet throughout time.
All are timeless patterns of energy expressive of the yoni of the Great Goddess. Female divinity, widely symbolized as a downward pointing triangle, suggests her ontological primacy. Contemporary scholars and artists have experienced a new theme emerging in their work—the iconography of the vulva traceable back to the origins of art and spirituality. So rooted in our psyches is this image, it seems as if the icon of the vulva is the original cosmological center of the human imagination and a basis of civilization.
We learn a foundational self-healing ritual practice in nature. Part 1 is an Introduction of Terms including the Underlying Premises. In part 2, we focus on the first area of skill development — the body-as-instrument, and seven deeper layers of perception. In part 3, we focus on the second area of skill development — working with nature-sites — engaging in a seamless ritual with the Sycamores.
We also learn how the practice develops corresponding Life-Skills: 1. Quieting the Mind; 2. Manifestation; 3. Sensory Development; 4. Self-Healing; 6. Joyful Cellular Memory; and 7. Join your fellow goddesses in a safe place to meet your alter ego and some past emotional pain to increase your wholeness. We will let go of some past events, find forgiveness and value for ourselves, and access and display our inherent power. Set your intention and focus for 90 minutes to yourself as we bring our spirits back into our bodies to allow movements of connection to your true inner warrior.
If you cannot, come and dedicate your time to someone you know who has experienced a sexual, emotional, or violent trauma. Come and participate as you are able injured are welcome. Hawaiian Hula dance and Hawaiian Lua combat art of the ancient women rulers and war chiefs , metaphysical clearing, and modern day self-defense.
All fitness levels welcomed. No bracelets, jewelry, or earrings. Please bring a sarong or piece of material, and water. Using meditation, toning, group journey work and body percussion, this workshop will lead women into their hearts and support them in a creation of their own personal sacred chant. Each participant is a songwriter, a composer of their own glory songs to the Goddess. Come and let your creative juices flow with laughter and safety and a beautiful praise to Her.
Scholars had already known that Serpent Mound was able to mark the solstices and equinoxes. But I discovered that Serpent Mound, was actually built as a lunar calculator that charts the full moons that are closets to the solstices and equinoxes. Indigenous people where interested balance and so knowing where the full moon and sun where at the beginning of the seasons, was important. Serpent Mound could, and still can, be used to chart the best time for conception, measure the duration of a pregnancy and anticipate the time of birth.
Participants will receive an introduction to the Native American teachings how to heal through water ceremonies , the oceans, rivers, ponds and all bodies of water, including the water that is consumed within. A sacred call to arms Archery All women have innate super-powers, handed down through our foremothers across time immemorial to create and fiercely protect all that is sacred in the world.
Join Genevieve in this workshop bringing together spirituality, money and creating a world that is just, life affirming and sustainable. Explore your money story and how that affects how you think and your decisions about money. We will talk about practical ways to work with money and how to engage money as a wisdom tool for creating impact in your world. Join us for an empowering session on a practical subject. We all have deep feelings about what is needed in this world to feel safe and joy-filled. As Priestesses and expressions of the Light, we know deep in our bones what we can do to bring about the Motherworld…a place that embraces all expressions of life as equal and valuable.
During this workshop, we will journey together to the Motherworld, see and experience the joy of Being in a world that embraces us and all life on the planet and uncover what we might bring forward as a Global Priestess Community to co-create the change that is so desperately needed. This work will help shape the Priestess Convocation in Crete and hopefully inspire many Priestesses to step into their power and make an offering for the Convocation. We shall chant, create sacred space and discuss in sisterhood the possibilities.
May beauty unfold. Well, maybe that feels very daunting, or like a drop in an ocean, and how exactly do we go about doing that anyway? They felt that what distinguished the false from the true church is the level of understanding of its members, and the quality of their relationship with one another — not how closely they conformed to the teachings of the bishops and priests.
Compare Quakers. These beliefs were revolutionary and offered an enormous challenge to the Roman Church trying to establish itself at the same time and in the same cities such as Alexandria, Antioch and Rome in the 2nd to 4th centuries. While this doctrinal battle was going on, Christians were being atrociously persecuted by certain Emperors, particularly Nero and Diocletian.
They did not accept the resurrection of the physical body of Jesus. This created huge conflict with the Roman Church. The Roman Church believed that because Jesus was resurrected from the dead in his physical body, all believers would be resurrected on the Last Day in their physical bodies. The Gnostics did not accept the resurrection of the physical body of Jesus.
They interpreted the meetings of Jesus and his disciples after his death as visions or seeing Jesus in his spiritual etheric body. What mattered was spiritual vision, not literal seeing. Peter claimed to be the first to see the resurrected Christ and claimed this gave him authority to found the church. Yet Mary in the Gospels of Mark and John was the first to see him. The Gnostics thought that she may have seen Jesus in a vision after his resurrection. This fundamental disagreement created huge conflict with the Roman Church.
They also rejected martyrdom and the belief that those who were martyred were suffering the same fate as Jesus. They repudiated the idea that God would want human sacrifice and that martyrdom conferred salvation and forgiveness of sins. Valentinus Valentinus was one of the most gifted and well-known of the Gnostic teachers who established his own flourishing school in Rome and nearly became Bishop of Rome Pope in the early Christian Church there. His was one of the major Gnostic movements that lasted for some years. His teachings became widespread throughout the Roman Empire and were a real threat to the Church in Rome.
What liberates is the knowledge of who we were, what we became; where we were, whereinto we have been thrown; whereto we speed, wherefrom we are redeemed; what birth is, and what rebirth. What is called Christianity represented only a tiny selection of specific sources, chosen among dozens of others under the influence of very powerful emperors and bishops and a tremendous struggle for power by the Roman church against those who claimed to be the true followers of Jesus.
The Gnostic Dualistic Concept of God The Gnostics made a radical distinction between God as Spirit, the Anthropos, the unknowable ground of being and the image of a deity that people and priests worshipped as king, lord, creator, master and judge whom they identified with the image of God in the Old Testament. They saw the God of Israel whom they called the Demiurge Ialdebaoth as a kind of imposter. They did not accept the hierarchy of bishops, priests, deacons and laity, saying that these were serving the Demiurge and not the true God whom they and Jesus called the Father.
They developed an elaborate cosmology embracing many different layers or dimensions of reality and many beings inhabiting these dimensions. The Gnostics were trying to answer the questions: why does evil exist? Where do we come from and where are we going? As in Buddhism, the emphasis of their teaching was on redemption from ignorance, not from primordial sin. No sense of guilt. They sought liberation from the illusions that hold people in the prison in this world and the prison of the physical body which they held to be evil. The Gnostic Interpretation of the Teaching of Jesus The Gnostic interpretation of the teaching of Jesus was about releasing the divine spirit within each one of us, freeing ourselves from imprisonment in the values that govern the world.
This was exactly the same as the Cathars and the later alchemical teaching. It was about release from the dual prison of the body and the prison of this world. I am the All; from me the All has gone forth, And to me the All has returned. Cleave a piece of wood, I am there; lift up the stone and you will find Me there. The Divine Mother Earlier arrivals to the Jewish community in Alexandria had preserved the tradition from the First Temple in Jerusalem of a female deity whom they addressed as Divine Wisdom, Queen of Heaven and Holy Spirit and this tradition found its way into some of the Jewish-Christian Gnostic communities in Egypt who inherited their canon of texts, including the Wisdom texts.
They named this Divine Mother the Holy Spirit and saw the dove as her emissary. Also the Shekinah as the Holy Spirit By the time the process of sorting the various writings ended In a Gnostic text called the Trimorphic Protennoia , the speaker describes herself as the intangible Womb that gives shape to the All, the life that moves in every creature. Other texts name her as the Mother of the Universe but also speak of the androgyny of the divine source in imagery similar to the later kabbalistic texts.
I exist from the first.
I dwell within the Silence within the immeasurable Silence. I descended to the midst of the underworld And I shone down upon the darkness. It is I who poured forth the Water. I am the one hidden within Radiant Waters. Authentic Sayings of Jesus in the Gnostic Texts The Gospel of Thomas mentions the kingdom 18 times but in the sense of something to be discovered or perceived rather than inhabited or arriving in a future time.
There was also an extraordinary and lengthy text called the Pistis Sophia dated to AD , which is almost entirely a dialogue between Jesus and Mary where Mary questions Jesus about the things she wishes to know and Jesus replies. The Gnostics identified Mary Magdalene with Sophia. Pope Gregory 1 AD turned her into a whore. After many delays, it was published in translation in Cathar Texts In this Gospel Mary emerges as the closest of the disciples to Jesus and the one to whom he has imparted his most profound teaching. But Christ loved her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth].
When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The disciples are overwhelmed by the awesome task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Mary encourages them by saying that his grace will remain with them and give them protection. The second part of the Gospel begins with Mary relating a vision of Jesus and describing a revelation of the ascending soul being interrogated by the archons or planetary powers. When she finishes her speech 4 pages are missing , some of the disciples Peter and Andrew react with disbelief and hostility but Levi reminds them that Jesus knew Mary well and in fact loved her more than the disciples.
The Gospel of Mary 2 Mary asks: What is matter? Will it last forever? All that is composed shall be decomposed; everything returns to its roots; matter returns to the origins of matter. Those who have ears, let them hear.
It is you who make sin exist, when you act according to the habits of your corrupted nature; this is where sin lies. This is why Good has come into your midst. It acts together with the elements of your nature so as to reunite it with its roots. Tell us whatever you remember of any words he told you which we have not yet heard. There where is the nous , lies the treasure. As for me, I do not believe that the Teacher would speak like this.
These ideas are too different from those we have known. Must we change our customs, and listen to this woman? Did he really choose her, and prefer her to us? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart or that I am lying about the Saviour? Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Saviour made her worthy, who are you need to reject her? Surely the Saviour knows her very well.
That is why he loved her more than us. Rather, let us be ashamed and put on the perfect man and separate as he commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Saviour said. Until the fourth century 80 or more different factions or groups were competing. The 4 Gospels were selected by him. Theodosius named them as heretics. The Gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, the Ebionites, the Egyptians and others vanish, some to be recovered in at Nag Hammadi, others lost forever. Under the powerful influence of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons at the end of the second century AD, all of these were banished from the canon of texts that were to become the foundation of Church doctrine and teaching.
A hundred and thirty years after the selection of the four Gospels made by Irenaeus, two edicts of the Emperor Constantine AD and , ordered the burning of any gospels outside the established canon of the four we know today. His biographer Bishop Eusebius had arranged these four gospels in a form he thought would be acceptable to the Emperor. This suggests that many of the gospels previously banned or excluded by Irenaeus years earlier were still in circulation. In AD he ordered the destruction of their shrines and the magnificent temples of Diana at Ephesus and of Demeter at Eleusis in Greece.
IN a Christian mpob set fire to the wonderful library in Alexandria which housed thousands ofpriceless manuscripts. It was at this time that the idea entered Christian beliefs and practice that hell and eternal punishment awaited heretics, unbelievers and apostates. Henceforth there would be no mercy for them. The Gnostic beliefs and practices and the image of the Divine Feminine, the Holy Spirit, Divine Wisdom Sophia , were nevertheless cherished by the Gnostic communities who, after the edicts of Constantine and Theodosius, could only survive persecution by going underground.
These beliefs and practices were to emerge in Europe years later in the Cathar Church of the Holy Spirit. They also seem to have survived or been paralleled in certain of the teachings of Kabbalah, particularly in its cosmology. This is something that the Gnostic groups did and this is why they were so threatening to the Church of Rome. It is interesting the Jung was planning to visit Rome but found that he was unable to and was overcome at the station by feeling faint as he tried to buy a ticket. Summary and Quote from Gospel of Thomas The primary message of the Gnostics is that we are all essentially spiritual beings, part of the Divine Light or substance of God but, born into the material world, we have forgotten our divine nature and are virtual slaves of the values that govern the world.
So they experienced themselves as strangers or aliens in this world. They believed their origin was in the divine world. If he does not shine, it is darkness. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels 2. See the website www. Quest for the Grail Illustration This talk will look at the legends that suddenly appeared in Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries about the Quest for the Holy Grail.
The Grail appears variously as a cup, vessel, dish or stone. Was the Holy Grail the Cup of the Last Supper as has long been thought or was it the body of sacred teachings descending from Jesus that had survived through the centuries? Was it a secret Gnostic church that was an alternative to the established Catholic one?
Need 2: Uncertainty/Variety
What was the Vision of the Grail that the knights of the Grail legend so diligently sought and so few experienced? At the beginning of the twelfth century hardly anyone had heard of the Grail. By the end of the thirteenth century after this tremendous explosion of mythology, there was hardly anyone in Europe who had not heard of it. The abundant literature about the Holy Grail appeared so suddenly and abruptly in the twelfth century that it seems as if it gave literary shape to a well-established oral tradition.
These stories were told and retold in all the European languages but nothing new was added to them after the mid-thirteenth century. They offered a coded template of knightly virtue and conduct. This, I think, is possible. In the twelfth century the Cup, Chalice, Dish and Stone were symbols pointing to the teaching of the hidden Cathar Church of the Holy Spirit that was spreading all over Europe through the troubadours.
Woman exercised an extraordinary powerful influence on manners and culture in the twelfth century. The formality and validity of the courtly ideal is to be attributed largely to their influence and to the Grail Legends which were widely disseminated in these Courts. Through woman, the poet is inspired; to her he turns; by her he desires to be admired and loved, and it is his wish to understand and serve her. The focus is on love at a spiritual rather than a sexual level. The Service of Woman and the Service of Love went hand in hand. Courtly Love was raised to a spiritual practice.
John Matthews, The Grail: Quest for the Eternal The predominance of the irrational or the interest in it, distinguishes the feminine as well as the Celtic mentality — legends that have survived to this day. As a civilising force, it drew inspiration from women, hitherto virtually ignored in the culture of the Middle Age.
Drawing freely on the sentiments expressed in Arabic poetry and song, as well as on the teachings of the Sufi mystics whose beliefs included idealised earthly love as a means to spiritual perfection, Courtly Love placed woman on a pedestal for the first time in that age, worshipped her as a goddess, revered her as an almost sacred object of devotion — and in so doing touched off a spark in the poetic consciousness which resulted in a flood of lyricism and song. The Troubadours, singers and poets who celebrated the art of Courtly Love in all its aspects and who originated in the south-west of France and travelled all over Europe, became a significant influence on western culture.
A complex set of laws ruled every act of courtship made by the knight for love of his lady, who was always portrayed as aloof, cold of heart and lacking in charity, and who humbled her worshipper with cruel words, only spurring him on to greater efforts to please her.
Though never classed as a heresy, Courtly Love was clearly frowned on by the Church. He asked his wife, Emma, to write a book on it, treating it as a story about the individuation of the European psyche. Quote from John Matthews In the history and beliefs of the Middle Ages, the role played by the Grail shines like a brilliant star. They carry the reader into a world of the supernatural where human destiny is liberated from the laws of this world.
Strange characters, adventures which get tangled and disentangled in a fog of mystery, obscure magical powers which electrify or else paralyse the will, this is the spectacle usually offered by these stories. Cathedral of Chartres The Grail legends coincided with the building of the great cathedrals in France, England and Germany, as well as the Crusades.
The huge wealth of the Knights Templar financed their building. Chartres, like all the great cathedrals in France was dedicated to the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven. Her supreme symbol was the rose and the great Rose windows that adorn the four facades of Chartres represented her. The Virgin Mary was associated with the image of the Grail because she was the precious vessel in which the Son of God became manifest.
However, the title 'Notre Dame' given to all the great cathedrals of France also stood for Mary Magdalene as 'the Grail' of the bloodline descending from her marriage to Jesus see Laurence Gardner's books. Black Madonna The Grail legends also coincided with the pilgrimages to the places sacred to the Black Madonna and the rise of the worship of Mary Magdalene with the building of her magnificent Basilicas at St.
Since giving this talk I have found out that, according to the Essenes the blue rose was the symbol of the teaching of Mary Magdalene and Jesus that was most probably derived from the Essenes. I also believe that the Black Madonna was the symbol of this secret teaching carried by her into France that had to go underground after the fourth century repression of the Gnostics.
I think the exoteric teaching of the Catholic Church was carried in the image of the Virgin Mary in the great cathedrals of France and the hidden teaching by the image of the Black Madonna. The great rose windows in Chartres Cathedral could have represented both exoteric and esoteric traditions. Table of the Grail in relation to the 12 Constellations From an astrological point of view the Table of the Grail and the 12 knights who sat at the Table were associated with the Round Table in the heavens and the 12 Constellations and with Jesus and the twelve apostles. There were four major authors of the Grail Legends.
He died before he was able to finish the story. This was the earliest and most influential of all the Grail texts. It is possible that Eleanor of Aquitaine comissioned him to write this legend.
Troyes was one of the main Templar sites in France where the group of four Templars who went to Jerusalem in the eleventh century came from and to which they returned. They were said to bring a priceless treasure back with them but no-one could say what this treasure was. Was it the teachings of the Gnostic Church, some Gnostic manuscripts, the cup of the Last Supper or part of the lost treasure of the second temple in Jerusalem that had been sacked by the Romans in 70 AD and that had been hidden beneath the Temple Mount, or was it an even older treasure, the Ark of the Covenant?
The blood of Christ was believed to contain the soul and even the divinity of the saviour. It carried unlimited powers of healing and was a means of transmitting a direct apprehension of God. In a work known as the Lancelot Grail , which is an introduction to the story of Joseph of Arimethaea by Robert de Boron, there is a passage which shows that the Grail legend was already in existence in the 8th century in England.
Then Christ appeared to him and gave him a small book, no bigger than the palm of his hand, which would resolve all his doubts. On the following morning the writer opened the book, the sections of which were inscribed as follows:. This is the Book of thy descent. Here begins the Book of the Holy Grail. Here begin the terrors. Here begin the marvels. He then describes how he was drawn up into the third Heaven and of what adventures he had to undergo until the book — which had disappeared — should be found again.
He caught some of his blood in the cup that was used at the Last Supper, either when Jesus was on the cross or in the sepulchre after the crucifixion. After his body disappeared from the sepulchre, Joseph was accused of taking it away and was thrown into prison. Christ appeared to him there in a blaze of glory and entrusted the cup to his care. He was kept alive by a dove who deposited a wafer in the cup every day.
After his release Joseph gathered his family and other followers and travelled to Glastonbury where he founded a dynasty of Grail keepers that eventually included Perceval. Joseph built the first Christian church there, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. They travelled further, perhaps to southern France or northern Spain.
Saint Augustine (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
A temple to house the Grail was built on Montsalvat, the Mountain of Salvation. An Order of knights comes into being. The Keeper of the Grail is wounded in the thighs or the genitals caused by the spear that pierced Christ on the cross. Henceforth he is known as the maimed or wounded king. The country becomes barren — a Wasteland where there is a great drought. Galahad is the main character in this story, the perfect virgin knight who is the only one to actually see the Grail in a vision. In this version the Grail is a stone, not a cup.
It is called the lapis exillas — the exiled stone or the stone of exile. Wolfram was the author who made the strongest connection to alchemical symbolism and, I would think, to Kabbalah. It was said to be an emerald. Parzival in his story was descended from the House of Anjou. Greece, legends of a cup or krater. Cup of Dionysus that gave inspiration. Eleusinian Mysteries had a sacred krater or cup, the kernos.
Whoever drank from it had a vision of a paradisal sphere and immortality. Many Celtic legends told of a sacred cauldron that gave inspiration, rebirth and nourishment for all. The Cauldron of the Welsh goddess Ceridwen who had a semi-divine son called Taliesin, the greatest Welsh poet often associated with Merlin.
All offered a gateway to Paradise or a vision of the place where the cup, vessel or cauldron was to be found. The Ardagh Chalice Made in the eighth century, this is one of the most revered treasures of Ireland. The combination of silver, bronze and gold coupled with the artistic and technical expertise evident in its design were centuries ahead of their time. Merlin now presented Arthur to the assembled knights but he was young and untried. A mysterious stone appeared with a sword thrust into it.
Legend said that whoever was able to draw the sword from the stone would be the rightful king. The young Prince Arthur was able to draw it forth, not once but three times. He was accepted as King and established his court at Caerleon in Wales. King Arthur tapestry of King Arthur No-one else can sit in it because it represented the seat Judas had sat in at the last supper and was mortally dangerous to whoever sat in it, save only Galahad. One day on the Feast of Pentecost, the Grail appeared before the assembled king, queen and knights veiled and held in a beam of sunlight.
The knights vowed to go in search of it. On their Quest, the knights encountered hermits living in the deep woods they pass through on their quest. These guided them on their way. In one version of the Quest, only three knights succeeded in reaching the Grail: Galahad, the virgin knight who was the son of Sir Lancelot by the daughter of the Grail king he slept with her thinking she was Guinevere , Perceval, the holy fool and Bors, the ordinary man.
Only Galahad actually experienced the vision of it. The Story of Parzival as told by Lindsay Clarke in his book Parzifal and the Stone from Heaven to whose wonderful account of the story I am greatly indebted. With the story of Parzival, we enter what Henri Corbin, the great Sufi scholar, called the Imaginal Realm, the realm that is between dreaming and waking, where all intellectual commentary has to be suspended as we deeply experience the story. It is also a story illustrating the alchemical journey through the nigredo and the albedo to the final illumination of the rubedo.
It is a story that is as relevant for our time as it was for the time in which it was written for we have not set out on the Quest for the Grail. The story starts with the kingdom of Anjou in France where a young man called Gahmuret, is the second son of King Gandin of Anjou and the brother of Galoes, the elder son who inherited the throne of his father. King Gandin died in battle, having just mourned the death of his other two sons in battle.
His mother begged him not to go for she had already seen her husband slain for pursuing the same aim. Gahmuret had many adventures and ended up at the court of the Caliph of Baghdad who ruled two-thirds of the known world. After some time spent there, Gahmuret decided to return home. On the way there, sailing along the coast of North Africa he came across a besieged city. He went to its aid, overcame its attackers and fell in love with Belakane, the beautiful dark queen who ruled over the kingdom of Zazamanc. They married and for three months he was content to stay there. But the old restlessness re-asserted itself and he set off once again for his home in Anjou, leaving behind him only a letter saying goodbye to his wife.
Six months later, she gave birth to their son, whose skin was both black and white. She named him Feirefiz Vair Fiz meaning dappled son. Among the throng was the Lady Herzeloyde, heiress to the kingdom of Wales after the recent death of her father. With her was her Marshal, the Lord Gurnemanz. Nine months later a son, Parzival, was born to the queen.
The Caliph sent word that he had been given a glorious funeral in Baghdad and that he would be forever mourned by the Saracens. Herzeloyde was only with great difficulty, prevented from killing herself and her son. Driven out of her mind with grief, she secretly left the castle one night, taking her son, Parzival with her. This is the third time in the story that a wife or mother was abandoned by her husband or son.
The despairing queen brought her son up alone in a hut in the forest for seventeen years, vowing to keep him safe from the world and protect him from all harm. Soon both lands were ravaged by war. One morning Parzival heard horses and the clash of arms and saw five knights in shining armour breaking into a clearing in the forest.
Dazzled by them, he rushed to tell his mother about them. She recognised that the moment of parting has come and fainted. She then told him about his father, and how he died. His mother told him that he must help any woman he sees in distress but he may only take a kiss from her, no more, although he may take a ring. He left his mother without a backward glance. She later died of grief without him being aware of his loss.
Dressed in homespun clothes and smelling of animal pelts, Parzival set out for the Court of King Arthur. On the way there, he met a woman, kissed her by force and seized an emerald ring from her finger. He also saw a red knight carrying a golden goblet. Arrived at the Court, he was ridiculed for his appearance and his speech.
He learned that the Red Knight had stolen the goblet from Arthur and laid claim to his lands. But his appearance and demeanour as a country bumpkin and a fool went against him. Arthur and the Round Table represent the highest code of chivalry which prevailed in the Middle Ages. A higher, nobler and more disciplined man than the warrior was indicated by the term knight. The virtues demanded of him were strength and skill in arms, courage and loyalty to his lord but also to his friend and respect for his foe. The Round Table mirrored the developing consciousness of Christian man in the first millennium.
The unconscious warrior instinct was being transformed by being put in the service of this higher state. Gurnemanz went on one knee before him, astonished to find that he was the long-lost son of the Lady Herzeloyde. He invited him to stay with him and be instructed in all the skills and virtues of a knight that presently he lacked, including good table manners and how to treat a woman with respect. After a few months instruction in both knightly skills with sword and mace as well as courtly manners and an appropriate dress sense, Parzival hears that the nearby castle of Belrepaire is under siege and says he must leave.
Before he goes, Gurnemanz impresses on him that he should not ask too many questions as only fools and spies ask questions. He leaves his elderly and devoted teacher to go out into the world as a fully fledged knight and comes in the nick of time to the castle of Belrepaire where a beautiful lady, Blancheflor, is being besieged by an unacceptable suitor, Duke Orilus.
Parzival fights a great single-handed combat with the Duke and, reaching the point where he was about to kill him, his hand is stayed by a dishevelled woman who begged him to spare his life. Having lifted the siege and removed the enemy, Parzival has encountered for the first time a woman who is beautiful and desirable and who is in deep peril. He has fallen deeply in love with her and she with him. He has not only rescued her one of the knightly duties but also been rewarded with her devotion. Amid great rejoicings, they are married. At this point, the story takes on magical elements.
Parzival is entering the entranced kingdom of faerie, so familiar to Celtic poets, the world of the Dream. He finds himself in a grim wasteland, not knowing it to be his own kingdom. Trying to find his way back to his mother, he comes to a place where he is blocked by a river and a dead end to the path he is on. He asks God to enable him to find what he is seeking. Through the mist he sees two men in a boat and asks them where he could find shelter.
One of them who is fishing in the lake points out the way to the mist-shrouded Grail Castle, the only shelter for thirty miles around. As he climbs the high ridge of a crag, the light has almost gone. Then, a pallid shaft of moonlight gleams through a gap in the shifting clouds and suddenly, a noble castle appears before his tired eyes. The Castle of the Grail He suddenly comes upon the castle on Montsauvage Monsalvat , announces his name as Parzival of Wales and finds the gate opens for him as if he were expected.
After he has bathed and changed into clothes given to him, he is taken into a great hall lit by a blazing fire and many candles.
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In the dim light he sees an old man, Anfortas, the Fisher King, wrapped in a sable robe stretched out on a bed near the fireplace —— all as if in a dream. The king marvels that he has got there so quickly from the castle of Belrepaire. He is therefore of royal descent both from his father and the House of Anjou and from his mother. A page enters holding a sword upright in a brightly jewelled scabbard and belt which he gives to the king, saying it has been sent to him by a niece for him to bestow on whom he wishes. The king presents the sword to Parzival, saying that it is an outstandingly rare and precious weapon and that it is destined for him.
Parzival, though longing to ask questions of the king, does not dare speak. Large candles light the great hall which is full of other knights now. While the Fisher King is speaking to Parzival, a page carrying a white lance enters and crosses over between the fire and the two men sitting on the couch.
A loud cry of lamentation is heard rising from the assembled company. Parzival notices this but says nothing. Wonderful music is heard. A stately procession of 24 maidens enters the hall, wearing exquisite gowns clasped with girdles of gold, their hair garlanded with crowns of flowers. Behind them came two maidens carrying a table made of some rare substance through which light was shining, which they set down before the crippled fisherman. And then two more maidens followed, bearing platters and knives and a gleaming silver dish.
Then another maiden enters the hall, more beautiful than all the others, dressed in white silk brocade. On a rich cloth of green silk she carries a grail of pure gold, set with precious stones. From it streams such a brilliant light that the lustre of the candles is dimmed. She reverently sets down the radiant stone of the Grail on the table in front of the king. Parzival, stunned by all he is witnessing, does not dare to ask a question. A table is prepared and a great feast served to all the four hundred knights present in the hall. With every course served the Grail passes in front of them and still Parzival says nothing, having decided to ask the meaning of all he has witnessed in the morning.
The king retires to bed and Parzival retires to the bed prepared for him in the great hall and sleeps until morning. On waking he finds his armour and weapons lying beside him but no-one to help him arm. The doors giving on to the halls save the one by which he entered are all closed and no one answers his knocking and calling.
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