Quest for the Holy Grail
Quest for the Holy Grail
by Jack Courtis
If the Quest is a system of self-transformation, what does this mean? The clue is that the Grail undergoes 5 miraculous changes. Its form is not fixed, it is in constant flux. Moreover, it is a catalyst, an agent of change, which is in its essential nature unchangeable. Let us review its operation.
From Stone it changes to Spear, then to Sword and Cup, finally to Dish. The cycle is then repeated until the transformation is complete. Whose transformation? Ours. What does this mean? First let us visualise the process
These ritual objects of the Grail symbolise our internal processes. We can understand this statement when it is compared with alchemy.
But what does it mean? Simply this: just as the Quest happens in our own heart and mind, the Great Work of transmutation happens in our body - our psychic body. Both the Grail and Alchemy relate to our psychic centres, but not in a one to one relationship and not in a linear relationship. Once these points are understood, both the Quest and the Great Work become clear. The Alchemical or Grail nature of our being acts in a special way with respect to our psychic centres. Some of the centres are grouped together. The whole scheme is activated in a spiral fashion, not a linear fashion. Finally, the order in which the principles are given is different.
The spiral begins at the navel centre with the Spear and Fire. Next it goes to the root centre with the Dish and with Earth. It progresses to the heart/throat area with the Sword and Air. Then it goes to the sacral centre with the Cup and with Water. Finally, it arrives at its destination, the crown/brow area with the Stone and Aether.
The crown/brow and heart/throat are treated as areas which means that it is the combined effect of these psychic centres that is important. They have to be reconciled. This is a mystery. but what starts the process? Why at the navel centre? Have you ever heard the expression that a man has "fire in his belly"? have you ever wondered about the historical contemporaries of the Grail Knights, the Knights Templar? How is it possible to be a warrior/monk? How can you be a seeker of God and also a person who uses violence? In the East it is said that martial arts are a particularly effective means of beginning the path to enlightenment. In Alchemical terms, Fire is the agent of transmutation. The process begins with Fire and ends with the higher forms of fire known as Aether.
Let us look at the process in its 5-fold manifestation in the alchemical context of our psychic body:
The spiral of the Alchemical process is 5-fold and takes us in the order:
|1. Fire||2. Earth||3. Air||4. Water||5. Aether|
The Quest for the Grail takes us in a linear fashion (but not in a straight line):
|1. Spear||2. Sword||3. Cup||4. Dish||5. Stone|
Both the Quest and the Alchemical process begin with Fire and end with Aether. However the internal steps are different. The similarities point to the ultimate unity of the 2 systems. The differences are subtle and point to the variety of means by which the process of self- transformation can be achieved.
We know that the Grail has different forms. However we are still entitled to seek its ultimate nature. We know at least this much, that it is 5-fold, ie that there are 5 fundamental principles that explain it. Think of the 'Tree of Life, it has 3 pillars and functions by polarity (male/female) ie 5 principles. The point is that there is a hidden order in the kosmos, an implicate order, which is the unifying principle that guides us to the process of self- transformation.
As Grail Knights, let us attain the Holy Grail in the Grail Castle and redeem the Wasteland.