Knights, the Protectors of the Realm
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski, B.F.A.

THE QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL:

The word grail is from the old French greal meaning a kind of dish.

In one legend, (Saint) Joseph of Arimathea was a soldier of Pontius Pilate who was given the cup Jesus used in the Last Supper. In Tom Cowan's book Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, he states that the cup of Joseph of Arimathea was used to catch the blood of Christ while he was hung on the cross. After Jesus' Resurrection, Joseph was thrown into a dungeon where Jesus appeared to him and gave him the cup, which had fallen out of his possession after the fall of Jerusalem. Joseph was freed and he, his sister Enygeus, and her husband Hebron (Bron) went into exile.

SAINT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA

Saint Joseph of Arimathea's day is March 29th. St Joseph asked for the Body of Jesus. Aided by Nicodemus, he took the Body of the Savior from the Cross, bound it up in trappings of cloth with perfumed oil, and laid it in his own tomb, which had been hewned from a formation of rock ( Lives of the Saints. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1987, 38-42).

Another account says that Saint Joseph of Arimathea was Christ's uncle, and as a tin miner in Palestine, he liked to drop in on diggings, accompanied by his Nephew. A more likely story is that Joseph made his way, after the Resurrection and Ascension, in the company of Saint Mary Magdelene to France. Then he travelled alone to Britain, and established a church in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Most important, he brought with him the Chalice from the Last Supper - which is how the Holy Grail got to England, and why King Arthur, whose castle was also at Glastonbury, was so concerned with finding it. For over sixteen hundred and fifty years it was said that Joseph's own staff, which he had planted at Glastonbury, had become the large hawthorne tree that flowered there, miraculously, every Christmas Eve. This was the sort of 'papist nonsense' the Puritans hated, and just to be safe, they cut the tree down.

All four canonial gospels agree that Joseph of Arimathea took Christ down from the cross and laid him in the tomb, John added that he was "a disciple of Jesus, but secretly feared the Jews."

William of Malmsbury's De Antiqiutate Glastoniensis Ecclesiae (on the Antiquity of Glastonbury Churches), probably written about twenty-five years after the 1191 discovery of the body of King Arthur. Malmesbury said Joseph founded Glastonbury and brought the Holy Grail to Britain.

Joseph was sent from Gaul by Phillip the Apostle to bring Christianity to the British, and to make this convertion easier, he took the Grail.

In John Glastonbury's Legenda of 1400, he makes no mention of the Grail. He instead said Joseph brought two silver vessels which housed the Blood and Sweat of Christ.

In the 17th century, it is mentioned that Isaac of Arimathea, Joseph's nephew, entrusted the vial to the sea, and it was washed ashore - and is now in the Abbey of La Trinite, Fecamp (Normandy)(McNeill, John, Illustrated Lives of the Saints. Greenwich, Conn: Crescent Books, 1995.

In Laurence Gardner's book, Bloodlines of the Grail Grail it states that: "... Joseph/James were [sic] buried at Glastonbury..." and that "early Glastonbury was set amid watery marshland, and was called the Isle of Glais. Thus Joseph's said burial at the 'Abbey of Glais' actually referred quite correctly to the Abbey of Glastonbury" ( Gardner, Lawrence, Bloodlines of the Holy Grail: The Hidden lineage of Jesus Revealed.New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, 137).

Bron and Enygeus had twelve sons, eleven married. Alan did not marry and he preached Christianity. Joseph was said to have entrusted Bron with the Grail, and, in one account, Bron, a fisherman, brought it to Britian, while Joseph crossed the sea to Britain on his miraculous shirt.

PROTECTORS OF THE HOLY GRAIL

The Sangreal was the cup from which our Savior drank at his last supper. Joseph of Arimathea had been devoted to the guardianship of these precious relics - by leading a life of purity in thought, word, and deed.

Eventually, one guardian had unpure thoughts upon seeing a young female pilgrim and the lance wounded him. This wound became a wound that would not heal.

Sir Galahad was of King's lineage and kindred of Joseph of Arimathea.

John of Glastonbury claimed that Joseph brought two cruets containing the blood and sweat of Jesus to Britain in 63 AD. Joseph was also responsible for founding the Grail Castle - cum - monastery (Carbonek) where the Grail was said to be housed and protected by thirteen monks (signifying Christ and his twelve apostles). Another legend states that Joseph buried the cup of the Last Supper in a spring at Glastonbury, thus explaining the water there, which has a red tinge. Glastonbury Cathedral held the cup of Jesus Christ and the Guardians of the Grail had power over life and death.

Joseph, son of Joseph of Aritmathea, was said to give communion to Sir Galahad, one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. Alan, the unmarried son of Brons and Enygeus was the Grailkeeper, and as such had supernatural powers ro protect it. Alan was said to have been made father of the Grail King by the Holy Spirit. Another legend states that Alan was Perceval's father.

Helaius was another nephew of Joseph of Arimathea and ancestor of King Arthur, on his maternal side. This was according to the writings of John of Glastonbury.

In Arthur's day the Grail was guarded until a man gave up his watch for a woman. The temptress lured him from his Holy duty, much like the snake tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. This man was called The Fisher King, and after he allowed the Grail to be taken, the earth was made into a wasteland.

Other characters in these myths are the Hermit King, who was said to be the uncle of Perceval, and the Red Knight, who was reputed to be the one that stole a cup from Arthur's court. The Red Knight was then pursued and killed by Perceval. The legend originated as a pagan Celtic myth, which had similar components.

  1. THE CELTIC MYTHS (PAGAN>
  2. THE GRAIL STORY (CHRISTIAN)
  3. THE SWORD OF NAUDA
  4. PERCEVAL'S SWORD
    ..... The sword is a weapon of destructive force and symbolized virility, strength, and manhood.
  5. THE SPEAR OF LUGH
  6. THE BLEEDING LANCE
    ..... The Spear stands for the spear that pierced Christ's side.
  7. THE CAULDRON OF THE DAGNA
  8. THE GRAIL CUP
    ..... The Cauldron and the Cup are both healing elements. People are drawn to the healing properties of water. Many healing wells are still in Britain today. The Cauldron and the Cup restore life, health, nourishment, and courage. They are from oral tradition to medieval transcriptions and updated even to modern times (Matthews, Caitlin and John, Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom: A Celtic Shaman's Sourcebook. Rockport, MA.: Elements Books Limited, 1994).

    The Grail Cup is like its pagan antecedent, the Cauldron of mystery. The Cauldron contained a hallucinatory brew of seekers, fools, risk-takers, failures, and fighters. It helped each person discover themselves.

  9. THE STONE OF FAL
  10. THE SILVER PLATTER

The first Grail story was written down in 1185, by Christian de Troyes, who died before completing his tale. Christian de Troyes wrote this story at the court of Marie de Champayne, her mother, Eleanor of Aquitane, owned most of the Cathar heartland. Troyes' story was said to be based on an earlier version that had been lost (Loomis, Roger Sherman and Laura Hibbard, eds., Arthurian Romances. New York: Random House, 1957, 3-87).

PERCEVAL:

Perceval is a pagan hero who fails, then later succeeds. Perceval is of noble blood; the Fisher King is his grandfather. He grew up ignorant of his bloodlines and civilization in general. Perceval is the "perfect fool." He fails but relives things until he gets it right. Perceval becomes the new Fisher King.

In the Holy Grail story with Perceval as hero, he fails his Quest by NOT asking the Grail Questions: What is the Grail? Whom does it serve? The Grail Quest has always been a search for the secrets of life. It is likened to the Horn of Plenty, which held the secrets of provision and rebirth.

Persival (Perceval) grew up in nature and came to Arthur's court after meeting three knights, who asked him to accompany them to Camelot. Before coming to Camelot, Persival was said to have been an innocent, who was not adept at the treachery and knew nothing of the faults of the world. He had been raised in nature, by his mother, to protect him from such things. He learned to be a knight and was said to have been one of the most innocent of his kind. He had many adventures, some are perilous and some are filled with wonders and delights. Different legends cite Perceval, Galahad, Gawain, and Bors as the hero who goes after the Grail. One view says The Holy Grail is thought to be the Chalice that Jesus Christ used at the Last Supper. No one knows whether it is splendid or humble, but many books have explored this. In our century, even "Indiana Jones" seeks this chalice, which is guarded by old crusaders. The romantic view of this story lives on even today.

ARTHUR

In the time that Arthur was thought to have lived, there were a few men with that name:

  1. Aeden MacGabran, king of Dalriada, had a son named Arthur who died in 596 AD
  2. Arthur, son of Peter, was a ruler in Dyfed in the early seventh century
  3. Arthur, son of Bicuir, lived in 625 AD

Arthur is a product of Uther Pendragon and Ygerna de Acos (the combining of the lines of Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus Christ).

Symbolically we can identify all aspects of the King Arthur story as follows:

Sir Owain had a lion ... lions stand for regal personas.

Sir Gawain had a horse or mule. The horse later symbolized the Knights Templars.

Arthur's sister, Morgan La Fay, is a Fairy Queen.

Merlin is a Wizard-Druid.

Guinevere means "white fairy."

The Round Table is the Wheel of Life.

Excalibur is a gift from the Lady of the Lake or the female guardian of the underworld. The sword is a powerful object and helping spirit.

THE GRAIL KINGS :

Percevel stumbles upon the Grail King or Fisher King, who is wounded in the thigh or loins. His kingdom is a vast wasteland, caused by the wound that will not heal. In his castle is the mysterious Grail brought out at the glorious banquet, sometimes with an equally mysterious bleeding lance. The young knight is awestuck by the spectacle, but fails to ask three special questions:

Had he asked these questions, the maimed King would have been healed and his barren land restored to prosperity. But because of a lack of will or courage, or out of fear, the young knight remains silent. The next morning he awakes to discover that he is alone. The castle has disappeared, and he must begin the Quest again.

LANCELOT

Lancelot and Perceval are one in the same. Both knights, both of the same blood, etc. Lancelot, however, has serious personality flaws that make him morally unfit. His affair with Arthur's queen being but one. His own conscience is his lance in the side, a wound that can never heal. He knows he has betrayed Arthur. He cannot accept the shaman's vision because of his Christian beliefs. Lancelot is a sinner with a weakness for earthly love.

THE KINGDOM OF CAMELOT:

Cowan states that Europeans could no longer accept shamanism in the Christian era. He feels that the young knight and the old king are two shaman, who refused to except their roles.

The King is wounded by his brother, The Invisible Knight, most likely in the genitilia. The old King is crippled and can not perform the tasks necessary. He becomes lethargic and sits near the water waiting for his luck to change. The fish represents the Salmon of Wisdom.

The search for the Grail, as stated before, is a search for your own identity.

Generation I: A. Sennabor, Prince of Cappadocia and B. Vesparian, Emperor of Rome.
Generation II: Parille, son of Sennabor marries Argusilla, daughter of Vesparian.
Generation III: Titurison
Generation IV: Titurel
Generation V: Frimutel
Generation VI: Hezeloyde married Gahmuret
Generation VII: Perceval
This is yet another man's view of the line of descendent of Perceval.

THE SHROUD OF TURIN:

Another group believes that the Holy Grail is the Shroud of Turin, in which Christ was wrapped after his crucifixion (his burial cloth). Today they are not sure IF the Shroud is really from the crypt of Jesus.

Many now believe that the Shroud has the image of the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay. Molay was a tall man with a long nose, shoulder length hair parted in the middle, and a full forked beard. Molay was tortured in a similar way to Jesus, prior to his being burned at the stake. Many believe the Templars wrapped de Molay in cloth, and that lactic acid and blood mixed with frankincense etched his image into the shroud. The Shoud of Turin was first displayed in 1357 by the family of Geoffrey de Charney. Charney was burned at the stake along with de Molay. Carbon dating shows this item to be of the 13th century and NOT from the time of Christ. This information was revealed on October 13, 1989 (Guarnaccia, Kim, "The Knights Templar and the Shroud of Turin." Renaissance Magazine Vol. 3 #4, Issue #12, 32.).

THE BLOODLINES OF THE HOLY GRAIL:

Others feel that the Holy Grail is the Bloodines of Christ:. Current writings show these lines.

Following the Jewish revolt in Jerusalem, during the 1st century AD, the Roman overlords were reputed to have destroyed all records concerning the Davidic legacy of Jesus, the Messiah's family. Jesus's heirs were from the Royal House of Judah.

I. Anna married Joseph of Arimathea (St. James)

II. Anna (Enygeus) married Bran the Bressed (Bron)

Galahad, Gawain, and Perceval are said to be from these lines. Galahad is born of the Grail Family, and is taken to heaven. Tom Cowan says that the Grail Quest is a shaman's quest, not the path to sainthood.

OTHER THEORIES:

Wolfram thought the Grail was a stone in his Parzival.
F. Anderson thought it was a holy object that showed the Holy Trinity symbolically.
J. L. Weston thought that The Holy Grail is but a Christian legend based on an old Celtic fertility rite. Ms. Weston says this was a local Celtic tale about the Cauldron of Plenty, that was incorporated into Christian teachings. like so many other tales (Coghlan, Ronan, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Arthurian Legends. London: Claremont Books, 1993).
Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King names Glastonbury as being connected to the Grail, since the water still runs with the Blood of Christ. However, the high content of iron oxide, scientists believe is the real reason.


GRAIL LINKS:

King Arthur and the Holy Grail Cult of Arthur future future
Knights Templar The Realm of the Holy Grail future

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