Editors note: If you haven’t yet taken in the Sangreal series, please read through Randall Carlson’s exegetical decryption of this most sacred mystery, Sangreal The Holy Grail, archived here or risk losing the opportunity to be genuinely awestruck to spoilers present in this wonderful write up b David B. Metcalfe
“In this holy hum of bees,
Wing song of pollen hunt and honey,
Can you hear a rhythm
Running through the birth of stars,
And towards our destination
Returning to an ever awakening ground?”
– Fragment, Anonymous
I have holed myself up in the heart of the woods. While others search out technical tricks pulling us towards a transhuman delusion I sit silent and observe the slow transition of seasons, the wind washed breath of trees and the beetles’ birth from egg to larva to shiny shell to finally becoming food for bird, beast and vibrant vegetation. Here, in simplicity, the whole of nature’s intricate and integral play. Sun rises, sun sets and I am blessed with a vision of eternity marked in cock’s crow at dawn and the night’s sage song of owls and coyote. Here I sift the sands, searching for a celestial stone.
This cabin in which I write lies on land a few miles from the Georgia Guidestones – that strange modern monument marking a reminder of the death and rebirth of civilization, fears of nuclear holocaust and the eternal path of nature written in celestial rhythms. Further down the road the contemporary philosopher and geometer Randall Carlson studies earth mysteries, ancient history and the periodicity of catastrophe teasing secrets from historical texts and contemporary science. As always the ever present invitation to the Great Work awaits those willing to wander into the arms of Mystery.
We search to string a tantalizing thread from past to future through our living experience. A quest to heal the hidden wound in the ever present press of days lingering long before us. Sang Real, Holy Blood San Greal, Holy Grail a mystery passed down through story and rumor an intriguing puzzle persisting in fractured filaments arranged ad nauseum as puzzle pieces put together by those pursuing a pathless path. Discovery of the Grail secret promises a return to wholeness health vitality a renewal of the shattered kingdom a reconfiguration from that sense of disconnection which marks out the tenuous travail of human existence in every age of our blessed/cursed time on this precious planet.
What are we to make of these odd tales and legendary accounts which speak of renewal and return? Randall Carlson’s Sangreal series offers up a tantalizing angle of approach to this question: “That the Grail has a cosmic dimension of meaning is indicated unequivocally by the texts themselves. Up to now this layer of meaning has remained hidden, primarily because the majority of Grail scholars lacked both the requisite scientific background and the basic understanding of occult and metaphysical systems necessary to bring order out of the confusion of symbols, images, characters and events that make up the Holy Grail narrative.” Randall Carlson, Sangreal, The Holy Grail: Recovering the Cosmic Science of Antiquity Part 2 Having recently co-hosted a series of digital talks on the subject of sacred geometry and alchemical transmutation with Scott Olsen, author of The Golden Mean – Nature’s Greatest Secret, the wealth of revelation in the mathematical reunion of science and the sacred is fresh in my mind. Those who push towards the obscurity of occultism miss the simple truth of these connections. This work of mapping mysteries is not some obscure game of meandering supernaturalism – it is a profound process that moves towards discovering depths unknown to reductionist materialism and deceptive spiritualities alike.
Carlson’s Sangreal series provides an array of exploratory directions which demonstrate not only the potential of the Grail mythos to carry multiple layers of meaning, but also an insight into the multidimensional nature of mythology and legend in general. Nature aligns itself analogously across all levels of being – the lifecycle of a beetle becomes a mirror for the lifecycle of a comet described in the 8th part of the Sangreal series Aggregation (Egg) Hibernation (Larva) Activation (Beetle) Disintegration (Food for other creatures) Amalgamation (Return to the essential ground). Watching nature at any level we discover secrets that pertain to all of the levels, the same as we find when working through the different levels of meaning in a complex narrative such as the Grail mythos.
Questing is similar to the weaver’s art no matter where we begin we are lead backwards and forwards discovering the warp of a transient tapestry in which we find ourselves enloomed – our awareness being born from stories, we are woven of these strands. Poetry and storytelling are rhythmic arts, no different in form than those astronomical inquiries which map the rhythms of stars. “To the circling course of the stars man’s affairs and destiny are linked,” as Wolfram von Eschenbach says in his Grail romance Parzival. Here we discover the connective tissue that binds science to sacral secrets, a median ground of shifting phenomena existing between the mundane world and the mysterious other.
Carlson notes in the 3rd installment of his Sangreal series, “the Grail itself is protean in nature, assuming various forms throughout the different narratives.” So it is that the quest brings us beyond mythology and mysticism, beyond the pale division of esoteric and exoteric thought, and into the very crucible of being, the fountain of light in which birth and death an inextricably intermingled. Olsen, a student of John Michell, whose extensive writings on sacred knowledge has brought many to this quest, agrees with Carlson that now is a time when that which was once hidden behind a veil of secrecy needs more than ever to be revealed to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. As we continue to emerge from the war torn vestiges of the 20th century, from a society born in the nuclear promise of the Trinity Tests, we sit on a precipice where without wisdom we will surely fall into the deadly mouth of a new Dark Age.
Too many today allow themselves to become creations of mass mediated messages massaged to produce crippled consumers nurturing needs manifest in the manipulations of malignant production lines yet the call always remains to step out and travel other paths, to discover purpose and wonder in the places where we find ourselves reflected in starry fields whether in the celestial signs of earthly flowers or in the companion constellations cast overhead by the intimate geographies of universal forces. The message of our truth writ and read in the manifestation of the world around us: where the circulation of our blood travels the same paths as “the circling course of the stars” above us.
This multifacted nature of the quest is found in the word Sangreal itself. Carlson gives a hint of this, saying that a “dual meaning arises as a result of where one chooses to break the word. Split the term Sangreal between the letters n and g it becomes San Greal, ‘Holy Grail’. Split it between the g and the r and it becomes Sang Raal, or ‘Royal Blood.’ The point here has not to do with the question of which translation for Sangreal is correct, Holy Grail’ or ‘Royal Blood’, rather it is that the mystery of the Grail includes both meanings.” From this division found in linguistic play we are not so far from the golden mean – the uneven cut which the Egyptians heralded as the beginning of nature – the ‘logos’ or ratio spoken of in the first chapter of John’s epistle when he says In the beginning was the Word…
Wolfram Von Eschenbach says of those who serve the Grail, “they live from a stone of the purest essence…It is called Lapis Exilis. By the power of this stone the Phoenix is burned to ashes, but from the ashes she is reborn. Thus does the Phoenix moult and change her plumage, which afterward is bright and shining and lovely as before.” The exiled stone – the stone the builders rejected – or split another way Lapis Ex Caelis – the heavenly stone.
“they live from a stone of the purest essence…It is called Lapis Exilis. By the power of this stone the Phoenix is burned to ashes, but from the ashes she is reborn. Thus does the Phoenix moult and change her plumage, which afterward is bright and shining and lovely as before.”
I watch a caterpillar cross a wooden bough – the steady rhythm of its rippling back measures the movement of earth’s ages a pure mathematics born of nature. A cross carved by fungus on a tree,
before me another explicit expression of the golden mean. Disconnected you find surprise in the holism of the universe – but it is this holism which speaks the secret so long hidden in plain sight. Our hunt for the Grail leads us to discover the inexpressible unity of being which lies hidden beneath apparent divisions.
“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands We are born of catastrophe order inlays a womb of chaos in constant flux. What we see as constancy a mere illusion of rhythmic arising and dissolution played out with measured regularity. In the minute reconstitution of our own flesh and up into the lifecycles of the space bound nuclear furnaces we have come to call stars we are witness to the fathomless infinity of eternal return. Kao et ordo is not a linear process, it is a secret love song whispering from the open mouth of a snake swallowing its own tail.
“…it is only because of the precise geometric architecture of the Solar System that comets can be transferred from their holding station in the Kuiper disk, enabling them to deliver their extraterrestrial cargo to the inner Solar System, and ultimately to Earth, where their exotic ingredients can catalyze the processes of cosmic alchemy that result in the formation of the planetary biosphere.”
“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”
Randall Carlson’s Sangreal series provides a radical insight into the dramatic integrity of existence, revealing connections between ancient myths and contemporary science, and between the sacred secrets of age worn Adepts and the open expression of basic geometry. This We must give up our preconceptions about where the path leads, following the clues themselves towards the ultimate destination. Carlson’s vision also opens us up to the tenuous continuity of our time on earth – demonstrating the role that catastrophic occurrences such as asteroid and comet strikes play in the foundations of life and the destruction of civilization. Events which rupture static formalities provide the opening for something new to emerge.
Lapis Ex Caelis A Stone Fallen From Heaven – a multiplicitous sign the first seed of life sown on Earth, a symbol of rebirth and renewal, and a portent of destruction which cannot be ignored. The question of what we make of this mystery is the enduring call of the eternal search for the Grail. It is a question raised once again – a reminder of the call to the quest awaiting all who are brave enough to answer it.
I cannot find my way: there is no star
in all the shrouded heavens anywhere;
And there is not a whisper in the air
Of any living voice but one so far
That I can hear it only as a bar
Of lost, imperial music, played when fair
And angel fingers wove, and unaware,
Dead leaves to garlands where no roses are.
No, there is not a glimmer, nor a call,
For one that welcomes, welcomes when he fears, The black and awful chaos of the night;
For through it all – above, beyond it all
I know the farsent messages of years,
I feel the combing glory of the Light.
Credo, by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Sirius students of the Mysteries will enjoy, “Psychogeography, Altered States of Consciousness and the Spiritual Technology of the Ancients”, a conversation between Randall Carlson and David B. Metcalfe.