September 6, 2013 at 7:19 am

Sangreal, The Holy Grail: Recovering The Lost Science of Antiquity – Part 5

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Sangreal_Red_Rain_3Sangreal, The  Holy Grail:

Recovering the Cosmic Science of Antiquity – Part Five

We left off last month with a synopsis of a portion of Chretien de Troyes account of the Grail quest. We learned how Percival became a knight in King Arthur’s court and subsequently set out in pursuit of adventure, whereupon he encounters a fisherman who directs him to a castle. Within a great hall in this castle Percival witnesses the ‘Grail Procession.’ One of the items carried in the procession is a white lance dripping blood. The grail itself, when conveyed through the hall, is overwhelmingly brilliant. He later learns that the fisherman is a king who has suffered a grievous wound which will not heal. Failing to inquire as to the meaning of the spectacle he witnesses, Percival is condemned to wander for another five years, during which the kingdom transforms into a wasteland. The grail itself is the cure for both debilitated land and king and must be found and its meaning deciphered for the restoration of health and fertility.

Grail_Mural

Grail Procession. Artist uknown. Image via: avalonianaeon.blogspot.com

The mystery of the meaning of the Grail Procession is deep and complex. It is my intention to offer one possible solution to this mystery. It is clear from all accounts that the theme of blood plays a major part in the Grail mythos, from the references to blood at the Last Supper, to the collection, and presumably preservation, of Christ’s blood at the crucifixion, and to the reiteration of this theme in its association with a white lance. Recall that a lance was used by the Roman centurion Longinus to pierce the side of Jesus to determine if he was, in fact, dead after a mere six hours on the cross. “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” (John, 19-34)   The blood-grail connection was discussed by the late Laurence Gardner in his 1996 book Bloodline of the Holy Grail, wherein he elaborates upon the idea presented in Holy Blood, Holy Grail that the Grail symbolized the royal bloodline of the Davidic kings propagated through the lineage of Jesus. In reference to the multi-faceted countenance of the Grail, Gardner says:

“It has been symbolized by many things, but as a material item it is most commonly perceived as a chalice that contains, or once contained, the life-blood of Jesus. The Grail has additionally been portrayed as a vine, weaving its way through the annals of time. The fruit of the vine is the grape, and from the grape comes wine. In this respect, the symbolic elements of the chalice and vine coincide, for wine has long been equated with the blood of Jesus. Indeed, this tradition sits at the very heart of the Eucharist sacrament, and the perpetual blood of the Grail chalice represents no less than the enduring Messianic bloodline.”

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Image credit: The Stygian Port

The truly revolutionary suggestion of Holy Blood, Holy Grail was that the royal blood line of the House of Judah did not terminate with the crucifixion but was propagated through the descendents of Mary Magdalene as the mother of Jesus’ children. This interesting but controversial topic warrants further attention but that is not my objective here, rather, it is in the nature of the royal blood itself “. . . a blood that was deemed to be sacred and invested with magical or miraculous properties” in the words of HBHG.

Wolfram in Parzival intimates in which direction we must seek to begin to unravel the riddle that is the Grail and its connection to the ‘royal blood’:

Flagetanis the heathen saw with his own eyes in the constellations things he was shy to talk about, Hidden Mysteries. He said there was a thing called the Grail, whose name he had read clearly in the constellations. A host of angels left it on the earth…”

Flagetanis the heathen saw with his own eyes in the constellations things he was shy to talk about, Hidden Mysteries. He said there was a thing called the Grail, whose name he had read clearly in the constellations. A host of angels left it on the earth…”

Here Wolfram is pointing directly to the central secret surrounding the meaning and identity of the Grail. It is something beheld against the backdrop of the sky, in the constellations. That it moves with respect to the constellations is clearly implied in that it ultimately finds its way to Earth through the agency of ‘angels.’ But what has this to do with blood?

Mythic and prophetic traditions have long acknowledged a cosmic affiliation with blood. The 8th chapter of Revelation describes the onset of the Apocalypse by the appearance of Seven Angels, announcing their arrival with trumpet blasts.

“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth . . .”

So here, paralleling Wolframs account, we also have angels and the casting, by them, of something onto the Earth, in this case fire, hail and blood commingled.

The biblical account has echoes in India’s great epic poem, the Mahabharata:

“The air was filled with the shouting of men, the roaring of elephants, the blasts of trumpets, and the beating of drums: the rattling of chariots was like to thunder rolling in heaven. The Gods and Gandharvas assembled in the clouds and saw the hosts which had gathered for mutual slaughter. As both armies waited for sunrise, a tempest arose and the dawn was darkened by dust clouds, so that men could scarce behold one another. Evil were the omens. Blood dropped like rain out of heaven, while jackals howled impatiently, and, kites and vultures screamed hungrily for human flesh.”

So, as men prepare for battle on Earth below, great disturbances are manifesting in the heavens above.

The earliest known references in literature linking blood and the heavens are found in Homer’s Iliad. Zeus foresees that his mortal but beloved son Sarpedon is going to die in the Trojan War and as a tribute “Zeus poured bloody drops earthwards, honouring his own beloved son, whom Patroklos was soon to destroy in fertile Troy far from his homeland.”  Chap. 16, v. 459

An earlier reference in the Iliad also intimate the link, for as the great battle is about to commence:

“the son of Kronos sent evil turmoil upon them, and from aloft cast down dews dripping blood from the sky . . .

Saturn_Symbols

Saturn The Reaper

Here we have unambiguous parallels to the Mahabharata.

This theme of reciprocal terrestrial and celestial discord is reiterated in Chinese mythology wherein we find a tale regarding three tribes perpetrating a great disorder. As a result of their perpetual strife “Heaven decreed their destruction. The sun came out at night and for three days it rained blood. A dragon appeared in the ancestral temple and dogs howled in the marketplace.” (Watson B. 1967. Basic writings of Mo Tzu, etc., Columbia Univ. Press)

Turning from the mythical to the historical record we find numerous accounts of blood from the sky. For example:

In the Census of Ireland for the year 1851, under the section entitled Table of cosmical phenomenon etc. in Ireland, under an entry for the year AD 1017 it is stated that ‘there appeared a most frightful comet for four months. The same year it rained blood . . .”

One of seven manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle  “An. DC.LXXXV “In this year there was a bloody rain in Britain. And milk and butter were turned to blood.” p. 444

In the 12th century Irish Book of Leinster, is found an interesting reference for the year 868 A.D: “Showers of blood were poured, and the clots of gore were found.”

Another medieval Irish chronicle, the Chronicum Scotorum, contains a reference to the year 878 A.D: “it rained a shower of blood, which was found in lumps of gore and blood on all the plains . . .”

In the year 1014 a battle took place in Ireland between several warring factions vying for supremacy of the kingdom. The ruler of most of Ireland at the time was Brian Boru, who set out to unify the entire island. The principle resistance came from the Danes of Leinster.  In the 156th chapter of the Icelandic Brennu-Njalssaga is found an account of the battle between these foes. One faction had allied itself with Viking mercenaries whose exploits were recounted in the Brennu saga. Just before the battle was to commence the Vikings “heard a great noise, so that they all awoke and started up and got into their clothes. There with it rained boiling-hot blood upon them. Then they sheltered themselves with their shields, but many were burned; that marvel lasted till broad day . . .”  This event was taken as a portent of slaughter by the Vikings and probably contributed to their demoralization and defeat at the hands of the forces of Brian, in fact every Viking leader was killed in the course of battle. It is estimated that 6,000 casualties were suffered by the Vikings and their allies with only 500 to 1000 survivors.

In a 14th century work entitled Polychronicon, a universal history from the creation to 1352, the author Ralph Higden, a monk, writes: “In the same time here came a strange token, such as before never came, nor never hitherto since. From heaven here came a marvelous flood; three days it rained blood, three days and three nights. That was exceeding great harm!”

Such reports could be multiplied many times over. P. McCafferty with the Department of Irish and Celtic studies at Queens University, Belfast has documented at least 80 accounts of red rain and 20 references to rivers and lakes turning into blood. Keep in mind that these are only a small sampling from one region of the planet where fairly extensive records are available.

What are we to make of these accounts? Surely it does not rain actual blood from the sky. Or does it? Perhaps the Grail mythos points us in the direction of an answer. Let us recall the Grail Procession in the Great Hall of the Fisher King, and the image of the blood dripping from the white lance, followed by an apparition of the Grail too brilliant to look at. Let us recall the Chinese myth referenced above, linking the blood rain with a dragon appearing in the ‘ancestral temple’. Let us recall Wolframs description of the Grail as lapis ex caelis, a stone fallen from heaven. And finally, let us recall the Table of Cosmical Phenomenon in Ireland, wherein the rain of blood is unambiguously associated with “a most frightful comet.”

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Grail Processional Symbols

Next month:  Science investigates a modern case of ‘blood’ from the sky and unknowingly reveals a great secret.

Continue on to Sangreal, The Holy Grail: The Mystery of the Red Rain

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