Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Medieval Mysticism

Isabel Cooper-Oakley




AND like a flying star
Led on the gray-haired Wisdom of the East.
I saw the spiritual city and all her spires
And gateways in a glory like one pearl—
No larger, tho' the goal of all the Saints—
Strike from the sea; and from the star there shot
A rose-red sparkle to the city, and there
Dwelt, and I knew it was the Holy Grail,
Which was an image of the mighty world.

— The Holy Grail and The Passing of Arthur,

THE legend of the founding of the City Spiritual— the Kingdom of the Holy Grail [128] or San Greal— is so interwoven with myth and superadded tradition that to trace its origin is as difficult as to see through a dense fog the delicate outline of some fair gothic spire whose lofty head towers beyond the mists towards the blue heights above. But as we gaze with straining effort, slowly through the gloom line upon line reveals itself, and finally the whole structure takes form most definite before us. Thus is it with the priceless "Legend of the Holy Grail," and as we trace it back from Western lands to its Eastern home, gradually from the mists of time's obscurity there stands revealed once more the glorious tradition of the Wisdom Religion, another messenger from East to West bringing the ancient mystic teaching from the old worlds to the new.

In this case the gracious message is vestured, not as usual in religious forms, but veiled in garb of chivalry, so that it may, perhaps, in this new presentation more readily touch the hearts of men, and draw them to seek for the Kingdom Spiritual, the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Gathered round the "Holy Grail" are the Knights —the Guardians of the "Grail Kingdom," led by Titurel, [129] the mystic King, to whom is entrusted the charge of the Holy Teaching. Then later we find the Knights Templars taking up the sacred mission. [130]

But everywhere and always is there the inner doctrine for the few who seek the Holy Grail, for it is invisible to all but those who form the "Ingesinde" [131] (inner circle).

The chief function of the Grail Kingdom was to supply a constant type of a divinely governed Society, a Society ruled from the inner and spiritual planes, and to train in "the kingly art of ruling" leaders for such communities as needed them. It was destined to be a practical civilising power as well as a Palace Spiritual, not a passive force only, but active and powerful for the suppression of all evil on earth. Titurel [132] is the type and ideal leader round whom revolves the whole of Mystic or Celestial chivalry. [133] The Grail kingship is indeed the paradigm of the highest perfection, "the goal of all the Saints," but the goal cannot be reached except by the conquest of the lower nature; every human being must struggle and must suffer ere he sees

those shores
Where tideless sweep the waves of time
Hard by the city of the Saints of God.

Let us now trace the origin of this time-honoured tradition, the stock from which developed all the "Arthurian" legends, all the "Graal-sagas" of Germany, and the "Romans" of Provence. Two dominant variants of the earliest traditions have come to us.

  1. The Grail as a Secret Gospel [134] or Tradition.
  2. The Grail as a Mystic Cup [135] with miraculous power.

Both variants are of vital interest to the Theosophic student; we must here, however, confine ourselves to tracing.

  1. The earliest sources of the Grail Legend.
  2. The history of Titurel, the type of divine kingship and spiritual knighthood.
  3. The links which prove this popular mystic legend to be part of the Great Wisdom Tradition which is guarded by the "Masters of Wisdom" yet on this earth.



This can be definitely followed through Arabia to India; for according to a large number of authorities, [136] the tradition is mainly Eastern in origin, especially that of the Gral-king and Founder, with which are linked most intimately those of Parsifal and Lohengrin. Rosenkranz divides them as follows: Titurel is Oriental in its inception; Parsifal is Gallic (from Anjou); and Lohengrin [137] is Belgian.

The most sympathetic and interesting version perhaps, is that given by Görres [138] in his introduction to the translation of the oldest MS. which is in the Vatican Library. This manuscript was seen by von Hagen, [139] who gives an interesting account of it in his letters; another sketch of the Gral-saga, but less sympathetic, is given by Dr. Bergman in a small pamphlet printed in 1870. From all these various sources must be gathered the important fragments which will help us to find those details which are a necessity to the student for a clear understanding of the real meaning of this grand old legend.

Our attention must first be directed to what may be termed the "setting" of the tradition, that is to say the channel by which it comes to the Western world. The record of Titurel was first made known by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a Troubadour of a noble but poor family; born within the last thirty years of the twelfth century, he died about 1220; his monument was still existing at Eschenbach in Bavaria in the fifteenth century. He was one of a brilliant circle of Troubadours or Minnesänger [140] who at that period were gathered at the then famous Court of Herman, Landgraf of Thuringia. Wolfram began a history in verse of Titurel, the old Gral-king, which was however left in an unfinished and fragmentary condition at his death. Then about the year 1270, Albrecht von Schaffenberg wrote a poem upon Titurel which for long passed as the work of von Eschenbach. It was called Der Jüngere Titurel, to distinguish it from the original poem of Wolfram. Speaking of it San Marte [141] says:

Titurel—two fragments to which, according to the opening lines of the first piece, this title has been given, should according to Wolfram von Eschenbach's own assurances have formed part of a history of Sigune and Schiantulander, for it stands in close relation to Parzifal, the material having been drawn from the same source— remained unfinished. That work, however, and especially the sayings of the Holy Grail contained therein, aroused such excitement, that after Wolfram's death an unknown poet decided to write, in strophe form, the history of the Gral and its race of kings (Titurel), in accordance with the same source…. This also remained unfinished until about 1270, when a certain Albrecht completed it. This so-called Jüngere Titurel and the Parzifal, both of which come from the same source, contain pretty well the whole history of the Holy Grail and in many passages they supplement one another. [142]

These form undoubtedly the most authentic versions of the Gral legend, but there is another line of tradition written down by Chrestien de Troyes, which eliminates the Oriental and gives the purely Christian version of the vision of Joseph of Arimathaea. Of this Wolfram was cognisant, or, as Nutt [143] tells us,

He knew Chrestien's poem well, and repeatedly refers to it, but with great contempt, as being the wrong version of the story, whereas he holds the true version from Kyot [144] the singer, a "Provenzal," who found the tale of Parzifal written in a heathen tongue at Dolêt (Toledo) by Flegetanis, a heathen, and who first wrote concerning the Grail, put it into French, and after searching the Chronicles of Britain, France, and Ireland in vain, at length found the information in the Chronicle of Anjou.

Later on we shall see why it was found in these chronicles to the exclusion of the rest. The basis of the Christian legend is from the Gnostic tradition, and said to have been founded on the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, which was translated into Provençal verse, a "mystical Gospel" in every sense, says Paulin Paris [145] who, in referring to the MS. in the Vatican, further writes: "This latter text was of great antiquity and evidently mystical, showing a profound knowledge of the Apocryphal [146] Gospels containing the secret teachings of the Eucharist" [147] This of course refers to the Christian aspect, and had to do with the Christian arcane doctrines, but this aspect must be left for treatment at some future time.

A digression, however, must be here made, the subject of which is so intimately interwoven with the mystic foundation of the Grail that it is necessary to go into some important details in order to form a clear conception of the many forces which were at play during this epoch.

It has been said that Wolfram von Eschenbach, [148] the writer of Titurel, was a Troubadour, and according to some authorities Guiot (or Kyot) de Provins was a Jongleur. Who, then, are these Troubadours and Jongleurs who played a part so important in the so-called dark ages? On another occasion we hope to take up this subject separately, forming as it does an important link between Eastern mysticism and Western development; it will be enough for the present to cite one important Catholic writer, who makes a very clear statement as to the hidden functions of these Troubadours. [149] Says Aroux:

The Troubadours, hostile to Rome, were, to say the truth, the journalists of the period; and in this way constituted one of the powers of society and took up sides for republican liberty in the towns of the south, for the feudal suzerainty and its patrons—that is to say chivalry— against the church or authority….for chivalry itself had become a machinery of war on the side of the Albigensian [150] heresy.

Strange and striking statements, but they can be tested and verified by testimony from all sides. Through these secret mystical channels came pouring the old teachings from the East, and Wolfram von Eschenbach and Guiot de Provins were but instruments or channels for that tradition.

A few words must here be said about Guiot, or, as Wolfram von Eschenbach calls him in his German tongue, Kyot. As we have seen from the Abbé de la Rue, he was a Jongleur, and Aroux has given a clue as to the real métier of the true Jongleur at that period. He appears to have been a native of the Duchy of Anjou, and was not a noble but a lay commoner, for Wolfram terms him simply Meister. Guiot studied literature and philosophy in the south of France in the Province of Saint Giles—a centre of Albigensian mystic tradition, and in constant communication with northern Spain, which was permeated, at this period, with Arabian mysticism. He also studied for some time in Spain at Toledo under the learned Arabian philosophers, to whom the Western world owes a heavy debt. Meister Guiot le Provençal found at Toledo an Arabian book compiled by an astrologer and philosopher named Flegetanis, [151] containing the story of the Holy Grëal. This volume was written in a foreign character, of which Guiot was compelled to make himself master. After reading this Guiot began to search the records of other countries, Brittany, France, Ireland, and he found the legends of this in some old Chroniques d' Angevin (Anjou). These he used as corroboration, and introduces the Western elements into his history, but, as Warton and Görres both insist, the scene for the most part is laid in the East, and a large proportion of the names are of Oriental origin. Then, again, the Saracens are always spoken of with consideration; Christian knights enroll themselves under the banner of the Caliph, [152] and no trace of hatred is to be found between the followers of the crescent and the cross. Speaking of the widespread development of this mysterious legend, or tradition of the Holy Grail, Görres [153] says:

From the waters of the Ganeas (Ganges) in the land of Tribalibot, that is Palibothra [154] in Tricalinga, the Sanskrit name of the Ganges Provinces, it has spread itself over the Caucasus, or as the poem more correctly says, Kukkhasus, or again, as Titurel says, Kaukasus, where the red gold grows, from which the heathen weave many a beautiful coat (Wat) and over the mountains Agrimontin, where the warm Salamanders weave their glittering uniform amid the fire-flames' dance, and where the Queen Gekurdille rules.

Everywhere can be found the tradition of a sacred cup, [155] and it is said by Flegetanis, who had carefully recorded the result of his nocturnal studies at Toledo, that this mysterious cup [156] with the name of Graal emblazoned on it was left behind on earth, by a band of spirits [157] as they winged their way to their celestial abode. This holy vessel is delivered by an angel to Titurel, at whose birth an angel had announced that God had chosen him to be a defender of the faith [158] and the guardian of the Sangrëal. He became, in fact, one of the custodians of that Secret Wisdom which has been left in the charge of the elect, the group of humanity's perfected sons.



THE Grail, throughout all Ages, may never by man be known,
Save by him God calleth to It, whose name God doth know alone.
And the tale shall be told in all lands . . . .

Parzival, translated by J. L. WESTON, i. i 62.

WE must trace the history of the World-Religion, alike through the secret Christian sects as through those of other great religious subdivisions of the race; for the Secret Doctrine is the Truth, and that religion is nearest divine that has contained it with the least adulteration. Our search takes us hither and thither, but never aimlessly do we bring sects, widely separated in chronological order, into critical juxtaposition. There is one purpose in our work to be kept constantly in view—the analysis of religious beliefs, and the definition of their descent from the past to the present.

BLAVATSKY (H. P.), Isis Unveiled, ii., 292.

IT is now necessary to add some more important details to the question of the origin of the tradition of the Holy Grail. Too much care cannot be given by students to the most fundamental portion of this research.

It has already been said that many German [159] and French writers, in their zealous efforts to prove the Grail tradition to be a myth, have made efforts to disprove the existence of Guiot von Provins, but owing to the careful researches of San Marte [160] there is evidence of his existence so conclusive that no further doubt can remain; in the review from which we quote he gives a careful résumé of the evidence, and he has made a thorough study of Guiot's Bible, which was written as a denunciation of the priests of that period, and of the iniquities of the Roman Church: "Guiot was, without doubt, a learned man, and had been a monk as well as a courtier," says San Marte, from whose article the following summary is made.

He was present in the year 1184, at Main; at the great court day of the Emperor Frederick I., at which the French nobility were also present in great numbers. He further assures us that he had seen the Hospitallers at Jerusalem; the information he gives us as regards the Knight Templars in Syria will consequently rest likewise on first-hand observation. In the East [161] he saw King Amalrich of Jerusalem, who died in the year 1173, in the flower of his age and his glory. But in the year 1147 there was the second, and in the year 1190 the third Crusade …. it may be inferred from his writing that he journeyed into the Holy Land, not as a warrior, but in the retinue of a Prince or Baron, and we learn that Guiot was also in the monastery of Clairvaux, [162] and moreover, when he wrote his Bible he had already worn the black cowl for more than twelve years; thus his denunciations would rest on personal observations, and not on any mere gossip or scandal.

Guiot shows himself, in this writing, to be a man of scholarly education, of penetrating mind, keen observation and full of biting sarcasm. His comparisons and examples are of incisive acuteness, he has an exact knowledge of the Bible, and brings forward passages from the Scriptures in confirmation of his judgment, and in justification of his reproaches . of the clergy. To quote again from San Marte:

His language is incisive and severe …. pouring out his noble anger, galling blame and bitter sarcasm, over priests and nobles, higher and lower clergy, and over pretended erudition, he nevertheless loves to add that, of course, there are glorious exceptions…. We perceive in him a mind which, formed in the school of life, has seen and experienced much; a man who with keen vision and solid judgment watched and weighed the crimes of all positions…. He very clearly distinguishes genuine piety from the hypocritical appearance of holiness—the true faith from professional sanctity…. Truth is for him beyond all else; it is his light.

Such is the judgment of this well-known German author upon the man through whom the tradition comes. Miss Weston, another authority, says:

Such a man would have been thoroughly familiar with the legends that had gathered round the early Angevin Princes, as well as with the historical facts connected with their successors; he would have come into contact with the Order of the Knights Templars…. he would be familiar with many a legend of precious stones, the favourite talismans of the East, and would know the special virtue ascribed to each…. In fact, if we will allow the existence of such a writer as a travelled Angevin might well have been, we shall find all the principal problems of the Parzifal admit of a rational explanation. Even the central puzzle, Wolfram's representation of the Grail, is explicable on such a hypothesis. We know how very vague Chrêtien's [163] account of the Grail is; how much in the dark he leaves us as to Its outward form, Its influence and its origin. A writer before Chrêtien is scarcely likely to have been more explicit; what more likely than that a man long resident in the East, and familiar, as has been said above, with Eastern jewel talismans, and the legends connected with them, when confronted with this mysterious Grail, of which no definite account was given, yet which apparently exercised a magical life-sustaining influence, should have jumped to the conclusion of Its, at least partial, identity with the precious stones of the power of which he had heard so much?

Then later on the same writer says:

To sum up the entire question, the drift of the internal evidence of the Parzival seems to indicate that the author of Wolfram's Source was a warm partisan of the House of Anjou, [164] sometime resident in the East, familiar with the history of the House whose fortunes he followed, and with much curious Oriental lore, and thoroughly imbued with the broader views of life and religion inspired by the crusades. That he wrote his poem after 1172 seems most likely from the connection between England, Anjou and Ireland noted in Book IX;…. if we grant the correctness of the Angevin allusions to be found in the earlier parts of the poem, we must logically grant that these two first books, and as a consequence the latter part of the poem which agrees with them, are due to the French source rather than the German redaction; that it was Kiot (Guiot de Provins) who introduced the characters of Gamuret, Belakané, Feirefis and Lâhelein; that to Kiot is due the first germ of the ethical interpretation amplified by Wolfram. It was probably in a great measure owing to the unecclesiastical nature of Kiot's teaching, and the freedom with which he handled the Grail myth, that his work failed to attain the popularity of Chrêtien's. When the Grail legend was once definitely stamped with the traditional Christian character which it finally assumed and retained, the semi-pagan character of Kiot's treatment would cause his version to be regarded with disfavour by the monkish compilers of his day. [165]

There is no difficulty in perceiving that the Christian version has become the more popular, almost to the extinction of the Oriental tradition, but the suggestion here made by the writer is of importance—for Guiot, having been in contact with the Secret and Mystical Societies in the East, would certainly bring that doctrine into his work, which accounts for what Miss Weston terms the "unecclesiastical nature of Kiot's (Guiot) teaching."

It is an important fact for the students of this tradition to bear in mind, that the Roman Church monopolised and adopted this Legend of the Holy Grail, laying stress upon the version given by Chrêtien de Troyes, ignoring its Oriental descent, and popularising the idea that the Legend was founded on a purely Christian basis; hence many of the contemporaries of Wolfram von Eschenbach were writing solely from the Christian standpoint; but we have also many writers who took a broader view, and who recognised that the tradition had descended from some earlier doctrine. In San Marte (A. Schulz), for instance, we have a German scholar of profound research adopting practically the same view as that of Eugene Aroux in his Mystères de la Chevalerie, to which book reference was made in the last number. We must now summarise some important passages from this new source, relating as they do to the same view, namely, that the Legend of the Holy Grail is, in truth, part of the mystical tradition of those so-called heretical sects, the Albingenses, the Cathari, and others of that date, descendants of the older Gnostic Sects. Says San Marte:

The conflicts of the Hohenstaufen with Rome bear witness to the strength of this movement in Germany; princes, knights and poets accepted [166] it with fullest consciousness [of its significance. Guiot's Bible, and other similar writings, the Provençal poets, the numerous heretical sects of Southern France, of Northern Italy and Spain prove the same thing regarding these countries. Among the Waldensians there even gradually arose, under the influence of the Provençal poets, a literature, the content of which was chiefly spiritual, and which, in a poetical form, made the peculiar principles of the sect current and familiar among the people. [167] We may mention the celebrated didactic poem, written about 1180, La nobla Leyczon, which leads up to Waldensian through sacred history, and other poems such as La Barca, Lo novel Sermon, Lo novel Contort, Lo Payre Eternal, Lo Desprecza del Mont (Contentio Mundi) and L'Avangeli de li quatre Semenez, which deals with the parable, Matthew xiii. 5, of the different seeds. They all possess peculiarly strong anti-papistic elements and belong to those products of anti-hierarchy, which transplanted the conflict against Rome from ecclesiastical domain to the ground of popular life. How wrathful is Bernard of Clairvaux against Abelard; [168] he says that, thanks to him, the street-boys of Paris are to be heard discussing the doctrine of the Trinity! It was a storm which raged through the whole of western Christendom in all strata of the population, a process of fermentation which, originally repressed by force, repeated itself in the Reformation and forced itself to the forefront. When, therefore, Reichel [169] reproaches me with having introduced far more theological elements than the poem itself justifies, into my interpretation of the oracle of the Grail and of Parzival's refraining from questions, I reply that, on the contrary, not nearly enough of the theology of the twelfth century has been applied to the understanding of our poem, and my attempt to examine it from that standpoint is only a first beginning on those lines.

For that which we now after the lapse of centuries can only laboriously and yet imperfectly discover about the explanation of the external historical phenomena of those religious conflicts—all that surround the then existing world like a fiery atmosphere in which it breathed, and which penetrated all the pores of its life, the elements of religious discord which can now hardly be understood and methodically arranged by the scholars who make the subject their special study—was formerly in the minds and mouths of the masses and urged them on to action; and if the poems [170] of that period afford us in almost every other respect a faithful mirror of contemporary phenomena in action and thought, the same must be true of a work which has a predominatingly religious tendency, that finds expression even in the first two lines [of the poem].

It is very desirable that the Church historians of to-day should, in their writings and academic lectures, pay greater attention than they do to the investigations and the treasures which have been brought to light in the ever-increasing study of the early German and French literatures, indeed they would then find much which preceded and led up to the Reformation, and would recognise more clearly the forms taken by the dogmatic theses in the practical faith and opinions of the people, and the special expression which they there received. For there is a difference between the doctrinal formulation of an article of faith and its acceptance and transmission by the laity.

The position taken up by Wolfram, whether Guelph or Ghibelline, Apostolic-Evangelical or Roman-Hierarchic, must determine the standpoint from which his poem must be judged and understood. And even if we condemn the poet as a heretic, we must not demand of his poem that it should teach what he rejects, [171] but in order to do it justice we must enter into his religious tendency, which it brings quite clearly and candidly to light. In view of the historical situation and the religious stream of tendency at the end of the twelfth century the intention of our poet can no longer be open to doubt. He wished, namely, to depict in the institution of the Templars a Christian brotherhood,t [172] a kingdom of the faithful and the elect of the Lord, without a Roman hierarchy, without a Pope and a privileged priesthood, without ban, interdict or Inquisition, where God Himself, through the revelation of the Grail, is, in the spirit of the pure Gospel, Ruler and Judge of His people. He consideped the real priesthood to belong to the individuals struggling towards a true knowledge of God, not to an exclusive class, however highly he may have esteemed the latter; finally, he borrowed from the order of the Templars, at that time still flourishing and immaculate, the poetical symbol of the ideal constitution of this brotherhood.

This idea, plainly heretical from the Roman point of view, necessarily implied that the Kingdom of the Grail, which alone led to salvation, stood in quite as sharp a contrast to Roman orthodox Christianity, as represented by the existing visible Church, as it did to paganism; [173] but it is a fine trait in the poet that he is neither led away into open polemic against the ruling Church nor into fanatical hostility to Paganism. There is, therefore, small ground for astonishment at the facts 'that no trace is to be found in the poem of any subordination of the Templars to clergy or Pope,' that Parzival attains to the kingdom of the Grail without any ecclesiastical mediation, and that he did not gain the crown of martyrdom in the conflict, as the fundamental thought of the poet logically demanded. [174]

This fundamental thought, however, is not based on the Dictatus Gregorii VII. nor on the saying of Innocent III., Papa veri Dei vicem gerit in terra,' but directly on the Gospel and on the saying of the Apostle: 'But ye are a chosen generation—a royal priesthood—a holy nation—a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light'; [175] which saying is repeated almost literally in strophes 44 and 45 of Wolfram's Titurel-fragments. It is, therefore, inadmissible to regard the Grail as 'a Christian relic,' to make it the representment of the pre-cosmic genesis of Evil, and to speak of 'the spiritual side of the poem' as 'weighed down by the fetishism of the impersonal relic'; this view could only arise through the introduction of evidence regarding Lucifer's fall and the Holy Grail much later than Wolfram's poem, or which—in the cases when this [evidence] is earlier, he does not himself introduce, and which, therefore, must be treated as non-existent in the criticism of our poem. Wolfram makes no special allusion to the dish of Caesarea [176] used in the Lord's Supper, never speaks of Joseph of Arimathea, nor does he mention the Stone of the Grail having been originally in the crown of Lucifer; on the contrary, according to him, it is the lapis exilis, [177] the Stone [178] of the Lord, which at the beginning of all things was with God.

The symbolism of man as a stone, is the idea that is being expressed by the writer; an ancient idea, and one that is found in almost every religion. There is one beautiful tradition connected with this legend of the Grail, supposed to have had its origin in Great Britain, and therefore of peculiar interest to us. It is said to have been inscribed in the Chronicles of Helinandus, who was "well-known at the time the Romance was written, not only as a historian but as a Troubadour, at one time in high favour at the Court of Philip Augustus, and in later years as one of the most ardent preachers of the Albigensian Crusade." [179] He lived about 1229. The passages here summarised are from Paulin Paris' charming work; the marvellous vision was revealed to a hermit in Britain about 720, and runs thus:

On Holy Thursday of the year 717, after concluding the office of the Tenebrae, I fell asleep, and presently methought I heard in a piercing voice these words:— "Awake! Hearken to three in one, and to one in three!" I opened my eyes—I found myself surrounded by an extraordinary brightness. Before me stood a man of most marvellous beauty: "Hast thou rightly understood my words?" he said. "Sire, I should not dare to say so." "It is the proclamation of the Trinity. Thou didst doubt whether in the three Persons there were only one God, one only Power. Canst thou now say who I am?" "Sire, my eyes are mortal; Thy great brightness dazzles me, and the tongue of man cannot give utterance to that which is above humanity."

The Unknown bent towards me and breathed upon my face. Thereupon my senses expanded, my mouth was filled with infinity of speech. But when I would fain have spoken I thought I saw bursting forth from my lips a fiery brand which checked the first words I would have uttered.

"Take courage," said the Unknown to me; "I am the source of all truth, the fount of all wisdom. I am the Great Master, he of whom Nicodemus said: 'We know that thou art God.' I come, after confirming thy faith, to reveal to thee the greatest secret in the world."

He then held out to me a book which could easily have been held in the hollow of the hand; "I entrust to you," he said, "the greatest marvel that man can ever receive. This is a book written by my own hand, which must be read with the heart, no mortal tongue being able to pronounce the words without affecting the four elements, troubling the heavens, disturbing the air, rending the earth, and changing the colour of the waters. For every man who shall open it with a pure heart, it is the joy of both body and soul, and whosoever shall see it need have no fear of sudden death, whatever be the enormity of his sins."

The great light that I had already found so hard to endure then increased until I was blinded by it. I fell, unconscious, and when I felt my senses returning, I no longer saw anything around me, and I should have taken what I had just experienced for a dream, had I not still found in my hand the book that the Great Master had given me. I then arose, filled with sweet joy; I said my prayers, then I looked at the book, and found as its first title: This is the beginning of thy lineage. After reading until Prime, [180] it seemed to me that I had only just begun, so many letters were there in these small pages. I read on again until Tierce, and continued to follow the steps of my lineage, and the record of the good life of my predecessors.

Beside them, I was but the shadow of a man, so far was I from equalling them in virtue. Continuing the book, I read: Here beginneth the Holy Grail. Then, the third heading: This is the beginning of Fears. Then, a fourth heading: This is the beginning of Wonders. A flash of lightning blazed before my eyes, followed by a clap of thunder. The light continued, I could bear its dazzling brightness no longer, and a second time I fell unconscious.

How long I remained thus I do not know. When I arose, I found myself in profound darkness. Little by little, daylight returned, the sun resumed its brightness, I felt myself pervaded by the most delicious scents, I heard the sweetest songs that I had ever listened to; the voices from which they proceeded seemed to touch me, but I neither saw them nor could I reach them. They praised Our Lord, and repeated: Honour and glory to the Vanquisher of death, to the source of lift eternal.

Having repeated these words eight times, the voices ceased; I heard a great rustling of wings, succeeded by perfect silence; nothing remained but the perfumes whose sweetness entered into me.

The hour of Nones came, and I thought myself yet at the earliest dawn. Then I closed the book and commenced the service for Good Friday. We do not consecrate on this day, because our Lord chose it for His death. In presence of the reality one should not have recourse to symbol; and if we consecrate on other days, it is in commemoration of the real Sacrifice of the Friday. [181]

As I was preparing to receive my Saviour, and had already divided the bread into three portions, an angel came, took hold of my hands and said to me "Thou must not make use of these portions until thou hast beheld what I am about to show thee." Then he raised me into the air, not in the body but in the spirit, and transported me to a place where I was immersed in a joy such as no tongue could tell, no ear could hear, no heart could feel. I should speak no untruth in saying that I was in the third heaven, whither St. Paul was caught up; but that I be not accused of vanity I will merely say that there was revealed to me the great secret which, according to St. Paul, no human speech could utter. The angel said to me: "Thou hast seen great wonders, prepare thyself to see still greater." He carried me higher yet, into a place a hundred times clearer than glass, and a hundred times more brilliant in colouring. There I had a vision of the Trinity, of the distinction between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and of their union in one and the same form, one and the same Deity, one and the same power. Let not the envious here reproach me with going against the authority of St. John the Evangelist, in that he has told us that mortal eyes never will or can behold the Eternal Father, for St. John meant the bodily eyes, whereas the soul can see, when it is separated from the body, that which the body would prevent it from perceiving.

While I was thus contemplating I felt the firmament trembling at the sound of the loudest thunder. An infinite number of heavenly Virtues surrounded the Trinity, then fell down as if in a swoon. The angel then took me and brought me back to the place whence he had taken me. Before restoring its ordinary covering to my soul, he asked me if I had beheld great marvels. "Ah!" I replied, "so great that no tongue could recount them." "Then resume thy body, and now that thou hast no longer any doubts as to the Trinity, go, and receive worthily Him whom thou hast learnt to know."

The hermit, thus restored to the possession of his body, no longer saw the angel, but only the book, which he read after he had communicated, and which he laid in the reliquary where was kept the box for the consecrated wafers. He locked the coffer, returned to his binnacle, and would not touch the book again until after he had chanted the Easter service. But what were his astonishment and grief when, after the office, he opened the reliquary and found that it was no longer there, though the opening had never been unclosed! Presently a voice spoke these words to him: "Wherefore be surprised that thy book is no longer where thou didst lay it? Did not God come forth from the sepulchre without removing the stone from it? Hearken to what the Great Master doth command thee! To-morrow morning, after chanting mass, thou shalt break thy fast, and then thou shalt take the path leading to the high road. This road will lead thee to that of the Prise, near the Perron. Thou shalt turn a little aside and take the path towards the right which leads to the cross-roads of the Eight Paths, in the plain of Valestoc. On reaching the Fountain of Tears, where the great slaughter formerly took place, thou wilt find a strange beast commissioned to be thy guide. When thy eyes lose sight of him, thou wilt enter into the land of Norgave, [182] and that will be the end of thy quest [183]

This vision is perhaps one of the most spiritual expressions of the Grail legend that can be found, and whoever the hermit was to whom the angel came, or the chronicler who wrote the vision down, the imagination of the person was pure and holy, and the teaching has the ring in it of a high and holy truth.

Yet one more version of this many-leaved book must we glance at before passing on. We have seen the Gnostic Eastern tradition, and the purely Christian, now must be seen the Druidic, or the so-called pagan tradition. Mr. Gould says that there exists a "Red Book," a volume of Welsh prose begun 318 and finished in 1454, which contains "a Welsh tale entitled Pheredur, which is indisputably the original of Perceval." This book is preserved in the library of Jesus College, Oxford.

Pheredur is mentioned as well in the Annales Cambriae, which extend from the year 444 to 1066.

Mr. Gould says:

Pheredur is not a Christian. His habits are barbarous. The Grail is not a sacred Christian vessel, but a mysterious relic of a past heathen rite.

Taliesin ben Beirdd, the famous poet says: "This vessel inspires poetic genius, gives wisdom, discovers the knowledge of futurity, the mysteries of the world, the whole treasure of human sciences."

That this vessel of the liquor of Wisdom held a prominent place in British mythology is certain from the allusions made to it by the bards. Taliesin, in the description of this initiation into the mysteries of the basin, cries out, "I have lost my speech!" because on all who had been admitted to the privileges of full membership secrecy was imposed. This initiation was regarded as a new birth; and those who had once become joined members were regarded as elect, regenerate, separate from the rest of mankind, who lay in darkness and ignorance.

This Druidic mystery was adapted to Christianity by a British hermit A.D. 720…. It is likely that the tradition of the ancient druidic brotherhood lingered on and gained consistency again among the Templars. Just as the Miles Templi fought for the holy sepulchre, so did the soldier of Montsalvatsch for the Holy Grail. Both orders were vowed to chastity and obedience, both were subject to ahead, who exercised regal authority. [184]

One more link with the ancient Wisdom Religion is forged for us by another author, one perhaps more sympathetic [185] and he connects the Grail-cult with that Gnostic body named "Mendaeens" or the "Christians of St. John"; [186] this is a point of extreme interest to students of Theosophy, for it makes a direct connection between the legend of the Holy Grail and the "Order of the Knights Templars," who were so closely allied with this body.

Mackenzie, [187] moreover, includes the "Johannite Christians," as he terms them, among other bodies connected with Masonry, and indeed many of the Masonic Lodges were dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and looked on him as their patron saint. Simrock builds his theory on the solid fact that Prester John, a mysterious Priest-King of the East (with whom we shall deal next time), was himself a leader of one of the Gnostic Sects, a heretic of course; but, as the author points out, the Grail Legend is too intimately interwoven with him for him to be left out. It is to India [188] indeed, that the Grail goes when the western world becomes too cold for worship, too dead for ideals to stir it to a higher life.




The fairest of old men ancient whom ever his eyes had seen,
Grey was he as mists of morning.

Parzifid, i.137, by JESSIE WESTON.

And the Grail, it chooseth strictly, and its Knights must be chaste and pure.

—Ibid., i. 283.

TO the founding of the Palace Spiritual, and to Titurel, the noble ancestor of the Grail-Kings, our attention must now be turned. Many and varied are the versions which may be found of the history of this Grail-Race, and each interpretation of its traditional history differs according to the writer's sympathy with and comprehension of the mystical history of the human family. Few and far between are those clear-sighted critics who recognise, in this fascinating tradition of Oriental generation, a link which relates the outer life of man to its hidden basis, and sets forth the type of an ideal life which had its inception on this earth when the "Sons of God" still trod its paths, and the "Children of the Fire-mist" had not withdrawn from the outer world, but yet dwelt among the children of men.

From the despised mental dust-bins of the "Dark Middle Ages"—as they are termed—precious gems of rarest literary worth are being disinterred, of quality so pure, with richness so wondrous, that the geniuses of the 19th century show poor and forlorn when measured by the power and mental strength of their predecessors of that despised time. No peers are the modern poets of those noble singers who created the chivalric virtues in the hearts of the men and women of their time, and who sent their burning words ringing through the centuries fraught with love ideals both pure and true, and religious fervour at once self-sacrificing and humble. Their ideals of noble manhood and pure womanhood are still the ideals of the present time, for the "Legend of the Holy Grail” is yet potent, nor can time destroy its "infinite variety." Titurel, the Perfected One, who

Like a flying star
Led on the gray-haired Wisdom of the East,

is in modern days deemed to be but the poetical creation of a more than usually fertile-brained troubadour of the Middle Ages; but it is the chronicle of this first spotless Grail-King which must now be studied, for he was the type of the model ruler, pure in life, just in action, living for his people, with his heart set on a higher kingdom than his earthly realm.

The most detailed description of the descent and genealogy of Titurel that we can briefly summarise is given by a group of German authors [189] in a careful and laborious study of the "Jüngere," [190] which runs as follows: Among the princes who gathered round Vespasian at the siege of Jerusalem were Sennabor, a Prince of Cappadocia [191] and his three sons, Parille, Azubar and Sabbilar. After the fall of the city these three brothers went to Rome, and were overwhelmed with gracious gifts by the Emperor. Parille received his daughter Argusilla [192] for wife, and some provinces in France were also given to him. To the brothers Azubar and Sabbilar were given Anschowe (Anjou) and Kornwaleis (Cornwall). To Parille and Argusilla was born a son whom they named Titurisone, who became the stem of the Grail-Race. Parille tried to reform and Christianise his pagan provinces, which had fallen into degraded superstitions, but he was poisoned by the people and Titurisone reigned in his place.

He married Elizabel of Arragonia, and the royal couple went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There it was they received the prophecy about the great future of the son who should be born to them. He was to be under the special protection of God, and he would be dowered with great gifts. His name was to be formed from those of his father and mother; thus Titurel was he called, which includes a part of Titurisone and Elizabel. He grew in grace and in "favour with God and man." In him was embodied the true type of the ideal Knight, noble, pure, tender and chivalrous. Such was Titurel, the first Grail-King; and—say some accounts— he conquered the rebellious heathen of Auvergne and Navarre, with the help of the Provençals, and the people of Arles and Lotheringen. These combined forces—so runs the tradition—conquered the Saracenic union, and put down the degraded remnants of the old Druidical worship. It was after these long struggles were completed that Titurel was bidden to prepare and build the Temple for the reception of the Holy Grail—that perfect treasure which was to be entrusted to his charge. Amongst the "powers" and "gifts" with which Titurel was dowered was that of "length of days," for when the temple was builded, and he was commanded to marry, in order that the Grail-Race might be continued, Titurel had reached four hundred years of age. The site where the Sacred Shrine, or Grail-Temple, was to be founded was shown to him by an angel-guide; so carefully secluded was the spot, that it could not be discovered but by the aid of a higher Power.

It is without doubt on the far side of Pyrenees [193] that we find this legend most deeply engrafted, though the name of its abiding place is differently rendered by various writers. Thus the name Mon Salväsch, [194] or Mont Salvat, may from its wild and inaccessible position only mean the uncultivated mountain, Mont Salvatge or Sauvage. It is said that between Navarre and Arragon there is still a place named Salvaterra.

The site of the Temple was shown to Titurel, and the "Invisible Helpers" brought him materials for the building; the description is marvellously elaborate, full of symbolical detail, [195] entirely oriental in its whole construction, both material and ideal, but it cannot here be given, as our sketch is limited to Titurel himself. When the building of the Temple was completed he was four hundred years old, but such was the power of the Holy Grail that he looked—says the tradition—only forty. And now he gathered around himself that goodly company of knights—the Knights of the Temple Holy—and gradually their influence and their power spread into other lands; first Arragon and then Navarre were drawn to this spiritual society, then followed Catalonia, Grenada and Gallicia; the chief town of this great alliance was concealed in the forests on the boundaries between Navarre and Arragon, on the ridge of the Pyrenees. The centre of the spiritual supremacy of the new faith reached from Gallicia beyond Provence, towards Burgundy and Lorraine. All of this was done during the four hundred years of Titurel's reign. San Marte speaks of it as a "similar institution to that which existed in the Pythagorean Alliance."

The Sacred Grail was enshrined in the Temple, and the instructions to the King and his knights appeared on its surface, remained there for a while, then faded slowly away. And now was given the order for Titurel to marry, and the wife chosen for him was Richonde, a maiden consecrated to God. Her father's name was Frimutelle, a king of a Spanish province; messengers were sent to her, and she came to Mon Salvatsch accompanied by a great suite of maidens and of warriors, all of whom returned to Spain except those whom the Grail ordered to remain. Titurel had to select two hundred knights from amongst those who came; moral qualifications alone fitted them to enter the service of the Grail. Two children were born to Titurel. His son Frimutel, who married the daughter of the King of Grenat, became the next Grail-King, and they had five children—Amfortas, who succeeded him as Grail-King; Herzeloide, the mother of Parzival; Treverizent, the hermit; Tchoysiane, and Urepanse. This was the male line. The daughter of Titurel married Kailet, King of Spain, the capital of which was, at this time, Toledo, and this marriage connected the Kings of Spain with the Kings of the Grail-Race. It must be remembered that it was at Toledo that the manuscript on the Holy Grail legend was found by Flegetanis, the contents of which gave the Eastern sources of this tradition.

By daily contemplation of the Grail Titurel's life [196] had been prolonged for five hundred years, and when he knew his forces were beginning to fail him, he gathered his children round him to instruct them on the spiritual significance of the Holy Grail.

Thus he taught: no one may ever see the Grail but the elect; those who do not live a holy life, and guard themselves in purity and from all strife, are not fit to gaze upon that holiness; no tongue may ever tell the Grail's true form.

Titurel also instructed his knights as to the inner meaning of the symbols and ceremonial they used, particularly the spiritual significance and power of the twelve precious stones. He sorrowed that his son Frimutelle had not been "called" by the Grail to be the Grail-King. Shortly after this, we are told, the name of Frimutelle appeared on the Grail, and then followed the names of the Knights who were to enter the Grail service. Titurel was also warned that his son, and his grandson, Amfortas, would suffer bodily injuries, as the result of their ungoverned natures. Finally, Titurel died in India, more than five hundred years old. [197] Of his journey thither we know nothing, but the tradition runs, that there is a "waiting place," [198] whence the return of these knightly souls is expected, in that region of peace, where they dwell and watch over the human race. Thus passes the Founder of the Grail-Kingship from our immediate view; he had but to strike the keynote of a higher purity and a nobler manhood, and his work in the material world of that period ended.

He still holds, we are told, communication with the world, and occasionally despatches a faithful champion to grant assistance in cases of momentous need. There also the Grail maintains the sanctity of its character, and becomes at once the register of human grievances and necessities, and the interpreter of the will of heaven as to the best mode of redressing them.

Immense stress is laid on the necessity for a perfect purity, but so corrupt did the court grow, that at one time only the infant children of Perceval and Lancelot, and the daughter of Gawain, were considered worthy to step within the sacred shrine.

Warton speaks quite frankly in his book of "esoteric doctrines" which belonged to the "heathen world" (sic), and which have been transplanted into Christendom, a new name having therein been given to the old teachings of the East. [199]

But we must pass on to the other aspects of this legend, and one of the most curious is the connection traced by many authors between the Holy Grail and the traditions of the Knights Templars. [200]

Aroux is very definite on this point:

"It must be acknowledged," says he, "that the romances of the Sangreal (the legend of which is borrowed from the Apocryphal Gospels) composed, according to an essentially Albigensian idea, in glorification of the Templars, mark the period when the poets of the South felt the need of procuring auxiliaries in the North." [201]

It is Aroux to whom we are chiefly indebted for the secret thread which guides us through much of the tangled maze of the struggles of the mystics during the Middle Ages. He points out that the Holy Grail was a mystic Gospel [202] as well as the Holy Chalice, containing a mysterious power. Another German [203] thinker connects the legend of Titurel with the origin of the Masonic Orders, and the early Ritter-Orden in Germany. It is Herr Doctor Simrock who has given us much detail with regard to the tradition of the Holy Grail and its connection with the "Order of the Knights Templars"; it is his view, and that of other serious students, that that Holy Grail tradition, which is termed by Aroux the "book of the Gospels," was in reality the Secret Doctrine of the Templars, for which they suffered so bitterly. Founded in 1118 on the base of the old Society of the Magian Brothers, drawn together by the same guiding powers, the Templars did but develop the ideal seed which Titurel had sown. Let us see what Simrock says on thrice points.

It seems our duty to bring forward here that which has already been shown to hold good as regards this view. Fauriel, who finds in the Templeisenthum — or the Knighthood of the Grail—that there is only a play on the Knights Templars , appeals to the evidence given by the power and the riches which that Order had already obtained in Southern France and the South-East of Spain, but especially in the Pyrenees, where since the founding of the Temple-lands as the first in Europe, by Roger III. Graf von Foix, castles, churches, temples, and chapels had rapidly increased. San Marte lays stress on the agreement of the name as well as on the different rules and customs of the Order which coincided [with those of the Grail]: for instance the Templars at the Lord's Supper, diverging from the Roman Liturgy, made use of the opening words of the Gospel of St. John, which change also occurs at the baptism of Feirefis; [204] but he bases his arguments chiefly upon the heresies of which the Templars are known to have been accused: the worship of certain idols…. their belief in spirits and demons, which recall the "Heavenly Host" [around the Grail]—angels who, according to Trevrezent's statement had to serve the Grail as they hovered around it. The fact remains, however undecided [to San Marte] whether the accusers took their incriminating charges from the Romances of the Grail, or from the scraps which had been published of the real teachings of the Templars. [205] Other authorities [206] think that by these Templeisen are to be understood the Knights of San Salvador de Mont Real, who were, however, founded at a much later date, in the year 1520. Another Knightly Order was founded at this period, who wore a "five-pointed star" upon their breasts; they were the Knights of Monfrac in Castille and Knights of Mongoia, on Mont Gaudii in Catalonia. There had, moreover, been a close connection between the Order of the Templars and the House of Anjou, for a tax on his dominions for the benefit of the Templars had been imposed by Fulk. V. of Anjou, on his return from Jerusalem in 1120. It is, however the learned Baron von Hammer-Purgestall [207] who gives the most detail on the connection of the Templars with the Holy Grail, by tracing its history from the identity of hieroglyphs which he found on the old churches and buildings in the Danubian Provinces. He unfortunately is for ever trying to find the most unsavoury interpretation for all the ancient symbolism; with his views we are not concerned, but to the work of research which he carried on with such ability we are profoundly indebted. His statement is very decided, for on p. 88, in note 33, of his article, he says: The whole poem T8 Titurel, is nothing but the allegory of the Society and the doctrines of the Templars.

Upon these details we cannot dwell, for we must trace the passing of the Holy Grail to India, and this will bring to view another mysterious personage, whose name was Prestre John—a man about whom legends were rife in both East and West during the early Middle Ages. Colonel Yule speaks of his history as "that of a phantom taking many forms." [208] The so-called apostate Nestorians, and the personage called Presbyter Johannes, appear to have been Manichaean Buddhists; the country of Prestre John was Indian Tartary, and the real Prestre John was the Grand Lama, the incarnation of Wisdom or Gnyâna. [209] Every authority joins in admitting that there was some mysterious and powerful individual of this name, some identifying him with Gengis-Khan. [210]

We must now return to the Grail Legend and trace the connection which is therein made between this cryptic entity and that tradition.

"The passage of the Grail to India," says San Marte, "and the transformation of Parzival into Prestre John is important for us to notice; according to the version of Wolfram, this curious and interesting person is the son of Urepanse, [211] hence a cousin of Parzival; no details are given to us about this mysterious personage, whose existence, however, cannot be denied. The Monk Wilhelm von Rubruquis, [212] passing through the East about 1253, told of a ruler in the northern regions of India, in 5057, called Ken-Khan. The Turks sought his help against the Christians. The Nestorians called him King Johannes. Interior Asia was peopled by numerous sects; besides the Nestorians were the Jacobites, Monophysites, and the Zaböer or Johannes Christians. All travellers of the thirteenth century speak of a widely-spread Christianity in the East, and the information thereof may have come to the West with the first crusade—confused with vague intelligence about the Hierarchy of the Dalai Lama, of whom Kiot may have heard." [213]

Writing on the "Disciples of St John," Madame Blavatsky [214] says:

Glancing rapidly at the Ophites and Nazareans, we shall pass to their scions which yet exist in Syria and Palestine, under the name of Druzes of Mount Lebanon; and near Basra or Bassorah, in Persia, under that of Mendaeans, or Disciples of St. John. All these sects have an immediate connection with our subject, for they are of kabalistic parentage and have once held to the secret "Wisdom-Religion," recognizing as the One Supreme, the Mystery-God of the Ineffable Name. Noticing these numerous secret societies of the past, we will bring them into direct comparison with several of the modern.

Our object is not to write the history of either of them; but only to compare these sorely-abused communities with the Christian sects, past and present, and then, taking historical facts for our guidance, to defend the secret science as well as the men who are its students and champions against any unjust imputation.

One by one the tide of time engulfed the sects of the early centuries, until of the whole number only one survived in its primitive integrity. That one still exists, still teaches the doctrine of its founder, still exemplifies its faith in works of power. The quicksands which swallowed up every other outgrowth of the religious agitation of the times of Jesus, with its records, relics, and traditions, proved firm ground for this. Driven from their native land, its members found refuge in Persia, and to-day the anxious traveller may converse with the direct descendants of the "Disciples of John," who listened, on the Jordan's shore, to the "man sent from God," and were baptized and believed. This curious people, numbering thirty thousand or more, are mis-called "Christians of St. John," but, in fact, should be known by their old name of Nazareans, or their new one of Mendaeans.

The poem entitled Der Jüngere Titurel [215] deals most minutely with the passing of the Grail-Kings to the realms of Prestre John; and in this work it is not Parzival around whom the chief interest is grouped, but Titurel and his race, as they follow the Founder; then—when the darkening of the spiritual fervour begins, and the falling away. from the standard of purity grows more general—then with prayer and fasting do the few sorrowing knightly souls, the Templeisen, make preparations to return to that East whence had come their early inspiration. Led by Parzival they pass from West to East. The description of the kingdom of Prestre John far surpasses, however, in splendour that of the Holy Grail. There, we are told, the whole of nature is sanctified; it is a land free from crime, perfidy, scoffing, and lack of faith.

Prestre John is described as a man holy before God and man, perfect in virtue, and glorified with humility: he gives honour to Parzival, who comes bringing the Holy Grail to its Indian home, and the Priest-King of that land offers his crown and kingdom to the king of the Grail-Race; Parzival desires, in his humility, to give himself to the service of Prestre John, and finally it is the Grail which decides the noble strife of these two great souls. The decree was given that Parzival should accept the kingship, but his name was to be changed into that of Prestre John.

Then was fulfilled a prophecy, formerly made by an angel, that Prestre John should receive a son who should be a more powerful ruler than himself. But it was also decreed that Parzival should only wear the crown for ten years, since he was not entirely purified from the sin that his mother, Herzeloide, had died of grief for him. As San Marte [216] points out, the sin was entirely unintentional on his part; nevertheless, it was still unexpiated and stained that spotless purity of a perfect life which was demanded of every knight who entered the service of the Holy Grail. Thus it appears that even a more perfect condition was required in the office of the Priest-King Johannes than in that of the Grail-Kingship. The holders of both offices were nominated by the Holy Grail.



The strongly Eastern tinge that characterises this tradition may be noticed in many different points. The knowledge, for instance, of the occult properties of precious stones and metals and their powers; the stone that enables the wearer to make himself invisible, the condition being that he should do nothing dishonourable. Then we have the mysterious land of mist, where people [217] are neither dark nor light, but have lost all ordinary human colour. Again, there is the magic column brought from India, in which all that happens for miles around is represented; and one of the most important links is the clear reference made to reincarnation in the belief held that Titurel and his knights may return, and that the Perfect King still holds communication with the earth and its sorrows.

The moral and mystic teaching of the Grail tradition is the most vitally interesting to the student of Theosophy and Mysticism, for the resemblances between the present laws of spiritual development and those given to the Knights of the Grail are strikingly identical: The knight who watched the Grail—the highest office—had to be entirely pure; all sensual love, even within the bounds of marriage, was forbidden; one single thought [218] of passion would obscure the eye and conceal the mystic vessel; the only marriage that was permitted amongst those who stepped on to this "Path" was the marriage of the King, and even that was not based on personal attractions or attachments; the Grail alone decided whom the Grail-King should take as wife. Not for himself, not for gratification, but for the service of the race was he to marry.

As we search into the mystic chalice symbolism of the Grail myth does it not become clear that we are face to face with a symbol of man: man who is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The chalice or cup is but another way of denoting the "coats of skin," the "veils" or "vestures" which garment man on earth; robes woven by the nature powers, in which and through which the divine spark has to dwell, until in process of time the vestures or chalice become permeated through and through by the divine light within. Says one writer on this subject:

"In that marvellous relic of Gnostic Philosophy called the Pistis-Sophia, the three vestures of the Glorified Christos or perfected man—what we may all be in some future birth—are thus described:

"And the Disciples saw not Jesus because of the great light with which He was surrounded, or Which proceeded from him. For their eyes were darkened because of it. But they gazed upon the Light only, shooting forth great rays of light. Nor were the rays equal to one another, and the Light was of divers modes and various aspect, from the lower to the higher part thereof, each ray more admirable than its fellow in infinite manner, in the great radiance of the immeasurable Light. It stretched from the earth to the heaven…. It was of three degrees, one surpassing the other in infinite manner. The second, which was in the midst, excelled the first, which was below it, and the third, the most admirable of all, surpassed the other twain."

The Master explains this mystery to His Disciples as follows:

"Rejoice, therefore, in that the time is come that I should put on my Vesture.

"Lo! have put on my Vesture and all power has been given me by the First Mystery. Yet a little while and I will tell you every Mystery and every Completion; henceforth from this hour I will conceal naught from you, but in Perfectness will I perfect you in all Completion, and all Perfectioning and every Mystery, which indeed are the End of all Ends, and the Completion of all Completions, and the Wisdom (Gnosis) of all Wisdoms. Hearken I will tell you all things which have befallen me.

"It came to pass, when the sun had risen in the places of the East, a great Stream of Light descended, in which was my Vesture." [219]

The vesture of the Self in its perfect glory is of a purity of transcendent perfection. No mortal stained with earthly passion can gaze upon that garment of the soul.

And as the upward striving soul struggles to free itself from the bondage of the lower bodies and their subtle forces, and as it purifies one vehicle after another pertaining to the three lower planes of matter, finally it reaches that step on the Path whereof the substance is perfect purity, and the soul perceives that "Light vesture" which is the garment —spoken of in theosophic terms as the buddhic body—veiling the divine mysterious Self.

This is the great reality which is typified by the Holy Grail, the symbolic Cup or Chalice, the first container of the Holy Life of the Logos. In all religions is this myth to be found; truly an "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." Titurel had told his knights that no tongue may ever tell the Grail's true form. This shows that some mystery was concealed behind the outward symbolism of the Cup and Chalice, or Gospel.

Burnouf says: "In spite of the difference produced by the influences of the place, the study of the legend of the Vase permits us to understand and discover that esoteric teaching which has never ceased to animate or ensoul the five great Aryan religions. This theory—which in the Christian churches was transmitted under the name of the Secret Doctrine, disciplina secreti—is of a Fire as the universal force under different names, always the same at the basis, and manifesting itself by the same words and symbols." [220]

This Fire is the true Spirit of life, the living Word, which inflames the soul of man, and gives it that force by which it can conquer the kingdoms of the lower world, and, crossing the ocean of births and deaths, can finally land itself on the further shore, a holy, purified "Son of God," a Saviour of Worlds to come.

Thus runs the Legend of the Holy Grail.


  1. See The Theosophical Review, xxiii., pp. 9-16. Hardcastle (Miss A. L. B.), "The Secret of the Holy Grail."
  2. Hammer-Purgstall (Baron J. von), Fundgruben des Orients, vi. 24., n. 33. Vienna, 1818.
  3. See Naef (F.), Opinions religieuses des Templiers, p. 36. Nismes; 1890. "The cult with which this mysterious chalice is surrounded far surpasses in grandeur and exaltation the worship paid by the Church even to the most sacred relics, and it is just this exaltation of mystery and of holiness which unveils so clearly the symbol and the allegory." And again p. 38, "In the Grail does one not see the striking symbol of Mystic Wisdom (Sagesse mystique) and of the communion which is established between God and man?"
  4. J. Rutherford writes (The Troubadours, their Loves and Lyrics, p. 43. London, 1873):

    "The body of the learned in the Middle Ages—or the inner circle of that body—seems to have formed a secret society, whose purpose was to keep as much knowledge as possible confined to itself, after the manner of the Druids, or of the Egyptians and Chaldean Sages; when compelled to put the more occult portions of their scientific acquirements into a permanent form, they adopted one perfectly unintelligible to the vulgar. Some wrapped up their more valuable secrets in parables, others threw them again into the shape of illuminations, and others again adopted the device of Roger Bacon, who, giving the name of an important ingredient of gunpowder in an anagram, rendered the whole receipt for the composition of the substance a complete mystery to the uninitiated.

    "Our reading shows us that much more was known to the few, six or seven hundred years ago, than modern savants are inclined to think. Strange and startling glimpses of this knowledge flicker over the pages of the poets and romancists of the Middle Ages. Selecting but two examples from many, we may remark that no one could have written that passage in the Inferno of Dante (Canto xxxiv., lines 70–84), descriptive of the transit of Virgil and his follower through the centre of the earth, who was not well acquainted with the leading principles of the theory of gravitation, as elaborated by Newton. Nor could any one have evolved from the depths of his internal consciousness a passage so singularly anticipative of the discovery of America as that contained in Stanzas 228–230 of the twenty-fifth canto of the Morgante Maggiore—precisely the Canto in which it is said that the author, Pulci, was aided by the erudite Marsilio Ficino." See Cantù (Cesare), Gli Eretici d'Italia, i. 178. Torino, 1865.
  5. There are two Titurels; the poem Titurel of Wolfram von Eschenbach; and, later, Der Jüngere Titurel, by Albrecht von Scharffenberg, written about 1270. An interesting notice on the subject is given by Vilmar (A. F. C.), Geschichte der deutschen National- Literatur, 147, Marburg u. Leipsig, 1870.
  6. Chivalry was divided into Heavenly and Earthly orders during part of the Middle Ages, especially in Spain.
  7. Aroux (E.), Les Mystères de la Chevalerie, p. 166. Paris, 1858. Paris (A. Paulin), Les Romans de la Table Ronde, Addenda to p. 102. Vol. I. Paris, 1868. Helinandi Op., Ed. Migne, Patrol., Vol. CCXII., col. 854. Fauriel (C. C.), Histoire de la Poésie Provençale, ii. 332, et seq. Paris, 1846.
  8. Burnouf (Emile) writes as follows: "La vraie légende du Vase Sacré est celle qu'on peut suivre dans le passé en remontant d'aujourd'hui même par les textes chrétiens, grecs, perses et bouddhiques jusqu' aux hymnes du Véda, oil elle trouve son explication." Le Vase Sacré et ce qu'il contient—dans l'Inde, la Perse, la Gréce, et dans l'Eglise chrétienne avec un appendice sur le Saint-Graal, p. 189. Paris, 1896.

    The Theosophical Review, xxiii. pp. 12–15. London, 1899. Hammer-Purgstall (Baron J. von), Fundgruben des Orients, vi. p. 24. Rio, L' Université Catholique, 1. p. 241.
  9. Rosenkranz (Dr. Karl), Handbuch einer Allgemeinen Geschichte der Poesie, ii., 84. Halle, 1832. Hagen (F. H. von der), Heldenbilde aus dem Sagen Kreisen, II., iii. 8. Breslau, 1823. Simrock (Dr. K.), Parzifal und Titurel, p. 484. Stuttgart und Ttibingen, 1842. Bergmann (Dr. F. G.), The San Grëal; an Enquiry into the Origin and Signification of the San Grëal. Edinburgh, 1870. Bartsch (Karl), Wolfram von Eschenbach —Parsifal und Titurel, pt. i. p. xxiv. Leipzig, 1870. Vilmar (A. F. C.), Geschichte der Deutschen National-Literatur, i. 129-130. Marburg and Leipzig, 1870.
  10. The history of Lohengrin, or Garin-le-Loherain was first treated by Hugo Metullus, in 1150.
  11. Görres (Joseph), Lohengrin, ein altdeutsches Gedicht nach der Abschrift des Vaticanischen Manuscriptes, von Ferdinand Glöckle herausgegeben. 1813.

    Koberstein (A.), Grundriss zur Geschichte der Deutschen National- Literatur, p. 50. Leipzig, 1830.
  12. Hagen (F. H. von der), Briefe in die Heimat, ii. 305. Breslau, 1818.
  13. Trouvères in Northern France; Troubadours in the South of France; Minnesänger in Germany; Skalds or Scalds in Norway; Bards in Wales and Ancient Britain.
  14. San Marte (A. Schulz), Leben und Dichten von W. v. Eschenbach, xiv. Magdeburg, 1836.
  15. The fragments of "Titurel" written by Wolfram were first made known by Docens (1810). They are in Karl Lachmann's edition of Wolfram v. Eschenbach (1833). The only edition of the Jüngere Titurel, which exists in a good many MSS., is that of Hahn (1842).
  16. Nutt (Alfred), Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail, p. 6. London, t888. See The Theosophical Review, xxiii. 10.
  17. Many materialistic critics have tried to disprove the very existence of Kyot (or Guiot de Provins), and further have tried to prove that flan tradition was invented by Wolfram. But research shows definitely that at this very period there was a Jongleur, or singer, of this name. He is mentioned by the Abbé de la Rue in his Essais historiques sur let Bardes, les Jongleurs, et les Trouvères, i. 216. Caen, 1834. In this pov.age is mentioned a Satire written by Guiot de Provins; Rosenkranz also mentions him in his Handbuch einer Allgemeinen Geschichte der Poesie, ii. 14 . The same conclusion has also been arrived at by San Marte in an interesting article "Der Mythus vom Heiligen Gral," which appeared in the Neue Mittheilungen aus den Gebiet historisch antiquarischer Forschungen. Herausgegeben von dem Thuringisch-Saechsichen Verein für Erforschung des Vaterlandischen Alterthums. (III., pt. pp. 1-40). The author identifies the supposed mythical Guiot von Provence with the historical character Guiot von Provins (the town in Brie?) which is called Provîs by Wolfram.
  18. Paris (A. Paulin), Les Manuscrits françois de la Bibliothèque du Roi. Paris, 1848. Vol. vii., p. 377.
  19. "Books withdrawn from public perusal, or in other words, hidden or secret." See Mead (G. R. S), "The Secret Sermon on the Mountain," The Theosophical Review, xxiv. 26.
  20. See Fauriel (C. C.), Histoire de la Poésie Provençale, iii. 5. Paris, 1846.
  21. Mysticism was "in the air" at this epoch; in Calabria the Abbate Gioachimo di Flor was preaching his Evangelio Eterno. Educated at the Court of the Duca di Puglia, a pilgrim to the Holy Land, a monk at Mount Tabor, he became a mystic and was according to Cante deeply tinged with Buddhistic views (Gli Eretici d’Italia, i. 120-135. Torino, 1865). He had a large following. A quantity of important writings were left by this great mystic. His prophecies were known even in England, for we find an English Cistercian, Rudolph, Abbot of Coggeshall, coming to Rome in 1195, had a conference with him, and left an account of it (Martène, Amplissima Collectio, v. 837), and Felice Tocco (L'Eresia nel Medio Evo, i. 261-409. Florence, 1884) writes: "The works of Joachim were printed at Venice in the years 1517–19, and his life was written by a Dominican named Gervaise in 1745. A full summary of his opinions, and those contained in The Everlasting. Gospel, may be found in Natalis Alexander's Ecclesiastical History, VIII., pp. 73-76."
  22. Aroux (Eugene) Dante, Hérétique, Révolutionnaire et Socialiste; Révélation d'un Catholique sur le Moyen Age, p. 14. Paris, 1854
  23. The mystic doctrines of the Albigenses will be treated later. They believed in re-incarnation and other fundamental theosophic doctrines.
  24. Flegeumis was both an astronomer and an astrologer. Both Görres and Warton (Thomas Warton, The History of English Poetry, Vol. I., London, 1824) consider that Flegetanis is a corruption of the Arabic name Felek-daneh, an astronomer.
  25. It can be proved from various sources that there was a friendly interchange of visits between the Caliph at Cairo and the Templars. (King, C. W., The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 418. London, 1887.)
  26. Lohengrin, p. ix.
  27. "Pâtaliputra (Palibothra des Grecs) qui est aujourd'hui Patna." Burnouf, op. cit. p. 509.
  28. In the Persian tradition a similar miraculous and mystical vessel was given to Jemshad, the pattern of perfect kings, in whose reign the Golden Age was realised in Iran. He was the favourite of Ormuzd and his legitimate representative on earth; he discovered the "Goblet of the Sun" when digging the foundation of Persepolis, and from him it passed to Alexander the Great. It is a symbol of the world. See Burnouf (Emile), Le Vase Sacré et ce qu'il contient. Dans I 'Inde, la Perse, la Grèce et dans l’Eglise chrétienne, p. 189. Paris, 1896.
  29. In Grecian mythology Apollo, or Helios, rises out of a golden-winged cup.
  30. Blavatsky (H. P.) The Secret Doctrine, ii. 379: "The beneficent Entities who…. brought light to the world, and endowed Humanity with intellect and reason."
  31. The Gnosis, or Wisdom Mysteries.
  32. Lachmann (K.), Wolfram von Eschenbach, xxiv., and Gervinus, Deutsche National-Literatur, i., 358, 1835, are both of this opinion.
  33. San Marte (A. Schulz), "Wolfram von Eschenbach and Guiot von Provins"; Germania, iii.445. Wien, 1860.
  34. This fact that Guiot von Provins was himself in the East, that he was, moreover, a Troubadour, gives us those links which were needed to prove the direct connection of this Grail Tradition with the Eastern Wisdom; as a Troubadour he was one of the Secret Society already mentioned both by Rossetti in his Disquisitions on the Anti-papal Spirit which produced the Reformation, (ii., 115. London, 1834), and by Aroux; see The Theosophical Review, xxiv., p. 207. San Marte added a footnote stating that he was preparing an edition of Guiot's Bible and Lyric Poems, in French and German, to which Professor G. Wohlfart was adding notes.
  35. S. Bernard of Clairvaux was one of the Church Mystics of the twelfth century; he gave the first rules to the Order of the Knights-Templars, the regulations having been arranged at the Council of Troyes in 1118. The great Abbey of Clairvaux was one of the chief centres of education at this period. S. Bernard considered the contemplative life as the highest, and he was himself a contemplative mystic.
  36. Troyes (Chretien de), Li conte del Graal. 1189.
  37. He was in the retinue of Fulk of Anjou, who, in 1129, became the son-in-law of Baldwin, King of Jerusalem, and eventually became its King. There is, however, a much earlier connection of the House of Anjou with the East, for in 987 Fulk Nerra, or Fulk the Palmer, went to Jerusalem. See Croniques des Comtes d'Anjou, par M. Émile Mabille, p. lxxviii. Paris, 1856.
  38. Weston (Jessie L.), Parzival, ii. 191, 597, 198. London, 1894.
  39. The writer is referring to the enormous spread of these mystical and heretical teachers. See San Marte (A. Schulz), "Wolfram's Parzival und seine Beurtheiler," in Germania, vii., p. 6o. Wien, 1862.
  40. This was the secret language to which Aroux refers so often. In one passage he says: "Let the Philologists make as much outcry as they will, our old Traveurs.knew more about it than they do, and when they adopted certain names they thought far more of the hidden meaning than of the actual etymology, for which they cared very little"; again, referring to the well-known legend of Amadis, "the Knight of the Lion," he adds: "We may easily recognise him, by these various signs, as a 'Poor-man of Lyons.' Like his colleagues, this Apostle of the Albigensian Gospel leaves Aquitanian Gaul, his own country, to go into Spain and win over that country to the Religion of Love, as in other romances. What gives an account of his acts and deeds is the journal, the record of his apostolic feats, of his triumph over the agents of Rome. What could be easier to recognise Amadis, the Perfect Knight of Lyons,' under disguise of person and language is enamoured of the beautiful Oriane. This name, derived from the East, also indicates the close connection established between the local Vaudism and the oriental Albigensianism typified by the beautiful lady, Flower, Rose, Star of the East. All light, all good, was in this literature reputed to come from the East." Aroux (E.), Les Mystères de la Chevalerie, pp. 175, 176. Paris, 1858.
  41. One of the Scholastic mystics, a heretic, and condemned by the Pope about 1140; he opposed the view of those who extol the faith that yields an unreasoning assent, without examination, to whatever is heard. See Blunt, D.D. (J. H.), article, "Schoolmen "; Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, p. 530. London, 1874.
  42. Reichel, Studien zu Wolfram's Parzival, p. 6. Wien, 1858. San Marte (A. Schulz), Parzival Studien, Heft ii. Halle; Waisenhaus, 861.
  43. The poems of the Troubadours, which contained the mystical teaching, as we have seen from Aroux, in his Mystères de la Chevalerie, and also from Rutherford in his Troubadours, their Loves and Lyrics, I). 43. London, 1873. See for quotation, The Theosophical Review, xxiv., p. 202.
  44. This is precisely what the dogmatic Christian writers have tried to do by eliminating the Gnostic traces, and the yet more eastern sources of the grand old tradition.
  45. This is the true Christian Brotherhood open to every Soul, the Elect of Humanity, that "Communion of Saints" of which the Great White Lodge is the sole earthly representative.
  46. Even San Marte, in spite of his frankly acknowledged change of position, is still bound by the obsolete views about paganism.
  47. See Studies, 1.c., pp. 20 et seq.
  48. I Peter, ii., 9, 10.
  49. The "dish of Caesarea" belongs to the other version, Joseph of Arimathea, by Sires Robiers de Borron, which was "englisht" in 1450, by Henry Lonelich. See The Grand St. Graal, from Furnivall's edition. Early English Text Society. Trubner, 1874.
  50. Writers vary in their spelling of the stone; Lapis, Lapsit or Jaspes, exilles, exilexor, exillis, and other variants are given. Lapis Electrix is given by William Hertz in his Parzival, pp. 160, 528. Stuttgart, 1898. He draws attention to the fiery and life-giving properties of the stone. This to some students of Theosophy will be a valuable suggestion.
  51. In the old symbolism, "Man," chiefly the Inner Spiritual Man, is called a "stone." Christ is called a corner stone, and Peter refers to all men as "lively" (living) stones. Blavatsky (H. P.), The Secret Doctrine, ii. 663, 3rd edition. London, 1893.
  52. Evans (Sebastian), The High History of the Holy Grail, II., p. 293. London, 1898.
  53. Six o'clock in the morning. Tierce corresponds to 9; Sexte, Nones, and Vespers to noon, 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock.
  54. "For where the truth is, the symbol should be put in the background. On other days we consecrate in remembrance of his being sacrificed. But on that day of Good Friday he was veritably sacrificed; for there is no meaning whatever in it when the day comes on which he was actually sacrificed."
  55. I have not discovered a trace of any of these names of places; I am much inclined to think them disguised.
  56. Paris (A. Paulin), Romans de la Table Ronde, 1., pp. 156-162. Paris, 1868.
  57. Baring-Gould (S.), Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, pp. 617, 622-3-4. London, 1881.
  58. Simrock (R., Jr.), Parzival und Titurel, p. 776. Stuttgart und Augsberg, 1857.
  59. See Blunt (J. H.), Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, p. 309. London, 1874. He says: "An ancient Eastern Sect found in Persia and Arabia, but chiefly at Bussara…. who profess to be Mendai-Ijahi or disciples of St. John the Baptist! They are called 'Christians of St. John' by many European writers, and Sabians or Tzabians by the Mahometans."
  60. Mackenzie (R. R. H.), The Royal Masonic Cyclopedia, p. 386. New York, 1877.
  61. Weston (Jessie L.), Parzifal, ii., notes 184, line 589, p. 223. "The belief in a Christian Kingdom in the East, ruled over by a king who was at the same time a priest, was very widely spread in the middle ages, but it is very curious to find it thus connected with the Grail Legend. Simrock takes this connection to be a confirmation of his theory, that the Grail Myth was originally closely connected with St. John the Baptist. According to Der Jüngere Titurel, a poem which, professedly written by Wolfram and long supposed to be his, is now known to be the work of a certain Albert von Scharffenberg, the Grail, with its guardians, Parzival, Lohengrin, Konwiramur, and all the Templars, eventually left Monsalvisch and found a home in the domains of Prester John, but the story seems to be due rather to the imagination of the writer than to any real legendary source."
  62. Hagen (Dr. H. von der), Docen (B. J.), Büsching (J. G.), Museum für Altdeutsche Literatur und Kunst, i., 502 et seq. Berlin, 1809.
  63. Scharffenberg (Albrecht von), Der Jüngere Titurel; circa 1270. Vilmar (A. F. C.), Geschichte der deutschen National-Literatur, i, 147. Marburg u. Leipzig, 1870.
  64. Cappadocia was at this time a Roman Province. Sennabor is rendered by some authorities as "Senbar." Says San Marte: "The first forerunners of Christianity in the West were demigods; and in Asia is rooted the main stem of the Senaboriden. (Bóreaden) Senebar der Reiche—Senber, in Arabic a sage—he came from Cappadocia, from the Caucasus, and Colchis, whence Odin also brought his bloody worship." See "Der Mythus vom Heiligen Gral" in the Neue Mittheilungen aus dem Gebiet histerisch antiquarischer Forschungen. Herausgegeben von dem Thüringisch-Sächsichen Verein für Erforschung des vaterländischen Alterthums, III., iii., 5.
  65. Sometimes given as Orgasille.
  66. Says Görres: "The Temple of Mont Salvatsch stands in Salvatierra, and not as people thought in distant Gallizein, but in Arragonia just at the entrance into Spain, and close to the Valley of Ronceval and the great road which leads from France towards Gallicia and Compostella."—Lohengrin. Koblentz, 1812.
  67. Sometimes called San-Salvador, or Salves.
  68. See Boisserée (Sulpiz), Über die Beschreibung des Heiligen Grals. Munich, 1834. Also Transactions of the Munich Academy, i. 30. The description is in the Jüngere Titurel, edited by Hahn, strophe 311, 1842. San Matte (A. Schulz), Leben und Dichten Wolfram's von Eschenbach, ii.,37. Magdeburg, 1836.
  69. In Persian history the life of Jemshad was extended to nearly seven centuries from a similar cause.
  70. One of the few definite dates is given to us by Ganes in his Lohengrin, p. lxiii. where, speaking of Lohengrin's death, he says: "It was known now to the murderers who this Prince was…. they became monks…. these events took place five hundred years after the birth of Jesus Christ."
  71. Here we have a clear and most definite hint given that the doctrine of re-incarnation was taught by this Troubadour, who is handing down the Secret Wisdom of the Holy Grail.
  72. Warton (Thomas, B.D.), The History of English Poetry, i., 85, London, 1824.
  73. Le Temple du Graal une fois bâti dans les Pyrénées, Titurel institua pour sa defense et pour sa garde une milice, une Chevalerie spéciale, qui se nomme la Chevalerie du Temple, et dont les membres prennent le nom de Templiens, ou de Templiers. Ces Chevaliers font voeu de chasteté, et sont tenus à une grande pureté de sentimens et de conduite. L'objet de leur vie, c'est de défendre le Graal, ou pour mieux dire, la foi chrétienne, dont ce vase est le symbole, contre les infidèles. Je l'ai déjà insinué, et je puis ici l'affirmer expressément, ii y a dens cette milice religieuse du Graal une allusion manifeste à la milice des Templiers. Le but, le caractère religieux, le nom, tout se rapporte entre cette dernière Chevalerie et la Chevalerie idéale du Graal: et l'on a quelque peine à comprendre la fiction de celle-ci, si l'on fait abstraction de l'existence réelle de l'autre." Fauriel (C.), "Romans Provençaux," Revue des Deux Mondes; Première série, viii. 183. Paris, 1832.
  74. Aroux (E.), La Comédie de Dante, i. 39. Paris, 1837.
  75. Aroux (E.), Les Mystères de la Chevalerie, p. 166. Paris, 1838.
  76. Rosenkranz (Karl), Doctor der Philosophie, zu Halle. Über den Titurel und Dante's Komödie mit einer Vorerinnerung über die Bildung der Geistlichen Ritter-Orden, pp. 32-70. Halle u. Leipzig, 1829.
  77. Baptism had a much deeper meaning among the Gnostic sects than among the orthodox church people. A "true baptism is only that which takes place in the living water;" and again, speaking of S. John the Baptist, "He . . . baptised with the living baptism and named the Name of Life." Brandt (A. J. H. W.), Die Mandäische Religion, ihre Entwickelung und Gesichtliche Bedeutung, pp. 98 and 100. Leipzig, 1889. It was an Initiation into the Real Mysteries, and is so still.
  78. Simrock (K. Dr.), Parzifal und Titurel, Rittergedichte von Wolfram von Eschenbach, p. 793, third edition. Stuttgart u. Augsburg, 1857.
  79. Hagen (Dr. H. von der), Docen (B. J.), Büsching G.), Museum für Altdeutsche Literatur und Kunst; i., 507. Berlin, 1809. Shallow J. (J. Y. A. Morshead), The Templer's Trials, p. 62. London, 1888. "M. Loiseleux considers that the Temple compiled its heresy from the principles of three contemporary sects—Bogomiles, Euchetes, Luciferians. The actual history of these sects, however, rather, gives one the impression that each was suggested to some heresiarch by some particular phase of that Manichaean feeling which always existed in Bulgaria or Asia Minor." Mignard (Monographie du Coffret de M. le Duc de Blacas, Paris, 1832), proves that the Templars were Cathari— another name for Albigenses—who believed in the doctrine of reincarnation. Says Aroux: "How did Walther of Aquitaine, how did the romance of Perceval, the Perfect Knight of the Saint-Graal, accurately translated by a Templar—Wolfram von Eschenbach, after the poem of the Troubadour Guiot—become transplanted into Germany, if the Provençal missionaries had no relations with that country, if their romances, their symbols were not understood there?…. Who but themselves and their disciples conveyed thither the ideas and romances of chivalry, and by turning to account the national traditions, worked on the foundation of the ancient sagas and impressed on the modern ones the very visible stamp of Albigensianism? Traces are again to be found not only in Europe, but even as far as Asia. True Knights errant of the Church Militant, in open war (but more often war secret and hidden) with Roman Catholicism, they journeyed unceasingly …. sometimes they went as bearers of secret messages or were charged with transmitting verbally important information from Prince to Prince." Thus was the secret mystical teaching preserved through the dark ages. Aroux (E.), Mystères de la Chevalerie, p. 189. Paris, 1858.
  80. Hammer-Purgestall (J. Baron von), "Mysterium Baphometis Revelatum; seu fratres militiae Templi, qua Gnostici et quidem ophiani, apostasiae, idololatriae et quidem impuritatis convicti per ipsa eorum monumenta." See Fundgruben des Orients, vi. p. 3. Vienna, 1803. Nell (M. von) writing on Hammer's "Baphometum," says that Hammer insists that the Cup of the Holy Graal is Gnostic, and of the same set as the Baphometo of the Templars, which all have Gnostic-Ophite symbols on them. But Nell says they are theosophical and alchemical: in both cases these authors trace the Grail legend to heretical sects,
  81. Yule (Col.): see sub voce, Encyclo. Brit.
  82. "Prestre John" seems to have been the title of an office, for the periods of time at which we hear of this curious person are various. The person who succeeded to the position took the designation Prestre John.
  83. Sir John Maundeville, an old knight, writing in the fourteenth century, relates (Cassell's National Library, The Voyages and Travels of Sir John Maundeville, p. 569) the following: "This Emperor Prester John takes always to wife the daughter of the great Chan, and . the great Chan also in the same wise the daughter of Prester John. For they two are the greatest lords under the firmament. . . . And Prester John has under him seventy-two provinces, and in every province is a king, all which kings are tributary to Prester John, and in his lordships are many great marvels, for in his country is the sea called the Gravelly Sea. . . . Three days from that sea are great mountains, out of which runs a great river which comes from Paradise, and it is full of precious stones without a drop of water. . . . Beyond that river is a great plain, and in that plain every day at sunrise small trees begin to grow, and they grow till midday, bearing fruit; but no man dare take of that fruit, for it is a thing of fairie. . . . This Emperor Prester John when he goes to battle against any other lord has no banners borne before him, but he has three large crosses of gold full of precious stones, and each cross is set in a chariot full richly arrayed. . . . And when he has no war but rides with a private company, he has before him but one plain cross of wood, in remembrance that Jesus Christ suffered death upon a wooden cross. And they carry before him also a platter of gold full of earth, in token that his nobleness and his might and his flesh shall turn to earth. And he has borne before him also a vessel of silver, full of noble jewels of gold and precious stones, in token of his lordship, nobility and power . . . the frame of his bed is of fine sapphires, blended with gold to make him sleep well. This Emperor Prester John has evermore seven kings with him to serve him, who share their service by certain months."
  84. Urepanse was one of the grand-daughters of Titurel.
  85. In the account of the travels of Rubruquis, in the Geography of the Middle Ages, Book III., p. 270, London, 1831, we read: "There is reason to believe that the Nestorians had penetrated into China as early as the sixth or seventh century, and carried into that kingdom the civilisation of the Bactrian Greeks." Rubruquis says, that in his time they "inhabited fifteen cities in Cathay…. The Nestorians of Tartary had imbibed the specious doctrine of the transmigration of souls." They then told him of a child about three years old who could write and reason, and who stated "that he had passed through three several bodies." William de Rubruquis—or more properly, Van Ruysbroek—was a Minorite Friar, from a village of that name near Brussels. He started on his travels in 1253. He also said (p. 273), "that he had been told by Baldwin de Hainault at Constantinople some facts about the direction of the rivers in Tartary which he afterwards found to be true."
  86. Neue Mittheilungen aus dem Gebiete Historisch-Antiquarischer Forschungen, ii. 36.
  87. Blavatsky (H. P.) Isis Unveiled, ii.; pp. 289, 290. New York, 1884.
  88. Scharffenberg (A. von), Der Jüngere Titurel, 1270, line 5893 et seq.
  89. San Marte (A. Schulz), "Vergleichung von Wolfram's Parzival mit Albrecht's Titurel in Theologischer Beziehung," Germania, viii., 454. Wien, 1863. This writer also remarks in the same interesting article that "the poem appears as a mirror of those religious movements at the end of the twelfth century which were struggling towards freedom from the compulsion of the Church …. the fundamental appreciation of both poems, ‘Titurel' and ‘Parzival,' is only obtained by comparing them from the theological standpoint …. Titurel is full of learned and varied reminiscences brought from afar." op. cit. supra, pp. 421, 422.
  90. Some of the Kâmalokic planes might be thus described.
  91. “One single thought about the past that thou bast left behind will drag thee down." Blavatsky (H. P.), The Voice of the Silence, p. 23. London, 1892.
  92. Mead (G. R. S., B.A.), The World-Mystery, pp. 103, 104. London, 1895.
  93. Burnouf (É.), Le Vase Sacré et ce qu’il contient: dans l’Inde, la Perse, la Grèce, et dans l'Église Chrétienne; avec un appendice sur le Saint Graal, p. 172. Paris, 1896.