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What is the Holy Grail? Is it a real object?

Rossetti - the holy grail

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Some mysteries can change the world. The secret of the Holy Grail is an example of this. The search for this object dominates the lives of many people. Eternal youth, health, and abundance, who is not looking for this? Is the search for the Holy Grail purely symbolic, or is there actually a magical object?

What is the Holy Grail?

The Holy Grail played a leading role in a number of knightly novels from the 12th century. It is a fictional object that was sought by the bravest knights of Arthur’s court. 

Most people believe the holy grail is a legendary cup or saucer used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Joseph of Arimathea used it to capture Jesus’ blood on the cross. But, as we dive deeper into its history, we will discover there are more objects that are called the Holy Grail.

 

What is the meaning of the holy grail?

What is the meaning of the Holy Grail?

The true meaning of the Holy Grail can not be determined. If you dismiss it as a non-existent object, then it represents nothing, but if you consider it as a symbol that stands for something much greater, then the meaning of the Holy Grail is still as relevant as in the Middle Ages or before.

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Is the Grail a chalice, bowl, or stone?

The Holy Grail is first mentioned in a novel by Chrétien de Troyes (1160-1191). In 1181 he wrote the Arthurian novel Perceval ou le Conte du Graal (Perceval, the story of the Grail), but he died before he had finished it. The story of Chrétien de Troyes was completed (and adapted) by Wolfram von Eschenbach (1160-1220).

Chrétien de Troyes describes the Grail as a bowl or a chalice from which the king takes a daily Host to fight his disease. This Grail possesses magical powers, such as immortality, healing, and the ability to communicate with God.

Wolfram of Eschenbach speaks of a magical stone dating from when Lucifer was thrown from heaven. Occasionally letters appear on the stone. These letters express God’s will. Some Christians believe the Devil was once a beautiful angel named Lucifer who rebelled against God and fell out of favor. This belief that he is a fallen angel is frequently based on the Bible’s book of Isaiah, which states: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations”. 

The image of the Grail that most of us know comes from Robert de Boron‘s book. In his Estoire dou Gral, the Grail is described as a cup. It is the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper and which was later used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect the blood of Christ at the crucifixion.

The story of the Holy Grail

I will use the story of Wolfram von Eschenbach as background for the grail story. This is a classic chivalric novel with many twists and plots.

It starts with the story of the anti-hero. Percival is a mother’s child. His mother, Queen Herzeloyde, lives with him in the forest to protect him from the world. She doesn’t want him to become a knight, which, of course, goes wrong. Percival encounters some knights in the forest and is impressed by them.

Determined to become a knight himself, he reports to the court of King Arthur. There he receives a thorough education from a mentor named Gurnemanz. His mentor not only taught him to become an excellent knight, but he also advised the curious Percival to be more observative and not to ask questions. 

 

One day, Percival was a guest at the palace of the seriously ill King Anforas, the Fisherman King.

percival and the fisherman king

He witnesses a confusing procession in the castle of this king. First, a young man appeared with a bloody lance. Then, the young man was followed by 24 maidens carrying a stone. This stone was too heavy to lift, except for these beautiful virgins.

The story tells us that the stone is the Holy Grail and dates from when the earth was created. Thanks to the stone, food and drink were plentiful.

Yet, there is a deep sadness at the table. As his mentor taught him, Parzival merely observed.
He did not ask a single question. If only he had known that one question could end the king’s suffering.

After witnessing this strange event, Percival went back to the court of King Arthur. There, a hideous woman appeared. She curses Percival for making King Anforas suffer so much by not asking the right question.

She accuses him of being a tool of the devil!

Finally, she instructs him to end the suffering of King Anfortas. But, of course, Parzival had to go through some trials before doing so. After the necessary wanderings, he returns to the king’s court and asks:
“Sir, why do you suffer so?”

This turned out to be the magic question. Finally, King Anforas is released from his suffering, and Parzival becomes the new Grail King.

For the knights at King Arthur’s court, finding the Grail was a Holy Quest. It was an endless, extensive search for an object of exceptional value. You could compare it to the alchemist’s search for the philosopher’s stone.

To them, the Holy Grail is a magical object. It gave abundantly, and it was a way to find God’s purpose. In this sense, you could see the search for the Grail as the search for divinity.

Holy Grail and the knights of the round table

Does the Holy Grail really exist?

Even though most people believe the Holy Grail is a myth, some believe it is more than just a Middle Ages legend.

The church has acually adopted the story, and now the Holy Grail can be found in more than 100 churches. In my post Where is the Holy Grail? I describe some of the most well-known locations. 

Others believe that during the Crusades, the Knights Templar took the Holy Grail from Temple Mount and hid it.

A recent theory claims that the Holy Grail is the womb of Mary Magdalene. This hypothesis is based on the idea that the word San Greal (Holy Grail) should actually be Sang Real (Royal Blood). According to this story, Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married, and a royal bloodline was created. Secret societies such as the Templars guard this bloodline. The plot of The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, is inspired by this event.

 

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Hi, I'm Christine and I love mysteries. My fascination ranges from historical enigmas to spirit animals. This website showcases my favorite mysteries, all from my unique perspective. While the spiritual sections are rooted in faith rather than fact, I hope you'll approach them with an open heart and enjoy the journey as much as I have.

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