By Douglas Gabriel
Throughout the Camino de Santiago, from France to Spain, we find the legends of numerous grails that have found their way into churches, monasteries, and holy places. The legends and stories that accompany these relics are varied and do not match up, especially seeing that there are over one hundred grails in European churches that claim to be the authentic cup used by Jesus at the Last Super. Numerous spears associated with Longinus can also be found in Christian churches along with the blood of the foreskin of Jesus, numerous crowns of thorns, nails of the cross, and the pieces of the true cross, among other blood relics.
The habit of creating third-class relics by touching first- or second-class relics became very popular in the centuries after Jesus. It seemed that Christians needed something tangible from this world to help them believe in a person who lived long ago and now rules invisibly from another world. Even the bones of saints became a touchstone for these early Christians needing proof of the spirit.
Pre-Christian stories of spiritual tools of the gods became mixed with Christian stories of Jesus and the saints. Celtic and Norse myths were mixed with Mithraic, Persian, Indian and Egyptian beliefs to explain the blood mysteries of Jesus Christ in tangible ideas that were familiar to those the Christians evangelized. In France and Spain, the pantheistic ideas of the Romans were prevalent and the Arabic influence in Spain sparked a revolution of ideas about chivalry, courtly love, and grail romances.
Most of the grail romance stories came from France as offerings to the Queens of Aquitaine, Castile, Leon, Aragon, Toulouse, and the entire Occitania. Arthurian legends were also written in France and they begin with stories of Joseph of Arimathea (grail), Longinus (spear) and their miracles and the spiritual sustenance associated with these grail relics.
Courtly Love was a "Way" to turn the soldier (knight) of the grail into a seeker of the grail who ultimately became a guardian or protector of the blood mysteries. The chivalrous knight vows allegiance to the ladies of the grail who are the grail maidens or keepers of the grail.
The pre-Christian Celtic blood mystery myths have the grail maidens carry in a platter with a severed head upon it that has a spear dripping blood into the platter (grail). This idea is found in Christian beliefs as the head of John the Baptist being brought before Salome and Herod. Thus, an ancient pagan belief pre-figured the reality of the "way of suffering" of Jesus and his followers. Ancient symbols and ideas were not simply adopted by Christians to get their point across to people who had already developed such beliefs.
The reality is that the ancient beliefs were developed by priests and priestesses who were naturally clairvoyant; accordingly, what they worshiped was the truth of what would one day manifest as the fulfillment of their direct clairvoyant experiences.
Ancient beliefs coincide with Christian beliefs because they are describing the same spiritual realities that eventually came to pass. The Finnish Kalevala, for example, makes a clear prediction about Jesus of Nazareth at the end of the epic long before Christian times. A clear foreknowledge of spiritual realities yet to manifest is predicted in most ancient beliefs and can be found united in Christian beliefs, legends and tales.
It would be fair to say that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all true prophecy and the symbols and spiritual tools of the ancients became a physical reality through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No one belief in the ancient world was comprehensive and all-encompassing enough until the one and only incarnation of Jesus Christ came to merge all beliefs into a direct experience of the Holy Grail, the nourishment of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.
It is very instructive to study the beliefs of the past and understand how the crucifixion of Jesus becomes the most important moment in human spiritual evolution. The divine deed of the death of Jesus becomes the "turning point" in human history. The awakened consciousness of the human being, from that time forward, became able to seek and find the Holy Grail through their own spiritual striving - The Way. Each of us can redeem the expulsion from paradise and attain the spiritual tools for ascending back to heaven.
The search for the Holy Grail is the path of the prodigal son who leaves home to seek his fortune and eventually realizes that he must simply return home to accept his inheritance. The seeker must tame desire and birth the Holy Grail in their heart which is renewed and given eternal life through the Blood Mysteries of Jesus Christ.
The blood mysteries of the passion of Christ (The Way -The Quest) create the pilgrimage path to attain the Holy grail. The grail may be different for everyone. Some need a spiritual tool like a relic, a cup, a spear, a nail, or a piece of the cross upon which redemption was won to give them the faith to maintain the quest and follow The Way of Jesus' passion. Others need only the idea of the grail as an analogy or a symbol to attain its nourishment. While yet others, need only their mind (flaming sword), their heart (holy grail) and their tamed dragon (spear) of desires to be refined into the wisdom, love, and mercy of Christ (the higher self). Whether physical tool, idea, or virtuous path, the 'quest for the grail' can become the Christian "way of suffering" that leads to the higher-self finding its divine home.