Monday, November 30, 2009

The Grail Stone

Since the release of The Night's Dark Shade I have received a few inquiries about various topics that are alluded to in the story. One of the subplots of the novel deals with the mysterious "Grail Stone" sought after by the Cathars. While the quest of the Holy Grail of King Arthur's knights was a journey in search of the chalice used by Our Lord and His apostles at the Last Supper, the "Grail Stone" was reputed to be a stone which fell from the crown of Lucifer when the rebellious angel was cast out of Heaven. While the myth of the "Grail Stone" is of gnostic origins tales about it were incorporated into Arthurian legend during the Middle Ages, particularly in the Parzifal cycle as retold by Wolfram von Eschenbach. According to New Advent:
In the...Wolfram version we meet with a conception of the Grail wholly different from that of the French romances. Wolfram conceives of it as a precious stone, lapsit exillis (i.e. lapis or lapsi ex caelis?) of special purity, possessing miraculous powers.... The angels who remained neutral during the rebellion of Lucifer were its first guardians; then it was brought to earth and entrusted to Titurel, the first Grail king. It is guarded in the splendid castle of Munsalvaesche (mons salvationis or silvaticus?) by itself and nourished by its miraculous food-giving power....
Some scholars have maintained that the concept of "neutral angels" is Catharist. Furthermore, Celtic historian Jean Markale insists that the idea of the "sacred stone" has no connection to the original Celtic myths which may have been partially incorporated into the Arthurian Holy Grail legends. The Grail Stone was closely connected to alchemy and the occult. The Grail Stone legend offered the seduction of magic as opposed to faith and devotion. Similarly, heresies such as Catharism, beneath the veneer of a purified, rigorous Christianity, offered an "easy" way to God. It was, however, a way without the cross of Christ.

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